Saturday, July 6, 2013

A few thoughts about Open-Hearted living......In friendship, in love, in life...

I’ve made a decision to lightly wrap my heart in bubble wrap for a little while. I’m not sure how long I’ll keep it there. Maybe always, but I know it is part of a Holy agreement I made a few years back...I promised my soul to be more responsible for the nurturing and care of my heart.  It’s feeling a little battered and betrayed lately.  Right or wrong, imagined or real....that’s what my heart is telling me to do.   

My heart, has been bare-naked for eight or nine years now.  It used to be encased in bomb shelter quality materials. I took some pride in the fact that a mere child of seven could construct such an awesome survival shelter, keeping herself safe without any help.   The flip-side, as the years passed, it got to be pretty formal and regimented in there, and the tools I used to give myself the illusion of safety, weren’t all that healthy either.   I rarely let it out of the bunker and when I did, it was just long enough to restock a few supplies I thought would keep me even safer.  Turns out, most of the things I gathered up, drove me deeper inside; mortaring up for the apocalypse while tenaciously hanging on to my illusions of self-reliance.  The tools I gathered were defective for the most part, like a hammer with no head, trying to pound out the dents in my life.... those tools lead to poor decisions, a bushel full of addictions, and trusting untrustworthy people. I didn’t have clue what a good tool looked like, or a trust-worthy person and I had limited awareness of what a good decision was.  I’d been in solitary for so long and there were no mentors, or “How To” manuals where I was cloistered.

 About twenty-six years ago, I took a jack-hammer to the concrete bunker.  It felt so good as the weight of each chunk fell away, piece by piece. It did take a long, long, time to tear it all down though.... Much longer than the Berlin Wall.  They had help. I could have had help too, but I thought I had to do it all by myself.   I began to discover, in awe, it really didn’t protect me from being hurt after all, it just kept me feeling isolated, unique (and not in a good way), and tired, really tired. I was sadly anemic to the full spectrum of being human - suffering as well as  joy.  Light is scarce in bunkers, and not much got in. When it can’t enter, you may be able to survive, but thrive.... not hardly.  The heart grows pale and the Vitamin D needed for healthy brain cells (and thoughts) diminishes.  So, what good did it do me, living half-hearted?

About that same time a thread of Light slipped in through a crack; my bunker wasn’t as impenetrable as I originally thought. As the years passed by, I noticed many veiny, luminous breaks zig-zagging my heart.  I begin to see it clearly then: healthy red, beating, and what was that?   Butterflies, excitement, gratitude - feelings.  I also saw, where I went wrong!  The tools it needed to heal had been banned from the bunker--- unconditional love, acceptance, true friendships, and most of all honesty, and the intuitive knowledge there WAS something bigger than me that would actually protect it (and me).  

When you’ve lived behind walls for so many years, and you then discover the freedom in bare-naked heart living, you can behave like a drunken sailor, on land for the first time since commission. WooHoo.... here's a piece of my heart for you, and you, and you!  For a long time there, I also kind of resembled The Grinch who Stole Christmas when he sheds his first tears - of happiness.  What were those?  I was “leaking!” I leaked all the time.  It seemed it was now time to move through a lifetime of feelings.  My emotional intelligence was volcanic rather than wise.  I road the waves, felt the pain, and put a lot of it to rest.  I  squealed at the joy, and savored the serenity.  Open hearted living!  Wheeeeee!  It was off the charts!  So much so, my heart opened up like a refugee center - arms welcoming in and trusting everyone and everything.  I thought everyone was honorable to their word.  I tried to see everyone like God sees them, the parts of them that were perfect and pure.  I didn’t see the harm they could do because of their humanity. I didn’t see their selfishness and insincerity,  how biting their tongues could be, or how harshly they judged.   Worst of all was the indifference.  I was a babe in the woods and I got hurt... a lot.  I was disappointed a lot...  My first reaction was to rebuild my bunker.  I spent a few days contemplating how to begin, especially since the things I would need in there to survive were now scarce.  I found I didn’t have the ability to be unkind, hold people at arms length, or hurt others anymore. 

I was frustrated. I thought I learned my life lesson about the uselessness of bunkers.  How they may protect you from suffering and pain, but they also shut you off from authenticity, love and joy.  As those of us who walk the spiritual path know, after the lesson, always comes the test.  Do we pass and move onto the next lesson?   Bare naked heart living isn’t particularly wise.  There are those who will take advantage, be envious of your beautiful heart, try to drag you into their bunker and hold you hostage. We don’t have to judge them...they are walking their own path at their own pace.  But we can be discriminating and choose whether or not their behavior is good for our hearts before we let them in.  

So I’ve  decided I will wrap my warm, healthy, much purer heart in a little bubble wrap.  It’s a pliable material, gentle on my heart and easily stripped away when and if I choose.  It’s translucent.  You can still see my heart shine and know it's a loving one.  Yet, I can take some time in getting to know others, to see if they are worthy of my healthy loving heart, my friendship, or my time.  Are they honorable to their word?  Do they walk like the talk?  Do they have empathy? Do they make time to receive what I have to offer? Is my attention reciprocated? Hearts stay healthy because of the flow..... give and receive.    Most important of all, because bubble wrap is also transparent, God’s light can still enter and infuse it with all the love and  knowledge I need-- to sense His will, make wise decisions, and honor my commitment to protect the beautiful heart He gave me..... and still share it where He guides me. 

Openheartedness  is living in authenticity while taking responsibility for the care and feeding of your own precious heart.  That's really the only way to live in gratitude and grace and preserve it for those who truly value you,  want, and need  its love and attention.