HeartLight

By Leigh  Randolph, M.S., D.D.S.

 

We often define ourselves by how we think about things, what we think about, and how we solve problems. Each of those aspects is important to how we function in the world, and how we manage our daily lives. What are your thoughts about the upcoming election? What do you think about your job or the significant people in your life?

What happens when you think about a sunrise, or maybe one of your favorite childhood memories? What if that’s not the right question? When you stand at daybreak watching patterns of clouds and colors change as a new day dawns, and the world begin anew, how do you feel? When you happen on a favorite childhood memory and you see images in your mind’s eye, recall smells and tastes and tactile memories stored in your brain, how do you feel? Are you as comfortable with your feelings as you are with your thoughts?

Most of us are not. The culture that we live in is left brain, analytical and logically oriented. That orientation has given us an expansive encyclopedia of science and its technology, mathematics, our legal system, and western medicine to name a smattering. As we have made technology and rational thought our religion it has brought us health issues whose etiology is the stress in our lives and our inability to honor our own feelings.

The Buddha said “The way is not in the sky, the way is in the heart”, and yet, our mechanistic view of the world has led us to a highly developed intellect and a forgotten spiritual heart. That pattern keeps an important part of who we are, hidden. What must we do to let the light in our heart out into the world?

 Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and kills more women these days than breast cancer. The research around breast cancer has shown a significant correlation between the incidence of right breast or left breast tumors and unresolved emotional issues with the patient’s father (right) or mother (left). It is unfortunate that the same kind of work hasn’t happened to acknowledge heart disease and the unresolved pain of a broken heart. We live so much in a world that demands proof and logic that we don’t often allow ourselves space in life to check in with our difficult emotions and feelings. Those feelings include the leftover ache from difficult decisions where there was no easy choice for right or wrong, the pain of ended relationships that couldn’t last for some reason, and include the flare of anger - either inward or outward when we express the anger, but don’t stop to ask ourselves why we feel it, or the real meaning behind those feelings.

Hindus, the Huichol of Mexico, and other indigenous tribes use the deer as the animal symbol to represent the heart. The Huichol call themselves the People of the Deer, and are a peace loving tribe dedicated to healing both body and soul. They understand both aspects of our nature as beings on this planet.

So how do we bridge the shade that keeps us from our feeling nature?  Carl Jung said “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart”.  Our thoughts are important, but when we live only in our head, our heart aches not from emptiness, but from the fullness of a lifetime’s pain unexpressed and unhealed. That ache keeps us from fully experiencing life because part of us is still caught in the pain of the past. Sometimes folks deny the pain completely and continue to recreate that ache because they are caught in a loop and don’t know how to let those feelings be a part of their growth, rather than the scratch in the lens through which they view their world. It is a fine line to walk, because we can rationalize our way into logic (“Get over it, life goes on.....”) as easily as we feel sorry for ourselves and get caught in the powerless version of a story.

The difficult part of the journey for most of us is that thinking about the pain doesn't resolve it. It is important to make space in our lives - moments, hours, or whatever is needed to feel in our bodies where we have stored that pain. It is also important to make that space to honor those difficult feelings. Jalla al-Din Rumi offered:

There is a way between voice and presence

 Where information flows,

In disciplined silence it opens.

With wandering talk it closes.

The willingness to honor the pain and the grief allows space for healing, as does acknowledging that some choices in life are difficult.

When we can sit in stillness and allow that information to be shared within ourselves we honor who we are and healing begins to happen. With that opening we begin to let in the light to find out how those experiences have made space for growth and deeper personal experiences as our accumulated wisdom has become more profound. By feeling that pain as a powerful lesson that increases the wattage of our own light, we illuminate and lessen our own burden bringing greater light to a world deeply in need of healing.

 

Leigh Randolph, D.D.S, M.S. is a Board Certified Endodontist who has a private dental practice and teaches dentistry at The Ohio State University. She is a certified Visionary Craniosacral Work™ practitioner, Holistic Coach™, Reiki Master, and Family Constellation Facilitator.