“Come back to your heart, Holly.”
The heart does not go anywhere! It’s right there, in my chest; it’s right there, with my head; it’s there, around and within my home; there, all over my entire life. ‘Tis I that roams far, far away. So far that, when I look back, all I see is a wall on the horizon.
“Ah, yes – there’s your heart. Let’s just put that right…back…in…here…where it belongs.” (Says my body-worker, while chanting warm OMs into my chest).
My chest, arms, elbows and hands are still tingling from today’s massage session – when my heart and I were reintroduced. “I remember you,” I said. My heart just smiled and wiggled its way into my rib cage. “Please don’t worry if I cry,” I told my brave therapist. The sobs came. Sobs lingering in the physical memory of my oldest heart breaks. Sobs freshly stifled during the management of today’s repeatedly broken heart.
* * *
My father’s mind is failing. And my heart is falling to pieces. To stay on track with the tasks I handle for him? All I can do is leave my heart behind. To appear strong and able? I stray away from the feelings and get lost in the to-do lists.
This approach to “managing” emotions is definitely taking a toll. That wall on the horizon can feel definitively divisive at times. Yet I remain devoted to my yoga, my Chakra work and my meditation, which – at the very least – keep me aware and open.
My outdoor practices rock my world.
Standing firmly near frozen swampy ground with the sun shining on my face, I inhale and envision my stability on this earth (1st Chakra), my fluidity in water (2nd) and my powerful inner fire (3rd Chakra). I exhale and ask nature: “Please take away anything that impedes the integrity of my roots (1st), relations (2nd) and identity (3rd). Thank you for taking this from me.” Eventually, I feel an empowered foundation from my feet, into my legs, up through my hips and pelvis, and into my belly.
Then, I move into the heart (4th), throat (5th) and brow point (6th). I stretch my arms out to the sides and inhale, “May my heart be filled with faith; may my voice be filled with love; may my mind be filled with clarity.” On the exhale, I envision the faith, love and clarity being shared with the world. I might close the practice with a few OMs, or, with some quiet time to simple observe what arises within.
I am grateful for my willingness, commitment and action toward self-care and wellness practices. I stick with these routines despite my feeling of overwhelm from the seemingly insurmountable responsibilities I hold. Therefore, rejuvenation and healing are always accessible.
If I was not able to feel my heart awaken during a massage session, there’d be a big problem.
* * *
When I came home from today’s appointment, I found a Valentine’s Day card from my dad in the mail. The man does not miss a beat in certain areas. I am thankful for the days when he is clear, present and able. I am grateful for the days that I am patient, tolerant, compassionate and kind.
But loving? My god. It’s been a long time since I have felt “loving” toward my father. Certainly not because I don’t love him! Lord knows, he was my superhero growing up, and became my best friend in adulthood. I relied on him more than a grown daughter should (although some say it was a completely normal amount of enabling that he lent me…).
And now I’m trying to show up for him. My dad. The love of my life.
So, to get through the times that his memory loss saddens me horribly, or his demented lashings hurt me deeply, I turn off “loving daughter” and turn on “responsible adult.” To get through frustrating interactions with the institutions and people related to his troubles, I replace “emotional family member” with “Power of Attorney.”
I become exhausted and depleted. My heart fades further into the distance. And I’m not sure how long I can last like this.
* * *
“Hello? Holly? This is your heart. I’m way over here. Can you please come home? Please let me back into your life, your waking moments, your dreams, your hopes, your hurts, your fears, your world. Please – will you be my Valentine?”
“Yup. Forever. Yours.” (She says, looking down at her feet, sorry that she’d ever left.)
Thanks for reading, y’all. OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.