I’ve been having an imaginary conversation with my heart lately. Not the physical heart exactly, although I admire its pluck and constancy enormously. But the metaphoric heart of me that loves, not necessarily wisely, but pretty well, and that has taken a lot of hits over the years.
It occurred to me one day, while reading a Chinese medical Text that explained how the heart is the seat of the intellect, the emotions and the spirit, as well as the fountainhead of love – that this is a really big lot of stuff to be in charge of. No wonder one in three women now dies of heart failure. So I decided to acknowledge my Herculean heart as best I could.
You’re what counts, you know Heart, I told it, not intellect that’s linear and common-sensible and struggling to be wise. But the soft sweet dreamer part of me that feels its way through life… injurable, fragile, endlessly hopeful. Inexpressibly full of dreams.
You’re the part of me that will count in the end, I told it. On my deathbed, when I reprise what’s mattered, what gave joy enough to compensate for all the rest, it won’t be the times I followed my head that will come tumbling back to comfort me, but the moments of glad rapture and mad grace. The times that thrilled me to the soul. Shared ecstasies, wild, radical, caution-to-the-wind times. Fragments of explosive bliss that only a heart can sanction.
I asked my heart – feeling only slightly foolish – to give me some latitude in dealing with the vicissitudes of life. Let me not forget you in my current straits, I said, or because I haven’t found the Anam Cara – the Soul Friend — longed for, or because neither life nor love have behaved the way my spirit dreamed. Other loves have blessed me…family, friends, work…no small gifts in a world known for fecklessness and disappointment. Let me not grow so fearful of hurt that I close you in where you cannot breathe, cannot seek or yearn, or supersede all linear and rational possibilities. You’re the best of me, heart, I told it. The part that counts when the last card’s been dealt and darkness seems complete… you alone still laugh, and sing, and hope, and dream. Despite the odds, alone in your fortress, brave and headstrong, rebellious and free.
I haven’t heard back from my heart yet, except, perhaps, for the fact that it keeps on beating despite everything. I think that’s a really good sign.
© Cathy Cash Spellman/The Wild Harp & Co. Inc 2012