“I have worn my heart on my sleeve because it is too painful to carry it inside my chest.
When I carry it on my sleeve, it has the freedom to exist, to beat in rhythm with the Universe.
I feel like I'm more alive and yes, there are those who out of curiosity will say or do things that can cause its delicate existence to feel pain and sorrow.
I would rather deal with that, than to put it back in its little cage where it knows nothing else but the rhythm of my body and my Ego.
My heart was never meant to be part of my Ego.
My heart was meant to experience the Soul.”
There was a certain period in my life, somewhere around the end of the elementary school, that I got this desire to study psychology and become a clinical psychologist. I have already tasted a fair amounts of pain by that time and was eager to help others and give them a hand through their tough times.
I remember bumping into my old English teacher that we always considered crazy and unstable and her asking me whether I decided what would I study after the highschool. When I said “psychology”, she got visibly worried: “Oh, Maja, that is not for you. You are like me”, she said and I felt like I just received a punch in my stomach, hating even the possibility that I have something in common with that obviously mentally unstable woman, “we process everything through our hearts. Our hearts are wide open and it is beautiful and hard and very painful. Respect yourself, honey, choose something else.”
Needless to say, I didn’t take seriously her advice, but neither did I study psychology - which I don’t regret, mostly because the way they teach it in my country doesn’t resonate with me at all.
However, for one reason or the other, I remembered what she said. I guess I remembered it because there was a big chunk of truth within her words and somewhere beneath my pride, I knew it. My heart was wide open for a long time. Soon enough I learned that that is not a way to live in this cold, mindless, unconscious world. I hurt a lot, I felt everything too much and I closed my heart. I did it consciously and willingly, I believe. I decided I’d become cold and untouchable, nobody will ever hurt me again, nobody will ever again see my vulnerable insides. I will train myself out of my sensitivity, out of my authentic, childlike, curious and creative self, because it is too hard to cope with the everyday life while being that open. I will use various substances to kill each and every last bit of that part of me that feels, that trusts, that loves, that is vulnerable, open and light.
Guess what happened?
I felt safer, stronger, almost invincible at the beginning and at the same time the pain inside of me as the consequence of being inauthentic grew and grew. I got more and more depressed, got on medication, therapy, all that stuff... got kind of better, but... My heart stayed closed and fearful for a few more years. Actually, I feel that I let it open again, moved to the sides the heavy curtains that were blocking the light form coming in, only this past summer.
It is easy to get used to the life with a closed heart and forget what it feels like to be open, how much more magic reaches us, how much more joy, curiosity and excitement we feel, but their opposites as well.
Living with an open heart is an act of courage. It is the most beautiful and the scariest thing of all. Naturally, when we feel pain, betrayal, disloyalty or dishonesty, we tend to close our hearts, block the emotion from coming in, protect ourselves from the suffering, when what we should do is the opposite - keep our hearts open, feel that emotion, embrace it, be present with it and let it pass. Don’t close your hearts. No matter what. Stay present, feel what asks to be felt, and open it a bit more. ‘Cause there is no pain as the one that comes when we live with our hearts closed and that pain is the most subtle and the quietest one of all, sucking away our joy, enthusiasm and compassion, emptying us without us even being aware of it.
I’m writing this both for you and for myself, as during the last week I felt the greatest gifts of being open, I felt so much love, pleasure, connection and compassion - and I felt the other end of the spectrum as well, that showed up so quickly and unexpectedly, filling me up with bitterness, sadness and resentment towards the person that hurt me with their words. However, when I became aware of what was happening inside of me, I took a step back and made a decision to choose again. I decided to breathe deeply, cry it all out and then fill my heart with love, compassion and understanding - both for myself and the other person that wronged me, as they themselves must be in great amount of pain for acting the way they acted. I opened my heart a bit more, filled it with light and warmth and send blessings to the other person, hoping that my decision to stay open and receive their pain with compassion and understanding will somehow serve them and help them heal their hearts as well.
Love you. Stay open, friends.