Living with an open heart

Living with an open heart can be very hard.  I am still working on it. Especially when there is so much fear and anger circulating in the world today. Everywhere you look fear is growing, and it appears to be gaining momentum and turning to anger in many.

“Fear left unchecked, can spread like a virus” Lish McBride

I know myself that Fear needs to be felt and resolved. Otherwise, it can overwhelm and consume me, replaying itself over and over. It is my biggest trigger and can consume me if left unchecked. I have learned to simply allow it to flood me, and sit with it until it has dissipated. Not allowing it the power it once had over me.

But I promised her that I would honor the gentle soul that she is, and therefore I  have to find the courage to do so.

I often chastised her for being so gentle, feeling so much. It scared me frankly. I felt as though, I would lose control if I allowed it to continue. I think many of us feel this way, particularly if we are sensitive or empathetic.

I promised her that I would not shut down, guard my heart and protect myself from further wounding. When I get fearful, sad, or angry, I am always tempted to shut down and guard my heart. To pull away from people, and become even more self-sufficient.

Being Vulnerable is not easy. It takes incredible courage. But it is also an incredibly beautiful thing. It allows you to connect on a very deep level. To hear another and feel heard yourself.

“As fish must keep their gills open in order to survive moving through the water, humans must keep their hearts open in order to move through the difficult and wondrous river of experience. Letting life move through an open heart is how we make medicine out of our suffering.” Mark Nepo

This year has invoked a lot of fear and anger for many. Anger is such a complicated emotion.  When we are filled with Anger, our first reaction is to express that anger on those around us. I remind myself of this every time I encounter someone that is extremely angry.

The only antidote I know for this kind of reaction is to dare to live with an open heart. It’s the hardest choice to make when I’m angry, but the more open my heart is, the less likely I am to let the anger and fear fester and get bigger.

We build resilience when we respond to fear and anger with an open heart. We have to dare to be open to people’s stories and dare to be vulnerable with our own.

Extending compassion does not mean that I need to agree with them or justify their actions, but it means that I have to dare to open my heart enough to see the hurt that turned them into the people they are.

This allows me to see that they are perhaps doing the best that they know how to do. Fear changes us. It makes us fierce in ways that sometimes surprise and even scare us. Who knows, perhaps extending a little understanding can allow some of their fear or anger to dissipate.

All I know for sure is that living with an open heart has the capacity to make a difference for myself, and those that I interact with. Scary as it is, it is essential to really feel the life experience and try to hear and understand one another.

To a kinder and gentler world!

Love and Light, and best wishes for the New Year.


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