Our Open Hearts

Here it is early in the spring of 2020 (Easter morning actually) and the world as we knew it just a month ago, seems like a distant memory, thanks to the Covid19 crisis. The scale of disruption and change is beyond anything I have certainly experienced in my lifetime. The new normal is so abnormal, it is hard to know at this point what we will be going back to, once the pandemic has eased.

With this level of change, there already is and will continue to be losses we will all see in many facets of our lives. Losses are and will continue to turn into hardships, shattered livelihoods, closed businesses and for many, loss of loved ones through death from the virus.

While in this “sheltering-in-place” quiet, I find myself thinking about the writing I was doing in the year after Kathy died. I shared some of that at http://myopenheart.blog and is part of what I did to help me move through my grief process. I decided now might be a time to morph that personal perspective into something new, since collectively and of course individually, there is and will be a lot of loss, that will lead to a lot of grieving and eventually healing, as we continue through the CV19 global crisis.

As I was working through my personal journey of loss, I knew I was headed to the point of (having to) getting to create a new life for myself. As I look at this period of upheaval we are in, I see some parallels of what is becoming a collective journey through loss, that will undoubtedly give us a chance to create an entirely new life. I am now deciding to explore what might lie on the “other side” by taking the blog that was “My Open Heart” into something new for today, that I will call “Our Open Hearts”, now at http://ouropenhearts.blog .

That title describes what I both want to see happen and what I actually believe is happening. In this upheaval, I am seeing hearts opening. Opening to each other, as we find ways to help family, friends, coworkers and strangers through the new challenges. Opening to ourselves, as we have more imposed time of isolation, that perhaps enables reflection and reassessment.

I am making some clear choices in terms of where I am putting my focus. I am choosing to be prudent and careful in supporting the guidelines for interacting safely. And I am also choosing to look for and pay attention to the care, compassion and love that is finding its way into the lives of so many. I am inviting you to look at your world through this lens and join me in finding ways to sustain these experiences, all while we work through the challenges that are in front of us now and that lie ahead in the months to come.

They Say It’s Your Birthday

Today I celebrate the one we all knew and loved as Kathy Cramer. Today would have been her 70th birthday. Today I celebrate what she brought into my life and how she changed my world. And today I celebrate the new life I am creating, made possible in part, through the grief work I have done through my writing. With that, I am choosing to share the following piece written one year ago today. My broken heart then, has given way to my open heart today….and it is filled with her love, with your love and it all adds to the love I am bringing into this world……

They Say It’s Your Birthday
Written last year on October 19, 2016

I have the candles lit for you. I have your pillows stacked just like you like them. I have the quiet music playing and the dogs snuggled next to me. We are all waiting, this is all waiting just for you Kathryn.

In my head the Beatles are playing their song “They say it’s your birthday”, happy birthday to you Kathycramer!! You came into this world on October 19th and forever set in motion a ripple of grace and positive energy that was so needed and continues to move through all of us in ways you never imagined.

On July 13th you had a rebirth day, leaving this world, returning to the world of spirit and slipping back into the Collective Consciousness. I can only imagine the welcome you received as you made that transition.

It is strangely peaceful to consider what that welcome must have been like and what you are now experiencing as a result. Holding that focus certainly takes me away from the deep sense of loss I feel without you being right here. Kath, I so much loved our time together and cherish the joy, the happiness, the love, the growth, the laughter, the fun, the making it up together and the friendship that we had with each other. I do know what unconditional love is because you came into my life. I do know what it feels like to love another without holding back a single ounce of myself.

The fact that you are no longer here in physical form is still so surreal for me. It is still not easy to accept and it just doesn’t seem that it could even be possible. When I can get clear in my mind, I am able to go back to a fundamental belief that I have developed that says we each choose the time we will leave the physical plane. You’ve made your choice. I do not like it. I do not believe it. I do not want to have to deal with it.

And here I am, sitting in this bed without you by my side. I trust you know that you left without a doubt of your being at the top of your game. I trust you know about every statement of impact that people have written or spoken or felt. If this is an example of “leaving on your own terms”, then I get it and I see how that could be a part of this.

My terms were far from met considering what I saw for us over the next 30 years. I know you saw that too. I know you were as excited as I to be moving into a new phase. There was still so much we had imagined for the two of us together. I am having a hard time getting my mind around going forward without you Kathryn. I loved living life together with you. I loved being able to make it up together. That was the best part for me.

You came into my life so unexpectedly. You changed my experience of the world, of what it could be like to love another and be loved. You opened a world of grace and beauty and elegance on so many levels and in so many ways. And I know I have to get to your question: so, now what?

I can’t answer that just in this moment. I have glimpses and I know the answers will begin to come.

For now, I am being present with this deep deep longing to have you by my side. To feel your touch, to taste your lips, to smell your hair, to see your bright eyes and to hear your whisper in my ear saying “I love you johndavis”.

I miss you Kath, I miss you with all my being. I long to be able to tell you that. Even though I know you know, I still want you right here with me. I want my Kathycramer back.

The Light Within

There is an energy pulsing through, within and around me.
There is a buzz surrounding my body and holding my mind.
There is enthusiasm and excitement to step into this day to see what will show up.

I feel this light within me.
I honor the depth from which it comes.
I open to let it emanate from me and radiate out into the world around me.

What can happen when I even acknowledge the abundance of this light within?
What can happen when I open to let this light touch those around me?
What wants to happen because of my presence in this moment?

Acknowledge, nurture, cultivate, open within and be willing to experience a deeper sense of self.
Radiate, engage, be present, hold myself vulnerable, let go of expectations and let this light touch others.
Know that as I give myself permission to share my light, it encourages others to do the same.

New Space

Glowing candles, racing mind, pounding heart.
Snuggled dogs, quiet morning, comforting surroundings.
It’s a combination that makes for inviting space.

This inviting space is actually a holding place for my New Space.
My New Space is unfamiliar space, yet compelling space.
It is clear only in feeling, at the moment.

The feelings of joy and fear that are showing up as excitement.
The sense of lightness, relief, and openness persist.
The combination wakes me up inside and pushes me to jump into a new day.

How have I come to this space?
Where do I go from this place?
These are questions I am so happy to get to examine.

My work over the past year.
The love and encouragement of so many.
That is the combination that has brought me to this moment.

Before me is the gift of now being able to create yet another new life.
Being able to actually see that for myself seems incredulous.
Being willing to step-in and own this new space as mine brings up the fear.

However, this is the moment to “run to the roar”.
This is the moment to open myself, move into and through that fear.
For I know beyond this moment of fear, is a new life of joy.

My insides tremble.
My hands shake.
My tears flow.

My familiar place has been working through moments of deep grief.
My new space is pushing me into an unknown Both/And combination.
I know there are Both moments of grief yet to come, And a whole new world to discover.

I am giving myself permission to hold each and both simultaneously.
I am choosing to consciously work with it all in a soul-filled way.
I am claiming the empowerment that this offers and the chance to make up a new life from this New Space.

Eclipsed at Lake Tahoe

A total eclipse happened this week and the country was in awe.
As I look at the events in my life this week, I am in awe.
There has been a movement of significance that I have experienced.

The moon made its way between earth and sun and bit by bit the light was diminished.
The depth and breadth of my “3rd life” moved through my awareness and it’s light was amplified.
As the moon was altering perceptions, so too was my gratitude for what “has been” in the life I am leaving.

As the progression toward darkness became apparent, the amazement of nature was so inspiring.
As my acceptance of moving forward is embraced, I am feeling a “4th life” calling that is quite compelling.
The power of nature was clearly apparent and power of new creation is becoming evident.

At its apex, the moon held the sun and earth in perfect balance, showing all a rare moment of awareness in total daylight darkness.
In the moment, my own awareness of this life transition from “what was” to “what can be”, is so heightened it feels like an act of soul-level nature I have never known.
Held in eclipse darkness for just a minute in nature and seeing the momentary possibility of new light through my soul’s eyes, brings a sense of wonder like no other.

Nature then was able to show us that darkness will give way to light, as the unstoppable planetary movement continued.
The call from within my soul is so clear, that to stand by and watch is the last thing that I can imagine happening.
Darkness gives way to light as the sun reasserts its physical presence and light becomes visible through the darkness my soul has eclipsed in this year-long journey through grief.

As the brightness of eclipsed daylight returned, the joys of an amazing experience were heard so clearly.
As the significance of creating my new life is realized, the surge of pure excitement and joy race through my entire being.
Joy in nature, joy in my own evolution, joy in all facets of life call me and each of us to stay vigilant to “what is”, in this moment.

In the full light of day, what is apparent that has not been seen or appreciated fully?
In the emerging light from within, what new facets can be allowed to shine if only I will stay present to what wants to happen?
The empowering sense of possibility that is now opening to me, the soul-deep excitement that it brings and the calm within my entire being, all tell me the best could really be next.

How is that possible with the life I have just experienced?
How can I let myself even think those thoughts?
It is all possible because I am letting go of the thinking and trusting all that is happening within me….and simply paying attention in each glorious moment …. and then the next.

I let the energy of that realization flow freely throughout my body.
I accept this new place completely.
I stand open, I feel the opening and I honor all that the openness is bringing.

The Threshold Crossing

There is a lightness, a sense of freedom and empowerment.

There is clarity, release and excitement.

And there is a new openness for what will next show-up.


The clarity and release are telling me I have crossed a new threshold.

I have stepped from the place where pain and loss have defined me.

I have stepped from the place where grieving has consumed me.


The lightness and openness are showing me I have crossed a new threshold.

I am stepping into a place where I feel excitement for what’s next.

I am stepping into a place where I know I can choose to engage with life in a new way.


I know that my grief will continue to present itself as I go forward.

I know I may be stopped in my tracks at times I get reminded of losing Kathy.

And I know the power from simply being present to those moments will enable my movement through them.


That sense of confidence and knowing bring the feeling of empowerment.

The feeling of freedom then comes from being able to truly be okay with not knowing what will happen next, yet being able to welcome it.

This is a different place…it is a new place…and I find myself here because of all my work, with all of the support that has happened over this last year.


I have crossed a new threshold.

I am in a new place.

It is an unknown place….and I am choosing to step in and be present and available for what wants to happen next.


My heart that has been broken open with pain and loss is now experiencing a wholehearted joy that is enabling a very sweet transformation.

The Beckoning Hand

Kathryn, 23 years ago, you suddenly appeared at my office doorway and as we started dating, I told you I would hold you with an open hand. It was my way of saying, I am committed and yet if this relationship is not working, you are free to move on. During the next three years of my travel and the many letters exchanged, we found a love develop that was so unexpected.

We started our time of marrying* and as we were creating our life together, I held you with an open hand. Yet, while my open hand held you close, your open hand also held me, as we kept falling more deeply in love. Together, we realized we were holding each other in an unconditional love that was saying, be all of just who you are.

Your mighty cause emerged and as your book writing reached its pinnacle, I continued to hold you with an open hand. It was a time of bringing to the world the power of your ABT mindset and helping others see new possibilities. We found our own new possibilities, as we forged a time of working together every day.

You were diagnosed with cancer and as you navigated treatment, I held you so very close with an open hand. You found your own holding of yourself, when you pushed yourself forward by asking the question: “Yes and now what?”. You navigated your way through your treatment, until the days a year ago in July, that turned out to be your last. It was then in the ICU when I wanted to back-out of our open-hand deal, as I realized you were about to leave and never come back.

We gathered for your memorial service and as I stood before all those whose lives you’ve touched, I did my best to let you go with an open hand. It was the love you brought to me, it was the love you brought to everyone present, that helped us know you would be in our hearts forever. And still it has been a time of continuously finding how hard it is to truly let go.

You and I resonated early in our relationship with these words from David Whyte’s poem, The Truelove: “There’s a faith in loving fiercely the one who is rightfully yours, especially if you have waited years and especially if part of you never believed you could deserve this loved and beckoning hand held out to you this way…..”

Kath, it’s now been a year since you passed, a year filled with grieving that has been intense. My open hand has let you go from this physical plane and as I sense your presence in spirit, just beyond the ‘veil of the portal’, I feel my heart overflowing with love. It is a love I never believed could be possible, and it causes me to reach out now with my beckoning hand, to draw our love even deeper into my very open heart and let the gratitude for all that was ours spill out into the new worlds now waiting for each of us.

*We always saw our marriage as a verb, something that continued to evolve, and so we always referred to it as “our marrying”.


From my December 2016 New Year’s retreat experience on Whidbey Island, in Washington state, came conversations with sculptor Alexandra Morosco (a fellow Warrior Monk seeker) and from her deep listening and 3-dimensional storytelling process, emerged this vision of my open hand having let go of Kathy’s, yet still beckoning to hold it one more time.


“The Beckoning Hand”   

by Alexandra Morosco, Sculptor

Morosco Fine Arts
© 2017 Morosco Fine Arts.


 At night, they would fall asleep holding hands

…..and only God knew that, side by side,

they were quietly praying for the same things.

By Kristen Jongen, www.mysoulsoup.com



Persistent Joy

It happens without warning
It happens without trying
It only happens in the present moment.

When it does happen, I look back and realize,
All worries were somewhere not to be found
It was a momentary exchange with another
There was total focus in the moment
I spoke from a completely open heart.

A smile appears, theirs and mine
Playfulness often ensues
Laughter can be heard
My step feels lighter
I feel propelled forward
And joy persists

The opening within my heart is real
The same is true for the other I believe
The exchanges are spontaneous and energized
And joy persists

There is nothing else needed in the moment
It really helps to notice the joy and name it
And even if it’s only a nod of recognition
Joy persists

What I pay attention to is called into action
I know the universe will match my offer
Then with intention,
Joy persists

Wholehearted kindness feels like a sweet alternative to sadness
Acknowledging an other brings a connection that quiets any sorrow
Feeling free to step into an exchange opens hearts even more
And joy persists.

The progression of time for healing is one thing
This is a progression of heart to heart engagement
When I allow it, initiate it and engage it in the moment
Healing expands, lightness ensues and ….no kidding,
Joy persists.

The Space Between

William Blake said, “The deeper the sorrow, the greater the joy.”

Reflecting on this thought brings me to a realization of the “Yes, And” that is present in my life today:


Yes, the sorrow finds its way routinely into my life these days.

And along the way, there is truly developing, more space between these times of sadness.


Yes, the sadness comes and calls me into its presence, such that I cannot turn away.

And in that space between, when I pay attention and look closely, there is joy, happiness and even delight.


Yes, I know that in honoring the presence of loss, I will find my way to new life.

And that realization brings me to understand, I have gifts to acknowledge in this space between.


What happens if I slow down and give the space between as much care and attention as the times of sadness?

What will I find if I let my focus linger longer in this space between and marinate in the joy that presents itself?

What healing could that allowance of immersion offer in my journey?


The smile of a passer-by, a ray of sun catching the rustling palm leaves, the encouragement of a friend, the shouts of children lost in play.

Each bring a moment of joy, they are all there and each has its place in the space between.

They are all present for the noticing, if only I am open to the world around me.


Is the world around me, there for me or am I there for it?

The call to pay attention seems more poignant when I realize the significance of the space between, while honoring the space within.

It becomes a duty then, to be with what is showing-up as life all around me.


The moments of joy come and lift me up, just as the pain of the sadness remains real.

Allowing the moments of delight to be held in reverence is a must, just as acknowledging the sorrow from loss must continue.

Joy and sadness …. sorrow and delight, each so very far apart, yet held so closely together while being pushed further apart, by the space between.

It makes me smile, inside and out.   It fills my open heart with love over-flowing.

Discovering New Layers

How do I still speak of sadness, when I was sure it had already been as deep as it could be?
How do I even begin to help you understand the new depth of what is present?
How can I find the courage to dig even deeper into my reservoir of resilience, that I was sure had been tapped completely?

It snuck up on me and it now sits with me, it stays with me, it will not let its grip on my heart loosen in the least.
I have felt certain it would pass with my attempts to acknowledge its presence.
I felt sure my intention to be with it completely, would be enough to usher it along.

The weight of the sorrow now being felt is ever present.
The tears so easily and completely flow, without provocation.
The hole in my heart seems enlarged beyond what I thought possible.

Where is the time that brings healing?
Where is the quiet relief of sadness expressed?
Where is the solace from being present with what is?

Maybe this is a turn that calls me to open to yet new layers of what grief can be.
Perhaps time is now slowing to enable an exquisite exposure of sorrow yet untouched.
By chance, can this be the strongest call yet, to open my heart to the depth of loss that is possible?

I know I must let go of my “supposed to be’s”.
I know I am called to not stop moving forward.
I know I have the strength to keep digging.

New layers, more work, a finish line still out of reach…….