When I was thirty-three and in the middle of a spiritual transition that deeply affected the way I began to look at my work life and my relationships, I woke up from a dream with the words, “My heart, which is alive and awake and aware,” resonating in my body. At the time, I knew little consciously in the way of spirit, but I felt that I had a new foundation on which to grow the new direction of my life-- whatever the shape of that would be.
As I wrote in my book, Success with Soul: “Dreams with impact don’t have to be elaborate, technicolor affairs in order to bring home how you need to re-connect with your passion, energy, and inner direction.” They arrive like a gift. If they capture your attention, be with them. Even if your mind doesn’t understand them, your heart will open to them and invest your life with a greater knowing of what it is to be alive and aware.
It took a few years for my dream to gestate, but eventually I redesigned my career path so thatthe work I did was based on the aliveness and awareness of my heart. As a somatic therapist, and then a life coach, the nature of my work was firmly rooted in the process of helping people transform their relationship to their careers and their whole lives by paying attention to whatever awakened their hearts and stimulated their energy.
Now it’s early spring in northern California. Some winter rain has finally penetrated the drought of the past year, and the fragrance of the plum tree blossoms wafts through the moistened air. It’s a time when I remember the coming of the English spring in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beautiful book of heart awakenings, The Secret Garden, when the dead-looking rose vines come alive, and the green thrusting leaves of daffodils and snowdrops poke up above the gradually warming earth.
The re-emergence of life is what Mary, the unhappy ten-year-old orphan in The Secret Garden (whose life is transformed by digging in the earth in the company of a life-affirming local Yorkshire lad), celebrates as “the Magic.” “The Magic” is what brings things to life-- whether they are the neglected garden of this story or the neglected children.
“The Magic” is being touched by a growing desire to change and the compassionate attention of others directed towards us as we change. To paraphrase therapist Brené Brown, spirituality is awareness of the inextricable connection among all living things , which “is grounded in love and compassion.”
“The Magic” is what touches the life flow at our core that animates and vitalizes us.
And what is vitality? Vitality is our energy and passion to live fully, to discover our purpose, to awaken to the gifts we have to offer and not just get by-- on the job, in our relationships with others, in every activity we undertake-- in the short amount of time we have on this planet.
Let this Valentine’s Day be a special one for you! Ask yourself, “How will I awaken my heart today?” Remember that fifty years ago today, The Beatles first began to play-- “All you need is love”-- to touch your awakening heart.