Kind promise: I will love without keeping score.

Love is so big and I feel small when I think of it.

Sometimes, that’s a good thing. Imagining love as something grand and infinite, seeing myself as a single-celled amoeba in an ocean of love is about right. It simultaneously leaves me in breathless wonder and encourages me to dissolve into love.

Sometimes, though, feeling small, I also feel like I’m not enough and my efforts at loving are feeble and embarrassing – not such a good thing.

I take comfort in the idea of open heartedness. I may be weak and small, but if I make a practice of opening my heart, then I am doing love right. There is my favorite word “practice” again. In practice, I am setting an intention to love. I am making the choice to love. I am taking action – the words, the touch, the gift. I am letting go of results and returning to my intention.

May my heart be openWhat do I mean by open heartedness? How do I do it?

I decided to learn about open heartedness by making art. To make the piece on the right, I needed to:

  • begin in a spirit of play and reach for beauty (by getting of paints and a brush and making pretty, playful blobs of color).
  • include what’s different (by choosing colors that complemented and contrasted with each other).
  • open space (rectangles, hearts and letters).
  • rely on others. (All the tools I used [computer, software, scanner] were created by other people. I got the wide heart shapes from the Internet. Warning: do not do a Google image search on the words “fat heart” unless you are ready for a cautionary anatomy lesson.)
  • support weakness with strength. (I used the Photoshop “cloning” tool to take color from a place where things were working and put it in a place where things weren’t.)
  • understand that shadow can provide perspective.  (I added shadow layers to make the hearts and type look like they were three-dimensional. Life provides its own shadows. This experiment gives me a new outlook on them.)

Open heartedness is expansive, not narrow. It includes instead of compares. It dwells in love, not fear. While an open heart is a metaphor, it arises from body position; to open my heart I bring my shoulders back and my arms out. I am vulnerable and ready to embrace what comes.