Opening a Wounded Heart

I was reminded of my brother just the other day, and then I found this writing from a few years back:

A few hours ago I looked down at my phone to see confirmation for the movie tickets I'd ordered for my daughter Ellie and I. The date catches my eye... June 19, 2015. 

June 19, wow. Exactly a year ago my now ex-husband and I took Ellie to see the latest kid movie. As we came out of the theater I was oddly filled with a sense of dread and doom. Something very big was impending but I didn't know what. I couldn't shake the feeling. Scott and Ellie went to bed and I stayed up to explore what had come over me. I felt called to get a message to the man who raised me, Kurt. He had been deceased some years. It felt urgent. I called him in and began to stress to him that he go to his son (my younger brother Matthew). I had a deep knowing that Matt needed him. I pleaded that he go and stay with him.  I wasn't sure why all this was coming in now, as Matt had been lost in his addiction for many years. I thought perhaps it was just divine timing at play and my brother may be ready for some revelations about his drinking. And who better guide him than his father, who had the same struggle in his earthly form? I let that be that and went to sleep. 

The next morning as I pulled up to drop Ellie at summer camp the call came in. My mother was gasping for breathe on the other end. She couldn't get the words out. "Matt's dead" I blurted out. She was able to get out a yes. 

A full year has passed and me and my life have undergone some pretty intense transformation. It is fascinating how loss can jolt us awake. Get your sh*t together!  My higher self was trying to get my attention. My consciousness was telling me to wake up and stop taking each day for granted.  Stop being a victim, stop blocking growth, stop fearing your true authentic being! All these signs were flying towards me that I was not fully honoring my path. I knew that moving forward would mean pain and struggle but also knew that staying stuck had a much higher price tag. In fact it wasn't even an option anymore. I had a reason for being here, in this body, in physical form, and it was time to get down to it, no more stalling!

The lessons and opportunities for growth have been plenty. Shadow aspects pushed aside for years begin to rise to the surface to be heard and released. Embracing one's truth and allowing it to emerge without diversion can be serious gut wrenching work. To sit in extended periods of true loneliness and not collapse under the instinct to go merge with someone, anyone else in order to alleviate the discomfort is a daily test of will. 

Many questions arise. How does one really know when they are ready for a relationship? How do they know they are not? How do we push past our fears of being vulnerable?  

We want more than anything to be truly seen and heard and yet when someone shows up to do just that we sometimes panic. We distance, close up, push away. Those of us who are partnered or married can just as easily relate to this. Do we stay because the relationship is still providing something we need? Or do we stay because we are too afraid of the unknown? These questions are possible with any of our relationships, not just within romantic contexts. 

For the twentieth time in a year someone suggested I read Michael Singers' The Untethered Soul. I finally got around to it last week and it was immediately life changing. 

Running through the park on Wednesday I started to feel it. Powerful emotions were trying to make their way through me. Things that were clearly very old. 

That's the thing about movement, it can very often unearth those things we try to keep suppressed. For years I have lived more in my mind than my body. Part of my keeping my own heart safe included building walls and checking out of my heart, my body. Anytime I have started to dismantle the walls, old fears come racing in. The fears of not belonging to myself, of losing myself too much in the wants, desires, longings of others. Fears of rejection, abandonment,  entrapment or being misunderstood. 

I stopped on a bridge, knelt down and a wave of deep sadness overcame me. The tears began to flow. 

All at once moments collected in memory were swirling around and through me. Flashes of my father, my brother, past partners.  I could see for the first time with some clarity that they hurt me because their hearts were wounded. They were not open. They could not truly see or validate me because they didn't even have access to what they were feeling. They were closed and in all my pain I had learned to wall myself off too. Reject before you are rejected! Run before someone can abandon you! 

In started to come visions of my male clients over the years desperately wanting to know- Why can't I feel? How do I open my heart? Why do I always feel so numb? How do I share with my girlfriend how I feel when all I feel is nothing?

I started to see it all with compassion for them and for myself. And in the seeing I was able to surrender and let go. I began to release the traumas. I began to feel lighter. I began to see my path ever more clearly. That I must hold space for others as they figure it out. That we might explore what lies buried behind wounded hearts together. 

I felt my brother, father and grandfather (three generations of Holt men) surround and hold me as if to say we are sorry but we've got you now. It is safe for you to open. It is safe for you to continue to be out in the world loving. Love because it is what you are called to do. Do not worry about whether or not you are loved back. Give to yourself and you won't need to seek it out externally. You can trust. Just keep that heart open! 

Any of us who choose to open our hearts are truly brave. I hear the rewards of doing so far outweigh the risks.