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Posted By Opening the Heart

I hope that you will all take 3  minutes to listen to a heart-warming story that begins:


 So I get off the train and I'm walking towards the stairs and this young teenager pulls out a knife. He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him here you go.He starts to leave and as he's walking away I'm like, hey, wait a minute, you forgot something.If you're gonna be robbing people for the rest of the night you might as well take my coat to keep you warm.

Listen to the end of the story here:



Posted By Opening the Heart
I spent this past Monday with the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a beloved southern Vermont community nestled in the lap of the Green Mountains.  60 well intentioned folks dragged themselves out of early bed and scraped crusty snow off  frosty windshields to contemplate what our town would be like if all its residents felt equally valued and empowered.
We sat earnestly together, young and old, black and white, privileged and working class and pondered this possibility.  We talked about power, who has it and who can't get it.  We tried not to get stuck in the predictable pitfalls which offered themselves up like  deep grooves in dirt roads, familiar to all Vermonters during mud season.  We didn't grasp at simplistic answers or quick fixes. We didn't blame our government or our neighbors at the table.  We sat with ourselves.  It was painful in places.  Mostly, it was an honest practice of working to understand the day to day reality of individuals who have been left out in the cold.  We grappled with racism, poverty and greed.  We looked each other in the eye, point blank and tried to breathe ourselves through challenging conversations without looking at our feet.  At the end of the day we were all still there.  We sang a simple song in three languages and four part harmony.  We ate spaghetti and salad and garlic bread and went back out to the sparkle of stars and brightly lit steeples.
It was at an Opening the Heart Workshop many years ago that I learned how to stay present.  I learned to look at the people in the circle, and to take them in.  I learned how to offer myself as a loving witness to another so that the innate wisdom in the person seated across from me on a cushion could find its way to the surface.  I learned to soften my face, my breath and my judgements, making room instead for what I have come to regard as the truest expression of respect.  And I learned to stay with myself emotionally during times of confusion, regret and emptiness.  I grew to understand my own inner longing to be a loving agent for change.  I understood what aspects of healing are an "inside job", and what I might share with another trusted being for support and companionship.

I cannot say that life has become simpler as a result of my experience at Opening the Heart.  What I can say is that I have grown into my own skin  That learning the basic practice of self-responsibility has made me both humble and brave.  There is very little that frightens me anymore.  When I open my eyes at the beginning of a new day I scan the immeasurable number of opportunities there are to bring love to the world.  And I am grateful to be out of my own way enough to see clearly.  I can choose how to spend the currency of love at any given time, trusting that no recession, no earthquake, no unfortunate election or unethical Supreme Court decision can impact the balance in my love account.  This I experience as a form of pure liberation.


Donna Macomber

Posted By Opening the Heart

The Opening the Heart workshop has been home to me for the past 18 years.  I found it at a time in my life when change was happening in me, ready or not.  I was falling in love and it felt like it might do me in.  I had built an emotional fortress around my heart that was sturdy and effective. This fortress was in response to sustaining a number of major losses all in a row. I felt like I couldn't come up for air before another loss knocked the wind out of me. My fortress was an attempt to protect me from the unknown, and from the unbearable pain of losing yet another loved one. No one could get past my inner protection without permission and I liked it that way. I felt safe in my self-sufficiency and misunderstood it as independence.  At my first Opening the Heart workshop in 1990 one of the facilitators said these words to me:  "The heart is a package deal.  When it closes, it stops the flow. When your heart is closed, you are closed to all of life. Nothing can come in, and nothing can get out." Something in me stirred.  I felt busted. My cover was about to be blown from the inside out.  My fear was palpable, and right on the other side of that was the longing for and the possibility of deep connection with the beautiful, human souls an arm's reach away from me.  My heart made up its own mind, and my soft, human body followed. Out tumbled so many tears, so many years of holding in, holding on. I hadn't met myself in that place.  It was new to me to lower the drawbridge and let love in.

There are no words to express how I move through the world today.  My heart is open most of the time.  I am so in love with life, and that doesn't mean there is no suffering.  What has changed is that I am beautifully met in all facets of living and loving, and when it happens, in loss.  The lonely places in me that thirsted have been rained on with human kindness. I am full of gratitude.
And I am privileged to be a part of creating the Opening the Heart experience for others - privileged to be able to participate in such a masterful, loving and emotionally intelligent creation.

This week I decided to take flying lessons.  Since childhood, I have been mesmerized by Amelia Earhart.  I think her courageousness was like a magnet for my young, Leo heart.

Remember dreaming as a child that you could fly?  Me too!
You can!  All you need to do, in order to fly, is to be willing to be lifted.

With love,



Thank you Donna for this inspiring story.

Come meet Donna, Linda, Jon and Peter at the next Opening the Heart Workshop™ at Kripalu in Stockbridge Massachusetts, March 2010


and check the OTH Website for a full description of our workshop.

Posted By Opening the Heart

For several months I have been following and supporting the wide ranging activities of The Elders.


The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, whose mission is to offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.


It is a priviledge for the Opening the Heart Workshop™ team to support the mission of this wise, multi-cultural and open-hearted organization.


The Elders website is at:


And here is a video about their vision: