“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery
We believe we are making it better by shielding ourselves from our own pain. This is a fool’s errand, for the pain we refuse to feel and acknowledge doesn’t dissipate from our lacking attention, but rather collects in our heart center with a weightiness that we often cannot name or discern. So fearful are we, of the potential of a broken heart, that we inadvertently refuse to open our hearts at all.
We forget or maybe have never learned that it is through the highs of love and the lows of loss that our heart becomes strengthened. Replacing the rigorous practice of feeling with the habitual shielding of our heart – becoming numb and denying our feeling – becomes a kind of armor that we don’t even know we are wearing. It’s no good, this refusal of our own heart experience. The choice to not feel actually requires a lot of effort and clarifies the current epidemic of tragic drug and alcohol abuses. The only way is through the courage to acknowledge our own true heart experience.
The physical proximity of our heart to our breasts is not coincidental in the miraculous design of being human. Yet, often we misunderstand the wonder of these organs as well as their capacity. Our breasts, when we can feel them, are hardwired into our erotic pathway and the source of deep sensual response. More wondrous still, they are the organs that sustain life in the truest sense, nourishing the earliest phases of life.
Likewise, we underestimate our hearts, arguably the strongest muscle in our body. It never sleeps – circulating 50 million gallons of blood and beating over two billion times in a lifetime. Recent advances in technology have shown that the heart generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body, 60 times greater than the brain.
Tragically, it is usually serious illness that awakens us from our numb disconnect. And the rate of illness in this part of the body is mind-boggling. Breast cancer affects one in eight women and heart disease kills one in four women. For many people the deepest healing that happens during the course of these illnesses comes through recognizing and attending to the intimacy and connection we have denied ourselves. The healing happens as we give up our defenses and allow the heart to do the work it was built for. For many people on this path, this opening to the wisdom of the heart generates the most memorable stories in the healing process.
As we honor another year of pink, celebrating both the survival and losses of women to illnesses of the heart area, let’s do it from the inside out. Investing in cures can begin within us, simply by opening to the wisdom we hold in our hearts, in our breasts.
- Let’s commit to learning to feel instead of distracting and numbing ourselves from our deepest experience.
- Let’s experiment and explore new vocabulary that enables us to express the amazingly complex and wide-ranging emotions that live in us and are only waiting to be seen.
- Let’s honor our feelings as the vital source of connection they are, guiding us toward the intimacy and love that defines a life.