Friday, December 18, 2015

the roots of my heart

Eliza just finished up the semester of dance at our local dance studio.  The people there have become family to her, and she takes such pride in her work.  She recently was invited to move up a class and that vote of confidence meant so much to her that she said ok, even though it meant dropping out of the choir we sing in together. We joined the choir because we had heard them together and Eliza was blown away by this group of women, their sound, their energy, and I thought for a minute of not continuing, now that it wasn't something we were doing together.

Then I went to another practice, and knew I was staying, at least through the year.  The director has chosen songs that pierce my heart, songs that become prayers and mantras during the days of my week.  I went to rehearsal one night feeling so dispirited from the day's news, so saddened and helpless, and we sang about it

I listen to the women...
My heart is breaking, breaking
My heart is breaking, breaking

Yes, we sing Sunny Side of the Street, but we also sing Take Heart by Ysaye Barnwell, of Sweet Honey in the Rock, mourning all of the hurts the mothers of the world are feeling, and it gives me the space to sing to the mamas in Palestine, the mamas in Syria, the mamas here who are feeling loss and grief.  

We learned a round last week that has become my winter meditation.

The roots of my heart go deep underground and entwine with the roots of your heart.

I wish I could sing it for you, because it goes deep and stays there.  It has been there when I've turned on the news, when I've tried to talk to my kids about the things that are happening in the world.  

I found myself singing this for hours as I cleaned house for my client last week, and it was a reminder that singing, meditation, and prayer do the great service of connecting us to each other.  I hear people discount prayer, and I did not grow up in a big praying culture, outside of church, so I get that discomfort, but whatever you call it, it seems to simply be about calling someone to mind and finding a way to connect to them in your heart.  

Does this sound really obvious? Because I know I can be late to the party, and it wouldn't surprise me if you all already know this, but it was a little aha moment for me, and I decided to try it out on my client.  I clean her house twice a month, and I know her to be generous, smart and reliable, but we don't see eye to eye on many many things in the world.  And we don't have to. We aren't friends, I clean her house so she can have the time, energy and freedom to prune her own trees, fix her own plumbing, manage her church's finances.  But I am a connector and I like to connect with people, so I sometimes spend my cleaning time mulling over in my head how it is that I am working for someone with some very different beliefs from mine, some fundamentally different ways of looking at things like politics and raising children, for starters. 

So I thought about her while I was singing to myself about the roots of my heart, and you know what? It worked. I sang until I felt if not love, then compassion and kindness, which are the giant steps towards full on love.  

And then I thought, hey, I should be charging more for "meditative cleaning"!! Don't you think that could be a thing? I'll clean your house and meditate on the health and well-being of your family for a few hours!  I'll eliminate your dust bunnies and the bad juju! I think I might be on to something...

Meanwhile, it is a small thing, and nowhere near enough of a response to the heavily dark actions in the world right now, but it quells the fear and the anxiety for a few moments, and that seems like a better place to begin to see a way forward.


Tokarz said...

I love you. I found this song and listened to it, now I can sing it with you from far away...

merry said...

No honey, you're not late to the party. You just needed to find the music that speaks to you in a deeper way. Sometimes it's the melody, or the harmony that pulls on our deeper emotions. Often it's the words. And then once in a while they all come together and become a prayer that moves you to your core. Remind me to tell you about David next week. When we sing this new prayer, I get the lower part!