Open My Heart

Well, I never imagined I’d be the kind of blogger who posts twice a week (or even twice a month), but as my French maman would say, “Il n’faut pas exagérer quand même!” Translation: “Even so, one mustn’t exaggerate!” When I was 17, I spent a year as an A.F.S. student in France. My French mother was marvelous and forceful. I still hear her voice in my head and see her finger lifted to scold.

It has been two years since I last posted.

Oops. Sorry.

Oops. Sorry.

To be honest, I’ve forgotten how to do it. You’d think I’d give it up entirely, but I find I still have things to say. Not all of them are about writing, at least not directly. But since life choices influence writing choices, then sure–this is about writing also. If nothing else, it’s about ME. 🙂

A couple posts ago I started telling you about the word I focus on each year. I’d like to go back and share that my word for 2014 was


I’ve mentioned briefly that the Bellingham Threshold Singers takes up a large part of my life. In a way I’m in a love affair with them. They are my solace, my addiction, my church of choice. By that I simply mean the choir answers my spiritual needs.

I’ve been singing with them since 2008. BTS is one of many Threshold Choirs spread over the world. Though each chapter is independent and different in many ways, many like ours are a group of volunteer women dedicated to bringing soothing voices to people who are dying or in pain or anxious or in grief—people on some sort of threshold in their lives. Sitting on the stools we bring along, three or four of us join to sing to individuals around a bedside. But we also sing to the family and friends in the room. It’s not a long connection—maybe 10 or 20 minutes.

We mostly sing songs written for us, and the lyrics tend to be simple and repetitive. One of our songs is “Open My Heart.” That’s all it is: “Open my heart, open my heart, open my heart.”

Open My Heart

That’s the essence of the practice. I get to open my heart up at the bedside to witness love and grief, confusion, and sweet surrender. Pain and loss. Loneliness. And some of this hurts. It can be hard. But I also witness enormous generosity and faith and humor and resilience and hope. And that carries so much joy with it. I feel rich.

At rehearsals and trainings and while singing at the bedside, I get to open my heart up to my sisters in song, and to the songs themselves, to their words and the powerful vibration of music. With all this “opening up,” I am learning every single day about the human heart. Being human is an astounding and wondrous thing. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but the community of our choir helps when I need some heart healing. We are very supportive of each other.

You can probably tell I feel tremendously blessed to have the choir in my life. It helps me feel connected to humanity in a way I can’t begin to express. And being this often this close to death, to its sacred essence, humbles me and makes me appreciate life and nature and the power of deep breath and the energy that connects us all. That’s spiritual.

So now I want to ask you: what do you do to open up to spirit? Please tell me. I want to know. How do you know you’re open? For me it’s that I feel tremendously grounded and at peace.

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4 Responses to Open My Heart

  1. Becky says:

    Not answering your question yet, because that will take concentration and consideration. But I wanted to say thanks for posting again, and to say I am very glad that the friend whom I have just been told is moving into the palliative care stage is living somewhat near where there are a group of Threshold Singers. I hope to be able to suggest that she consider asking them to come.

    • WW says:

      Yes, I hope you DO answer the question, Becky. I’m fascinated to hear your take on how you open up to spirit (I have some ideas), and especially how you KNOW you’re open. Thank you for being so willing to share.

  2. Shelley says:

    I wish you would write your in blog more often…loving reading it. xo

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