Several years ago, I began to notice that something was lacking in my life. As I looked around and inside me, I was overcome with the sensation that my life only went so deep. I was a super-mom, but totally missing identity. I was a wife, but did not have a sense of true partnership. I lived a half-life. Passion, depth, purpose, and fulfillment were not present. I would float through my days with no sense of beginning or end, each carbon copies of the other.
What brought about this awareness? I had started doing massage/healing work which had kick-started my own internal process of healing. It was all this that caused me to open up, rending me inside out and forever changing my life.
I have an intense desire to make a difference in this world. A drop in the bucket wouldn’t do – I wanted to leave a Bigfoot sized impression. After noticing the lack of depth, meaning, and purpose to my life, I began to dig deeper into myself. I noticed all these constrictions in my thinking . . . constrictions in my heart. I discovered, that I was fairly negative and easily judgmental. I needed to open my heart before I would be able to truly help others.
I began to repeat to myself “the heart of a lion . . . heart of a lion . . .” trying to remind myself to open my heart and love fiercely, bravely. Within a couple of years, I had grown so uncomfortable in my half-life that I moved out of my cozy suburban home and into a small apartment, struggling to support myself. For months before I moved, my “normal” suburban existence had begun to rub me so raw, creating such an intense desire to break free, that I had actually took to pacing back & forth like a tiger in a cage.
A few years and several life lessons later, I would say my heart is my greatest asset. I have grown to be compassionate, understanding, and even empathic. My loved ones would say that my heart is too big. I give too much, love to strong. They believe I don’t have good enough boundaries, love myself enough. I say, I love myself more now than I ever have. I say, does the divine put boundaries on love? Isn’t that the very definition of unconditional? Did Jesus love too much? Krishnamurti have too much compassion? Does the Dalai Lama practice too much loving kindness? My heart is not so great as these, though I aspire toward it.
As far as getting my big clumsy heart hurt, it’s really no big deal. My heart is wonderfully self-healing and regenerative. I think it was Anne Lamott that said an open heart is like a baby’s fontanel – so soft you can see the soul pulse through. Those that have met me, and have taken the time to know me, have caught a glimpse of my soul. If you reach out and feel my heart, you can know it too.
I will continue on this path, daily reminding myself to be generous, brave, and self-loving. I will continue to open my heart. I’m learning it’s a deep well, with a false bottom . . .
Our greatest strength lies in our ability to be completely vulnerable. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it.