Heart Reading … Day 106

Karen Willard Ribeiro
2 min readOct 31, 2021

Grateful Smile of the Heart

A most special image taken on Day 58, 9/11

What does balance look and feel like? My heart — both the one balanced in this picture and the one pumping blood through my body — seems balanced at the moment. The experience is not joy, but it’s also not stagnation. A scale with equal weight on each side distributes tension evenly. Maybe that’s what I’m doing.

I thought I might list a few things I’m grateful for today as a way of connecting to this dharma name — “Grateful Smile of the Heart” — given to me by the facilitators of an Order of Interbeing retreat I attended in 2001 … but I’m not feeling it.

Instead, here is a list of tensions we’ll call the activist-pacifist continuum. And a second photo with my heart to help make sense of my choice to compare Grateful Smile of the Heart to Resisting Bitch Face!

Taken at a rally celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage

We all have a natural predisposition to one side or the other. And we can “hang out” on the opposite “magnetic pole” to learn from those with a different predisposition from ours.

Our intuition helps us navigate this activist-pacifist tension, and it is dynamic, shifting based on variables like who we are with, whether or not we feel informed about a thing, whether or not we feel rested and nourished, the weather, etc.

My heart isn’t smiling today even though I could easily list a number of things I am grateful for. I will say that I’ve enjoyed doing very little: made half a puzzle, took the dogs to the park, painted less than half of a wall (my family painted five walls today).

I guess you could say I am just matter —like an atom (or either of my hearts!)— vibrating in place.



Karen Willard Ribeiro

Beyond Karen: emerging from the depths of an epic epithet is available at innerfortune.com and at your favorite independent bookseller. Thanks for reading.