We point to our heart

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Ask a child to point to herself. Where does her index finger land?

If you or I were to point to ourselves, we would likely place our hand on the same destination as that child.

We point not to our forehead, not to our stomach, not to our ear or our other hand. We point to our heart.

I point to my heart because that’s where I live. I live through my heart. I see the world through my heart. I breathe through my heart. I listen to people with my heart. Heart to heart conversations are, for me, timeless, precious. “Your vision becomes clear only when you can look deeply into your own heart.” (Carl Jung).

I point to my heart because I “take heart” when a child smiles. I am “heartened” when I am in the presence of kindness and beauty.

Often I “wear my heart on my sleeve.”

We know we are approaching truth when our actions are “heartfelt”, when we open our heart, when our “heart is touched” by someone’s love, when we have faith to “harden not our hearts”.

We long to get to the “heart of the matter”. We feel “heartbroken” when we are hurt and heartache when we lose a person we love. My heart broke when I lost my sister Karen on May 26th. In so many ways, we identify our true selves with what is in our hearts.

We educators also go to school and more school and more and more school to educate our minds, empower them with knowledge, broaden them with theories and research, deepen them with insight and perspective. And, in the end (as in the beginning) we find our true self in our heart. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” Maya Angelou’s heart reminds us.

We are our hearts. So, we need to tend to and care for our hearts as much as we pursue knowledge because if that big bear of a muscle fails, we have nothing left.

Do you tend to and care for your heart? John Donahue tended his heat when he made decisions to “waste his heart on fear no more”. Does he speak for you?

He does for me.

The Surgical Team

Two week ago, I tended to my heart. I chose to surrender my heart to four and one-half hours of flat-on-my-back surgery. Such surgical tending was necessary for my heart to beat effectively.

The surgery failed. I did not.

I faced my tigers above, tigers below, and tigers within, those clawsome forces that can ignite PTSD flashbacks, and addle me with panic so strong I want to run away. I did not run.

I did the opposite. I shared my fears. I asked for help. I admitted deep vulnerability. I owned my disability, PTSD. The surgery failed. I did failed surgerynot.

The surgery failed. My surgeon did not. Dr. Robotis and his team worked competently, intricately, and diligently to make things right. About thirty percent of the time, heart ablation surgery doesn’t work. When that happens, the surgery needs to be repeated, sometimes more than twice or three times. One colleague tells me a friend required nine surgeries. Another colleague knows a doctor whose heart didn’t heal until the fifth surgery.

So, I ask: What is the deeper message, the second, third, or ninth chance when something we need fails us? You’ve faced disappointments, loss, failures. What does your heart tell you about loss?