Joanna Macy, a brave and wise woman, says, "Our heart, when it breaks open, can hold the whole universe."
I feel protective of my heart - sometimes I carry it carefully, like a fragile glass egg, so that it doesn't break wide open. If I let the whole universe in, it will include painful things - a child who is suffering, a friend who is grieving, a government run by people who terrify me.
I feel my heart closing up, tight.
Yet, it is a paradox - when my heart is closed, I don't feel the joy that comes with being open hearted.
When my heart is wide open and full and whole, I include the very real possibility of feeling vulnerable, true. But I also invite the chance for my heart to feel big and round and full and grounded.
In fact, being open hearted is the ONLY way my heart can feel that way.
Keeping my heart closed and tip-toeing around the glass shards....
Throwing my heart wide open, embracing the vulnerability, courageously and whole heartedly taking on whatever comes my way.
It is my choice.
Today, I will wear a red wool Courage Cape and I will practice keeping my heart wide open, with all the messiness that entails.
Being wholehearted is one of the most important elements of slow medicine, for me. And it works.