“I highly recommend Sacred Heart Songs for all who seek deeper healing and an embrace of the divine.” —Caryl Conroy Johnson, MA, MS, spiritual director and a co-pastor of St. Mary Magdalene Community, Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania “Savor every page of this inspiring book. Each chapter’s reflections invite you to explore the dreams in your heart and to let them sing!” —Nicole Sotelo, author of Women Healing from Abuse: Meditations for Finding Peace • Is your body craving energy? • Are you challenged by insomnia? • Fibromyalgia? • Trauma? • Chronic pain? • Is unfinished business in your life holding you back from reaching your potential? Share in the stories of those who have traveled similar paths and learn about the benefits of Reiki upon their well-being. Through a unique weaving of spirit and science, Sacred Heart Songs provides clear markers along the path to safety and wellness, freeing the songs of our hearts. Each of us has an inner wisdom, intimately woven in God’s spirit of truth. This wisdom is waiting to guide us through disease to wellness. Contemplative reflections at the end of each chapter engage the process of dialoging with our hearts and souls as they call out to us with the truths and dreams of our lives.
Related collections and offers
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.46(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Sacred Heart Songs
By Marie S. David
Balboa PressCopyright © 2013 Marie S. David
All rights reserved.
Wisdom of the Trees
"What littleness within you is loved into being by God?"
—Julian of Norwich
God has been my friend since I was a young child. I first came to know God's energy of unconditional love and creation through the gift of my grandmother Agatha Legere Tetreau and her connection to the beauty of nature. Growing up in a family of seven children, I was graced to live in a neighborhood that allowed for fields and wooded areas in the midst of homes and streets. As children we were able to play freely outside and always found "something to do" because we knew if we said we were bored there would be a myriad of chores to fill our time. This provided many opportunities through nature for my soul to sing with the joy of connection to an energy and power much greater than I.
Because there was a trusting knowledge of our neighbors, there was a freedom to be able to explore about the neighborhood. There was safety and respect in the knowledge of one another and each person's property. I remember picking wild strawberries in the field behind our home when I was five, carefree in the joy of the sun on my face and the discovery of deep, red morsels awaiting the opportunity to tantalize my taste buds with their ripe sweetness. My voice sang in delight of discovery of these tiny treasures I believed were placed here just for my enjoyment!
Diagonally across the street from my home was an acre wooded lot we called Mrs. Parent's Woods. To enter into the woods, one had to go carefully around the large maple tree standing sentry on the corner, skirted by poison ivy. To the right and left were pathways inviting one to enter downward into the rustle of oak leaves and acorns underfoot, the scamper of squirrels above and around. I would spend many hours singing and talking to these trees; it did not matter that I might have difficulty expressing my thoughts. All that mattered was the strength and protection of the majestic oaks that afforded me acceptance and joy. Their energy brought forth security and goodness.
The energy I knew in the trees was also experienced in the strength and unconditional acceptance of my grandmother. Mémère Tetreau, as we called her, lived a block away on Charles Street. Her home was surrounded by pine trees that blanketed the earth in the fall with a groundcover of fallen needles. These pine needles also provided great mulch which the night crawlers would irrigate, one of my brother's favorite spots for fishing worms! Elm trees gave up their leaves for my princess crowns that Mémère would lovingly weave and place atop my head. Bridal veil, hostas, marigolds and zinnias embraced the front and sides of her home with Mary's garden to the right of the driveway. These plants and many more were often incorporated into my outdoor play. The only plants which were off limits to pick were the red geraniums which honored the statue of Mary. It was here that I learned how to plant and weed. Today the very hostas that I helped tend as a child grace Evensong's shade gardens.
Time with Mémère was very special. I remember the old treadle sewing machine in the kitchen. She would let me work the treadle along with her foot while she mended my grandfather's shirts. When we would catch butterflies she would let them loose in the kitchen so that we could enjoy their beauty as they rested on the curtains. Molasses taffy was one of her favorite treats and there was often a pan of it hardening in the coolness of the pantry. Such joy to crack off a piece of this delectable, sticky sweetness! Time with Mémère always brought forth a sense of rightness with my world. Some of our favorite times together included knitting mittens, playing with blocks, eating popcorn and sharing a Popsicle purchased at the neighborhood store. Words were not always necessary in our relationship. Presence with one another defined what words were inadequate to share, as the love flowing freely from her heart was accepted joyfully into mine.
Being of Franco-American descent, I was baptized into the Roman Catholic religious tradition. Participation in Sunday Mass was a regular family event. My earliest memory was pre-Vatican II when women and girls needed to have a head cover while in church. One Sunday when I was four years old, I continually tried to remove my winter hat throughout the Mass because I was too hot. I could not believe that God would want me to be hot even if Rome said all women must have their heads covered in church. My first grade teacher at St. Ignatius School, Mother Clement, was an Ursaline nun who had a deep love for Jesus. In preparing us to receive our First Communion she shared the depth of this love with us. Her sharing was an invitation into the sacred that a child's heart knows from before birth. Jesus was shared as a friend who dearly loves children. Receiving Holy Communion was an opportunity to welcome Him into my heart. On the day of my First Communion I was given to kneel before the Infant Jesus of Prague statue, believing that he was looking down on me and smiling. Finally this dear friend was alive in my heart! I would often talk and sing to Him on my way to and from school, when I was excited or afraid.
This relationship with God deepened when I was in the sixth grade. It was often a Catholic tradition during Lent for children to give up candy as a sacrifice. At that time I volunteered at the school library after school with another classmate. As was custom, the librarian would allow each of us to choose a piece of candy before leaving with the understanding that we would save it until Easter. After walking part way home with my friend, our paths would diverge. This presented me with the opportunity to eat my piece of candy! I really did not believe that God cared whether or not I ate a piece of candy during Lent. Where was the relationship with God in candy? The guilt over failing was simply pushed away.
Where I did succeed was going to morning Mass before school during Lent as my mother had when she was a child. I set my father's alarm clock to rise at 5:45 a. m., get myself ready, awaken my father at 6:00 a. m. and then walk the half-mile in the dark to church. God even provided me with my own escort. Each morning when I came off our side street onto the main road, there walked before me a mill worker carrying his black metal lunch pail while on his way to the textile mills located just beyond the church. Although we never spoke, there was a sense of safety in the ability to walk in his footsteps in the early morning snow. Since Mass was at 6:30 a. m. and school did not begin until 8:00 a. m. I would go the nearby bakery afterwards and have a hot chocolate and a chocolate covered donut. If there were day old donuts available I was able to buy two! After eating I would go back inside the church to wait until classmates arrived for school. There were times when I was very tired so I would lie down on the church pew, knowing that God knew how tired I was and would not mind if I took a nap safely within His pew. I always awoke in time for school, refreshed for the day. These experiences of acceptance, love and security were the seeds of faith planted within my soul and the ability to rest safely in Gods loving arms.
Friendships were challenging for me as a child. I related well to adults but was challenged with the nuances of peer social dynamics and sensory input. I was always too late with the witty answer and would constantly watch others for social cues in order to "fit in." I was able to relate well one on one but large groups were beyond me even though there were only twenty-three students in my class. In the sixth grade I was given the opportunity to work at the lunch counter along with two other girls. It was my responsibility to put out the milk, chocolate and white, as my schoolmates went through the line. Enjoying the responsibility, I felt like I was making a family contribution by getting a free lunch each day and it solved the dilemma of socializing during playground time after lunch. All was well throughout the sixth and seventh grades and into the eighth, or so I thought.
The summer between the seventh and eighth grades was filled with babysitting, sewing new clothes for school, being with my grandmother, junior lifesaving swimming lessons and bike riding. The day before school was scheduled to begin I received a telephone call from Shelly, one of my classmates who worked with me on the lunch line. She also happened to be the class bully. Shelly said that since they had been hanging around with Theresa instead of me this past summer, they wanted me to give up my job to her. My refusal because I was counting on that job was not received well. As I approached the schoolyard the next day I could hear, "Shhh, she's coming!" This began a shunning and silencing process that would last into the next month. Each day I would come to school and each day no one would talk to me, just talk about me and laugh at me in my presence, as if I could not hear. Up until this time I knew I was not popular and did not really fit, but there was still a sense of coherence within me. Knowing that the ridicule and humiliation would be worse if I told the teacher or my parents, I kept silence. That first day of eighth grade began the defense mechanism of "I don't care" and "It doesn't matter" which over the years would be transformed into a thought process of, "I do not matter." A thick veil of protection surrounded my heart, my jaw clenched to hold back the unspoken pain and the onset of migraines began. I developed a heightened sense of awareness, always on the lookout for what might come next and I stopped singing from my heart to my God.
In her book Awakening the Child Heart, Carla Hannaford, Ph. D., describes coherence as "the conscious pleasure state of being in alignment with our purpose, joy, happiness and connection to others." Coherence supports a person in optimal physical, cognitive, emotional and spiritual development. Hannaford notes that coherence supports the amygdala in maintaining a normal heart rate, blood pressure and relaxed breathing via the parasympathetic nervous system. If the heart rate frequencies are incoherent due to stress, loss, threat of safety, worry or anger, the amygdala senses danger and the sympathetic nervous system and the cortico-releasing factor (CRF) are triggered. (See Chapter 4 for a more detailed discussion of brain chemistry related to stress.) Stress hormones of adrenalin and cortisol flood the system, causing the person to react in a defensive, protective way to the situation. The thalamus shuts down to any sensory information not directly related to survival, thus decreasing our ability to take in all the rich sensory information of our environment for growth and learning. Adrenaline and cortisol became my new friends, keeping me on edge and awareness throughout the next fourteen years and paving the way for my body to experience fibromyalgia.
Eventually the eighth grade came to an end, in the fall I would begin attending the local public high school. During the last week of school, our principal called me to her office. Wondering what I had done wrong, I timidly knocked on her door. Sr. Lucy welcomed me with a gracious smile and after reassuring me that nothing was wrong, she shared with me that she believed that I had a vocation to religious life. Now you must realize that in 1970 in the Roman Catholic Church, a vocation for a woman meant entering the convent to become a nun. The teachings of Vatican II were just beginning to emerge. My only experience of religious life was of silent acceptance. As the years have passed, my experience of nuns, also known as women religious, has changed to a deep respect and admiration as they choose to engage the life questions that beset us all. Their courage to enter into the lives of the poor and marginalized, regardless of faith traditions, bespeaks the true gospel message. Their recognition of people's suffering at all levels is an inspiration and challenge to each of us as human beings. I am in awe of the love, faithfulness and courage of the many women who have chosen this vocation. It just was not mine.
My thoughts went wild. How could I ever become a nun? I would not last an hour in the convent! They would throw me out! I'm not the type to follow the rules. I'm the one who eats candy during Lent when no one was looking. Now if I could be a priest, I could be a good priest. I still had the ceramic altar that my uncle had given to my brother, where I would "say Mass" with Ritz crackers when I was in the fifth grade ... but I could never be a nun.
In addition to the challenges at school, my beloved grandmother needed to move away to live with my uncle and aunt and then a nursing home. The emphysema that she had struggled with for many years was now incapacitating her. I would no longer be able to help care for her; all I could do now was to plant marigolds and zinnias in my own garden to bring to her on Sunday visits. Little did I know how much the emotional memory of my thirteenth year would impact my future.
I invite you to reconnect with the last time that your heart and soul sang with delight. To facilitate this process, I invite you to find a safe, quiet space where you can sit comfortably. Place your hands over your heart and give thanks that this experience will be remembered through the wisdom and goodness of your body, mind and soul. If you are trained in the practice of Reiki, put forth the intention of the Reiki energy to flow through your hands in support of this process.
Throughout the contemplations within this book, we will be connecting with the chakra energy system. Each chakra spins like a wheel receiving, transforming and distributing energy within the human body. The heart chakra, heart space, is the home of our soul—not within the physical organ but in the energetic space within and throughout this center of our being.
Allow yourself to breathe deeply into your heart space. As you breathe in, allow the goodness of God's Breath to fill your being. As you exhale, say the words, "thank you." Continue breathing this way for about two minutes or until you feel a shift into calmness. At first this experience may feel different or even uncomfortable. If your mind wanders, simply bring it back to this space and this time. Stay with the process of breathing; it will guide you to an inner calm.
Once you feel the calmness within, ask your heart to share with you a memory of when it sang with delight. In the beginning you might just experience silence. Stay with the process. Keep saying the words thank you with your hands over your heart. Eventually a memory will return of the gift of your song.
Perhaps your song has a musical melody. Perhaps your song has a rhythm of goodness, peace, satisfaction, an experience rather than words. Perhaps there have been others in your life experience that supported you in giving voice to your song. Each person's experience of song will be different because each of us is different, but united in truth and goodness. As the experience returns to your consciousness, allow yourself to feel the energy of truth within you.
If an experience does not surface, then allow yourself to dream of what would make your heart sing, putting forth intention to the future.
I invite you to journal the music of your heart.
A Beauty Within
"Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn't you—all of the expectations, all of the beliefs—and becoming who you are."
—Rachel Naomi Remen
When I was 27 years old, my family and I were invited to a friend's barbeque. What I thought was going to be a gathering of our two families turned out to be a large gathering of many people who were connected to our friends but whom I did not know. After a few attempts at conversation, I sat back to watch dynamics of people interacting joyfully with one another, even people who had not met one another until this day. Rather than connect socially with the adults present, I spent more time talking with the children. It turned out that we were celebrating the birthdays of three of the children, and once the cake was served and eaten, it was time for us to GO! That evening, I sat in the quiet with a cup of tea. I asked God why? Why was it that I was so afraid of meeting new people at the barbeque? The people were friendly enough, but had felt a sense of apprehension that I would not be welcomed into their conversation.
As I sipped my tea a memory came forth from the eighth grade. In it I saw myself standing on the outside of the group of girls who were whispering and laughing at me as if I were not there. At first I wanted to push these memories away as I had so many times before. They made me feel uncomfortable and fear rose up within me. I felt like I wanted to run from them, to block them from my mind. The reality is that I had been blocking these feelings of rejection for 14 years and so they had integrated themselves into my being. For the past 14 years, I had seen many group social encounters to be a threat. I believed I would be humiliated and ridiculed and so I did my very best to avoid them. In high school and college I focused my energies on studying and overachieving at every opportunity possible. It became a way of life for me to make the excuse "I had to study," rather than to sit around a dorm room talking with a group of peers. I was hyper vigilant, one eye on the text book but the other always on guard for what might unexpectedly come my way. I was safe in the confines of my room or the library. I thought that I was safe alone, but I did not want to be alone any longer.
Excerpted from Sacred Heart Songs by Marie S. David. Copyright © 2013 Marie S. David. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part 1 - A Reiki Journey Through Insomnia and Fibromyalgia................. 1
Chapter 1 Wisdom of the Trees.................... 3
Chapter 2 A Beauty Within.................... 11
Chapter 3 Let's Give Her Time.................... 27
Chapter 4 Reiki to the Rescue.................... 37
Chapter 5 Evensong Is.................... 55
Chapter 6 YES!.................... 67
Chapter 7 I Am Listening.................... 83
Chapter 8 Release to Receive.................... 101
Chapter 9 Birth Through Life and Beyond.................... 113
Part 2 - The Five Spiritual Precepts of Reiki.................... 137
Overview: Just For Today.................... 139
Chapter 10 "Just For Today, Do Not Worry".................... 141
Chapter 11 "Just For Today, Do Not Anger".................... 145
Chapter 12 "Just For Today, Show Appreciation and Gratitude"............... 155
Chapter 13 "Just For Today, Do Your Work Honestly".................... 159
Chapter 14 "Just for Today, Be Kind to Others".................... 165