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Are the Doors of Your Heart Open?

WIth all the pain, confusion, hatred, anger, trauma, and more gracing the headlines seemingly more than ever, it can be really enticing to close off your heart to keep from being affected by the state of the world. But here's why that's not a long term solution.


wooden open sign with gold letters in the window of a white brick building

I think one of the biggest mistakes a Sensitive—HSP, Empath, or Introvert— (or anyone for that matter) can make is attempting to not be affected by the world. (🙋🏼‍♀️ it me. I’ve tried it!) It’s simply is not in our constitution to not be affected by the world. So if we can’t escape it, why not embrace it? Figure out how to use it as a superpower. Otherwise, trying to shut out anyone and everything that rubs you the wrong way, freaks you out, or does life differently than you is going to make you absolutely bat-shit crazy and miserable, and deny yourself of living the fullness of life. 


Irritations Abound


Here’s the deal: life includes irritations. Exhibit A: the mosquito. But seriously, if you’re getting stuck in a negative feedback loop because something in your life isn’t running as perfectly as you planned for it to, it’s time to pause, take a deep breath, and look at why this is triggering you so badly. (yes, I’m still writing for myself here, too!)


Perhaps us Sensitives were made to be sensitive so that we could truly learn how to do deep self-care and put our own needs first, especially in the midst of things going wrong, or off-kilter. Food for thought. 


It is quite the challenge for those of us wired (or programmed) to have our attention on our environment and those around us to bring our attention inward, let alone prioritize our own wellbeing. But that’s where the work is for us.


Looking at Triggers is Empowering


Looking at triggers is empowering, because it makes us take a step out of helplessness, and unless you’re commitment to being a victim of life, you’re going to be relieved to stop feeling so helpless. Will that solve the issue 100% of the time? probably not, but it shows you what is yours to do about it, and that’s where we can take our power back.


All I know is I don’t wanna go around living my life with my hands up in defense feeling like a victim of the world. Fear-based living is not true living. Liberate yourself to feel. Learn how to modulate how much you feel at any given time, and learn what your system needs to recuperate from being affected by the world. That’s where working with a therapist or coach can come in handy.


Remember to Remember


Remember to remember the most important thing: it’s all good. It’s all life. It’s all we signed up to come here and experience. Laugh at the illusion of powerlessness, you kinky little human you. Or enjoy the sensation while it’s there. Remember Rumi’s Guest House poem—it’s all a part of life!!


If the Doors of Your Heart Are Closed…


Plus, your ability to feel love deeply is directly correlated to your ability to feel pain. In other words, when we block the pain, we block the love, and our hearts harden, grow barbed wire around the outside, and NOTHING can get in…not even love. That may sound like a brilliant temporary fix when you’re simply out of capacity, but long term, it will absolutely negatively affect your physical and emotional and even mental health. If you’ve watched A Man Called Otto, or any movie where a grumpy elderly person has lost the love of their life after 50+ years together, then you have an idea of what this looks like. The sad thing is, though, that people of all ages are closing down their hearts from the traumas they’ve experienced.


I”m not saying it’s easy to feel the painful emotions; it’s not. But I’m saying it’s valuable, and it’s worth it, to be able to open up to love. So take a moment and notice what your own heart is open to, and what it is closed to, and see if there’s room for it to open any wider. For in my humble opinion, in this day and age where war and rampant hatred for the “other” seem to be swallowing up humanity, it is the people with their hearts still open, still able to pour love where it’s needed, who will save this world. More hearts open = more love going around to counter the hate. 


I don’t have the solution to fixing the world’s problems, but I can offer you this if you’re wondering what you can do to make a difference with love:


  1. Let yourself feel to the depth that you have capacity for in the moment. Give yourself 5 min a day (or more!) to have a meltdown and let the grief, anger and confusion flow. Then offer yourself #2.

  2. Offer Metta (LovingKindness)—most importantly, to yourself (you know, put the oxygen mask on yourself 1st before you assist others) and then offer it to the people that you know are suffering. Then offer it to the  strangers that you see are suffering. Then offer it to the people who are causing the suffering. Yes, I know, only do it if you feel up to it. And remember, hurt people hurt people. They need a blast of love too to shake them out of their negative actions.

  3. Remember the serenity prayer. You can only do what you can do. And nobody can single handedly save the entire world.

  4. Take heart with this writing from Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes:

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

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