by Wendy Strgar October 01, 2010
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
A lot of us shield our hearts. We are so nervous about the potential for it to be broken by the loss of love, that we inadvertently keep it from use. Shielding our heart can become such a deep and prolonged habit that we often walk around with a shield we don’t even know we are wearing. These shields come in so many unique shapes and sizes that they can be confused for something else. So common is the practice that it is a rare meeting of two open hearts.
The tragedy here is that our heart is strong. In fact, it could be argued that it might be the strongest muscle in the body. As our hardest working organ, our heart never sleeps; beating over two billion times in a life and circulating 50 million gallons of blood. Impossible to think that one could ever take this organ for granted, but so constant is the heart; we rarely celebrate its function or recognize its strength. Instead we shield it, protecting it from the interactions that actually strengthen it and depriving ourselves of the emotional wealth that it is made to manifest.
Physically it is the breast that shields the heart. The breasts, organs hardwired to some of our most sensual responses, capable of nourishing our progeny, are far more than the female adornments that get most of the attention. Illness in the heart center, whether in the breasts or the heart itself can be interpreted as shield damage. The rate of illness in this region of our body is mind-boggling. Breast cancer affects one in eight women everyday. Heart disease kills one in four women. Just a year ago, I sat anxiously in a waiting room to find out if I would join the ranks of millions of women who fight this disease.
The nights of prayer in between the test and the results, which were thankfully negative, led me to think about how in holding old wounds or preserving painful emotional distance we do invisible and often unspoken damage to our heart center. It is not that big a leap to see how the inability and unwillingness to open up our heart to the challenge and reward of relationships might have something to do with the rampant degree of life- threatening illness of the heart center that impacts such a large percentage of people. The truth of this is perhaps found in the healing that happens in the context of these illnesses.
Much of the deepest healing that goes on during the treatment of breast cancer or heart disease happens as time becomes scarce and the truth of our heart connections demand full attention. Some of the most memorable stories that celebrate transition, survival or pay homage to the losses in these illnesses share the heart’s revelation of opening. They celebrate the connection and reconnection to self and those most dear.
As we come full circle again to pay attention to Breast Cancer Awareness month, let us consider how we can all cut the straps to the shields that bind us. Let’s dedicate the month to discovering how strong our heart center can be by opening it. It might be the most curative practice we can undertake in our own life and who knows the good it might bring to this profoundly wounded planet.
by Wendy Strgar May 22, 2018
There is no time like long summer nights to cultivate our uniquely, profoundly human capacity for pleasure, especially sexual pleasure. Our pleasure response transforms our relationship to each other and even to life itself. Focusing on pleasure not only changes how we see our opportunities for intimate connection, but also invites us into a deeper relationship with our erotic soul.
by Wendy Strgar May 17, 2018
It becomes hard to trust your own thinking when nothing seems to be working. The space between how I thought it would go and how it is going seems to widen in front of my eyes. Maybe most difficult of all is how often the undesirable outcomes around us spill over into our relationships, both at home and at work. An errant comment too easily turns into an argument. I become blind to my impact on people around me, caught up in the unresolved problems surrounding me. During times like these, we often underestimate the power of the choices we make and how it can create a path back towards what’s working or down the slippery slope of self-destruction, which my husband affectionately calls “flirting with the gutter.”
Here is my short list to making it better when it isn’t working at all. Each one helps you do the next one, so start at the beginning and work your way down.
by Wendy Strgar May 03, 2018