Does your heart feel empty? Do you feel like you’ve given so much and tried so hard that you don’t have anything left to give? And in the emptiness, fear and doubt arise, running around and around in circles?
I hear you. It can be really exhausting, can’t it?
May I share with you one thing that has helped me through some tough times? It’s a question:
What if this empty feeling was not a problem to be fixed?
What if this empty feeling was like an empty stomach, like when you get hungry or thirsty? When I get thirsty, I don’t worry that my whole life is in shambles and that I’m doing everything wrong. I just go get a glass of water and I drink.
When your heart feels empty, you don’t need to worry that your whole life is in shambles and that you’re doing everything wrong. You just need to let your heart drink. To connect with Spirit. To meditate. To breathe. To practice yoga. To do Remembrance. To pray. To drink from the deep river of Love that has no beginning and no end.
Your neediness, your thirst, is not a problem. It’s a magnet.
It pulls you desperately toward what you need so you can receive it until your heart overflows with it – and then that overflow will spill out onto others and fill their hearts.
But you can’t overflow until you’re full. You can’t give when you’re depleted. How can you – you don’t have anything in there to give!
If you want to give, first give to yourself.
Give yourself the gift of a nourishing, heart-filling spiritual practice that helps you feel sated, loved, enough.
Then pause, and notice how you feel moved to act.
And the next time you notice your heart fuel meter reading “E”, don’t panic. Remember that it’s just a signal to remind you to fill up, like a rumbling belly or a thirsty tongue.
In other words:
Sometimes you feel like you’re sinking.
“I’ll pray, then be sated,” you’re thinking.
But that’s not the end;
What you should intend
Is to thirst so you never stop drinking.
(with apologies to Shams-e Tabrizi)
Photo by Kyeli Smith