Pressing on my Heart

Elul Day 19

…while we are conducting
spiritual inventory during Elul, we might begin to ask ourselves,

What are the loose ends in my

How is my mind torn?

Where are the places my mind
keeps wanting to go?

What have I left undone? 

What is the pain that is pressing
on my heart right this moment?

What is in the way of the deep
connection between me and loved ones?

(from This is Real and You are Completely
by Rabbi Alan Lew)

I found a little sterling silver heart pendant on the street the other day. It had clearly been run over and stepped on a few times, was scratched and smushed in quite a few places, but still basically solid and intact. I slipped it into my pocket and carried it around with me as a little reminder of both the tenderness and sturdiness of the heart. 

I am grateful for the above set of questions from Rabbi Alan Lew, z"l. They are exactly the kind of questions I want to wrestle with during Elul. Questions that make me pause and breathe, that press on my heart and invite me to drop down inside myself a little deeper. 

I love it when people say, "That's such a good question" in response to an inquiry I've made; Not because I've done a good job of asking, but because what's implied is, "I have no idea what the answer is but the question certainly made me stop in my tracks," or "I have to take some time to think about that because my usual pat answer is not going to fly here." 

I also love it when people ask me those kind of good questions. I like being able to take my time, let the questions settle a bit (not too much, though–a little unsettling is useful), and the responses start to reveal themselves to me, sometimes in curious ways. 

Sometimes I connect with the truth with thoughts and ideas, other times with feelings, and still other times I get physical cues, a fluttering in my chest, a feeling of peace in my belly, a headache or a clenched jaw. Sometimes listening to music or being out in nature early in the morning help to uncover that which is hidden or not yet conscious. 

What good questions are sitting with you right now? What is pressing on your heart?