The Joy and Pain of opening the heart


For me, part of what yoga is about is the process of undoing the lifetime of finding ways to protect our heart, avoiding pain that we all inevitably experience and also with that blocking out the joy and love that is essential to a healthy,nourished heart.

I made a conscious decision almost 2 years ago to really work on opening my heart,which honestly I was quite shocked to realise how closed I had actually become. I can sometimes dive headfirst into things, or on the other extreme dive my head into the sand & hope it will go away (which lasts up to a point!).

This time I dove head,heart & everything-in-between first.

I’ve seen my fears blow up in my face like a volcano that was left dormant for many years and suddenly had a big universe sized flame put underneath it. It was a process I could not stop, pause or run away from – but just go with it at the rapid rate that burning heart-lava flowed and accept and embrace everything that came out from the shadows.

It’s like anything though, once you get momentum going and the more you just start to not let the head rule, trust that your heart will guide you through the challenges, it gets (a bit) easier. You really have to have faith that they are all lessons for you and a way to learn what you need to keep moving forward. I had blocked myself from so many things because of fear of rejection, failure, pain, commitment and putting myself out there,getting hurt,looking foolish. It was OK, it was easy and beneficial to be in that space of comfort and security but I wasn’t growing or allowing myself to be me or experience life as I really wanted to.

So now it’s started to level out a bit, the things or people that would have hurt or affected me a few years ago no longer seem like such a big deal. I don’t know whether it’s just getting older or if yoga has anything to do with it, but it’s really nice to see that I’ve started to discern things a bit more and become a bit gentler on myself (&my heart) and not feel like I need to un-do all this work NOW but accept that it will unfold and unwind when and how it needs to.

It’s so easy to be impatient and expect too much instead of just doing what you can and just be kind to yourself and others.  

Photo by the wonderful Maura Tilbury Photography