The heart…… feelings, stories, experiences, definitions…… altogether adding up to bring about this thing we call life. The heart brings with it both life giving power as well as death. The heart carries inside both the blood of existence and the curse of the grave.
Have you ever wondered what it truly means to live? To arrive at the end of this life only to look back on your existence and…..smile? Worry? Regret? Utter the only two words you can bring about at that moment, ‘What if?’ Maybe you’re the reader who is approaching this chapter of life. The chapter some have called the end. Maybe you’re the reader who is just beginning your journey. Filled with passion and exuberance and eyes of determination. Maybe you’re the reader who is worn down, broken, weary. Maybe you’re the reader who is seeking. You know something isn’t right so you’re on the path of better. The path of something more. Regardless, you are here. Right now. Eyes fixed on words. Thoughts now considering the heart.
You are exactly where you are. Nowhere else. For it is only in one place you can be at any time and that is exactly where you are.
But the heart lends itself to leading us places. Adventure. Safety. Comfort. The wilderness. We often define the heart as carrying with it all we feel, think or become. We often use the heart to paint the picture of what was and what will be. Why? The heart carries with it blood……….. the blood of life.
Have you ever considered the idea that we use this word ‘heart’ to mean so many things because it actually represents so many things? The heart has really only one purpose: to pump blood. If the heart has any issues with pumping blood we are in trouble. It can’t do its job. Without blood, we are not whole. Without blood, we cease to exist in this form. It is within this power that we have made the decision to use the heart as symbolism. It is a great definition of life itself because it sustains life itself. So, we say:
‘What is your heart telling you?’
‘She broke my heart.’
‘He made my heart whole.’
‘Live from the heart.’
We have given the heart power in symbolic form that brings us hope. Brings us joy. Brings us understanding. So it is the heart…….that carries within it life itself.
If the heart carries life, both literally and symbolically, what would it look like, then, to live with the heart in mind? What would change? What would be different? How would this perception of living become something more?
Would we speak differently?
Would we act differently?
Would we eat differently?
Would we think differently?
Would we live…..differently?
If you knew, without any doubt, that life is lived with the heart at the center of all things, what would you do differently? If the heart is the carrier of life itself then what is your response?
There are those who go to the doctor with symptoms of a malfunctioning heart. Pain. Shortness of breath. Maybe skin issues. Weakness of muscle. For some the doctor responds with, ‘you have heart issues.’ Through medicine or exercise or surgery or diet or other avenues the focus now becomes the health of the heart. Why? Because the heart carries within it life itself so now the heart becomes the purpose. Although for some this situation is a surprise, for most, this situation is very preventable. How? By focusing on the heart……before.
Before the pain.
Before the hurt.
Before the unhealth.
Before the bad diet.
The word we use for this is prevention. Preventing things that could occur if………. It was once said that people will only treat you how YOU allow them. I believe this to be true. But first, one must decide how they want to be treated.
Secondly, one must decide by which boundaries they will function from within. Third, one must decide the presence by which they will carry themselves. Lastly, one must decide how they are going to treat others. In one question this is simplified:
How will you care for your heart?
Physically, emotionally, spiritually?
What will you do, in this moment, to care for the one that carries within it life itself?
This begins with how we treat ourselves. What do we believe about ourselves? What do we say about and to ourselves. We live within ourselves more than with anyone else. We talk to ourselves more so than with anyone else. After all, there is one person we never leave- ourselves. Have you felt the curse I have? The curse of the voices? You know, the ones who never leave your mind?! For some of us they constantly remind us of how much we lack. They constantly give speeches of worthlessness and weakness. They constantly use the voices of others to remind us of how useless we are. Maybe you’re the one who has the voices of what I call ‘jerkness.’ Those are the voices that constantly remind some of us how good we are. They give sermons of arrogance and power. They tell us that those around us are there for our benefit and we owe nothing to no one. The voices of jerkness. Or maybe you sip tea with the voices of silence. These are the voices that when you lie down at night are so quiet it’s deafening. Loneliness. Always wondering if anyone likes you. Always carrying with them darkness, despair and death.
Brothers and sisters- these are not the voices of truth nor of hope. The speeches they give and sermons they preach are good for some thing but it will take effort to dig through them to find those truths. It will take a heart of courage to sit at the table and break bread with our feelings of worthlessness. It will take heart to dine with the feelings of arrogance. It will take faith to walk through the darkness of despair. But there is truth in those moments. There is truth that when we have the courage to make fear our friend things change for fear is a great teacher.
There are those in our human family who do not take care of their bodies. They eat bad. They have never walked into a gym. They couldn’t do one push up if forced. They consume things the body was never meant to consume yet they expect the heart to continue. The day comes when they are faced with an ultimate challenge: change or die. There is no more in between. Many of our brothers and sisters in this situation choose courage. They do that first push up. They stop eating poorly and create new habits of good. They take control of their choices and learn to be present in THIS moment. This is no different when it comes to the heart of our emotions and spirit.
There comes a moment when we all must choose.
There comes a moment when all that matters is this very moment.
You’ve felt it. The moment someone took your heart, held it in their hands, looked at you with evil in their eyes and crushed you. It was the moment of betrayal. It was the moment you lost your job. It was the moment you lost that loved one. Often times it isn’t another who hurts you but life itself. Often times it is those closest who hurt us the most. There are those moments we feel as if the death taking place within would be better served if the heart would literally stop. The pain. The agony. The rage. Yes, the heart carries within it both life……… and death.
There is nothing we can do about what the heart is for………
There is everything we can do about how we care for the heart………
If you are visiting with the voices of loneliness I want you to know……..you are not alone. There are generations of ancestors who have come before you and have never really left. They are here. There are many of us who are cheering you on! We care! We love you! We want to tell you…..as shouting from the mountain tops…….. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! We give you our full energy………..If you are visiting with the voices of loneliness, do yourself a favor:
Close your eyes, and simply listen to your breath. Take one deep breath at a time and listen. Like you’ve never listened before.
Now, as you are breathing slowly and with purpose, feel the beating of your heart. Feel your heart give your body energy, give your mind rest. Your heart and your breath…….that is life.
As you listen to breath and feel the heart, simply whisper: I am exactly where I am. I am surrounded by millions. I am never alone. I am whole.
If you are visiting with the voices of arrogance I want you to know……. There is more to this life than selfish ambition and gain. May you take a moment to notice the lives that have been demolished by your actions. One of the greatest steps to healing is self accountability. Recognize the actions you have taken to this point. Accept the responsibility and truth of what has taken place. Change your mind and your focus when it comes to yourself and others. Now, do yourself a favor:
Write down the actions you wish you could change. List the names of those you have hurt. Name the mistakes you want to redeem.
Now turn the page over and write how you will redeem these actions. Write down how you will treat others from this day forward. Name how you will treat yourself.
Focus on breath. Name the good in your life. Name the good in those around you.
Now speak: ‘I am committed to only seeing the good in others. I am committed to being a servant of others. I am committed to helping others realize their full life.’
Each day journal how you do. Write down what you redeemed today!
If you find yourself listening to the voices of worthlessness………. Please read closely: This moment, this breath, this heartbeat…..is worth more than you can even imagine. You are worthy. Within you lies the power to take whatever words have been said, whatever actions have been taken against you, whatever person has abandoned you……..within you lies the power to take these moments, these words and allow them to feed your soul. Words spoken and actions taken have nothing to do with you worth. In fact, they measure the feelings of self worth within those who spoke and did these things. They are not a measurement of you. It is time to take these moments and turn them into food for your soul. You are worthy. You are worthy of living a full life. A life filled with passion and dreams and love and health! You are worthy of giving yourself a life that is so full of courage that no one dares to rob you of that again.
Close your eyes……….and simply breath. Focus on the life of breath. Know that by simply breathing you are proving yourself worthy.
Now whisper: I am worthy. I am whole. With each breath I am valuing myself over any other. With each heartbeat I am giving myself new life. I am worthy.
We have all been hurt. We have all mistreated ourselves and allowed others to mistreat us. We have all listened to the voices inside who often paint a picture of darkness. But we……..brothers and sisters….. are carries of Light. Where the is Light, there can be no darkness. The heart carries within it life and death. The balance of existence. We do not fear death for it is simply the passage way to something greater. Deeper existence. We acknowledge darkness and allow it to be a teacher. But we, each of us, are carriers of Light.
If you are broken in this moment, please allow yourself to focus on breath, it will heal you.
If you are celebrating in this moment, please celebrate with no regard. Dance with no shame. Let all of us know that your moment is exactly that……yours.
If you are wandering in this moment, wander with adventure and open eyes. Allow the stream of life water to take you places beyond your imagination.
If you are finding yourself in a season of being perfectly content, breathe in that season. For it is in contentment that we find our greatest joy.
The heart………..carrier of both life and death. Care for it. Love it. Allow it to work as it is meant. With purpose, with joy, with focus and most of all…with peace.