Heart Opening

loveleafI saw an image of myself. A younger version of myself – with my hair swept back in a ponytail – holding my heart in my hands and looking at it. My heart was outside of my body. I can’t say for sure that I was holding it with care nor distain. Uncertainty comes to mind.

Then I saw a piece of forgiveness laying on the sidewalk. It was there from years ago
when I had seen it before and couldn’t pick it up. I tried to pick it up then and it kept slipping back down onto the sidewalk. Maybe for others to walk on top of. Unwanted?

A blue drill turning clockwise and counter clockwise. Drilling into my heart with a release of balloons swirling up and out into the sky.

The back of my heart opened more than it ever had before and grew hot.

A memory of being told over and over “you have a big heart” and the pain that brought on at the time. I remember the crunching and rounding of my back as my heart felt like it ripped and collapsed at those words.

I asked my heart if it needed money and it laughed at me. Loudly, saying “don’t be ridiculous”. I laughed and felt more at ease.

What do you need most then?

A circulation of energy and light moving through it in the shape of an equal cross and infinity signs combined kept flowing over and over through and around my heart center.

I saw myself scooping up the forgiveness. Embracing the big-heartedness I had rejected in the past. Believing it now, to be true. Seeing how it both was once true and how it never left. How I’ve needed to learn how to let it be there. How to let the light shine out of this center.

The message I heard? Be grateful for everything you’re given. ALL of it.

Embrace it all.

I was tired after this guided meditation to connect with my heart. Moving deeply into the layers that, in the past, felt more fraught. In the past, perhaps all the layers of pain and distance and belief were there to try to protect something. To try to protect myself from being either too open or feeling too many sensations. Too many emotions. Trying to cut them off.

In my first yoga training I remember learning that the greatest protection is to have an open heart.

I think I’m coming to understand that more now.

In the past, it was painful to hear that I had a big heart because I didn’t feel like I did. My beliefs and actions felt out of line with that statement. I tried to belittle it. I didn’t want to be heart-centered. I didn’t value it. I didn’t know it was of value. My heart. I don’t think I treated it with care. More with carelessness. The more careless I could be then the more “protection” I would need to build up. The more sensations and emotions I couldn’t deal with the more I needed to build up those walls. It took a long time to build them up and, once there, I knew how to work within them.

Only those walls kept quite a lot out. They kept me occupied with measuring. With turning away from. With believing I didn’t understand relationship. They not only kept me distanced from the “outside world” but also from myself. They may have been helpful for a time and at some point, they became too much work to maintain. Too limiting. To segmented. Too much to try to keep built up. I no longer had the energy for it.

I realize now, I had the energy and desire to return to my heart. To return to that openness I can remember as a wee child. The child who ran, with open arms, to greet her Grandfather after his long day at work. The child who loved and was surrounded by nature. Who embraced and loved and accepted everything and everyone just as they were.

The conditions crept in, over time. The conditions that I created on how I could be loved. On how, maybe I wasn’t loveable. On how I had to behave in order to “get” love.

I mean, how does it come to the point where I actually ask my heart if it needs money?

Money is to survive, I suppose and I would like for my heart and my self and my body to survive. Yet that isn’t the currency that will keep my heart thriving.

It needs openness. It needs light. It needs energy. It needs embracing.

My heart needs to be big.

In yoga, the jiva atman or individual spirit is said to live in the heart. So when we connect with our hearts, we are also connecting with that spirit within. It’s that spirit that I’m now realizing I was putting so much condition on. Trying to limit. Trying to contain. Trying to lot allow it to be big or bright or shining.

Except that’s it’s true nature.

In scientific terms, the heart is our primary sense organ. It generates a huge electromagnetic field – it extends 8-10 feet from the body and is 5,000 times stronger than the field produced from the brain.

So why limit it?

Why prevent myself from sliding that piece of forgiveness into the heart? Fear of the power for the heart to regenerate and heal? Wanting to keep it still at a distance?

How can I keep something that is such an integral part of my essence and being at a distance? It’s already there. It’s already present and whole.

For me, I think it’s been waiting to be heard. All the while pushing and prompting my brain to catch up to the expansiveness of what the capacity of my heart can do. What it can transform.

I’m not sure that my brain has fully caught up though many patterns have come to light. My heart continues to expand and grow. It opens and opens and then closes sometimes again.

Spanda. The expansion and contraction of everything.

It’s okay. Those closings. In and of themselves they are needed at times. Only now instead of continuing to close upon closed-ness, my heart wants to take those closings as stepping stones to more opening. To more understanding. To allowing more and more sensation to move through.

In the yoga-centered chakra system the heart sits at the center. The symbol for this center is a six-pointed star – or two triangles – one standing upright and one pointing downward. This helps to represent that the heart moves through the energy drawing up from the ground – from our roots as well as what is coming in from above – our consciousness or higher/other intelligence. The heart is a powerful point of allowing all of this energy to move through. Sometimes those sensations can be strong and powerful and sometimes we may block them, creating a block in the heart as well.

As we practice in staying present with sensations and allowing whatever is happening in the moment to be processed in that moment fully – then the heart continues to remain open.

I realized this the other week when, for the first time, I felt completely balanced. I felt grounded and supported and my heart was wide open. I could feel the openness of my lungs and was present with each breath and sensation. For an entire day, I walked around fascinated by this newfound alignment.

Then all of this old “stuff” that had been stored away started to come up from below. Up from my roots and flying through my heart. It had been waiting to be released for a long time. It helped me see how important alignment is in the moment – to try to not create new stored stuff and also to have the capacity to move through and out all the old stuff.

I had trauma memories surface, seemingly out of the blue. Only this time, I sat down with them and allowed them space to surface. I went back into the memories and, for the first time ever, I met my past self in those moments with fierce self love. Every time I saw something, I focused on and repeated and met it with fierce loving energy. It was that fierceness and love that, this time, helped me to realize how unprotected and ambushed I felt back then. The walls built from carelessness didn’t work as well as I thought they had to protect me. I was busy trying to protect everyone else, leaving myself open for what felt like attack.

This new way of being with the memory helped change the quality of it. It helped discharge the stored energy and transform it. It helped bring up immense amounts of anger that were stored mostly in my right shoulder (also part of the heart center). As the shoulder disconnected, the anger started to seep out. I keep anger locked away in particular and when met with solid and love, it felt safe to let some of it out. The fierceness of me being there with me and holding so much love helped create the foundation for a massive and deep healing. The openness of my heart now allowed for the facilitation of what I couldn’t do before. It was a wild ride.

With each ride. With each alignment. With each release, my heart learns more and more how to stay with what is without limits.

How to truly stay open, without condition.

My heart is learning how to be big.