DSC03361“Igniting your mind by touching your heart.”

Each week I write a post here. Each week, toward the end of the week, I start to hope I’ll be inspired. I am not worried, it just begins to cross my mind. If I had a corresponding thought to be put into words it would be, “I hope something comes to me.” And suddenly, invariably, there it is: inspiration.

This week, I was picking up the kitchen. I don’t know about you, but I tend to leave things on the kitchen table.  Paper is the worst. (Actual newspaper, papers that come home from school with my grandson, a half-finished crossword puzzle, a bit of mail.) By the end of the week I’ll have a pile. Some are “things I don’t know what to do with.” This week what fell into that category was the program from the play my grandson and I saw with his class. Yesterday, as I debated whether to discard the program for “The Chanukah Guest” or to put it in Henry’s memory box, I noticed the “back” of the program for the first time. How could I help but be inspired by these words: “Igniting your mind by touching your heart.” Under that it said: (Even if you’re not Jewish). Here is more of the blurb from the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company:

As modern times dissolve geographic boundaries between cultures, we are enormously enriched by encounters with individuals of backgrounds quite different from our own. But in the swirl of multicultural worlds, we sometimes seem to be losing our grasp on what is unique about our own roots. Jews have centuries of stories to tell that can help us all to find and express our true selves in today’s complex societies. Some are delightfully poignant. Some profoundly tragic. Some explode with heroic courage. Others make you weep. Some give gentle, quiet inspiration. And others simply make you laugh outrageously.

I have long had an interest in oral history; a lesser interest in genealogy, but they go together to a point. I remember how, when I was first drawn to spirituality, I questioned this interest. Did it matter? Did “who we are” pertain any longer to our human roots, our family stories? It didn’t happen right away, but eventually, these questions were answered.

Many people have similar questions. For some, “family of origin” questions take up little space and are readily discarded. For others, their roots feel like a crucial piece of the puzzle of their identity. Others are simply fascinated by stories of the past, stories full of archetypal themes of exodus and arrival, crossing oceans to find new life. A story of immigration begins A Course of Love:

You are an immigrant coming to a New World with all your possessions in hand. C:1.7

This could be read as a story of leaving the past behind. And yet, what I see happen in A Course of Love is like a circular route from ourselves to our Self, a Self capable of holding it all. As we finish the Treatises of A Course of Love, we hear this:

[I]f you have been religious, abandon not your churches, for you will find within them now, direct experiences of sharing. If you have found guidance and comfort in the written word, abandon not the written word, for the written word will now elicit direct experiences of sharing. If you have enjoyed learning through gatherings of students, gather still, and experience sharing directly. If a time arrives when you no longer feel drawn to these modes of sharing, share anew in ever-wider configurations. T4:12.9

What touches us is what touches us. It is unique. Individual. We are freed through A Course of Love, from wondering if it is okay to be interested in what we’re interested, to feel as we feel. We  become comfortable with and accepting of what touches our hearts…no matter where that touch arises. There is no call to either stay within our own traditions or to abandon them. There is only the call to follow our hearts, to go where drawn.

No lessons learned without love touch your heart. No lessons that do not touch your heart will accomplish anything. C:24.4

In our own stories, we will each find the poignant, the heroic, the tragic, the hilarious, and also the very power of story. Stories touch our heart. We touch and transform our stories as our hearts open to love. I can’t think of much of anything more inspiring than that!