What’s breaking your heart open? Powerful question and powerful to notice how one little word in this question can completely change the tone of it from “what is breaking your heart?” to “what is breaking it open?”
Meg Wheatley opened the ALIA module “Leader as Shambhala Warrior”, that she co-hosted with Jim Gimian and Gerry Granelli at the beginning of this month, with this question and it was the question I woke up with this morning. Some people answered with what is breaking their heart. Sometimes the response stops there because that is as far as we have come in our understanding of the circumstance we are sitting in. Sometimes it is so fresh we have not yet been able to move on to the next phase.
Meg was really suggesting that what breaks our heart can also break it open and in this place of open heartedness, even when that is about sorrow, we have a greater capacity to act and act with strength and compassion. Her heart is broken about what is happening with the devastation in the gulf as a result of the oil spill and she speaks about this in in this blog posting in YES! An Antidote to Urgency.
In answering the question, I focused on what happens when our heart breaks open. It is this question that most resonates with my journey over the last few years – learning to live into my experience – including and maybe especially my emotional experience, rather than walking through it as if I was going through the motions of some else’s story. I think I tried to just walk through the motions for so long because I was afraid of being overwhelmed by sadness, despair, loneliness and hopelessness. I tried to hold those things at bay and it did nothing to keep life from periodically crashing down around me.
What a difference it makes to notice and acknowledge my experience as I’m in it. Contrary to my fear, it is actually freeing and liberating! This morning I’m noticing how much I’m missing my seven year old son as we begin establishing the rhythm of a separated family. It breaks my heart that he can’t be with me all the time and it breaks my heart open knowing how much I love him, how much he loves me and how much he is loved by others including his father and his father’s family. This is a rhythm and a pattern we will all grow into, served by love.
Over the last five years, an expanded story of my life has been pieced together as information has been unexpectedly revealed to me about my journey, essentially since birth. As I have absorbed all the information, it breaks my heart open to now know how loved, supported and guided I have been from the time I was an infant – even in my darkest days.
All those moments when I reach beyond the physical world and feel my connection with spirit or non-ordinary reality, it breaks my heart open to know there is so much more than our physical bodies and the things we can touch and see. We are supported and loved in ways often beyond our knowing.
When I watch my older children grow into their own life paths and step into the next phase of their lives with both the maturity and immaturity of their age, it breaks my heart open to know that they have strong foundations and love in their lives.
And as I recount all the things that break my heart open, they all come back to love in one way or another – feeling it, accessing it, living it, speaking it. Letting people I care deeply about know that I love them – in how I show up for them and in speaking it aloud from time to time.
My heart is breaking open, more fully and completely every day – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It has shifted the shape of me, my life and my business. Thank you Meg for the question. It lives on in me and in my journey.