Rev. Nancy's Blog

On the Heart's Deepest Desire

"At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”

- Lao Tsu

Connecting the dots, opening to the voice of the Divine from whatever source it comes, Noticing things coming in sequence, together form a tapestry of understanding. Pictures from the natural world and from dreamscapes – waking and sleeping – weave together the messages of words and music, bringing to life a concept and process, and a blessing.

Composer Jake Heggie talked with Sr. Helen Prejean (author of Dead Man Walking) about spirituality and spiritual questioning. He said, "She told me that the only way she was able to get in touch with her true sense of spirituality was to forget all about the 'stuff' that we're all told we need to be happy. She got rid of as much of that as she could. She went through all the layers and tried to unlearn all of the extraneous lessons and marketing we absorb. She went deep. To the deepest desire of her heart. It was there she found her true self and her true calling. I was stunned. The deepest desire. A woman who had chosen to be a nun talking about the deepest desire of her heart." *

I thought of this while walking at the San Leandro Marina. The air was cold, the sky overcast. An extremely low tide had uncovered many sand bars and extended the rocky and muddy shoreline far into the tidelands. Islands became peninsulas. The deepest channel felt its way among the sand bars seeking the Bay. Black crows and white egrets flashed dark and light on the muddy flats and rocky banks. Shorebirds scratched at the exposed surface, digging out vulnerable, exposed life forms before they could burrow deeper into the mud.

How like the interior landscape of each of us this is. We go through cycles of shedding extraneous layers – concepts, beliefs, patterns, things – exposing the most vulnerable parts of ourselves. Getting to the deepest self. Grieving that which is given up, creating space for new growth. Flashes of light and dark, silence and raucous calls, reminds that we each are a work in progress. Listening and noticing. Willingly flowing and releasing or pulled by natural forces over which we have no control, extremely low tide within bares us to the world as it bares sandbars to the elements. Uncomfortable, perhaps, and yet a chance to see who we really are, what we really desire, before the tide comes in again.

*Program notes to a song cycle by Heggie based on Sr. Prejean’s poetry; Oakland East Bay Symphony, May 2010.

Question: What is the deepest desire of your heart?