Self exploration requires space, silence and the echo of the internal great void.
It requires that we stop where we are at and get still and listen to the yearnings of the heart -- the beating rhythm of the ever dedicated heart. In a world that values speed, buzziness, productivity, forward movement and accomplishments, slowing down can feel counter intuitive, unproductive and a simple waste of time.
I believe this is one of the main reasons we are so disconnected from self. We have placed to much value on forward movement and not enough on sinking into the spaces in which we currently reside.
We are too busy with a goals and a visions of the future that we have forgotten the meaning of the moment, we have forgotten what the sensations of taste feel like, the pleasure of air entering and exiting our lungs, the feeling of the subtle vibrations of what it means to be human.
We have forgotten that we in fact do not exit in tomorrow, it is only in this moment that we are here and alive.
Perhaps our obsession with accomplishments and forward drive are but an vast addiction to avoidance, for it is in the silent spaces that we feel the vastness of the capabilities of our human hearts. It is in the silent moments of self-exploration that all the feels bubble to the surface, all the joys and the wounds and the excitements and sorrows -- they all bubble up into conscious awareness and for some, it is overwhelming.
I dont know why we do it -- avoid it all in buzziness and suppression. What I do know is that without slowing down, without connecting into the heart we can not know self-love. We can not understand self-care and we can not offer our human selves the level of self-compassion required to find unconditional self-love and forgiveness.
For me, it was through the silent moments that I found what I refer to as ‘the ritual of self-care’ -- my tools that I used with dedication to weed and nourish my self-garden.
As always in the story of this personal journey, it started in therapy with my therapist asking me each and every session to place my hand on my heart, feet planted firmly on the floor, shut the eyes and just simply breathe. The feeling of going from my scattered, self-deprecating thoughts of buzziness and chaos to the simple awareness of the heart beating under my hand took my breath away each and every time.
Each time that I felt the heart under my hand, I cried.
I cried for likely an infinite number of reasons, I cried for the joys I felt and simultaneously for the losses I endured. I cried for the sorrow I felt for ignoring my heart for so many years. I marvled with gratitude at the fucking miracle of the human body. It is a machine that has always blown my mind -- when I think deeply into the mechanics of it all I can not help but journey to the cosmos with awe in my spirit at whatever the hell created all of this complicated, intricate magic.
Each week, sitting in therapy and holding my heart I would realize that no matter how badly I fucked up my week, no matter how off course I fell, or how many wounded self-hating thoughts I battled -- my heart kept beating. No matter how hard it was for me to leave him, no matter how many tears I shed or glasses of wine I drank -- my heart kept beating. It didn't matter if I was “good girl” who diligently worked towards my envisioned ‘finish line’; it didn't matter if I said all the right things, and pleased all the humans in my life -- none of it mattered -- my heart just kept beating.
It was diligent.
It’s ability to beat was not conditional.
It didn't require me to pay attention to it for it to do it’s job.
And I started to learn unconditional love through the example of my heart.
Of course I know and understand that our organs need tender love in order to function optimally. This requires appropriate exercise, thought patters, stress management, sleep hygiene, emotional competency, nourishment in the form of high quality food and more. Of course, if we go on too long abusing our bodies they will in fact fail. They are no different than a plant growing in a garden, requiring a certain level of specific nourishment -- water, sunlight, shade, temperature.
I am certain that had I not stopped and checked in with my emotional and spiritual wellbeing I would have manifest much more problematic health conditions than i had.
I thank my heart deeply for the lessons of unconditional love.
Each time I slow down and connect into the ever-present beating of my divine heart I hear messages. I always ask myself “what does my heart need right now?”; each time a message is delivered -- it is always subtle for me. It is so subtle in fact that it would be easy to ignore. My heart says things like: “rest” or “prayer”. Sometimes I hear nothing but get an impression of what may feel good -- sometimes I know I need to go for a run, or write. Sometimes all I receive when I do my daily check-in is a vast number of tears and overwhelming sorrow. I have learned not to label it or judge it or try to assume even where it came from… I have learned to allow it to move through me. I have learned to cry simply because that is what has shown up. I have also learned that it is imperative that we listen to the message of the heart however subtle, for they are but stepping stones to a greater picture of peace. They may seem in the moment like nothing, but they are the clues to our ability to self-connect and thus to connect with others, our life purpose and the world.