Friday, February 18, 2011

[ like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow ]

I've been experiencing a weird phenomenon the past six months, and I wanted to sit down this morning and sort it out.

My heart hurts.

But not in an emotional, heart-broken way.  And not in a physical, angina way either.

I can't think of a good word to explain the feeling.  This is probably what distresses me most of all; as someone who puts a word to everything, it bothers me that there isn't a simple concept to explain what I'm feeling.

I experience a sense of my sternum being too tight, as if something inside is trying to expand.  It is a physical sensation which could be described as discomfort, although I don't find it upsetting or painful.

I also perceive that something is happening outside my skin as well as inside - as if whatever is trying to expand is attempting to join something directly on the other side of my breastbone.

It is very weird.

It happens at very specific moments, in specific situations and under specific emotional conditions, which makes me think that it does not have a physical origin.  It happens in worship.  It happens when I'm around friends.  It happens when I pray.  It happens when I look at Kristi.

So I think it has a spiritual nature, whatever it is.

Some of you know that my mom is a Healing Touch practitioner.  As such, she has studied a lot of Eastern medicinal practices, including the chakras - a Hindi word for the "force centers" controlling the body.

There is a chakra over the sternum.  Called the heart chakra.

Now I am generally wary of getting too far into the chakra stuff, because I have secret orthodox tendencies.  (It comes from being a rule girl.)  But I have seen it be effective for my dad, and I trust my mom, so I read into it further.  

At first I was disappointed because the bulk of information on the heart chakra and its opening depends on spiritual effects rather than physical.  As far as physical effects go, all that I found was "You will feel a sensation."  Cheaters.

But the spiritual effects:

"When your heart centre is properly balanced, you will feel at ease with yourself and with other people. You will understand others and accept them for who they are. You will also fully accept yourself and appreciate who you are.  You will easily understand the pain and joy of other people – you will feel it in your heart. Furthermore, you will know whether people lie or are honest with you. You will also become a more caring, joyous and appreciative individual."  Heart Chakra Opening, Balancing, and Clearing

"When our heart chakra is truly open, we have the experience of the woven-ness of reality. We are not as separate as we seem. When another person is in pain, we have the knowledge of their need, and may respond to it appropriately."  The Joys and Pitfalls of Being an Empath


Because this is how I feel when this experience happens.  I don't live this constantly - not even close - but in the short moments when it feels like my chest is too small to hold my heart, this is exactly how I feel.

I feel connected to everyone.  I look around the chapel, or the cafeteria table, or at Kristi, and all I can feel is love and compassion and connectedness.  I feel loved and accepted.  Everyone's face shines with the image of Christ.

This does not stick.  There are lots of people who I look at in that moment and love, who annoy the crap out of me later in the day.  I am not dwelling in love constantly (not at this point in time, anyway). 

Yet the writer in me needs something to express what is going on in those unpredictable, spontaneous moments of unconditional, compassionate love.

But, to say that I'm "opening my heart chakra" is a bit co-optive.  I'm trying to be more cautious about the Christian tendency to pick up anything from the surrounding cultures that "works" and, knowing very little about its actual meaning, baptize it into a Christian practice.

And I believe whatever is happening to my heart is Christian; that is, it comes from the G-d revealed in Christ.

I've been turning over different phrases in my head, trying to find a way to express what's going on (even if only to myself).  Heart warming?  Heart rending?  Heartache?  A tug at the heartstrings?  Bleeding heart?  All of these get at something that I'm experiencing, but because they have other connotations for me, they don't work.  

As a distraction last night from trying to figure this out (or, y'know, chugging away at the hundreds of pages assigned for next week), I went through my YouTube favorites and sorted them into lists.  (I'm sure this will be useful at some point in the future.)

I'm a sucker for the It Gets Better videos, partly because I love my little queer brothers and sisters and want them to be well, partly because it did get better for me, and partly because I'm still living into a better life.

And I'm especially a sucker for Katy Perry's "Firework."  The rest of her body of work I can take or leave, but when the "big" girl decides to jump in the pool with the rest of her friends?  and the guy getting mugged has birds shooting out of his coat?  and the scene where everyone's running around in the square with fireworks shooting out of their chests and dancing in unison?  Call me a sap (because I am) but I get teary every time.

So - 

like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow

I think my heart glows.


1 comment:

  1. I think your heart glows because G-d loves you and you love people.