Bravery can take on many forms. From raising your eyes to meet the stranger’s gaze at the coffee shop, to asking out your friend’s friend you just spent the last 30 minutes talking to.
What is the risk factor with these types of things? What are you risking? Rejection? Unrequited affection? How do we come alive through these experiences?
I raise my eyes and feel a jolt of curiosity from the stranger, which connects me with my inner feeling navigation. My heart pounds while I decide to move the friendly discussion into one of potential further contact. I feel.
In relationships, marriages and deep friendships, do we let ourselves feel as much as is available to us? Or do we measure out what we are able to “handle” each day? Do we limit ourselves through the mind attempting to “control” what sensations we take in? Do we remain in patterns, closing our eyes to our own lack of bravery?
When I ask you to open your heart, I am asking you to see where you have imposed limits on yourself. Where you have kept yourself small and contracted, both internally and externally, in order NOT to feel. As children, we learned what parts of ourselves were rejected. As adults, we consciously practice breathing into these falsehoods to allow ourselves to break free from the shackles of limitation and self-doubt.
To open your heart, be your own teacher. Tune into your inner and outer experiences and risk exploring the unknown territory there.
When I ask you to open your heart, I am asking you to feel all that is inside of you and between you and your world.
How is this risk different than talking to a stranger?
We all have levels of comfort with exposing ourselves to others. To open our hearts, we must expand the feelings we let into our experiences. So that we let go of the reins, the control valve, we saw off the water spigot at the source and stop regulating the hot and cold. The feelings flow freely, even indiscriminately, at times.
When we open our hearts, we first notice how much we feel—all the time. Our hearts may be new to this practice and will be tender and sore. As we keep our hearts open, we feel so much! Tumbling emotions competing for our attention. Watch your attachment to understanding, the desire to point fingers. Let it go, all of it.
Risk feeling so much that instead of tracking and categorizing the sensations, you become so overwhelmed that you must release the mind’s hold on understanding.
Risk floating on your feelings, like waves. Rest your head back into the water, take a deep breath to fill your body with prana and let your body undulate with the ebb and flow.
This is so vital, even more so when in deep connection with our lovers, friends and family members. So many of us are used to the talking through “problems” with our partners. Rather than externalizing our feelings, blaming or projecting our experience onto our loved ones, come back to your own heart.
Are you opening your heart as fully as you can? Are you feeling your edges? Where do you shut yourself down? Cut off or limit yourself to the terror of fully-feeling?
Your being wants to know itself as LOVE. To do this, you have opportunities, over and over, to make the choice to stay with the sensations in your body, to not move away out of discomfort. To detach from the drama of your mind’s story concocted in the innocence of childhood.
Risk staying connected to yourself through your desire to disengage while feeling all your big feelings: anger, confusion, shame, guilt, jealousy, fear. And for many of you, it can actually be a harder practice to do when feeling “positive” emotions like being truly seen or known, being loved in all your facets, or being forgiven.
Risk breaking free from your own self-imposed limitations to feel the largeness of life, of your exquisite Self calling out for expression.
This is how you are LOVE in the world.