Tomorrow is my 41st birthday. Every year I ask the Universe for something special, not the kind of gift from the mall. I want a Wowzer that only the Infinite could conjure up. This morning I took some quiet time and asked what is it that I really want. What is my desire this year? I instantly felt a squeeze in my chest. My heart felt tight. Oh that. (gulp). Okay, I guess it’s time. That silly heart-thing wants attention. Oh I guess you could call it my defended heart, buttoned up tight to keep me safe. It’s now pounding as I type. It’s kinda nervous about receiving attention & feeling vulnerable. See, it’s had this healthy protection around it ever since I was little.
I found this picture of little Katie wearing her HUG ME shirt. And this morning I have been hugging her heart -my heart-our heart, and um, just letting some tears flow since the Universe pointed me here earlier. Her hard shell is softening, those defensive walls not really serving me anymore are starting to unwind. But it all kind of hurts, in a weird-good way.
The truth is, I’ve been at this heart thing for a while. The sensations continue to get louder and UN-ignoreable. Last year, I even got an echocardiogram, everything looked good medically, but my heart still feels uncomfortable, like it’s wearing its own mini HUG ME T-shirt that is way too tight. Squeezed.
Yesterday, the universe brought in a client who shared that her life was absolutely flowing with awesomeness: she’s found her soulmate, her career is thriving, her relationship with her kids is the best it’s ever been- “I didn’t know life could be this great!”. Her energy session was beautiful too, there wasn’t anything to “fix”. Overhwhelmingly massive amounts of love and grace flowed into her, and cracked me open along its path. She was so open to allowing the universe to LOVE HER that my heart was like, “I want what she’s having.” After she left, glowing and bubbly, I realized that I, too, have an amazing life, yet I don’t let myself feel the full extent of it’s abundance. That would be too much. This funny little organ in my chest can’t quite take all that in. It’s got a too-tight limit on what’s gonna feel okay. It’s just plain scared to feel all that goodness.
Here’s the funny thing: usually we KNOW we’re not feeling how we want to feel. Some of us might say affirmations about how we want to be (or think we should be). Yet our bodies typically don’t respond to this intellectual idea of change. The primitive brain doesn’t process to “thought data”, it responds to movement via sensations & experiences, actual things our bodies feel themselves. So when we begin to invite change into our lives, (or hearts) we need more oomph than affirmations to unwind our primitive brain’s defended stance. Affirmations do help us shift our awareness to get there though, especially when they are charged with a frequency our body can feel and interpret- but more on that in another post.
Our nervous systems are designed with exquisitely complex, wise, and deeply ingrained patterns of keeping us “safe”. We inherited these patterns as little fishy fetuses in our mom’s womb. The nervous system begins developing as one long brain stem- a nodochord- like the brain of a reptile, or fish. This long, tubey brain gets imprinted with a tribe mentality of “this is how we survive in life”. This is in our mom’s body. It is completely unconscious, we are born with it, and it stays with us and can frustrate the hell out of us as we try to experience flow, manifesting, and love and wonder why, at a deep physical level, we “just don’t feel it”.
Well, we have to teach our bodies HOW to feel it. It does takes a little practice to develop the ability to be present with ourselves. Our bodies must feel US THERE ie: “I’m right here little body”. This is similar to how a mother’s attention and presence allows her little ones to feel enough safe to detach and explore, knowing that mom is right there watching. As adults, in order to expand into our full potential, and out of the “tribe” we were born into, feeling safe is a fundamental step. It is this primary relationship of feeling ourselves with ourselves- in our bodies, that creates that safety. (How many lifetimes does it take of just learning to BE in these wild human bodies?) Oy.
Oh but it gets even better, and sometimes suckier! Ha! See once we’re all present with ourselves, then we actually have to feel what’s there. AHH! Here’s my inner dialog with my squeezy heart sensations: “Shit. Really? I have to go there? Fuuuuuck, I might die. My heart literally might explode. I don’t want to. Where is my chocolate?”. It feels like a plunge, a deep dive. I literally have to phsych myself up, and if you’ve worked with me, you know what I’m talking about – that big inhale before you go there. Vulnerability! The messy skill of emotional processing. It’s scary to feel what might kill you, swallow you, or crack you open.
Yet so worth it. Isn’t that why we’re here? to have an experience of LIFE?
So yeah, my heart might completely burst, if I really let myself feel all of the good and love in my life. All that love for just little ol’ Katie? Yikes, no way I deserve that much love, it can’t be safe to feel that, someone will be jealous, it will never be real, I’ll get hurt, too good to be true, it’s naive… My tribal-sense of self/limited mind is flippin’out- it is going to get rocked, and it knows it! Current symptoms = heart pounding, dizzy, nauseous. Go defenses! They are in full gear- trying to tell me STOP you crazy woman, you will DIE! But it’s my birthday. I’m friggin 41. I’m not going to stay small and tight. I am going to f’in FEEL all that my soul came here on earth to feel. I don’t want to be afraid of too much LOVE. I want the universe to HUG ME to open to life.
I want to add, that while I’ve shared an internal process, it’s taken a tremendous amount of external support from practitioners and teachers to help me understand and get courageous enough work with my (silly-sneaky) defended-self. Would you like support to explore some new territory? Check out our upcoming Galactic Priestess Deep Dive Program. I’ll personally be diving more into my heart during the program. But I wonder what wants to expand in and through you? Take the plunge with me!