HONORING THE HEART (Or, If There’s Mud On The Wall, Wipe It Off)


“And I say to my heart: rave on.”

Mary Oliver

My dog turns one year old today, on Valentine’s Day. It’s a fitting tribute to him because I decided to get him as a gesture of unconditional love for my daughter when she was going through a difficult time.

But as much as I love him, I’ve found myself wondering what I was thinking. Was it crazy to bring a puppy home just as I was trying to sell my house? Cleaning up after him has tested my patience many times, making it easy to lose sight of the reason I got him.

So when I decided that my theme for this month’s blog would be HONOR, I had to stop and ask how I could honor both the challenges and the blessings this puppy brings. The moment I did this, I felt a shift into more acceptance. It was as if a gentle voice said:

If there’s mud on the wall, wipe it off.

To honor means to respect something or to fulfill an obligation. When I stop second guessing myself and my decisions and simply take care of what’s in front of me, I’m honoring myself and my experiences. I’m trusting that I followed my heart (or dirty paw prints), that it led me to the present moment, and that I’m right where I need to be.

This insight made me want to honor other areas of my life. I realized that if I honored the feelings I was having about selling my house, I had to admit that the timing wasn’t right. I did some deep inner work on whether I was actually ready to let go. My decision to wait felt like another exercise in acceptance.

Next, I saw that I could:

Honor my business and the discipline I need.

Honor the breath and my own rhythms.

Honor the changes I see in the world.

I even saw this beautiful practice of honoring on display during the recent Grammy awards. As I watched Alicia Keyes on stage with Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama, Jada Smith, and Jennifer Lopez, I was reminded of a pod of whales because pods are led by females. I loved how each member of this sisterhood shared a piece of her past and honored it—warts and all.

That’s an important aspect of honoring: we have to embrace even our negative feelings and experiences in order to rebuild. As I wrote last month, sometimes discomfort is a blessing and a wake-up call. In our culture, with its Facebook-perfect lives, we are not taught to love reality in all its messiness. Instead, we push it away.

So how can we truly honor ourselves?

I begin the process by looking at my past with a loving heart. I establish a ritual of thanking my past self, recognizing that I did the best I could with the knowledge I had. Then I honor my desires for the future and celebrate them. Finally, I bring to mind the people I admire and set the intention to emulate them.

And, of course, I shower love on those in my life, including my naughty puppy. I thank this lovable, muddy creature for showing me that when there is something marring my view, I just need to clean it up and move on.

If you would like support around honoring where you are right now, as well as help shifting into your heart, please contact me for an individual healing session or join the Pod on 2/28 at the Clarus Center!

Kimberly LeClair