Practicing the Art of the Heart

“Behold the gates of mercy, in arbitrary space, and none of us deserving the cruelty or the grace, o solitude of longing where love has been confined, come healing of the body, come healing of the mind.”~Leonard Cohen, “Come Healing”

When my writing began, it arose from a tortured heart. I beat out the rhythm with a fierce grace that came from a higher level than the mind. It stormed about on the page and brought many readers to a state of grace themselves. I don’t know how or why it happened that way, but occasionally it still does.

The angels were accompanying me, dipping their white wings in the blood of the lamb. My child lay in a white coffin in the town where I was born. I could not even visit her grave. And so I continued to write.

I wrote behind a wall of words; it kept people away from me and I felt safer that way. Tears rained down around me and the day was dark as night. I truly wanted to be a good soldier. And so I became somewhat hardened in my persona. I could be quite fearful in my rejection of people. I had nothing to give them and yet the writing arose from a place of healing.

I am still writing but not on social media. The angels write through me and for me and I have no idea what will happen next in my life. I have nightmares and am glad to wake up. I have daymares, too, until I remember that I don’t belong here. Never have, never will. Only by knowing that can I bring myself to a place of healing. “In my father’s house there are many mansions.”

I read this morning about a dancer who wanted to dance to a Leonard Cohen song but did not have the rights to his music. So she will be dancing the routine in silence. I, for one, think it will carry more power and love that way. Those who love his music will weep in silence as they witness her dance.

Life is quite powerful even when the music is seemingly silenced. I haven not heard the laughter of my daughter or felt the presence of my husband’s endless strength, but my silent dance of words can carry the aroma as if they were bending over the keyboard.

My little girl took ballet herself. Her teacher taught her to bow to both the downstairs audience and then upwards to the balcony. This was called reverence. I like that idea. Love must have no boundaries. With music or silence, with absence or presence, the dance of life goes on.

Vicki Woodyard


  1. Powerful, beautiful, hit me right in my broken heart. You have the wonderful ability to express what you feel — and for those of us who don’t have this awesome ability, you help lead us through the path of darkness, sadness, tears and grief. Thank you, Vicki.


    1. Those few of us who have known the deepest darkness always speak the same language. I praise God for this because the outer community has no place for us.


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