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Posted By Opening the Heart

happy elephant small
I am an elephant dreaming of Hindustan, free from my driver. Rumi

picture taking small
There is a wonderful game we should play
And it goes like this:
We hold hands and look into each other's eyes
And scan each other's face.
Then I say,
"Now tell me a difference you see between us". Hafiz

tiny house

When you really look for me, you will see me instantly. You will see me in the tiniest house of time. Kabir says: Student, tell me, What is God? He is the breath inside the breath. Kabir

earth small
We have all come to the right place.
We all sit in God's classroom.
The only thing left for us to do, my dear,
Is to stop throwing spitballs. Hafiz

With Love and Respect, Jon


jon berenson


Posted By Opening the Heart

An unusual 'music of the month' selection this June. My daughter just got back from the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennesee where she fell in love with the band Mumford and Sons. "You should listen to them," she urged, "they're English!" So I did - and came across this video on YouTube. I've printed out part of the enigmatic lyrics below. At least there's a peripheral connection to 'Opening the Heart'.


Lyrics to Roll Away Your Stone :

Roll away your stone, I’ll roll away mine
Together we can see what we can find
Don’t leave me alone at this time,
For I am afraid of what I will discover inside
You told me that I would find a home,
Within the fragile substance of my soul
And I have filled this void with things unreal,
And all the while my character it steals
The darkness is a harsh term don’t you think?
And yet it dominates the things I seek
It seems as if all my bridges have been burned,
You say that’s exactly how this grace thing works
It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart,
But the welcome I receive at the restart.

Mumford and Sons have a wonderfully eclectic feel and their energetic field reminds me of the interface of rock and folk and ethnic music that I remember loving so much in 1960's London.



Posted By Opening the Heart

Our next Opening the Heart Worshop begins in just four days. If you have been stalking this blog, or our website, our Facebook page or our Tweets, and have entertained the thought that this work could be of benefit to you at this time -  now is the moment to take the leap.

We fully acknowledge that the toughest part of this workshop is 'getting there'. You have to face fear of the unknown, you have to devote precious resources of time and money, you might have to ask others to 'cover' for you while you take a weekend away. All I can tell you is that, once these things are done and you are 'on board', everything is a bonus. We have yet to meet a person who regretted their decision to attend.

You simply cannot match the experiential quality of this workshop in individual therapy, by reading self-help books or even in a weekly support group. The safe environment and structured flow of the exercises quickly build a unique community of trust in every group that comes together. You can be assured that you will be taken good care of as you relax into the process. At the same time, the revitalized connection with your core self that is engendered is a powerful engine of positive change. You will find yourself opening up as inevitably as a flower opens its petals  to the summer sun and rain.

I sincerely hope that you will join us this weekend. We look forward to welcoming you.


Posted By Opening the Heart

perfectly imperfect


Each bloom imperfectly perfect. Each bloom opening to the light.

Posted By Opening the Heart


Not a terribly inviting title for a blog post, but let's face it, Conflict, Stress and Suffering show up in most everyone's life - sometimes on a 'full time' basis.

"CSS" and the bodily tightening and negative emotions that invariably accompany this uncomfortable condition arise from the desire for 'things to be different from how they are.'

Right now in my own life I can quickly identify four (at least) instances. 1) I wish I got to spend more one on one sharing time with my daughter. 2) I would like not to have to work during my summer vacation. 3) I would like to be wealthy enough to not to have to work during my summer vacation. 4) I want my 67 year old body to function as painlessly as my 37 year old body used to do. The list could go on.

The question arises: 'How can I let go of "CSS" and fall into a happier, more peaceful, more empathic state of being?'

The answer, of course, is to let go of the desire 'for things to be different from how they are.'

"Easier said than done!" you might reply - especially if your desire is to be free of a troubling illness, depression or addiction.

My own experience tells me that the only way to free the heart of thirsting for things to be different is to look at the heart - to allow the heart to speak its own truth. When I look closely I discover the underlying feeling of loneliness behind my wanting to spend more one on one time with my daughter. If I look closer still I discover the deep sadness of disconnectedness that has colored so many of my relationships. When I open myself more deeply to the underside of my wish for an ageless body I discover fear - fear of debilitating illness, fear of death.

The sadness and the fear are emotions I am carrying. They are heavy! Unacknowledged and unexpressed they remain a constant burden that manifests as Conflict, Stress and Suffering.

Our society contains few opportunities for the safe and welcomed flow of feelings such as sadness, fear and anger, so they remain bottled up inside, frequently leading to physical disease.

I am thankful that my life has led me to teachers (Buddha, Osho, Lau Tzu, Jesus, Dalai Lama and my Opening the Heart Workshop colleagues) who have helped me understand this process. I am also enormously grateful to have found a place at Opening the Heart where I can safely access and release the scary feelings that underpin my clinging to 'how I want things to be different.'

So, whether you are a regular reader here, or someone who is visiting for the first time, I really encourage you to take advantage of what The Opening the Heart Workshop has to offer: a safe, supportive and healing environment for letting go of "CSS."

I hope to see many of you at Kripalu next weekend.

May all beings be free of Conflict, Stress and Suffering.


Posted By Opening the Heart

Its just two weeks until our June 17 - 19 Opening the Heart Workshop at Kripalu and we are very pleased and excited to be meeting many new friends as well as having the opportunity of spending the weekend in each others' company.

You may not know that Donna, Linda, Jon and I all live in different states - Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Each of us leads a busy professional and family life and the opportunity to nourish our over 20 year long relationship occurs mainly within the context of the precious weekends when Opening the Heart is presented.

We come from culturally diverse backgrounds and continue to follow our individual life-paths but at each, eagerly anticipated workshop we love the process of reconnecting to share the stories of our individual ups and downs and to co-create a fresh experience for the participants.

This December will see the 35th anniversary of the very first Opening the Heart Workshop at Spring Hill in Ashby, Massachusetts. (You can check out that story here.)The workshop has changed in many ways over the intervening years as newly effective methods of pshyce-, soul-, and sprit-healing have evolved and as new circumstances and locations have prompted adaptation and renewal. But at its core, the workshop's mission remains the same: to provide a safe space where, aided by skillful healers, participants can experience exercises and interactions that facilitate access to buried feelings, work through blocked emotions, disentangle from the past, reconnect with core truths, and learn to live more fully from the heart.

If you haven't experienced one of these transformative weekends (or if its been a while since you last participated) we encourage you to come and share one with us. Here is a link to the registration page for our June 17 - 19 Opening the Heart Workshop at Kripalu

Love and Best Wishes to all