Saturday, July 9, 2011
Because I'm empathic and sympathetic by nature, I never wondered whether or not my heart was open. I assumed it was, but as I found out this spring, there are degrees of openness and on that scale my heart was just open a crack towards homo sapiens. I had no idea! I've been passionately in love with the green world, the sky, storms, seasons, etc. for a long time. In fact I was rather feral for a number of years, connecting far more intimately with the non-human realms than with my fellow man and woman. Hmmm. The best story to describe that era would be something about how I held a very romantic idea about what it means to be a shaman, but in fact I turned my back on my kin. How sad.
It's been a long time coming, I mean coming in from the wild, coming back from my life as an edgewalker, outcast, hermit, to wholeheartedly re-join the rest of my species. Initially my heart softened to the idea of embracing humanity. That took awhile, now that I look back on it. Next, I went through a big ole reunion with old friends on FB last year, discovering my capacity for intimate, true, trusting friendships that continue over time. Simultaneously, my friendships here in DC deepened, as has my connection to my siblings.
This past spring, my heart softened quite a bit more. For instance, when I sit on the bench in my front yard with a friend, squinting at the sky, trying to see at least one star, talking, laughing, having a beer, my love for this person is physically palpable. Wow. When I sit and talk to my client who is having a terrible health crisis, tears come to my eyes, I love her so much. I could give more examples, but I'm sure you get the idea. Love is powerful, whoa. What a rush!
Being wide open is dangerous, though, of course. For instance, when my client died, I took a dive. That downwards spiral lasted only a few days, but it was kind of serious, I think because I was unprepared for the impact of sadness on my wide open heart.
The sweaty bike ride this week and subsequent revelations about my innate fierceness has taken me a step further in the process of heart opening. Can I love my capacity to snap at folks now and then, to be angry sometimes, frustrated, petty even? Can I truly and honestly figure out how to welcome these aggressive qualities into my heart of hearts? Sometimes I can express my aggressiveness in a healthy way, i.e. sweaty bike ride, but at times it gets a bit out of hand. I hurt feelings sometimes, oh yeah. Can I welcome that truth, make space for for my innate meanness? Well??
The jury is still out on that one, but I'm making progress. This morning I was thinking about the immune system, how fierce it is, how aggressive it must be to contend with the myriad bacteria, viruses, and such that try to bring us down. I thought about the emotional immune system. Is there such a thing? No scientific study I've ever heard of has described such a thing. I'm thinking about what it means to walk around with an open heart through a world in which shit happens. A closed heart will provide protection, but is that how I want to live? Uh - no thank you. I've done that and it's a meager, stingy existence, no fun at all. Life is short, I want to be loving, but I don't want to get knocked down repeatedly either. Hmm. What would Goldilocks do?
How do I strengthen my emotional immune system so as to make it possible to take a blow now and again without doing permanent damage, without sending me into a depressive tailspin or even worse: cynicism? Well? Any thoughts on this one?