... Or "How The Heart Is The Center of Healing
I wrote last time about the Heart and the Heart Protector (Pericardium), and how I see them function in healing. The Heart provides access to our center, to our essence, and the Pericardium protects us. It is a sweet union, but one that is profoundly affected by pain... specifically the pain of feeling heart-broken.
Even though the Heart collects some pretty intense pain, it also holds the path to healing. The electro-magnetic fields of the Heart are a great beacon, a shining light, for a return to happiness and vitality. I'm not saying it's an easy road, that it's all skipping and giggles, but I am saying that it's where I often begin... with myself and with clients. Because it's powerful.
The electromagnetic field of the heart is created by the flow of the electrical signals from the top to the bottom of the heart. This flow of electrical potential creates a donut shaped electromagnetic field around the heart organ. The "donut shape" is known as a torus. This is measurable and well known. I didn't make this up.
But see... the beauty lies in the fact that the heart is not alone! The heart has an electromagnetic field... but so does the whole body (I'd argue details with the image below that I got from the HeartMath website... but the gist of it is true). Thus, the heart field is nested within the Whole Body Field... and ultimately, the earth has this same magnetic field, so we are each nested within it.
The point is that when we connect with the Heart Field, we can notice how the Heart Field is nested within the Whole Body Field, which is, in turn, nested within the Earth Field. We can then invite into this dynamic, other fields in our bodies.
For instance, red blood cells have this same toroidal shape... and when we invite them into resonance with the Heart Field (and the others) the blood cells shift into a supported and robust form, and carry more oxygen (this is where Western Medicine does not follow me... but I still know it to be true).
In fact, each chakra, each organ, each cell... when invited into resonance with the Heart Field, are able to step a little more into their essence and their full expression of well-being and vitality.
Don't believe me. Try it. Sit quietly. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths. Bring your attention softly to your body. Gather yourself and your energy to you. Relax your shoulders, your neck, your back. Release the tension in your fingers. Notice that you are in relationship with earth... simply because you press down on her surface. Notice that she sends energy back up through you. Breathe into alignment with that energy source. Notice that you are also in relation with spirit... as inspiration and life force bathe you. These energies mingle inside of you, at your heart. It is your sense of center, of essence, of Who You Are, and a sense that your essence is supported, safe, nourished.
The Heart beats softly. Allow the sensation of the energy field of the heart to come into your awareness. It is flowing, regular, steady. This sensation sends the message to the body that all is well. There are measurable physical benefits to this sensation... we can get into that some other time. For now, just know this place.
For practice, you can invite your mind to awareness of your red blood cells, circulating through the body... through the heart. As they flow through the heart send the intention to bring them into alignment with the energy field of the Heart. Feel the desire for deep belly breaths. Give in.
This alignment between Heart Field and Red Blood Cell Fields brings up oxygen in the body. You might experience it as a light tingling... or you may not have a physical sensation of it. Inviting it to your brain will increase clarity, certainty, and alertness. Inviting blood flow to a tense place can begin to unravel the anaerobic conditions created by chronic tightness. It probably won't relieve it completely, as there's a pattern holding tension there... but it can make it bearable for a time.
Play with this... where else could you invite oxygen? What other fields could you invite to resonate with the heart? What is possible when we get to know ourselves so intimately?
The heart is sometimes considered the center of our being. I can see how that’s true, although I’m not sure it’s always true. The essence feels clearest in the heart, as if there’s less translation between Who You Are and the expression of the heart.
Heart energy gets to the core of things (“the heart of the matter”). Because the heart appears to be a relatively clear channel for the expression of one’s essence, it is also a generally reliable reference for one’s truth. I don’t mean universal (or shared) truth, but what we know to be true for us that may or may not be true for others.
The heart is also a secret keeper. It holds tensions and pains deeply, and is generally committed to the pain once the heart agrees to the story that we are broken, unlovable, or lack value. The agreements with these stories are where we have the power to repair our own broken-heartedness. It is not by denying that our past is what it is, but by rewriting the story.
I rarely work directly with the heart, but when I sense tension here we begin to work on the tension itself, beginning somewhere else in the body or in the subtle realms. When I do invoke the heart it is through its ability to serve as a compelling energy center, and so I am always calling on what the heart does well as a place to begin.
The heart is protected by the pericardium, a tissue that surrounds the heart. It protects the heart muscle from infection, physical trauma, prevents friction as the heart beats, and it keeps the moving heart in place. Between the two layers of pericardial tissue is pericardial fluid, which acts as a further buffer against external insult.
In the work that I do, the pericardium has two main functions. First, as above, it is protective. Second, I perceive that the whole body can be mapped onto the pericardium in much the same way that reflexology maps the body onto the feet or hands, and acupuncture maps the body to the ears.
In practice I find that the pericardium can hold a pattern in place that has otherwise been released from the body… or that a pattern will refuse to leave until the map onto the pericardium is addressed. Generally, that means that the pattern has some kind of protective power for the client and that either needs to be released or redirected to a more appropriate place in order to release the pattern.
The prescription of the pericardium is connection. There is a deep longing that can get held within the pericardium for deep and meaningful relationships with others. Being on the outside of important relationship can be held in the pericardium as tension which in turn can affect the heart muscle itself.
Our social atmosphere is far more important than we give it credit for. A nourishing social environment can map itself onto the pericardium as well as a traumatic one. In my opinion, our most radical form of self-care is choosing carefully who we spend our time with... and what we do in that time.
What could the world be like if we considered all of our interactions with others to be a form of self-care?
The other day I had the opportunity to reflect on receiving... for like the millionth time. I was creating content for my Body Wisdom Healing Intensive, Returning to Center... so I had to stick with it even when I couldn't figure out what to say about it. I struggle so much with the concept of receiving.
It's the worst sort of circle... the one where I start with a good intention... receiving happiness, or joy, or a compliment, or really anything at all that feels good... and then I hit resistance. Instead of stepping back and questioning resistance I tend to fight with it... and eventually I lose and end up with my head in my hands wondering how broken you have to be to push away happiness/joy/pleasure.
And then... the Muse opened a channel... and there it was. Receiving isn't easy because PARTS of it aren't easy. Check this out...
Maybe receiving isn't one thing... but many things. Maybe, if I looked at it as separate types of receiving I could find my way. (Note: these are not mutually exclusive categories, and this is a question-posing exercise... I don't have answers... so... um... only keep reading if you are cool with that.)
1. Social: We are interact with others through the giving and receiving of attention. It includes chatting about the weather, social niceties, and small talk.
2. Emotional: This is our sense of connection with others... it can come from social receiving, but includes the sense that we are not alone, that we can see our kindred spirits in others.
3. Mental: This is the transfer of knowledge or information. Generally this happens within our institutions... and it reinforces an established hierarchy. Someone has the knowledge or information and imparts it to someone who does not have it.
4. Spiritual: Our relationship with ourselves and our connection to all other living beings, including that which is bigger than us. The details of HOW you do this is unimportant in this context, what IS important is THAT you have this.
Let me tell you why Spiritual Receiving is my saving grace...
Social, Emotional, and Mental receiving always involves another human being. This creates a situation in which fear is a constant companion. I'm going to venture that all of us have experienced some kind of betrayal, question of our worthiness, or general trauma in these kinds of interactions. If someone else is involved, we simply cannot control the situation such that we can always trust it. It makes receiving, an act of trust, very difficult if there is fear and protection involved.
There is nothing wrong with fear, or protection. Both, when utilized at the appropriate times keep us safe. If we're new to receiving, though, they also keep us from being able to receive.
And then there's Spiritual Receiving. Thank all that is holy. Because this... this is where our receiving is all about us. We have complete control. There is not another unpredictable human in the mix with their own baggage to dump on us... it is just us and spirit.
You can find Spirit lots of places... and whatever gets you connected is perfect... nature, church, an altar, a candle, meditation, prayer... it's all good. Do you know where you find your sense of connection? Where is Spirit? How much time do you spend there?
To be clear, the goal is not to rid ourselves of fear and protection... but for them to stick to their job of blocking danger... not blocking our reception of some of the greatest gifts of connection in our lives.
I know this because this year I'm actively relying on my connection with Spirit to help me clear up confusion in my receiving through relationship. Yes, I said year. It's nowhere near over. It may be stretched before me for many years still. But it's so worth it. I have had such great joy from the connections I'm building as I reach into those vulnerable edges with someone I love and trust... and I come out happier, more connected, and more willing to play on that edge again.
Because I can receive from Spirit, in a way that is safe and trustworthy, I know that I can both have good receiving experiences AND move slowly in relationship with others. This is how I take tiny steps toward big healing. For me it's the easiest way.
While I know it's not uncommon to have an adversarial relationship with your body... I can promise you that idea... that the very thing you can't get away from is out to get you in do you in... isn't supporting your well-being.
When we feel like we're under attack... that something is out to get us... our only safe response is defense and/or counter-attack. At the very least, then, we become defensive about our bodies... wondering when it's going to interfere with our planned life next... preemptively warding off the next thing we're afraid of with supplements, exercise techniques, or diets.
What if your body really loves you? What if it wants to be vibrant and healthy as much as you want it to work for you? What if it is constantly speaking in its own language... telling you what it wants and needs... only for you not to be able to hear it... to have the whims of lifestyle gurus telling you what to do to your own body to whip it into shape - submission - function.
I'm not suggesting that all of the nutritionist - exercise - health coach - foodies are steering you wrong... no. But what would it be like to learn something new about health and to bring it to the body to tell you if it's right for you or not.
I brought raw food to my body and it laughed at me. I understand the argument for raw foods, and I believe in the basic understanding of nutrition around raw food... but my belly wanted NOTHING to do with it. More power to the people that it supports. But it doesn't support me. At least not now.
I have had foods that disagreed with me (dairy)... and I've been able to work through my relationship with them because the problem wasn't about the food but what it represented (mothering)... and now I can eat dairy and have been able to for years.
But how would I have known that was the case - that it was even possible - if it wasn't for my belief that my body loves me and wants us to have a good relationship? What if I hadn't spent years building a relationship with my Body Wisdom so that I could hear these messages?
Our relationships with our bodies are like any other. They are dependent on interaction, support, acknowledgement, love, and persistence. Keep listening. Your body is telling you what and how much it wants to eat, what kind of movement it loves, how much sleep you need, and how your thoughts make it feel. This is our most precious earthly relationship... the one we have with our bodies.
Thank you Earth Mother for this body,
For this gift of motion and manifestation.
With deep gratitude I honor my body,
And I allow us to love one another.
I'm an explorer of inner realms, a pattern observer, and an invitation maker. I believe that healing the world starts within.
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