“Your vision will come clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside dreams, who looks inside, awakes.” ~Jung~
The heart is a significant and powerful object. It is the center of our circulatory system, renewing blood with rich nutrients and returning them to the physical body to keep our systems running. It is also the center of our spiritual system, referenced in many faiths, traditions and beliefs as our source of love.
One of my learnings while in counseling, was that the heart in the spiritual sense, can close or harden, limiting our ability to give or receive healthy love, based on the pain we experienced in our past. Just like the heart experiencing clogging of the arteries in the physical sense, we can clog our ability to feel love with our spiritual heart. We begin to build walls up around our heart, promising never to get hurt again, only to deprive ourselves of the love we deserve to both give and receive.
Breaking down these walls is hard to do. We open ourselves to being vulnerable once again, which is scary. It often requires that we bring up the pain from the past and begin the process of healing. Who would want to do that!
I was involved in a relationship with a woman at one point who had been raped. She so much wanted to be in a relationship but was unable to express her feelings. Sex was a task versus an emotional experience. She pulled away often and wanted to seclude herself. She would apologize and I would feel for her. It reminded of the push/pull response I had myself in relationships. Pulling the other to myself to love me, and then pushing away since this was an uncomfortable feeling.
Past psychological trauma, whatever form it took or cause, requires that we re-learn how to love, starting with loving ourselves, beginning with healing our past. It takes time, a lot of work, support from professionals who can guide us on our way, and support from others who can relate to our pain. I have found that it is a lifelong task, realizing that despite all of my growth in this area, events serve as triggers to closing down, since this was how I learned to initially protect myself. I have to continually feed myself positive affirmations and remind myself that I am truly worthy of experiencing love.
My story and journey, shared in my new book, Discovering Michael, is intended to be an inspirational story and guide to personal growth and self-discovery. An inspiration to others who have suffered traumatic pasts and are willing to take that hard look within to understand the unhealthy beliefs that were formed and to apply the many tools and methods to develop heathier beliefs consistent with increased levels of happiness, meaning and love. First you deal with the subconscious to understand what is stored away, using your mind to reprogram and change these unhealthy beliefs, and ultimately work towards the heart, learning how to love once again.