My two teenage daughters and I are sitting in the Elmira High School Auditorium hearing their dad (my first husband who came out as gay when they were one and four) sing The Impossible Dream in the performance of Man Of La Mancha, when tears not only stream down my cheeks, but turn into sobbing that others could hear like a distant waterfall. I think to my self for the first time: it is the first year for me not to be ashamed of crying in public. And to hear, as I left the play, “You look stunning!” from a male stranger. I’m stunned because I must have had reddened eyes.
About seven years later, I am returning from a weekend at Omega Institute where many personal growth workshops are offered. It was the first year I was living with my fourth husband, Gregory, who had agreed not to smoke in the house, including the garage and decks.
When I saw an ashtray full of cigarette butts on the deck adjoining our bedroom, I lost my mind. My heart was so broken that I yelled at Gregory and then flew down the stairs to the garage where I found an ax which I took to the ashtray, smashing it to bits with rage that soon splintered into tears. Sobbing as I said: “You promised, and you know my daddy died of a heart attack because of these damn cigarettes; how could you?!” The first year I allowed myself to feel rage. Gregory held me until my tears subsided into love.
WHY is it that I cannot walk by babies being wheeled in grocery carts? I must stop. As if caught in traffic by their eyes, open like full moons, staring into mine.
They are strangers with a heart bow-tie that tethers us to one another. “Eyes are the windows to the souls,” echoes from long ago in a commonly heard refrain. Its origin may be a variant of a French proverb, ‘eyes are the mirror of the soul’ or more likely, “The eyes…are called the windows of the heart by which love enters into the score.” – Stefano Guazzo, 1584. Our language of love, or lack thereof, then centers from the heart:
“Her condolences were heartfelt.”
“His story is heartwarming.”
“Your mother is coldhearted.”
“I am wholeheartedly in favor of hiring that construction crew.”
“Have a heart, would you!”
“My last husband really broke my heart.”
“My dad died suddenly of a heart attack. I’m heartbroken.”
“Richard Gere is my heartthrob.”
“I am writing a letter to my sweetheart.”
Watching an ABC documentary in January 2017 about the Menendez twins was heart-stopping for me. I couldn’t believe they are serving life in prison. Their first trial came back with a hung jury…a mistrial. When tried again some years later, the judge would not allow admission of their heartbreaking testimony: these boys were not only molested, but raped by their rich Hollywood father for years.
Yes, Eric and Lyle murdered their parents out of fear and hatred…their hearts being stopped prematurely. Their innocence being vanquished!
Growing up, I memorized hundreds of bible verses; my mother charmed my sister and I like a cobra with the reward of a free week of, yes, bible memory association camp where girls and boys were not allowed to swim together. This 1960s rote rehearsal of verses exemplifies the dying of my feeling heart…a separation like the remote from the TV housing only one channel. Eventually, I wrote. Wrote. Wrote.
I was angry, fighting frequently with my mother about whether the bible was true: how could the Africans or Asians who don’t know about christianity go to hell?
How could blacks be inferior?
Why couldn’t I trust my ten-year-old constant voice within saying: this religion is not true to my heart? That small quiet unrelenting voice kept pulling at my heart strings until 1984, when at 38 years old my heart jumped ahead of my mind. Then, I could follow my feelings; feel trusting of my heart and not what my mind had been indoctrinated to think – to believe.1984 was the first year of beginning to feel free to be Me.
In recent years, I have wondered at the words we choose to describe.
The brain-mind is used for thinking. The heart is used for feeling.
“You are out of your mind” – to think blacks are equal to whites. My mother’s echoing.
“I’ve lost my mind,” when I forget your birthday.
“Mind your manners – keep your elbows off the table.”
“You better mind me, if you know what’s good for you!”
He was the mastermind of the ponzi scheme.
One of my favorite movies is A Beautiful Mind; where a math genius is a schizophrenic mind, freed into sanity by the tender love of his wife’s heart.
So, why LOVE is portrayed by the heart? Red blood pumped with life giving oxygen into all our organs, eventually to the mind, so we can contemplate what LOVE is? Perhaps laugh heartily?
Bless her/his heart! is common staccato southerner’s speech; musical lyrics moving us to feel? unlike black and white piano keys unable to be played?
In our present society, 2017, we are still apologizing for crying:’ SORRY’ is what I hear often on TV, or radio when tears appear. How sad that it took me, a psychotherapist in my forties, to be able to heartily accept – my true heart’s desire to cry – then laugh heartily!
Finally, to the point where my anger dissolved in childhood-connected tears.
Eventually, I became aware of the words of our language creating messages – like the word EVOLution. First I saw the first four letters of EVOLution spelling LOVE backwards; maybe two to three years later (around 2000), a sentence was seen in the reflection of the mirror: NO-IT-U-LOVE! Out loud that is. My heart leapt for joy, as did my arms and legs, with that discovery. No more heartache.
Very soon thereafter, like reading the next chapter of a book – I became caught up in the many words within my HEARTS desire to know a deeper and deeper awAREness of what true love can be. First came: HE, SHE
then EAR, HEAR
next TEARS, saying HERT
so I could STARE into who we really ARE.
Becoming a STAR shining up our EARTH
to be able to SHARE Love. Love being the greatest piece of ART ever created by EVOLution. Isn’t home where the heart is?