The sun never says to the earth,
"You owe Me."
Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky."
Poems can have that magical quality of connecting us to deeper and timeless truths. These words from a distant time and place (in 14th C Persia) seemingly have wings to fly lightly and directly to our hearts reminding us of our potential to shine from within. Finding wisdom that is not just rational but heartfelt is precious: it encourages us to lead with generosity and inspires us to do the work to heal the darker and heavier side of experience.
The physicality of the heart’s sorrows are real: we speak of a “heavy heart”, a heart “broken to pieces”, “wrenched in two” or “torn apart”, and how a heart can “ache”, be “weary”, “cold” and “lonesome”. Sooner or later events or death will touch us deep inside however much we might wish for escape.
Being with these sensations is not easy; but our greater difficulty is that in avoiding them we also turn away from the very experience of light and lightness in our life we seek. Instead we bury our feelings so they sink and solidify into dark grooves and heavy patterns. CS Lewis in The Four Loves describes how high the stakes can be when we avoid the vulnerability difficult sensation connects us with:
“Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
So if not avoidance, what can we do?
Firstly to recognise that it’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves rather than to wait expectantly, to be easy and not guilty around activities that support our healing. We can start with small things, the simple and blameless, seeking out experiences that bring us joy and where we feel a sense of openness and lightness however short or fleeting. We need to give ourselves permission to relax into sensations that may have become a distant memory.
Secondly to seek out the company of those we trust who support us in the direction we are taking who understand and value our growth without judgment.
Then as we reconnect with a lighter, more open expression of ourselves we can begin to explore with kindness our inner landscape, learning to soften and dissolve the layers of tension held deep within us. Taking this time and care to hold our reactions in a way that is relaxed and alert opens us up to a positive connection with vulnerability. This is our gateway to renewal and sharing with others a re-discovered lightness and light of our hearts.