Broken Open


Protect yourself, toughen up, live in the real world, don’t be so sensitive. I’ve told myself this so many times. Be the same, blend in, don’t rock the boat, you expect too much, life isn’t a love story, or an adventure, or full of magic or miracles. I’ve heard this from others and replayed it plenty over the years. So I did that thing you never want to do and I listened to all of it, and I did a great job of making myself what I finally became: numb.

The good thing is, when my heart finally hardened enough, nothing hurt me anymore. “I don’t care” was my mantra to myself in a never-ending loop. When faced with negligence, judgment, hostility, hate-spewing, whining, subtle slams of criticism, or being severely under valued~I felt no pain. Moving right along with my “I don’t care” mantra, I breezed through mediocrity and monotony with expressionless grace. I quit writing, because I had to feel to do so, and I had nothing I wanted to say anymore.

Enter the truth. I noticed that I couldn’t feel the good things either. My joy in anything at all was missing. I saw nothing in full color, and felt nothing that truly touched me. I forgot how to love, and how to let myself be loved, with very few exceptions, and it frightened me.

I sat down one day after finding an old MAPP assessment I received, years ago, when I was unsure of what direction I should take, the results of which I disregarded as I tried to turn myself into Super Woman. After page three, I realized to my dismay that I was crying. Silent tears just falling as I read about the young woman I almost remembered being. I also realized with no doubt at all in my mind that I LIKED that girl. I missed her. I wanted to be her, and I should have been.

So here I am. Trying to open this bear trap of a heart with a crowbar. Reading, writing poetry, listening to music that makes me dance, practicing yoga, and meditation. I am working on softening my heart every moment of every day that I can. It’s not easy when the life that I let shut me down is still happening every day. But I am getting somewhere. I’m thinking for myself, and asking questions of myself too long ignored. I’m re-calibrating my soul in a way. I’m leaving my assessment out for frequent reading as a map to the new world, a way of finding joy, adventure, and miracles again.

I want to keep trying, crying, and loving until I’m broken open~and when it happens, my world may not be the same as I thought it should be, but what I am, and what I have will be real. The love I feel, and have, will be worth it. Both for the giver and receiver.

I want to be the open-hearted girl, the lion-hearted girl, the “too much” girl. I want to be that girl who cares too much, cries too much, gives too much, writes too much, and laughs too long and too loud. Come home girl, I miss you.

Advertisements

Hungry Ghosts


In Buddhism there is a phrase I love~hungry ghosts. This is the term for those with big empty bellies and small narrow throats who are starving for nourishment but can’t take in enough to satisfy their raging hunger. They are incapable of taking in all that is there for them until they can open enough to receive.

This is a common problem today for most of us. Wanting love, respect, affection. Having the desire to be truly seen by another, truly heard. But being incapable of receiving all that is there for us because we are hard of heart, and narrow of mind. We feel we must protect ourselves from hurt, disrespect, or injury so we close off and shut down. Our hearts become narrow and hard due to our cynicism and all we want is locked away from us, by our own behaviors and choices.

It is so easy to keep ourselves “safe”, and so damned sad that we feel we have to. We train ourselves to become cowards, unwilling to take any risks, or give any opening to softness. We have become our own prisoners of war, with no one to wear bracelets in our memory until we release ourselves.

The amazing thing is this: when we open our hearts and step out, those we feared would hurt us in some way are cowering there in their own prison of safety, looking at us in hope and wonder that they too might be able to unlock their hearts and step into life. We can be, by example, the saviors of the souls we protected ourselves from so unnecessarily.  And if they still fear, and throw rocks through the bars, we can give them our compassion and understanding until they are ready to breathe the fresh air of possibility.

And then, with a heart wide open, we can take in all the love that is here for us, and thrive.

 

Heart of Stone


This last year or so has been an epic quest for me to find my heart. My adventure started in a dull and dimly lit place, where no one could hurt my feelings or ego, because I didn’t care enough to be hurt. No one could ever stomp on my dreams, because I packed them away, and rendered them unimportant . It was a safe, colorless, monotonous place of emotional paralysis. For a lot of years, I preferred it that way.

On the flip side of that, when I wasn’t busy not caring about life, I was borderline rage/confrontational. I wasn’t going to take any crap off of anyone.

I’m not sure exactly when I realized that I couldn’t feel anything wonderful either. I couldn’t turn off the painful stuff if I wanted to feel the good, and I couldn’t feel any quality of emotion when I was shut down to protect myself.

What a dilemma, and how exhausting it was. I finally became fed up with being unhappy about my little diatribes, and my attitudes, so I began to give myself instruction toward peaceful living.

Please understand that when I first stepped out of my dimly lit and lifeless room of monotony, I had no clue how to move toward peace. I only knew I had to find it. Somewhere out in the great unknown.

I began by acting peaceful. This first step was awesome for the rest of the world, but for me, not so much. There were many times I was certain that I would implode from the pressure of my self-control holding in my anger, or explode from my failure to do so. I read, studied, read, studied, meditated, yoga, read.

I became my own patchwork guru of survival and thrival (I know, I did just make up a word). I didn’t want to LOOK peaceful, or ACT peaceful. I realized at some point I needed to BE  peace, and it was buried beneath all this ridiculous garbage of life I carry with me every day. I mean, it IS my garbage, so why would I just dump it?

I found a yoga teacher, who became a sister/friend to me. I was able to say to another human being how hard and locked up I felt inside, that I felt I needed to bust my heart open. The constriction of it was no longer acceptable to me. I wanted to be the me I vaguely remembered who was unafraid of joy, or risk, or honesty of emotion. The fearless girl. Mendy was amazing. I really don’t know how she came to be my gift at that time, because I didn’t have anyone I felt safe enough to be honest with about what I dreamed or wanted. I felt and heard her genuine acceptance and belief in me and what I would achieve, and it has given me confidence to continue on.

I have learned to decide, when I become angry, whether to address the cause at the time~or accept it’s not worth my attention and let it go. I’ve learned to expect to be treated differently, that I get to decide who I am and what I do. Absolutely no one else has that power or authority over me. I’ve learned people are the most important thing, and that I am one of them. I’ve learned to be kind to me, to listen to my intuition, to hug my inner brat for wanting to lop off heads and just let it go. Let it go.

I am learning that my excitement doesn’t need to be contained or watered down so people are comfortable with it. Isn’t that what led me to my locked up sad place? Yes it is. I can be brave and try things other people won’t. I can be fearless and give up things that no longer serve me. I can dream as big as I want and know that what the Universe has for me is even bigger than what I can imagine for myself. I don’t have to stay where I am and be who I’ve been. I can keep changing every day until I run out of days, and I’m excited to see what version of me I’ll become next.

I am softening my heart, doing the work to open up to life so I may actually live it. I will open my heart, unafraid, so I have the ability and the desire to love my family and friends, and be involved in a community of like-minded individuals because we’re really all a part of each other anyway.

I will be strong enough within me, to accept you as you, and not the potential clone of  me that I want to turn you into. I won’t change myself, I’ll just uncover me by dumping my garbage where it belongs, and admiring you for doing the same when you’re ready.

Let’s crack it wide open, let the Light in.