The heart wants to be heard. To be expressed. But sometimes it hurts when it speaks out, which is why it’s stayed silent for so long. At first, when we allow its release, it may come out crudely as It struggles to express its voice. And it might sound doubtful, confusing, even rash. But it wants to speak, and to be heard. Think about how many times we’ve shut down our hearts to avoid rejection. Funny thing, it’s this shutting down that is the root cause of our own personal case of self-inflicted dismissal as we scold and criticize ourselves with disapproval and disappointment, “How could I say that/do that/what was I thinking?!” Then we go into self-pity.
We do it to ourselves. And we can undo it by reversing the way we repressed our feelings and longings. First, we learn to listen to the voice of our heart - I’ll tell you how. Then, we express what we hear in the outside world.
We can’t think our way out of being Stuck when we need to allow the heart to express itself. It’s gone into hiding because of the severe inner critic standing guard at the door. A wonderful book by Linda Trichter Metcalf, Writing the Mind Alive, suggests playing baroque music, which closely mimics the rhythm of the human pulse, lighting a candle, and writing for 25 minutes what we hear in our thoughts. It’s an excellent way to access the heart’s voice.
Robin began writing about the effort she put out daily to maintain her marriage and suddenly wrote: “My whole life is lived to please someone else so I won’t be rejected.” It opened a flood gate of emotions that led to insight about why she feared rejection from people who loved her.
When Liz began writing about the effort she made to find a career she loved, she realized her heart had some pretty shocking things to say about her long term marriage and the ways she had fallen into daily patterns that were geared so much toward survival and putting out fires of chaos and drama that she lacked the energy needed to find her own true path. She felt conflicted, guilty, unhappy so she desired stuff and repress those feelings - not rock the boat. Of course, that’s how she silenced her heart in the first place. When this happens, instead of judging what we hear, keep writing and listening.
At this stage, we are warming the heart because there is no pressure to take any action, even if spontaneous bursts of enthusiasm may arise. Just notice your heart rolling over and waking up. Or, if it wants to vent in outrageous thoughts and ideas, let it rip – in writing. It’s the stilting and denying of the human heart from its full range of emotional expression that can cause a need to act out and project the feelings inappropriately. Martha Beck says in her 5-Step Plan to Set the Heart Free (O, The Oprah Magazine, July, 2001): “When you acknowledge your forbidden feelings calmly, you'll find that you actually have more control over your actions. It's when feelings are repressed that they burst out in dangerous, unhealthy ways.”
The commitment to daily writings can lead to clarity and when this happens you will have set your heart free. The confusion and pain will have dissipated, thanks to your attention and compassionate coaxing. Your Secret dream may begin to emerge, poking its head up like a newly released flower surveying life through a crack in the sidewalk.
Now rejection will have lost some of its steam. When you consider going after your dream, actually expressing it in the outside world won’t seem as daunting, because you’ve already faced and loved your way through your own self-rejection. You are ready to take risks, practice courage.
Dare to believe you deserve the mighty and lofty dreams of your heart’s desire. Challenge yourself to take the risk as your heart urges you to take that first step in the direction of your dreams. Face your rejection squarely and in the process you will build confidence – that ingredient so necessary to greeting opportunity.
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler. Henry David Thoreau