Heart Opener (Thanks, Pema).

Via Bryonie Wise
on Nov 14, 2012
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‎”We could learn to stop when the sun goes down and when the sun comes up. We could learn to listen to the wind; we could learn to notice that it’s raining or snowing or hailing or calm. We could reconnect with the weather that is ourselves, and we could realize that it’s sad. The sadder it is, and the vaster it is, the more our heart opens. We can stop thinking that good practice is when it’s smooth and calm, and bad practice is when it’s rough and dark. If we can hold it all in our hearts, then we can make a proper cup of tea.”

~ Pema Chodron

Oh Pema, you always know just what to say.

What if, when you were feeling sad, instead of judging yourself harshly, you just allowed the feeling to be?

What if you didn’t try to swallow it up or erase it or make it better, but sat, just like that, with your sadness?

What if you allowed your heart to keep opening, letting more and more of the sadness in, until your heart was big enough to fit the entire universe inside?

I’ve been working with this idea of holding everything—and I mean everythingin my heart.

Some days, I’m better at it than other and most days, holding this space for the people in my life—even people in the farthest corners of the world, that I’ve never met—is easier than doing it for myself.

But this is my practice. Just as I witness the changing of seasons around me, the uproar of mother nature around the world, I sit and witness the uprising in myself.

I examine, with kind eyes (most days) the things that I like least about myself and I see more clearly the parts that I love (the parts that I want all of the world to see).

I sit, with my steaming cup of ginger tea, peering through the window at the almost-naked treetops, knowing that although the sun looks golden and warm, the moment I step outside, I will be met with a chill.

(Trust this: whether you know it or not, your heart has the capacity to hold everything, too. Find a quiet place, maybe on a cushion, in a forrest, surrounded by some trees or even down by the water; allow your heart to do the thing it was designed to do—that you were designed to do…it sounds much scarier than it is, this heart opening thing.)


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{Photo: via Miss Eiki on Pinterest}





About Bryonie Wise

Bryonie’s life is rooted in the belief that when we come from a place of love, anything is possible. When not teaching yoga or writing her heart to the bone, she can be found frolicking in the sunshine with her camera & her dog, Winston, living her yoga. Stay in the loop of all her magical happenings, connect with her on Facebook, TwitterInstagram—& maybe even add her first book, HEART ROAR: A Book of Tiny Prayers to your collection.


17 Responses to “Heart Opener (Thanks, Pema).”

  1. […] Inferno, in that there are no linear explanations, set layers or encounters with internal guides—just a trail and an unknowable, wild landscape to begin to rediscover. With staff in hand, heading toward the night means paying attention to what is here; if there is […]

  2. sallyearthsky says:

    beautyfully expressed bryonie … :~) ….
    I've saved your entire article in my journal of gleanings-from-the-web …
    thank you ………

  3. Anne says:


  4. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Thank you, Sally. I'm so happy this struck a chord…B xo

  5. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Thank you Anne!

  6. johnjamesford says:

    Thanks for this, it has helped me shift into evening. The second-to-last paragraph in particular is poetry.

  7. Austin says:

    Great Anne. Inspiring and assuring to read this. It is so hard to just let it be, and so difficult to to hold it in and blame ourselves for nothing.

    Compass Rose – Mental Health Counselor

  8. […] Sometimes I feel like the person with a huge sticker or stamp collection (does anyone collect those anymore?), always greedy for more and territorial about what I have. Not only do I record what I am grateful for, I make damn sure I include every last moment from my day that felt good or nourishing. Collect them all, right? If I don’t write it, I can’t prove that I noticed it and am therefore a good little gratitude journal writer. But really, the excessive pressure I put on myself here doesn’t feel good and I am learning that gratitude doesn’t have to be a contest I have with myself. There’s no one to beat, remember? […]

  9. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    thanks jj, for your kind words. b.

  10. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    thanks for your comment, compass rose. it's true, isn't it? ~ bryonie

  11. HeatherM says:

    Pema Chodron is such a great teacher and speaker. I stumbled upon her work several years ago and during a difficult transition. We always tend to see things in a very black/white lens. Swami Rama speaks about this also in one of this books. And the cause of most of our suffering is labeling it either good or bad.

    We don't want bad (for sure)..and strive only for good practices (but do we really know what that looks and feels like). So often I told students you learn more from a crappy practice than the ones in which you thought you were a 'super-star' (to be taken literally or not and open to personal interpretation).

    But if we can let these moments seep into us….and not reject it, I just wonder if it would allow most of depression to be understood and accepted. We always want to be on a high not seeing the delight in even mundane stuff.

    Thanks for sharing Pema's words.

    As an aside one student of mine said with hostility, "Oh I cannot stand that bald woman."

    But you know – she has done more than many for a lot of people!

  12. […] That’s just the way it is. […]

  13. […] brave and know that despite of the sorrow, the endless pit of despair, joy will slowly start to seep in and make a home right there, in that very same […]

  14. […] Heart Opener (Thanks, Pema). (elephantjournal.com) […]

  15. […] naturally gravitate to what you hold most dear. Take notes. Cultivate what nurtures your heart. Be better to yourself and a better life will ensue. Death is the great equalizer and life is the greatest of teachers. Revere them […]