Chances are, you will never heal all your wounds, nor are you meant to. Perhaps they are to be faithful companions on your journey, worthy friends guiding you, reminding you of compassion and humility, and acting as an acutely sensitive barometer shooting aches and pains through you when you are not aligned in truth, or pushing too hard. Indeed, a necessary amount of trauma may just be necessary for all of us if we are to stay grounded in our humanity, and if we are to serve others in their path of healing and opening to the rawness of living in the unfathomable paradox of light and dark we endlessly wander through together.
Slowly I’m coming to terms with this, with my own physical stress and frailty. Whether it is my stomach cramps, gall bladder tightness, or, especially, my heartache that shoots down my left arm, as much as I would like these companions to go away permanently, this may not be the higher order at hand. My mind sifts through further alternative healing and lifestyle strategies to strengthen my heart; it frantically searches for ways to make it “better”, to make it what the fearful, survivalist side of me wants it to be. Yet, my wise soul gently intercedes in my desperation reminding me that while certain choices will help me better live with these pains, I cannot live without them, not entirely. There is a gift in my heart’s tenderness, an unheralded sacredness, a small yet resounding gateway broken open allowing me to perceive and relate to life in a way that could not be otherwise without my traveling traumas.
The fracture of my heart is central, affecting all other areas of my body. I was told by a wise healer of the night that the deepest wound is to the human heart, and that all other pain stems from this wound. That wound having come from tragedies inflicted on me when only a small boy, my heart terrified, torn apart, to be forever un-mended.
Yet, through this fracturing of the heart and the continual journey into its dark painful valleys, the world as I knew and perceived increasingly fractured as well, forever changing me, and my relationship with others, and the land I walk on. Hard heavy pains of humanity are now felt as my own, as if I am carrying some of them for those too lost to know their own persistent and tiring story, for those too under the spell of chasing false hope through the maze of human distraction and ambition. My heart breaks for them every day even more as I move further into the dark unknowns of my tender heart. I walk this earth differently for them, opening, humble, my busy head bowing ever so slightly towards ground, towards my un-mended heart.
Yet, amongst my heartache, I find growing flickers of joy as well entwined with my grief. Together they move almost as one, dancing an ancient dance, interweaving in mysterious union. And in this confluence of feeling that is my heart center I become more fully alive, my hands outstretched to those quietly yearning for a place of belonging, that place that so reverently lies within.
Those who dare to find their truth and joy will not find it on the horizontal playing field of life where all who seem to know what is best tell you to seek your fortune. The great heights one longs for are not found in any church, skyscraper, football field or mountaintop, but rather in the dark depths of unfelt grief you carry with you, and that you circle around so deftly.
This dark shadow is your sacred inheritance carried forth from your ancestry, from those who, like most, could not find the means to turn themselves inwards towards their brokenness, to the hardships of living on this earth, face-to-face with the immense pain and struggle endured for millennia.
This inheritance is not a burden, but rather a blessing, if you make it so. A burden is for those who fail to live in direct honesty and contact with their pain, their darkness. While for those who care to begin the long journey through the valleys of their interiority, they find themselves blessed by their heart-wrenching humaneness, how it opens them to life, to mystery, to the ever-spiraling dance of light and dark longing to move freely and fully in our hearts.
Until this fluid feeling state is experienced the burden of separation is our reality, separating us from others as we go about our days as if none of this even exists. Yet the union we so long for and that is the ultimate source of our joy is only found by joining hands with the pain and sorrow and anger and shame and ugliness carried in our hearts.
This is the direction each of us will eventually have to move. It is a timeworn invitation waiting to be accepted by all soul travellers. Avoiding it, not tending to our un-mendable heart, we forfeit the opportunity to live integrated and radiantly alive, and with the possibility of serving others who stand on the far edges of their tenderness.
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Check out Vince’s book: Wild Empty Spaces ~ Poems for the Opening Heart