Rinse and repeat


I made a decision just a few years ago from a place of profound darkness. 

My heart was pretty beat up. I was in that place where we all find ourselves occasionally, full of the grief of mourning the failure of my own expectations. Years of being “just fine, thanks” and “deciding” to be happy caught up with me. I felt like hope had sold me out, and and I was bone tired. 

I felt myself closing off as I “learned my lesson,” and I was ready to protect myself from ever feeling that pain again. I wasn’t ever going to expect anything good from anyone. That was the answer. I was sure of it. And wow, did I think it made me strong.

The more hits our hearts take, the more tempting it is to close them off. To break up with hope one last time. To decide vulnerability is for suckers, and you’re tired of being one of them. 

Vulnerability is a portal, though. It takes you to all the things that make life worth living. In fact, it’s the only way to get to the deepest levels of those experiences. A life without the risk of pain is also a life without the light, and joy, and LOVE that only come through a willingness to be vulnerable. 

Frustrating, yes. But, true.

So I made a deal with myself. My heart would stay open. Completely, totally, free and open. No matter what. I decided it was resilient enough to withstand whatever came its way. I had made it that far, right? And I was limping, but that also meant I was still standing. 

And my heart was still beating.

Many times since then, my resolve has been tested. The hits have come, and come again, some knocking me straight back down to my knees. I’ve even declared the deal off once or twice, in moments when I thought I might suffocate from sadness. Just live in the world for a day right now with your eyes fully open, and I dare your heart not to break.

As the old song goes, that’s how the light gets in, though. Let it break. The coming back together again is what it does best. It’s made for that work. Whole again and again, if always in a new way. 

Wake up, and start again. You don’t have to decide to feel ok. Just decide not to give up, or close off. There is so much good work to be done by those who are willing to limp back to standing, and so much love to be shared by those whose well worn-in hearts are open to holding it.

Image credit: Nayyirah Waheed

Monday Moment: Love wins

Love Wins_Andrea B Coan

Last week was a difficult week in the US. Again. There was the similar pattern of tragedy, “thoughts & prayers,” and outrage that has become achingly familiar. But then, there was something else.

Where the outrage usually simmers into resignation and hopelessness, there were voices. Not only the usual voices of exaggerated political dichotomy, but the empowered voices of victims and survivors, speaking on behalf of friends and loved ones who couldn’t be with them, and wouldn’t be again. Yes, there is anger, frustration, and indignation. There is also something much more powerful than any of those.

Underlying all of the cries for justice and angry tears, there is love. Love for those who were taken away. Love for those who survive with lifelong scars of many kinds. Love in text messages sent down the hallway, and across town. Love in opened doors and selfless protection. Love in memories, and tributes, and at long last, in the flicker of hope ignited by real change on the horizon.

All experiences in life can be distilled down to two emotions: love or fear. Only one, however, is the antidote for the other. The antidote for everything. In the face of crippling fear, our next instinct is love. I’m scared; I love you. I’m hurt; I’ll help you. I’m in danger; I’ll protect you. When we are frozen with fear, the few things we are capable of doing are those that are rooted in love. Selfless, ego-less, fearless love.

If there were an emotion meter hanging over that tragedy that unfolded last week, and so many others like it, I am sure it would have registered plenty of fear. But above all of that, it would have flown off its own charts measuring the love being felt and expressed in every corner of that building.

Love is stronger than fear, and everything that fear breeds. Hate, greed, self-interest, the illusion of separation. No matter how fierce the battle, or the sacrifices made in its name, there is always only one triumph. Choose it now, and be on the winning side. There is only one outcome. Love Wins.

Photo credit: Andrea B. Coan


Monday Moment: Getting warmer


This quote has been ringing in the back of my mind lately…as you set out to start a fresh week, maybe it will resonate with you as well. Sometimes, when we turn inward with mindfulness, we find things we would rather have ignored. Other times, or maybe even at the same time, we find the opposite. We connect with just what we need — energy, motivation, optimism, hope — right in there along with other, more challenging, emotions.

Whatever may be asking a little extra of you this week, may you be able to connect to some of that positivity – the resiliency – that is always within you. You have everything you need to walk the path you are on, but connecting with those deep, internal resources can take effort. Start with your intention, your attention, and your breath, and go from there. You may quickly find that you’re getting warmer already.

Photo credit: Ju On