Last Saturday night, my dear friend Megan hosted her second annual Fig Gig. In Megan’s backyard is the most beautiful, gnarly, fecund fig tree. The figs are a deep purple color, and when you pick them right off the tree, biting into one is like biting into the most divine jam. They are visually glorious, all fleshy, soft, moist and red inside.
Megan also hired a Kora player; the Kora is an instrument from Africa with 12 strings. The woman who played was incredibly gifted and vibrantly funny. Her voice was beautiful and lyrical, and the sound of her music created the most luscious background to the evening.
At one point, Megan greeted her guests and invited us to take a moment to celebrate and give thanks to the Mother, the Earth and all that she provides for us. We celebrated the Fig tree as a symbol of this abundance and nourishment…and as a symbol of the feminine.
As we sat in this moment, my heart became so full. This moment was one of those sweet spots in life, a moment where my attention was given to the beauty available in every moment. In fact, it became so full, I felt as if my heart couldn’t hold any more – that it would burst if I allowed in one more drop of beauty.
This life is beautiful. In the moments, like the Fig Gig, when we are enjoying the party, life feels good. But, I have come to see that we can fully appreciate these moments when we also see the beauty in the not-so-great moments of turmoil, pain and grief. Opening my heart deeply to the painful moments of my life, and the painful times we are in, has also allowed me to feel the beauty more deeply of all the moments of life.
I have come to know that in these painful moments, and in the happy moments as well, that the heart can hold much more than our minds believe it can. When it feels like the heart is breaking, it’s not the heart breaking, but rather the chains that bind it…those places where we have closed ourselves off to feeling, for fear we won’t be able to handle it.
We are in interesting times. I realize now, even more clearly, that to taste the sweetness of life, we must open ourselves to the beauty that is available here, right now. We can no longer afford to close our eyes to the places that feel hard or painful, fearing them. There is beauty in them as well, for when we make ourselves available to the full range of feeling, we become vividly alive within our own hearts. We can feel deeply, the full range of emotions, and that in itself is beautiful. When we open to the dark places as well, we are available to respond to those dark places, both out there, and within ourselves.
When I worked with women who had lost their spouses and lovers in 9/11, in our dating/relationship class, we worked to open the heart, to allow the range of feelings in that one feels in deep grief. In allowing the bindings to loosen, so that grief can do it’s work, one can begin to taste again the fullness of life.
As I enjoyed the fullness of beauty of this very special evening, I realized my heart was so full, because I have allowed in the deeply painful moments in my life. In opening my heart to the places that scare me, the chains that bind it are breaking down. And in this fullness, I can begin to feel the fullness of my humanity and taste the sweetness of an open heart.
I’m curious about you. Do you allow the sweet moments of life in? Do you fully receive the bounty that life offers? Do you shy away from those painful emotions? How might your sweet spots of life taste?