Have you ever noticed what awakens your heart and what shuts it down?
In an earlier post I talked about noticing the illusions (like bugs and mud-splattered across our metaphorical windshields that make it difficult to see clearly). It’s not about seeking the “truth” but just noticing the judgements, separations, all-or-nothing thinking, and the places where love is absent.
Try something with me…
I’m going to list some words and I just want you to notice what happens in your heart (open or shut), your body (relaxed or tense), and the stories your ego-mind immediately brings up…ready?
Asking for help
How’d you do?
If any of those words felt a little bit awkward or unpleasant? That’s okay. When we take time to notice these feelings our natural tendency is to try and figure them out.
Like we’re a jigsaw puzzle.
And if we can just piece together WHY being vulnerable makes our heart beat faster we’ll be okay.
Understanding is not the same as healing
Understanding is important and it often allows us to find more compassion for ourselves and others. Understanding why is not the same as healing though. Understanding doesn’t make it any easier to ACTUALLY BE VULNERABLE next time. Because we’ve been dealing with it at the head level and healing happens in the heart.
Even when we take the brave leap and show up vulnerably, sometimes we’re met with rejection or ridicule. We take that new hurt and use it to reinforce the old story that it’s not safe to be vulnerable. More bugs on the windshield.
The only way we heal (both the original wound and any new ones we’ve gathered along the way) is to bring it into our heart space.
When we talk about BEing (as opposed to DOing) that’s really what we mean. Operating (as much as possible) from our heart space where love and compassion lead the way.
It takes practice. SO MUCH PRACTICE. Because most of us have spent decades operating from our heads and the old wounded stories we’ve been telling ourselves.
Here are a couple of examples from my own life.
I have a hard time receiving. Relationships come with invisible balance sheets (do you have them too?) and mine said I only get to receive after I’ve given…a lot.
My dear friend Sheila and I were getting together for a picnic in the park at the beginning of the pandemic. She had it ALL organized. The food, the drinks, the blanket – she had everything we needed and told me clearly that all I needed to bring was myself.
I STRUGGLED with showing up to meet my friend empty-handed. I was taught that you never show up empty-handed. And it felt uncomfortable to receive the gift of this beautiful picnic without giving something in return (those invisible balance sheets are no joke!). In the end, I brought crackers and cheese and we laughed about how much I struggle to just receive.
I also have a hard time asking for help. It’s as if I used up all my “help cards” when I had cancer as a child and now I had to prove to everyone and myself how independent and capable I am (I’m tellin’ ya those balance sheets are frickin’ irrational too).
So there I was, gathering ALL the grocery bags from the trunk of the car, and my very capable (and quite frickin’ strong) friend Nelson says, “Let me carry some of those.”
I replied without really thinking, “Nah, it’s okay. I got it.”
He looked at me bewildered, then sternly and loudly said, “Tammy, I’m literally standing right here. Let me help you!” And that sort of snapped me out of it.
Even though I understand WHY it’s hard for me to receive and ask for help I still need lots of practice to change how I respond. Lots of opportunities to slow down, step into my heart space and love myself through receiving. You don’t need to wait for big moments, GUS (God/Universe/Spirit) is great at giving us those opportunities to learn what we need to learn in small everyday moments. If you slow down enough to notice.
Because when we operate from that heart space, from that place of BEing…
There is nothing to prove.
There is nothing to fix.
There is no one to save.
There is nothing to do.
Everything is welcome.
We’ve been taught to go, go, go and do, do, do. We’ve been taught you’re either right or wrong and it’s bad to be wrong. You either succeed or fail and it’s bad to fail. We’ve been graded our whole lives and we’ve internalized those A+s and C-s and Fs and continue to judge our efforts in every area of our lives.
But it’s all an illusion. Bugs and mud on the windshield. The alternative to DOing and striving is BEing and allowing.
The alternative is a homecoming. Coming home to your heart. To the place that exists within you separate from all the external programming. It’s reflection and contemplation, stillness and breath instead of psychoanalyzing and deciphering, busyness, fixing, and perfection.
And perhaps the only question we need to ask ourselves to shift from DOing to BEing is…
What would Love do or say?
What is the most loving choice I can make here?
What does my heart need to hear right now?
That doesn’t mean we are bypassing uncomfortable feelings, ignoring our beautiful minds, or allowing others to cross our sacred boundaries.
It’s about recognizing just how powerful our thoughts are. Because energy follows thought. And if we pause long enough to choose more loving thoughts (and actions) then the Universe will match our energy.
It takes practice. Practice. Practice.
And it looks like…feelings the feels, asking for help, letting go, saying no and the vulnerability it takes to just BE with yourself without any distractions.
Sometimes when we’re in the middle of transformation, shifting our thoughts, letting go of old patterns, healing our grief, we lose a sense of who we are. Like the caterpillar that turns into a pile of goo before it becomes a butterfly. It’s f*cking hard at that soup stage.
Remember: You are not your wound. It does not define you.
Whatever needs to change just bring it into your heart space and accept it for what it is. Speak to it lovingly and watch it transform.
Because when we accept ALL of ourselves we become better able to accept others as they are. And integrating these wounded pieces of ourselves happens with reflection, stillness, and contemplation. It happens when we are BEing not rushing around our busy lives DOing.