Author Archives: heartashome

heart of the matter

heart as home

This is the time to dive deep into the heart of the matter.

As we move through this seasonal change, what does this Autumn offer?
Nature begins to prepare for winter by sweeping away what is unnecessary – the leaves turn and fall, the gardens move to winter mode, the rains wash away the dust of summer – and what of us?

What does this season ask of me?
What messages does it hold?
What practices do I need to integrate into my daily rhythm of life to support and nourish me throughout this season?

I hear a few things so far…

An invitation to be vulnerable, flawed, authentic, and be okay with it. Really okay with it. Really.
An invitation to let it (whatever it is for me right now) drop into the earth to become compost for the next growing season
(I think I know what it is…

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same same different

i am hearing a lot of the

samesame

right now.

some call this two steps forward, three steps back. others might call it a spiral – each curve leads us a little deeper in. or maybe it’s another loop in the labyrinth – the rocks change shape, the path a little different with each step but it is…

oh so goddamn familiar.

i am calling out

to be broken open again. again. again.

moving through. staying  committed. seeing clearly.

failing. falling.

seeking.

sitting.

“Sitting till the things to be done dry up, till the voices urging they be done melt like ice in our minds, till the old hurts throb out of our bones, made harmless by the air, till all the we want has nothing left to shout at, till there is nothing left to reach for or with, and nothing left to let go of, till even our fear of death loses its tongue, and, with nothing in the way, the light of the world kisses the light of the heart and each breath shines”
Mark Nepo

(send out the interpretive dancers!  you know who you are.)

ebb and flow.

this repost seems relevant now.  and i need it. so i share it.

take good care,

jessica


you are not alone, friend

we are nearby

with a steady anchor rock of care

with fragrant boughs of devotion

with bright feathers of protection

with a soft nest for rest and refuge

on our island, together

so connected

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what feeds this deep love?

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stand tall in the shadow of your own flag. feel the wind blowing your love-stitched cape. nourished with open hearted dedication and discernment. deep love.


wildly blooming

all is blooming here.

some of the poppies are aching
to be gathered and put to use.

others are content to stay put.

rooted down feeding from this rich earth while reaching up and absorbing the light from the soft sun-moon.

being of use by becoming.
by being.

skillfully. unwieldy.

wildly

blooming.

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rainbow town

when the heart breaks open, we find nothing but rainbows within …

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shelter, refuge, and tender hearted grace in rainbow town


ebb and flow

in this ebb and flow of moments… i am grounding in motion. i am finding a stillness that is not motionless. this stillness, this grounding, is made up of small movements that hold me in balance and topple me over at the same time. into cold water. rocky shores. sunlit skies.

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not grasping to stay upright. planting down. being aware. noticing it is the shifting under my feet, the shifting in my body, the shifting of air that supports my ability to hold my balance. and then noticing these are the same things that shake me to the ground.

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ah. sweet ground. wave and shore. sun and sky. stillness and motion. a gentle heart recognition. this is all there is.

xo
j


remember your heart’s deepest longing

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let’s get together

A few weeks ago, I mentioned I would be sharing projects that focus on community health, healing, and art. I have found a few — today, let’s visit Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!

One summer, I spent a few weeks in the city of Philadelphia. It was just after high school and I wanted to do something! help someone! expand my consciousness! make a difference!

So, I looked through a booklet (yup, not a website) filled with all kinds of projects and signed up for one that promised an ‘eco-friendly, inner-city experience with a group of young folks from around the world.’ And so it was! We lived together in a big ol’ house and cooked communal dinners. Never sure what we would be doing each day, we ended up in abandoned crack house (cleaning was the aim but it was a lost cause), worked in a community garden, and painted nationalistic murals on the rooftop of the house we stayed at (I think mine, in true Canadian pride, included pot leaves and peace signs). One day we went to the organizer’s house and cleaned up his overgrown library! It didn’t seem well-organized – there were times when we seemed to simply be serving the organizer’s personal and political persuasions. And sometimes, I wondered what I was really doing there – we all did.

One day we ended up in neighbourhood where the store fronts were big garage doors with bullet holes spattered across them. My eyes opened wide. Our job was to throw concrete at a mud and wood perimeter of a hole for a basement – were we building walls? I don’t know. The… space … was to become a women’s shelter – I don’t know if it ever did.

But I do know that I met a man at that site. His name escapes me. I remember his slight outline sitting on top of a ladder in the bright sun, big work boots, black jeans, and his constant companions – a walkman and the music of Phil Collins – music he credited with saving him from a life of heroin addiction and homelessness. He springs to mind when my heart is captured with joy, belonging, and a sense of home as the right note, the right phrase, the right blend of instruments fills my body with sound. I am grateful to him for sharing his path of healing with me – it helps me to recognize and open to my own unique path of healing. Because, really aren’t we are all just looking for, and finding, those sweet spots that ignite our soul? And, really, only you can know when you find yours.

What were the long-term results of our work? Did I make a difference? Did I help someone? Are those the questions to ask to get at what happened in that space?

I don’t know. We ‘parachuted’ in, didn’t complete any project, and didn’t spend much time talking with local community folks. It was loose, messy, unstructured. Subtle and gentle. A time to explore my own identity, a new community, and sit in a place of a belonging/not belonging. I took a step outside of my everyday experience and expanded – heart, soul and mind. Small steps into big questions.

So, I have a soft spot for Philadelphia and when I found the project below, I was pretty excited to share it with you. If I was going to return to Philly now, I would like to lend my skills and heart to this project:

The Porch Light Project
A mural arts project
organized by Mural Arts Program & the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual DisAbility Services.

“A three-year initiative that situates art and human connection at the heart of recovery and healing in three North Philadelphia neighborhoods”
(http://muralarts.org/programs/porch-light-initiative).

How does it work? Three areas of Philadelphia are participating in the project. The site is prepped and funding is attained. Then the mural artists get together with community members and people within the partnering community organizations to talk, make art, write, and share community and individual priorities, issues, and aesthetic sensibilities. The design process is specific to the mural artist – so each project is quite different. And of course, the painting and installation is done by everyone who wants to participate! When the painting is done, there is a celebration.

The Color of Your Voice – drawn from poetry created by community members, the mural focuses on themes of resilience, history, strengths and challenges.

Our Vision, Our Testament – this mural was drawn from words, lists, and collages about the value of community and what it takes to make a community to thrive.

To see more projects, click here.

And it doesn’t stop with murals! What is the value of participating in such a project? For individuals? for organizations? for communities? Long-term research/evaluation is being completed by The Yale School of Medicine and includes in-depth interviews (before and after), focus groups, and examination of data from different municipal departments about things like ” behavioral health services, neighborhood commercial activity, and crime over time” (http://muralarts.org/programs/porch-light-initiative-evaluation).

What a neat project. I wonder what stories the participants will tell about their involvement in the project. How will these stories be shared? Will we learn about the messy, difficult parts as well as the joyful, smooth parts of the projects? I will follow up in a while and post if I find anything interesting!

In the meantime, I leave with you some images of graffiti and murals that I have collected in my travels:

feel (san francisco) happy endings (regina) robot (san francisco)wrestlers (toronto)monster (regina)lo-cost meat (san francisco)the wall (powell river) safer (san francisco)

peace,
j

P.S. Also in Philadelphia, I convinced my friend that we could make it to the Veruca Salt concert across town without any money for a way home. With the generosity of a stranger who gave us the money for a cab, we did make it safe and sound. A big public thank you to this man — I have never forgotten your kindness and have paid it forward again and again.


be awesome

in the midst of a whirlwind of habit and busy mind, this little bear with his golden shimmer heart and starry cape
reminds me to nourish myself, others, and the world with awe. with reverence. with lightness. with spaciousness.
it is all just awesome.

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