Apprenticeship to Love, April 1, 2024

  • Today’s questions: It's April Fools' Day: How & where & when do you feel foolish, knowing something in your heart, but your mind —and your friends, your family, the culture— telling you this is madness, foolishness?
  • Today's suggested practice: Day 1 of this month's practice, to pause and feel the sacred space within (see my "Short Practice,” below)
  • My practice today: 2:30am: 60 minutes: yoga asanas (physical practice), pranayama (breath practice), silent meditation.
  • Did I do my vulnerability practice today? Y How about you? Y/N?


It's both Easter Monday and April Fools' Day. There was some discussion this morning about whether in the Christian resurrection story Christ arose on Sunday, or on Monday. I'm for Monday. I mean, isn't that why some of us have a holiday today?

Or, perhaps, this is the day we are meant to reflect on foolishness and our almost instinctive need to be on the side of "right" and logic? A day to consider how easy it is to deny what our heart knows, as Peter denied Christ three times by the time the cock crowed, a tale of our desperate need to not appear fools, not to be seen to be following what our heart knows?
Several years ago I was asked by a much younger man how I did this. Did what I asked? How, he said, How do you step into the unknown without protecting yourself?

He was referring to my pattern of stepping into the unknown of committed relationships, work and career choices, financial decisions, etc without seeming worry for consequences.

First I had to disabuse him of the notion that I was without worry in any of the instances where I may have done this thing. Worry and a concern for protecting myself —my heart, my finances, my family, etc— were always at play. But I had learned this, I told him. And this was my second point.

When I look back on my decisions in life, the ones that paid the highest return in terms of joy, love, beauty were always the ones I made "foolishly," from the heart, without the kind of worry and caution that was his custom. And where I had let those considerations affect my decisions, there —and there only— did I experience unhappiness, failure, regret. And it wasn't so long ago that I would vacilate between the two, and vacilation is the enemy of any happiness, in my life.

This man wished for marriage and family. At the time of his asking he was struggling with his heart's wishes, because what his heart wanted was in so many ways always "foolish" and "unsafe." He had a roster of peers to confirm his mind's mistrust of this foolishness. Broken marriages. Betrayal. Broken families with children divided between maternal and paternal homes. Finances —and emotional well-being— in ruins. Or, short of divorce and its terrors, long dry years of sexual desert. His peers had stories upon stories of how his heart's dreams were a prelude to disaster. Still, he dreamed.

Eventually the yearning of his heart drew him into what may, one day, be a marriage. For the moment it's a longish-term committed (more or less) relationship that is bearing the fruit of children. The bearing and birthing and rearing of which will, as it does, call into question the foolishness of the heart. I am familiar with this suffering. I have endured it. Not so gracefully as I might have. Not so gently as I might have. But even in the suffering of it I did know this: my heart knew my path better than my mind.
She asked me, once: What do your friends say about this relationship? I replied that I think most of them consider me crazy, a fool. Except for one or two, who understand what this is about.

And you, I asked: What yours say about this relationship? She hesitated, careful. My best friend, she continued after a moment, She says I should just marry you.
April Fools' Day. Easter Monday. A day to celebrate both the resurrection of hearts' desires crucified and buried by a mind burdened with the task of protecting us from our foolishness, and the memory of our regret and guilt at having, like Peter, denied our heart's knowing.

I have not always been a fool. But when I've been happy in my life, it's been the happiness of the fool. Of a man willing to step into the dark unknown with an open and willing heart.

Sometimes, seeming "smart," or at least sober, I have been cautious. Careful. Careful of myself (not so much others). But the consequences of this sober caution (at least with my heart) have been disasters.

I am, I realize now —and it still takes a considerable amount of courage to live with my heart this open— that I am most alive and most aligned with the man I am when I follow the path of foolishness. The path of this heart's wisdom. With my entourage of "furry angels," stepping over the threshold or off the cliff into the great and unfathomable and beautiful unknown. Here be treasures unimaginable to my mind, but somehow known by my heart. This is truly a foolish knowing.


🌀 …it has been said throughout history that “fools rush in.” However, having the sense of love is in fact an actual sense; it’s as obvious as having any other sense. There’s a pathway through the heart, just as there’s an auditory, and an optical pathway for those senses. To have the sense of love you must allow this pathway, through the heart, to remain open in the face of all the input…even danger. (Guru Singh & Guruperkarma Kaur)

🌀 The Conscious Warrior practices the cultivation of wonder and awe. (John Wineland, Precept 7)

🌀I’m beginning to trust “no expectations.” (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren, She who must be ravished by my beautiful & powerful & foolish presence)


Day 1 of this month's practice, to let these thoughts and feelings move through you, with less resistance:
Please read through first, then ...

  • Set two alarms, for times of the day when you have a five-10 minutes to become conscious of who and how you are in this day.
  • When the alarm sounds, wherever and however you are, take a few moments and:
    • Ask yourself: How & where & when do I feel foolish, knowing something in my heart, but my mind —and my friends, family, the culture— telling me this is madness, foolishness?
    • Then, follow the short practice here:
      • Stand, or sit, and bring your attention to your posture.
      • Put your hands on your heart, right over left, and —breathing slowed, long and deep, three full cycles— feel this heart and its complicated, sometimes confusing "knowing." Even if you can't at first feel anything like "knowing," feel it beating. Hold that beating. Breathe three more breaths into that beating. Feel how that beating not only moves blood around your body, it moves its subtle vibration throughout your beautiful and knowing body.
      • Take a deep breath, through your nose, for the count of four. Hold it gently for the count of eight. Relax the breath for the count of 12.
  • When you’re done, sit or stand for another minute or two, breathing gently, slowly filling and emptying your belly. Here, as you breathe into your fullness, ask yourself, Do I feel right? Am I in alignment with the man or woman I am? Do I even have an inkling what that might feel like? Do I even have an inkling of what it feels like to be out of alignment with myself?
  • Notice if your body-mind feels somehow changed. And whether you notice a change or not, be content with yourself, exactly as you are in this moment.
  • Continue with your day until the next alarm sounds, and repeat.