Lately I’ve been contemplating what it means to be wholehearted. It’s a word I’ve thrown around at times in the past, but I don’t think I ever stopped to consider what it really means. It gave me pause for thought.

Have I ever lived wholeheartedly? Have you? It’s worth looking at more closely. I realize how often I hold a little bit of my heart back from fear of getting hurt. This, of course, comes from experience. Like everyone, I have been hurt. You don’t get through life without it.

Protecting ourselves from getting hurt may seem wise at times, but after awhile it whittles away at spontaneity and our ability to give and receive. It assures that we miss on out on a lot, not just the hurt which we want to avoid, but especially love and joy.

To live wholeheartedly means we give one hundred percent of ourselves to whatever are doing. It’s a no-holds barred engagement with life. It takes my breath away to even think about it, as at the same time it activates a deep longing.

For isn’t that what we truly want? Not to play it safe!

We may wonder why our life seems boring, or we feel numb or empty. It’s the price we pay for staying within our self-prescribed bounds, the limits we’ve accepted to who we’re allowed to be or the kind of life we’re allowed to have.

We stand at the edge as if looking though a glass window, drooling longingly at what others have that feels out of our reach. I’m not talking about “stuff” here. Those are just the things we think will bring us what we want. I mean the essential qualities of love, joy, happiness, and contentment.

I think of the zen adage, “Chop wood, carry water.” It is not as much about what we are doing but how we are doing it. It is mindset and attitude. If we bring ourselves wholeheartedly to whatever we are doing, we get so much more out of it.

From a spiritual perspective, it is about awakening, being fully present and aware. How willing am I, or are you, to risk everything each and every moment and show up with our whole heart?

It may also be a good measure or compass for what we want to be doing and where we want to put our attention. If we can’t bring our whole heart to it, maybe there’s a reason. What’s worthy of our heart and whole being and what isn’t?

It takes courage to ask ourselves these questions, and even more to align with the answers. But in this way wholeheartedness also leads us to the truth.

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