What does it mean to have an open heart, and how do you get there? Here is how it happened for me, and why I’m inspired to help others open their hearts and lives.
I have almost always been connected to my emotions. It started in childhood as a survival mechanism: I was tuned to the emotions of those around me so that I would know when to approach them, or when to run! Emotions were my guides for making decisions, for taking action, for almost everything I did.
What I didn’t realize was that being aware of my emotions didn’t mean that my heart was open.
From the age of seven, I was a spiritual seeker. Back then, I didn’t feel connected to my mother or the rest of my family, and so I began a journey of seeking some greater connection and meaning. I explored the abstract ideas of God, Universe, and so on. When I was around 15 years old, my search brought me to the writings of Nietzsche and Carlos Castaneda, and to an examination of Zen Buddhism. At 19, I joined a Sufi dance group and then, finally, a few years later I actually met Castaneda and became one of his students.
Deep spiritual practice opened my whole being to a different way of thinking and seeing the world and myself. It expanded my idea of who I was, and of the possibilities in my life; it awoke my inner resources. I learned to speak a new language, earned a University degree, committed to my practice, became enthusiastic about my work, and started to learn what it means and how to love someone.
Castaneda was the most loving human being I have ever met. He was filled with energy, and was AWAKE. He was not only charismatic, incredibly funny and a true thinker, but he was also a very loving being. He truly cared for his students; he cared for others. He suggested to me that I get out of the “Cult of me, me, me” as he used to sing it, and truly care for another human being.
The “me, me, and me” fixed me to my “old news” story, and tied me to feeling sorry for myself. “Pobrecita,” I thought—no one loves me.
The proposition was, “Can you love someone, truly, unconditionally?” So I made the decision, 20 years ago, to truly open my heart and love unconditionally. That was the first step on a long process that continues unfolding today.
I fell—or actually, stood up—in Love with my dear partner, Miles. At the beginning, it was not easy. I didn’t want to date an Argentine guy, and was filled with so many opinions, judgments, fears an suspicions about his feelings towards me. I have many funny stories about how much I resisted being in partnership with him. The one thing that helped me to stay with it and with him was his unbending presence, which later on I experienced as his unbending love.
When my son was born, I experienced a blast of love, as if a dam that had held so much love suddenly burst open. Through the first years of raising our child and the related challenges, my heart has been continually opening. Opening, opening, opening. Every day gives me the chance to go deeply into my loving.
When someone I love says something that “I don’t like,” I know that I have the choice to “feel hurt and go on the me, me, me path” or to “go deeply into my loving.”
Lately, I have been choosing to go deeply into my ability to love everyone and everything: the parking ticket, the mistake I made at the bank when signing a check, forgiving my “forgettings” and loving each precious moment as it comes, as it flows inside and outside me.
It surprised me at first to discover how much easier it is to be with my heart wide open than to resist love. To keep the heart closed takes tons of energy!
Yes, it is a practice, and it is much more fun to do with other people. We’re so lucky to be with people to share the practice. Thank you to our lovely Path with Heart community for gathering every Sunday so that we can help each other open our hearts!
Are you interested in walking a Path with Heart? I invite you to join our classes, and wish you an open heart in whatever journey you undertake.
I love you all,