checking in with the heart : how life has it all


how does quiet stir a heart so much? i give myself some down time,
and quickly i can't decide if life is incredibly wonderful, or if i am 
ready to cry because of that eternal constant sadness that gives life beauty.
i want to shout hallelujah's of joy because, yes, my life is full of joyful gifts:
i live by the mountains, in an honest desert, i have someone to share my life with,
i've traveled all around this world and experienced new geographies and cultures,
my afternoon breaks consist of listening to this and this
i get to teach music {life's true pulse} to little kids, i spend my summers with
great minds at beautiful campuses, we ride bikes along lovely country roads,
i get to play the piano and i'm learning how to play the violin,
i'm starting a band, like-minded women will be meeting at my home to
discuss women in ancient and sacred texts {texts of all kinds}, when i can't sleep
i knit and listen to therapeutic music, there are fresh raspberries in my fridge, why this underlying sadness that seems to be built into my dna?
i don't think i'm asking to be rid of the's this sadness that makes
me appreciate all the beauty around me--i couldn't see it without this heartache.
what is my heart aching over? i'm not quite sure. it's just there. 

and it is here this morning. i woke early this morning, despite my excitement last night
to finally be able to sleep in...turns out my heart had to talk to me this morning.
have you ever had a heart-to-heart with your heart?

still dark outside, i got myself a glass of milk,
plugged my headphones into the laptop so i could listen
to music without waking ceej. 
i bundled up in a down blanket, and gathered my knitting project to my lap.

all i can think about these days is sitting by a mountain lake,
or, even better, rowing a canoe in a mountain lake
in foggy weather, wearing a hand-knit sweater and my wellies,
reading john keats out loud...why does this thought simultaneously
bring me so much joy yet so much heartache? why such sadness
attached to such beautiful images?

i actually think keats has already answered this for me:

"ay, in the very temple of delight
veiled melancholy has her sovran shrine,
though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
can burst joy's grape against his palate fine;
his soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
and be among her cloudy trophies hung."

this is my experience exactly...that in those very moments of joy
is melancholy...they truly are inseparable. this is why when i
have the most bliss-filled dreams and experiences i am also filled
with sorrow for all of the unfulfilled dreams and for all of the hurt
that i and my loved ones have ever been through. this is life.

all of it.


Unknown said...

And, importantly I think, Keats also explored negative capability which he defines as , ..." when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact & reason" - I think this is an amazing thing to strive for, to be able to face the uncertainties of life ( and terrible certainties too), with balance and composure and a peace at the centre. I don't take it to mean a rejection of reason, but a turning away from desperation for knowables all the time. I find this comes to me most when I am alone in nature, meditation/prayer and wierdly maybe, mindful breath control. Sadnesses will come, joy will come, rolling with them, walking through them, living in gratitude as you clearly are, what more can we do?Jeez, deep thoughts!!

Ann Marie said...

yes! negative capability is an incredible's what made me fall in love with keats in the first place.

Unknown said...

Me too, it is what hooked me in! Ha, some things you post both remind me of my undergrad days, and make me hungry to re-examine some things - what a great blog you have created, thanks! x

Anna said...

I've been feeling this way too, sort of an anxious desperate desire to see everything and experience everything and a sadness/fear that life and time is so limited. I think maybe it comes with the shifting seasons, even though it doesn't feel like fall here yet!

Anonymous said...


Have you heard the innocence mission?
This is a song from their album, "Befriended."
This line,''While my heart is sinking I do not want my voice
to go out into the air''from the lyrics, is from this interview:
which is lovely and I also wanted to share.

Peace to you!


Mercedes said...

ann what a beautiful post. i love belinda's comment about living with uncertainty. to me it seems being able to live with uncertainty meand facing some truths about life, one of which is we don't really know what is going to happen next. i think recognizing this has made me sad at times (and it is certainly something i fight against accepting).

ann i loved what you said about feeling sad in the midst of really exciting things. i feel exactly the same way. maybe it is because with every dream that i follow through on--there are 5 other's i've let go of. and i mourn those.

you are so brilliant and such a beautiful writer ann.

much love

Anita said...

Yes! I too have experienced this...I think we all must. There is always a quiet sorrow in even the most joyous times. It is in the passing of years that take us farther and farther from the softness of all we is in the knowledge that that perfect moment will not come again. It is everything and nothing at once. Thank-you for such a beautiful, thought-provoking post!

Tiffany Kadani said...

You've spoken to me in a way no one else has. I can relate to this in so many ways. Although, I do know why I'm sad I am grateful for that because I do feel the many blessings in my life.

samantha ramage said...

yes, yes, i very much agree. life is sweet and sorrowful all at the same time.


Shokoofeh said...


whoisnell said...

love this thought.. truly inspiring..

Sabriel said...

you are beautiful. i am sad we didn't get to talk about this last night. It is something I struggle to comprehend every moment. I think joy and sorrow are the same thing. They are to me in the least. The impermanence and what is un-comprehendable brings awe and a knowledge that we are a part of this Earth, but somehow she is not our home. Everything is Everything Ann.


G said...

A wise, incredibly talented man said to me recently that artists always feel a little separated from the world, and I think it's the double-edged curse of creative people to be melancholy, and to unconciously seek to create beauty, to fill in the voids and replace the sadness of the heartbreaking world we live in.

onesilentwinter said...

i read this post a few days ago and it has been on my mind ever since. having been following your blog for a while ann marie and every post has spoken to me but it is when you post a post such as this one that i relate to very much. i have feel as if in many ways we are similar in our daily life, able to have quiet time or fill our days, we get inspired by the smallest things, words and nature and often we are gifted these things at unexpected times. yet there is echo in our heart almost as if we say we are happy it echoes back to us asking us if we are. i can be the happiest person i know and the saddest. sometimes we are simply the ocean on a rainy day, still beautiful, still happy but unable to express our thought,our emotions to ourselves. i feel as if these moments come after we have had full days of inspiration, of excitement and new ness somehow the quiet that follows makes our heart speak.

ann marie, you are one of the most beautiful writers, story teller both through your images and words i know, i think you have threads in you from a time past and you weave them in such away that is magical.

Ann Marie said...

thank you all for expanding my own understanding on this all write so beautifully. thank you for sharing your hearts!

look a little closer said...

i just stumbled upon your blog and love it. :)