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Lift Up Your Heart

369. Lift Up Your Heart

I had lunch this week with my friend Dan Bottorff. He told me parts of the following and then I asked him to write it out for this post.

Dan said: My story began with admonitions from my parents, “Stand up straight and put your shoulders back.”  My brother actually had to wear a shoulder harness that required him to keep his shoulders back. “Slumping” was not well thought of in our family. In the military (I understand although I was never in the military) the drill sergeants’ command for attention includes, “Chest out, gut in!”

Both approaches designate one as a slouch and demand that one look better, e.g. “Take pride in your appearance.”

In yoga class my instructor frequently guided us to “lift up your hearts,” which entails expanding one’s chest and lifting it.  The posture is remarkably similar to the previously described postures–stomach in and shoulders back,  but the point is different. Lifting up one’s heart involves expanding one’s breathing capacity and emphasizes the seat of one’s intentions–the heart.

The communion liturgy invites us to “lift up your hearts,” with the response, “We lift them up to the Lord.”  Here is the yoga invitation with an added dimension of relationship with divinity, “the Lord.”  It is not a prideful stance with “puffed out chest,” but an invitation to affirm one’s self as one of the Lord’s own–loved, called, and present.

And now I add to Dan’s story: I went home Wednesday and throughout the rest of that day and continuing to other days, I found myself saying occasionally “Lift up your heart.” I change my posture, I breathe and smile, and most times it changes the mood of the moment.

So try it—Lift up your heart.

 

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