Happy Heart Day
Valentine's Day can be another one of those
emotionally charged holidays (like Thanksgiving,
Christmas and New Year's), where we either count
our blessings for having the love we want in our lives,
or we feel the emptiness of the lack of a primary
partner or other close relationships in our lives.
I like to re-frame Valentine's Day as a day to care for
our own hearts--heart day, if you will. And
focusing on good self-care and self-love are just as
important as celebrating and being celebrated by
others we love.
In that spirit, this special heart day edition of the
newsletter has articles that focus on the care and
feeding of our hearts.
On February 24, I'll be bringing an EKP
Circles of Wisdom Bookstore in Andover,
check the calendar at www.healingheartpower.com
details and also visit www.circles of wisdom.org.
Canadian colleagues, Robert Masters and Diane
Bardwell come to town to lead an introductory
Transformation Through Intimacy workshop
Friday evening February 29 and a weekend
workshop on Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2.
Their work is powerful, leading edge, and not to be
missed. Hope to see many of you at one of their two
events. And Robert and Diane are available for
individual and couple sessions while they are here in
I will be offering another Healing the Traumatized
Heart workshop on Saturday, March 15 from 1 -
4 pm. The January 26 workshop had a waiting list,
so early registration is recommended.
Articles in this issue include an excerpt from Robert
Augustus Masters' wonderful book Transformation
Intimacy on The Need for Safety in Intimate
Relationship, reflections from my friend since
childhood (we were Girl Scouts together when I was
8 and she was 9!), Nan Dill,
Resilience...With Heart, and an article written
from my heart, Breaking Open the Broken
comments and contributions are welcome, as always.
The Need for Safety In Intimate Relationship
by Robert Augustus Masters
To go truly deep in an intimate relationship, we need to
feel safe with our partner. We need to know--and know
with our whole being--that we can trust them, and
not just when we are with them.
This is a trust based not on thinking that we should trust
them, but rather on feeling right to our core their
trustworthiness-- their integrity, their reliability,
their commitment to remaining present under all
condiitons, their passion for accessing love, depth, and
freedom with and through us.
If we cannot count on our partner to consistently take
good care of the container of our relationship--as when
energy is leaked through cracks created by erotically
wandering attention--then we will find there is only so
deep we can go with them.
If one partner is chronically calling the whole
relationship into question every time there's a fight or
conflict, then the other is probably going to become
wary of opening fully.
Less safety means more shallow.
Making the ground of our relationship unnecessarily
unstable--as when certain boundaries are overridden
or trivialized in the name of "freedom"--keeps our
relationship from being as deep and fulfilling as it
could be. The point isn't to create a fortress of
security, but to literally be a safe place for our partner
to let go of playing it safe. Feeling safe is much more
than just feeling secure!
Real safety creates an atmosphere in which we can
give our all without giving ourselves away.
Real safety makes room for a radically deep sharing of
all that we are. Without it, we may seem to be free to go
where we could not otherwise go, but such freedom--in
its relative superficiality--is actually far more limiting
than is the freedom that arises in the presence of
genuine safety between intimates.
The safer I feel with you, the deeper I can go with you.
The safer I feel with you, the deeper the risks I
can take with you. The safer I feel with you, the deeper
and more fulfilling the passions are between us; anger
becomes a guardian of intimacy, lust a magnifier of
intimacy, and ecstasy a celebration of intimacy.
Real safety gives us room to show up in all our colors.
Such safety gives us permission to be in as much pain
as we actually are, making possible the healing we
need in order to come fully alive, the healing through
which we are awakened by all things. What joy, what
benediction, what grace, to share this is the dynamic
safety possible in an intimate relationship!
©2007 Robert Augustus Masters
This material is Chapter Thirty in Transformation
Through Intimacy by Robert Augustus Masters.
For more information about Robert and his
Transformation Through Intimacy work, check
Share your thoughts:
by Nancy Dill
When life dips and bends, what happens to us? The
difference between our desires and our realities...The
gap between when the person we are dating decides s/
he loves us and when our heart opens (or doesn't)...
I am finding myself aware of this part of our human
journey listening to a man I have been dating sharing
his pain and anger that I have not fallen in love with him
on the timeframe he wanted, supporting an old friend
questioning how she can find the courage to enter into
relationship again, feeling my own journey stretching
me yet again.
Finding balance when we are closed down is
relatively easy. Feeling in harmony when matched in
falling in love is easy. How can we learn to be
present to what is (and isn't) even when it doesn't
match our wishes? How can we treat both the
people in our lives and our own tender hearts with
dignity, respect, understanding, trust, kindness,
compassion, honesty and love during phases which
aren't easy or clear, when our emotions are stirred,
when our desires and others' aren't a match, and
when there are few guideposts?
Standing in the presence of our own or others' unmet
yearnings requires courage and resilience...and love.
Yet is also frees us. It moves us from victims of
circumstances to people who can hold the complexity
of life's challenges with a calm heart. When I can
compassionately hold the feelings that arise within
me in my left hand and equally gently hold your
feelings and perspective in my right, then I am
capable of being the kind of person I most want to be.
And in that moment, I feel my humanity at its best.
Nancy Dill is an Organizational Development
Direct and Consultant. She integrates
her deep, lifelong interest in personal growth and
healing in her life and work.
You can reach her at email@example.com.
Learn more about Nancy's work...
Breaking Open the Broken Heart
The word "heartbreak," evokes tension and dread.
Who would consciously wish to lose a loved one, be
rejected, or face the void that follows the loss of a
love? The thought of this kind of loss, and the pain
that accompanies it is terrifying. And the thought of
facing the inevitable voide that follows the loss of a
love is overwhelming. Yet, with all the complicated
factors that contribute to relationships in today's
world, heartbreak at one time or another, is virtually
In response to the loss of a love, or anticipating a
pending loss, many people shut down or tense up
their hearts, trying to escape from the pain. Many
people also self-medicate or anesthetize themselves
withwork, alcohol, drugs, compulsive internet use, or
by jumping too quickly into a new relationship.
These are all ways to resist, suppress or numb out
the deeper feelings in their broken hearts.
Sitting with the pain and fear of a broken heart takes
great courage, and often, great support. Diving into the
void is a hero's journey, yet one we have few models
for. We fear that leaping into the void will annihilate us,
rather than taking a risk that is well worth taking if one
truly wants to heal and grow from such a profound and
There's the saying, "what doesn't kill you makes you
stronger," and I think it really applies when a love is
lost. We've all heard stories of people who've literally
died of a broken heart. Like when a long-term
partner leaves or dies, the remaining partner soon
passes away. Yet, another far less visible response--
one whose visibility would actually do much good--is
to embrace the depth of the loss, and to come out
more whole. The image that illustrates this process
for me is going through the eye of the needle by fire,
and coming out the other side. It's very scary to do it.
Fire can burn us, or even worse, take our lives. Yet,
the fire can also purify us and burn away whatever
layers we need to shed to grow and evolve.
Learning how to feel safe enough inside ourselves to
go through the fire, to ride the rapids of our deepest
feelings is a much needed, but sadly untaught skill.
And learning how to slow down, to get grounded, to
breathe, to create more space in our bodies and
hearts so that we can truly BE WITH our deepest
feelings as they bubble up and ask to flow through
us, is another too often untaught skill that is very
important to our emotional, mental, physical and
I guess, when we are faced with enough loss,
enough heart break, we are presented with sufficient
opportunities to learn how to face and embrace this
kind of pain and overwhelm, so we can grow deeper
from it, and even transform the pain to open our
hearts, rather than close them.
Sadly, or perhaps fortunately, I have been given
many, many opportunities to go through heartbreak
in my life. And I have come to realize that by fully
embracing all the feelings that come with the loss--
the pain, the anger, the fear of the void and the
unknown, the lost hopes and dreams, the feelings of
missing a loved one, the loss of sanctuary that a
deep relationship brings, and the loss of soul deep
connection in daily life--my heart breaks open and
At times, I feel like I've been training, through no
conscious choice of my own, for the emotional
Olympics, building an emotional resilience I could
have never imagined, until I found myself in the
emotional embody-building gym again and again.
Yet, having had the inner strength, having found the
courage and learned many skills to go inside and
ride the rapids, to feel the feelings that deep loss
evokes, I have realized I now am stronger. And the
pearl created inside this oyster is a much deeper
compassion for myself, for my lost loved one, and for
the others I encounter in my life.
I have learned to work really, really hard at putting
myself in my lost loved one's shoes, and try to
imagine what might be going on inside them to step
away from what was once understood to be a very
mutual love. And even if I can't understand it, I work
very hard to embrace that this is just what my loved
one has had to do. If I really love someone, I want
the very best for them. And if the very best for them is
to let them go, then to really love them is to let them
While this doesn't make the process of loss any
easier, in time, it has brought me a sense of peace--
the kind of peace that comes with a sense of
personal integrity, an integrity that comes with really
embodying and living from my commitment to love.
I have learned to ask a loved one to give me the
respect of having a process through which I can let
go. The most painful thing for me is to just "cut
something sacred off." I know this can happen with
sudden death. In the blink of an eye, a loved one is
gone. This happened to me when my mentor of 17
years died of a heart attack a number of years ago.
But short of a sudden death, there can be some time
set aside to go through a transition time, where both
people consciously move through and work with their
final time together in the spirit of letting go.
This transition time can be imbued with love,
appreciation and respect. I find it easier to let go with
love, than any other way. I find it easier to curl up
and hold and be held tight before being released into
the world raw and new. Perhaps this is some of what
it feels like to be a baby, moving through the birth
canal in the journey to be born. In this sense, losing
a love and breaking open the heart is a process of
being reconstituted, of being reborn.
What I certainly have learned is that breaking through
a broken heart is much better than the alternative,
which is internalizing the tension that comes with
fear, pain and loss, and holding it inside. Held
tension creates stress and taxes the heart. If I am
physically held, it is much easier to release the
tension I am holding inside. Being held--physically
and emotionally--allows the deepest feelings to move
through. Loving touch or embrace can provide the
comfort needed to release what is most deeply held.
If our loved one has the space to hear us in our pain,
to hold us in their arms, to nurture our souls as we
prepare for the final separation, the sanctuary of the
love and connection that has been the good in the
relationship can become the birth chamber, rather
than the cold dark isolation of being cut off and
rejected. Not everyone is brave enough to journey
through this kid of passage. A loved one leaving may
feel their own pain and fear, sometimes layered with
guilt and even doubts if their leaving is really the
noble or right solution.
Leaving a relationship from a place of full heartpower
takes as much courage as facing being left. How
profoundly transformative it can be if two people hold
each other close, mentally and emotionally put
themselves in the other's shoes, and literally have
compassion for the two sides of this heartbreaking
coin. Breaking open the broken heart with love
brings a deeper connection with self, with one's truth,
and perhaps, ironically, with the loved one even as
the separation process occurs. It allows the soul
deep thread oflove to continue, even as the
relationship ends. I would so much rather live with
heartbreakthrough than a broken heart!
Share your thoughts...
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