With My Whole Heart

I’ve had a bit of a block lately. My life has been in transition and I’ve been struggling to decide how to put the pieces together. And here’s the kicker, I have very few restraints. Perhaps, that’s why I’m feeling so guilty. I’m almost paralyzed by guilt.

For years I had all the excuses in the world to not have the life I truly wanted. I was in a crappy marriage and then in a crappy relationship. I lived in a tiny, rural town in the middle of nowhere. I had a small child-at two different periods of my life.  I had excuse after excuse and now? All those excuses are gone. Every single one of them.

I live in a new, exciting metropolitan area. My crappy relationships are behind me and I’m even spending time with someone new and wonderful. My children are older and for a short time living across the country with their father. I am older, wiser and more experienced. I even have a small reputation for being good at what I do.

I’m paralyzed and I’m not sure it’s all guilt.

This morning someone tweeted, “Have the courage to be happy.”- Steve Maraboli. And it kinda stuck in my head through making the coffee, feeding the cats and emptying the dishwasher.

I remembered what I learned last year about courage from Brene Brown. Courage is different than being brave. Courage comes from the Latin for heart. The original meaning is to live with your whole heart.

Sometimes the lessons come so long after we are initially introduced to them, don’t they?

Have the courage to be happy.

Live with your whole heart and be happy. Well, now that makes sense, doesn’t it?

I’ve been so scared so often in my life. I’ve been so lost and afraid. The biggest thing my fear has done? It’s helped me build a protective wall around my heart. Like the henna heart there’s stuff around my heart that takes awhile to wade through. Then when you get there, there’s a door. Don’t get Heartme wrong,  I open it occasionally and I even let a few select people in. And at the same time I feel my heart open to complete strangers, on the street, on television, that I read about. I would say that I’m an open-hearted person and that I have love and compassion for everyone.  Yet, I guess to be honest I would say that most of the time my heart is open when I can stand back. I guess I would say, there this wall and I stand at the door guarding the entrance.

What if Brene Brown is right? What if the answer is to use my whole heart? What would that look like? What would that feel like?

As with so many times when I learn a life lesson, I find that I’ve already been teaching it. I teach heart openers and believe in the health benefits, mental and physical, of having an open heart. I tell clients to look into the places where the heart is resisting. I believe in living more in the heart and less in the brain. I practice heart openers.  And yet again I find myself laughing at my own limitations.

I guess being able to laugh at myself is good.

So here’s what I’ve been doing that so many of us do. I open little parts of my heart, for limited amounts of time. I’ve been thinking that maybe, just maybe I can widen my door and put in a gate. Cause gates are see through. You can even reach through a gate, both from the inside and the outside.

Maybe just maybe I can leave the gate open for longer periods of time and for more people.

So, I tried that this weekend. (Sometimes posts take me several days to write.) I opened and I was happy. I was really happy.

And then I freaked out. I got panicky. My heart started racing. My breath got short.  I picked up the phone. I called three different friends and left long messages. I talked myself through it. I told them I just needed to talk, even on vm, and it was what I needed cause I got over it and I even went back and opened my heart again.

I teach in class that poses aren’t going to feel comfortable right away. I tell my students to be in the pose, to stop thinking about how it’s supposed to look and focus on how it feels. Breathe in the pose. Breathe out from the pose. Find the softer place, the place where comfort might have some space.

That’s what I’m doing. Cause that second time, when I went back and opened my heart again, it was better. It still takes my breath away. I’m walking through it.  I’m breathing and softening and looking for the place where it feels comfortable to live with my whole heart.

Courage isn’t a destination. It’s a space. I am being courageous. I may not be a pro, yet, but I am choosing to live with my whole heart.

If I don’t pass out from the fear I’ll write more about it soon.

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