“Broken hearts don’t mend while busy surviving, tending to our physical daily needs. It longs for trust, caring, touch. Without these we live a dull painful existence and shrivel up inside”. John Townsend, Hiding from Love
I was recently reminded of life’s elegant ways that she presents lessons. I was playing Peek – A – Boo with my granddaughter as she peered at me through chubby little fingers hiding, thinking I could not see her, she waited for me to call out her name. The game continued, she opened her hands uncovering her face and that’s when squeals of delight burst from the joy of being together. It was such a blissful magical moment. Then, she bounced away, and we were off doing something else.
Hanging out with children offers wonder full ways to practice and remember that we experience our true essence when we are loved and loving. When we feel safe, we open our hearts being present to each moment at hand allowing our whole self to be seen and shine our radiant light. We have this appreciation for children because they have not yet been hurt or frightened enough to learn to neither hide their innocence nor curtail their avid and spontaneous curiosity as they explore their world. There are adults too, who forge through their vulnerability with an open heart to taste all that life has to offer, trusting implicitly that they are safe; we are all attracted and want to bask in that light.
Growing into adulthood, we discover that its not always safe to open so fully as we encounter situations that wound our hearts, some more distressing than others causing confusion, and misunderstandings about life, then we develop ways that protect, and eventually suppress our true self. As our stories unfold we hide in fear and shame, or lash out with resentment and anger, separating ourselves in isolation and loneliness as a way to defend our bruised and aching heart. The mind uses a variety of coping mechanisms and we substitute loving relationships with unhealthy allegiances to work, sports, hobbies, food, sex, shopping, religious activity, drugs or alcohol, etc… believing that these can numb or take away the pain of feeling.
Unfortunately, such attempts to distance ourselves from distasteful and painful emotions, also reduces our ability to experience the pleasant ones, and it feels like part of us dies inside and we become unable to live life and love to our fullest potential. For many, the situation changes from hiding to becoming lost within the maze of thoughts, beliefs and emotions.
The good news is that we can live a rich and happy life, and the bad news is, there’s work involved, akin to doing a major in-house cleaning; and the bigger the mess, the tougher the job. The work begins with awareness, when we notice that things aren’t right, but usually we wait until it’s downright unbearable before we begin to investigate the situation and seek help. We start to see that not everything is what we thought, and eventually we find that everyone else isn’t always to blame, as we realize our part in the story. As we dig deeper, we discover that this ‘inside job’ has everything to do with our mind, which is dangerous place to hide because it can trap us into perpetual cycles of false perception, pain and suffering, as easily as it can lead us into oblivious neglect and denial as well as the illusion of happiness.
Reclaiming and restoring our heart to wholeness and beauty in all its forms, is the epic hero’s journey that we are all called to in life. Coaxing it from its hiding place can be a scary undertaking because it requires us to believe in our self worth and trust that there are people who are safe despite the fact that relationship is where our troubles began. Our greatest mission in life is to go bravely inside, unlocking the doors to find and bring our hearts back into open spaces where it knows that relating with others in life is the only way it can truly love and be loved deeply, freely once again.
May you be blessed with the courage to pursue the personal work required to come out from hiding, seeking and finding those who can help liberate your wounded heart so that it may shine again steeped in the grace of love.
A recent addition to the Janati Yoga School staff, Lise Gillis endeavours to harness and apply lessons of life and love moment by moment in her relationships, teaching, counselling and making art.