The longings of the heart

Cashiering is by its nature repetitious.  This is part of the reason why we have all encountered so many mechanical, robotic cashiers.  Some people just absolutely have what it takes – they are naturally good with people and this applies to their cashiering.  But even most of these “naturals” can sometimes succumb to the hypnosis of the cash register.

Perhaps the most powerful antidote for this hypnosis (or for any boring or stressful job) – and a recipe for a rich, fulfilling life – is to pay attention to the longings of your heart.  The heart longs for connection, for intimacy, for rich emotions, to nurture and be nurtured, for wholeness, for authenticity, for self-expression, for spontaneity, for tenderness, for love.  What will foster these qualities?  What makes the heart happy?

Longings of the heart can be immediate/real-time (what right now will most support the qualities listed above) or overriding – longings that are so central and important that they hover over our daily lives looking for opportunities to be expressed.  Real-time expression of the heart’s longings can be lofty or quite mundane.

Paying attention to the longings of our heart is an antidote to the monotonous repetition of cashiering - and a recipe for a rich, fulfilling life.

Paying attention to the longings of our heart is an antidote to the monotonous repetition of cashiering – and a recipe for a rich, fulfilling life.

Yesterday at work my heart longed to write.  I was depressed – I needed to transcend my immediate pain and I needed to affirm a higher part of me (my writer).  And I needed to come to grips with a real-time quandary: I had chosen to work at register 5, which I hate because it is too busy.  Asking myself the question “Am I in the right place at the right time?” allowed me to approach my quandary in a useful way.  Writing in my head, jotting little notes, writing furiously during my breaks allowed for this.

At the end of my shift, as I asked myself “What is the best thing I can do to counter the depression that has been even more throttling me since, 2/3 of the way through the day, I finished outlining my blog post?  The answer was clear and immediate: “I need to tell a particular coworker that I enjoyed working with her today.”  In my current depressed state, this act – which would be easy when I was up – felt almost unattainable.  If I don’t do it, depression wins.  If I do it, my heart wins.  Fortunately, this one my heart won.

Sometimes the longing of the heart is to protect you from a painful or toxic experience.  My friend Jeff, an extremely talented singer/songwriter, was (is at this moment) having a CD release concert.  I love his shows, when I’m up.  When I’m this depressed I hate concerts.  When I’m this depressed I hate music.  Taking care of my heart tonight means protecting myself from an experience that would almost certainly be painful for me.  This was made easier because my heart was also crying out to write this post.

There’s a reason that writing this post is so important for me tonight – because it cues up some writing for tomorrow night (after a shift at the grocery store) that is of crucial importance for me.  The reason that heart longings are so much on my mind today is that one of my overriding longings is very active.  And that is to strengthen and enrich my relationship with my 38 year old son.

His 39th birthday is Sunday – and I have been agonizing over how to celebrate it.  I’m not satisfied with the card or gift card I sent him.  There’s one gift that could really hit a home run.

He and I have an ongoing project of me writing lyrics (poetry) for some electronic songs he has created.  The project lay dormant for a long time after he proposed it to me.  I was honored and thrilled that he would want to collaborate with me – and intimidated by writing poetry to go with music and deeply fearful of letting him down.  (I carry a heavy feeling that I have let him down a lot in his life.)  And the paralysis this engendered did cause him to feel let down.

But a few weeks ago I did write him some poetry to go with the themes of his first track, as he related them to me.  He told me right away that he liked what I had written.  Last Sunday he told me that he had read the poetry again, liked it – and wanted more.  I told him I knew that what I had written was incomplete – and that I would get on it.

I want to write my son some more poetry!  Getting closer to him is one of the deepest longings of my heart – and right now writing this poetry is a golden opening.  I want to do it by Sunday – like tomorrow.  But I’m too depressed to write poetry – at least that’s what a big part of me believes.  I tried it earlier in the week and sat staring blankly at the computer.  I’ve been writing all week, am writing now, but I tell myself that this is basically journal writing – that I am transcribing notes I have accumulated during the day.

This is why it has been so important for me to focus all day on the longings of my heart – and to write about it tonight.  I want, tomorrow night, for the longings of my heart to win out over depression.  I commit to you, my readers, that tomorrow night I will write some poetry for my son.  There is a part of me screaming that it won’t happen, but I intend for that part not to win.  I won’t rely on brute force of will.  I have some strategies to increase my chance of success, which I will share tomorrow – after I succeed.

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5 thoughts on “The longings of the heart

  1. So, Majo, I came through your line today. You probably don’t remember me because I’m sure you see literally hundreds of faces in a day. You said you liked my shirt. I told you I was going to my grandson’s Christmas play. I have been through your line before and I always like going through your line. You appear to be so kind-hearted and genuine. You told me about your son’s birthday tomorrow. You have a gentle spirit. I will pray for you tonight and I will pray for your son. I will pray for the poetry to come. Take care and I’ll see you soon. Charlene

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for this very sweet note Charlene. Customers like you – real people who show up with real feelings and pay attention to me as a real person – you are what this blog is all about. Person-to-person connection in a situation that could be mechanical. Thanks for that. Yes, my poetry really did flourish. Actually the next thing I’m going to do to encourage myself is to make a voice recording of that poetry, which I can listen to when I’m in a hard place. But first I’m going back through the comments I’ve received over the last few days, which mean a lot to me and help to keep me going. I’m responding to them and in the process absorbing them – also making a recording of them. You are playing a real part in helping this blog happen. Thanks for that.

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  2. Majo, I hope your poetry flourished just the way you intended and that depression did not win. I hope you move closer to your son. My depression and anxiety too often wins and I succumb to medicating which later I wish I didn’t do. “Heart longing” spoke to me, I long for myself, my authentic self. I long for others to see this and for me to be vulnerable. I long for relationships with people and community. I just needed to share that with you. Thanks for writing this blog and sharing with me.
    Casey

    Liked by 1 person

    • Casey – Yes, my poetry really did flourish. Actually the next thing I’m going to do to encourage myself is to make a voice recording of that poetry, which I can listen to when I’m in a hard place. But first I’m going back through the comments I’ve received over the last few days, which mean a lot to me and help to keep me going. I’m responding to them and in the process absorbing them – also making a recording of them. You are playing a real part in helping this blog happen. Thanks for that.

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  3. Majo, I can’t tell you how much “Longings of the Heart” resonates with me, and how much I appreciate your posting. This is beautifully and exactly at a pivotal time in my life when it is so crucial to my own health and well-being. Duh…. as if it weren’t ALWAYS crucial…. LOL!

    We’ve had wonderful talks over the past year about my focus upon embracing HEART, and all this encompasses. I’ve lately been hit harder with a feeling “numbness”, feeling unable to move forward out of my own depression from grief, but reading your posts this morning has inspired and encouraged to help me push through!

    It feels really good to be able to look to a new day, a new week, and new life, FEELING (as well as knowing) in my gut that HEART is my real connection to “living” energy, which is love. All the “non-heart” talk of my head is only talk, and not life, not living in the NOW.
    Thank you, my dear Buddy, for sharing YOUR heart! Heart to heart!

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