Deep Silence and the Conversation with Our Hearts

Rebecca R

It is possible to speak with our heart directly. Most ancient cultures know this. We can actually converse with our hearts as if it were a good friend. In modern life we have become so busy with daily affairs and thoughts that we have lost this essential art of taking time to converse with our heart.  —Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life

As I mentioned in my Sit with It post, I have been out of sorts. Not quite myself. I woke up this morning able to name some of my feelings–disoriented and flustered, like I can’t quite find my footing. These feelings remind me of the time [a little more than a decade ago] when I went silent for about three months. I still spoke with others, but I did not engage in lengthy conversation, did not engage in discussions about points-of-view on issues. I didn’t even listen to sermons. I closed my ears to all voices but God’s. I am heading in that direction again. 

Lately, I have spent too much time and energy striving, struggling, wrestling inwardly [with myself] and outwardly with other people and their struggles, strivings, and energy. There’s so much brain clutter that the only way through it is through silence. Not a literal silence, but a spiritual one—a way of tuning out the unnecessary and tuning in to what is needful and authentic. 

There is deep rest in that type of silence, in withdrawing for a dedicated time from the madness of the world and giving full attention to the stirrings and musings of our hearts. 

I like the way Jack Kornfield put it. We need this silence to “converse with our own hearts as if it were a good friend.”


About the Image: The abstract photo above features the work of my pen friend, Rebecca R, also known as Beckra. The artwork sits inside one of my planners–as a reminder to write to Rebecca. The reminder has failed. I owe you many letters, Rebecca. [Insert Face Palm Emoji]

The Storm

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I posted the poem above on my Musings Instagram page a few days ago. I marveled at how I sweetly captured my family’s intimate moment with a storm, and I was overcome with a flood of memories of stormy nights: the bunch of us (younger siblings) scared by loud claps of thunder piling into my parents bedroom; years later, my making a pallet on the floor in the hallway just outside their bedroom. 

I don’t mind rain, but I still hate stormy days and nights. 

The poem, written when I was 14, was tucked away in one of the folders in which I kept handwritten poem bits and drafts. Most of the poems were written between the ages of 12 and 15.

It’s funny that I knew long before becoming an English professor or even a writing student the importance of revision. I “preach” this to my students all the time—writing is revising is revising is revising. I’m not sure a work is ever in a final (that is, perfect) state. There are probably some New York Times bestselling authors who will pick up their books years later and see some things they wish they could change. 

I think I’ll have some fun with this poem and see where it takes me—not as a revision but as an adult take on the subject. Wait. Kate Chopin already did that! 😀 For a steamy “storm” story, see “The Storm” by Kate Chopin.

lightning by jplenio

Dark | Sit with It

Sunflower from Arizona

I am sharing a piece I wrote just a few moments ago during a writing circle session. I chose the prompt “I wish” for the group, hoping that a fanciful tale of unicorn dreams and butterfly wishes would fall from my pen. Instead, after being unable to write about my feelings for weeks, this spilled out:

I wish I could take this darkness that has settled into my being over the last few weeks and kick it straight into oblivion, into the abyss from which it sprung. It has robbed me of sleep. It has taken my calm. It has driven me to consuming way too much chocolate and to long-overcome habits of rolling my eyes and sucking my teeth and impatience with the world. It has made me so unlike me. I wish I could pull myself up to dance on clouds and sing on rooftops and never, ever apologize for being too joyful. I wish God would release me from the grips of darkness. I wish He hadn’t invited me to let it steep. To let it all rise to the surface—the grief and vile feelings, the suppressed hurt and trauma that I have stuffed too far down because I don’t have the energy or capacity to deal. I wish I didn’t have to confront the darkness. I wish I didn’t have to do the hard work of grappling with it and wrestling with it. We know Light wins. Light always wins, so why not skip the drama and just win already? Ugh! I wish I didn’t have to sit with the darkness, especially when just a flicker of His light is enough.


About the Image: My sunflower-loving, Wildflowers: Blooming in Community friend, Jamise L, sent the beautiful photo-card to me shortly after my father’s passing. Having lost her own father five years ago, she is well-acquainted with the journey. Her note offered comfort, love, and a shoulder to lean on. Thanks for the sunshine, Jamise!

Follow My Musings!

Journals2

Please forgive my unplanned three-week absence. My brain held me hostage and wouldn’t let me write posts. That’s a post for another time (maybe); for now, I am dropping in to let you know, I did a thing! 😀

I created an Instagram page just for the “Musings from My Younger Self.” I launched it earlier this month (on my birthday) and have been having a “fabulous” time going through the cringe-worthy writings of my youth. The plan is to post to Instagram as I am curating a collection or two or three!

I am slowly desensitizing myself to the “cringe-factor,” but I am finding that the hardest thing to do is not edit my younger self, to simply let her be. She was insightful, funny, and disciplined in her writing practice–I can learn a lot from younger me! 

I’ll be sure to share with you what I’m calling a few of my “country heartbreak poems” later this month. For now, please check out one of the poems of my youth in The Gumbo Collective, the online literary arts journal of Oakwood University: Purple Rose.

And if you’re on Instagram, be sure to follow my musings. Feel free to comment on the writings of the decades younger Chandra Lynn, even if you find them cringey too: Musings From My Younger Self.

I Call Her “Too Much”

Too Much

When I crafted the autumn flower above for Sheila D’s 30-Day Creative Gathering (Day 24), I sent it to a friend and told her this one might be a little “too much,” so I decided not to use it. Unwilling to leave her in the heap of “never-to-be-seen-again” photo projects, I worked on her a little more.

I tried to mute her brilliance, but no matter what I did, her radiance seeped out. After looking at all the renditions, I looked at her again, and decided…too much is actually okay. 

So…

This one is for all of you who have ever felt the need to douse your light or mute your shine to make others comfortable. 

This one is for all of you who can tell from the side-eyes, rolled eyes, wide eyes, and blank stares that people just don’t know what to make of you.

This one is for all of you who have been told at one time or another you’re too silly, too loud, too dramatic, too “extra,” too smart, too colorful, too difficult, too much this or too much that.

This one’s for you. 

In spite of all those eyes and all those voices that don’t yet appreciate the grandeur of your extraordinary—your “too much”—keep being you. 

You might as well. There’s absolutely nothing you can do to subdue your light. Besides, the rest of us love you, and for us, your “too much” is actually okay!

My Golden Reminder to #facethesun

Golden Hour 1-B

Today is the fourth anniversary of my sister Lori’s passing, so, predictably, I woke up in the grips of sadness. I wanted to spend the day in quiet contemplation, perhaps, dreaming in purple, but Monday means necessary work. I was not exactly looking forward to a long “working meeting” day and wondered how in the world I would get through, but God reminded me that work is sacred and that as long as I continued “working for Him,” He would do His part in helping me feel safe, focused, and strong enough to get through. 

After a gloomy weekend, the sun is shining brightly, an invitation for me to glow in the moment. I am thankful for this moment. Though grieving the loss, I am grateful for Lori’s beautiful life.

I crafted the sunflower in today’s post for the Week 36: Golden Hour prompt for 52Frames. Unable to find a good “golden hour” to shoot in, I spent a figurative golden hour with this sunflower. It is just the image I need to have in my mind–a sunny reminder to change my focus or #facethesun [the Son of God] when I encounter the unpleasant moments of life.

Postcards That Make a Statement | Good at Heart

Anne Frank

Anne Frank (1929-1945) and her family hid for over two years from the Nazis in Holland. Her diary from these yers is an incredible testimony of the human spirit. Artwork by Susan Keeter, oil on canvas, 1996, Syracuse Cultural Workers

…in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.

I have an insanely busy week ahead, so I’m taking it easy on myself with low-effort posts. I will be sharing “quote” postcards I’ve received that haven’t been shared on Pics and Posts before. The posts will be (otherwise) wordless, but feel free to share your own responses and opinions about the quote in the comments. Have a good, productive, and happy week!


Who sent it? The postcard came from a new Love Notes friend, Dove S. She sent this one along with another one that I plan to share this week.

Musings from My Younger Self | Silent Battle

Altered Sunflowes-1

Gentle Rage
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

There’s a peaceful war
a silent battle,
a gentle raging
taking place;
involved are my mind
and my heart.
I can do nothing to put it to an end.
If it ends, it ends.
Victory will be the conclusion.
Defeat will be the outcome.


This week on the blog, I will be sharing “musings from my younger self,” poetry (and maybe prose) I wrote during my teen years. Sometimes, I will comment, but if today is an indicator of the week ahead, I’ll probably just share the poem. I wrote the poem above when I was 15. If only my memory would allow me to tap into the context of the poem!

Sunny Blossoms | Take What You Need

Lori-Anne Courage Sunflower

“Take Courage,” Sunflower Art by Lori-Anne C

If you’ve ever seen my sunflower wall, you know that my friends keep me well-supplied with sunshine. I can’t tell you the number of times my wall of sunny blossoms cheered me and ushered me from a sour mood to an elevated one. As far as I’m concerned, the world can always use a little more sunshine, so I’m sharing the blossoms from my friends with you all week. [And yes, this is part of my effort to blog every day until my blogiversary]. Here’s the good news: If you live in one of the more sunny climes (read: red hot summer), you can enjoy these daily bits of sunshine without the additional heat. 

I am sharing one of the beautiful sunflower creations crafted by my Love Notes/Wildflowers friend, Lori-Anne C. She sent this bit of gorgeousness for International Women’s Day along with the equally gorgeous address book I shared in another post. 

Lori-Anne also included a “take what you need card” with tear outs of some of our most critical needs: courage, appreciation, confidence, patience, inspiration, and flowers.

Take What You Need

When I received Lori’s mail, I was dealing with a lot–grieving over the loss of my father, worrying about my mother, stressing out over my son’s well-being, and navigating a lot of rocky territory. It took courage to face each day and not hide under the cozy comforters on my bed. It took courage to expose my wounds and fight for the healing which seemed a long way off. It felt right seeing that seven-letter word affixed to the card. Courage, more than anything else, is just what I needed.  

What do you need this week?

Seven Favorites from World Watercolor Month | Rose

Watercolor 1 -2022 wm

World Watercolor Month 2022, Day 1 (July 1, 2022)

The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all. –The Emperor, Mulan

Welcome to August, folks! The madness began for many of us in the academic world today, but that didn’t stop my friend Cy from challenging me to blog every day leading up to my blogiversary—which is in the middle of September. 

I just might be insane because I’m thinking about accepting the challenge. Since I don’t know what obstacles I’ll face, I’m traveling this road with caution.

So, this week, I’m sharing photo art created during World Watercolor Month, a charitable event to support arts education sponsored by Doodlewash. The challenge to create art every day ended yesterday.

Throughout the month of July, I worked 31+ photos into watercolor-like photo art, at least one per day. I enjoyed taking time out from the daily grind and creating something to share with the world. I “upped my game” a bit this year by processing the photos in multiple applications to achieve unique looks. I shared [cropped to a] square versions of each piece on Instagram

This week, I will feature seven [uncropped] personal favorites from the month. With each image, I will share something that struck me during the day–a word, a phrase, a poem, a quote. I hear or read so many beautiful things throughout the day, and I’m looking forward to sharing the tidbits with you!