heart with cracks

Look to your Heart!

 February 1, 2017

Ordinary Time

“Look to your heart,” the yoga instructor kept telling me as my eyes rolled back into my head while trying to master shoulder stand.

“Look to your heart and just do it. Don’t let the brain get in the way.” When my eyes went to my brain, I thought I was going to fall. When they went to my heart, I was more balanced. Still my eyes resisted and with good reason. Who really wants to look to their heart? Here I was, trained in pastoral counseling, trained to help others get in touch with their feelings and express them, but I didn’t want to look to my own heart. I tend to live my life from my brain, always thinking, always in control.

I have good reason for not wanting to look to my heart. I’m afraid of what I’ll find there. A heart broken? A heart with numerous holes in it? Empty places where there used to be dreams, promises unfulfilled, holes left by people I have lost in my life. It is far too painful to look to my heart. Better to keep in my head and keep walking. And yet if I do that, I will most certainly fall.

Look to your heart. Easier said than done. Is it any wonder that one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. is heart disease? Our hearts are clogged with plague, unresolved issues built up of hurt, anger, frustration, despair. We don’t allow the blood to flow freely through the heart but clog it with feelings left unsaid, bitter words said in anger, held onto to our death.

When younger, I thought that to speak of a “broken heart” was just a figure of speech. Now as an adult I know that is not true. A heart truly can be broken, you feel the hurt in your chest. I know because I have felt it in the past, but I don’t want to look at it. I prefer to ignore it and hope it will go away. Look to your heart. Do you realize what you are asking? To look at our center where we are most vulnerable, most hurt. And yet in doing so we find balance. We can live with the hurts of old wounds as well as the fresh wounds that life continues to dole out. Our heart can expand and grow stronger. We may be surprised at our own capacity to love.

To live is to be open to hurt. To grow in love is to grow in our ability to hold hurt in our hearts that we might have compassion. It is to feel for thousands of ordinary people killed in a tragedy in a third world country or our own country, as well as feel compassion for that irritating co-worker.

Look to your heart. They were made for breaking. They were made to feel compassion and to hurt. They were made for love.

I will give them a new heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the stony heart from their bodies, and replace it with a natural heart.     Ezekial 11:19


This post is part of a series of reflections on the Church year.  click here to follow blog

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