Over the past year, I have been a monthly guest author on Chris The Story Reading Ape‘s blog. Chris says he will continue his guest author series for as long as authors wish to participate.
Thank you, Chris, for your ongoing support and generosity.
This is my latest guest post. Hope you enjoy ❤
Let Us Keep Our Hearts Open
It is easy to close our hearts; not so easy to keep them open. Or so it seems …
When we experience emotional pain, a common human response is fight or flight. Become angry or shut down. Neither of these reactions solves anything, and both can cause serious health problems if sustained over time.
Fear is the culprit in any action or reaction that is not love-based. It obscures awareness and keeps us ignorant of its deleterious effects. It constricts our bodies, imprisons our minds, catapults our emotions, and darkens our spirits. When trapped in fear, it is impossible to keep our hearts open.
If we close our hearts to one, we close them to all. Open is open and closed is closed. At one time, this was a difficult concept for me to get my head around. I thought I could open and close my heart at will, as easily as I removed and replaced the lid to the peanut butter jar. I soon learned how utterly deceptive this was. I began to feel as if I were zip-tied to a revolving door.
A husband and wife are furious with each other. Unaware of the discord, their daughter approaches them and asks for $20. Neither one hears her above the internal argument they are having with one another. The daughter asks again but is refused. She raises her voice and says, ‘What’s the big deal? It’s only $20!’ One of her parents reacts by slapping her hard across the face. Immediately contrite, the parent apologizes for behavior that was clearly out of character.
When storming in anger, simmering in blame, or smoldering in hurt, the heart automatically begins to close. This is a defense mechanism that frequently backfires, hurting not only the victim of our troubling emotions, but ourselves as well. The oftener we close our hearts, the nearer our subconscious moves toward believing this is the way we want to be in the world. Since the role of the subconscious is to serve, it will do all in its power to manifest this belief.
A politician unfit to serve is elected to high office. The people soon realize that his ignorance and egoism make him a dangerous head of state. They are inundated daily by media coverage of his prejudicial claims and wild assertions. They cannot turn off the news for fear he might do something perilous. They cannot remove him from office without an ‘Act of Congress.’ They live in fear of his rash judgments and loathe his narcissism. Soon, they begin to loathe the man himself and close their hearts to him. This impacts all of their relationships, because they are left having to switch tracks with every encounter. And derailment is a constant danger.
Is it possible to be angry with or despise someone while keeping our hearts open to them? The answer is yes. Doing so, however, requires separating the person from the behavior. Accept the person, loathe the behavior. This might be a laborious task, for example, in relation to the above-mentioned politician; but it is not impossible. The question we each need to ask ourselves is: Do I want fear to infect my spirit and rule my life? All negative emotion is fear-based. When fear is at the helm, the mounting storm goes unnoticed.
Remembering to separate the person from the behavior requires daily practice. Sometimes it is demanded; and sometimes it is demanded moment by moment. The heart closes only when the soul no longer recognizes itself in another.
It is okay to feel angry. Feelings are raw and arise unedited. It is okay to rant and rave with like-minded friends and associates. Verbal expression is a release valve for pent-up emotion. It is okay to . . .