Heart Matters

Being sensitive + having an open heart = LOVE

Being sensitive + having an open heart = SORROW

Both of these statements are true for me. What about you? Are you like me and exude heart energy like rivers of sunshine, feel all your senses and emotions deep as tree roots, and find that sincere compassion comes easily, sometimes heart-achingly?  Are you like me and also feel pain and sorrow profoundly because of having such a brilliantly open heart?

"A Heart So Sensitive," mixed media art journal entry by Courtney Putnam.

“A Heart So Sensitive,” mixed media art journal entry by Courtney Putnam.

A sensitive soul experiences a gift and a challenge all wrapped up in one. That’s the risk in having an open heart: feeling everything. Do we all need to breathe together now? Let’s do. I know I need some air. The world can feel so intense at times. Do you feel it, too? Another breath is needed as we think of the rest of the world, too. And the sky. And the stars. Breath is good. It fuels heart energy and saves we sensitive souls from implosion.

When thinking about my heart this evening, I couldn’t help but imagine its physical form — the magical muscle that it is. Here are some interesting heart facts I picked up on the web (here); let’s see if I can extrapolate some metaphorical meanings from this all-important muscle:

“Every day, the heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles. In a lifetime, that is equivalent to driving to the moon and back.”

Our hearts are strong and have stamina! When we offer loving energy to others, we spread more compassion and reach more people in this world — maybe even beyond this world.

“The heart pumps blood to almost all of the body’s 75 trillion cells. Only the corneas receive no blood supply.”

Our heart-energy runs deep and reaches the stalagmites and stalactites of even the most deeply hurt places in ourselves and others.

“Early Egyptians believed that the heart and other major organs had wills of their own and would move around inside the body.”

Our hearts DO move throughout our bodies!  Just touch a pregnant woman’s belly and feel the love of the womb or feel the warm, gentle hands (or paws) of a loved one entwined in yours. The energy of the heart does not just reside in the chest; it is everywhere.

"Serenity Now," art journal entry by Courtney Putnam.

“Serenity Now,” art journal entry by Courtney Putnam.

So for those of us who experience the complexities of being sensitive, I offer this passage from Julia Cameron’s soul-wise book Transitions.

The heart has dreams and hopes it hides from public view. The heart has secret sorrows, private woes. Listening to my heart, I must listen with gentle ears. If I judge too harshly, my heart will not speak of disappointments and their pain will remain. My heart requires my tenderness to speak its secrets. My heart rewards my love by being the true compass by which I steer my life.

Today, my heart is safe within my keeping. I offer my heart compassionate ears to hear its dreams.

May we all find that delicate balance of taking in the world with all our senses, but not being overwhelmed by what we feel; experiencing deep heart-compassion and then letting go (like a big, supremely pink out-breath) those things which do  not belong to us or serve us; and being gentle on ourselves because we are sensitive and because our heart energy should not solely radiate outward, but also inward.

Stop the words now.

Open the window in the center

of your chest,

and let the spirits fly in and out.


About Courtney Putnam

I first came to healing work through art and writing. Creating collage art and poetry in particular allowed me to deeply understand the benefit of self-expression in the healing process. But, I also began to see the benefit of bodywork (manual work in the form of massage and energywork in the form of Reiki) as keys to unlocking the emotional stresses we hold in our bodies. I became a Reiki practitioner in 2002, received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2003, received my massage license in the spring of 2006, and became a Reiki Master in 2010. In my practice I bring together these three areas -- the body, the mind, and the spirit (or energy body) -- so others may experience profound and positive change in their lives.
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9 Responses to Heart Matters

  1. jillsalahub says:

    I am leaving for a retreat today, called “Open Heart Retreat,” (http://www.shambhalamountain.org/program/open-heart-retreat/). I am printing out this post to take with me, to contemplate, to share. xo

  2. Jill Sheldon says:

    Beautifully and well-said Courtney. As a fellow sensitive person I feel deeply seen, and so appreciate the reminder that my heart is poweful but also needs gentleness.

  3. inspire1life says:

    Thank you for the post. Beautifully expressed. It is both a gift and a curse to be highly sensitive. Handling the overwhelming pain from sensitivity can be challenging, but feeling deep compassion and love is wonderful.

  4. Mary Oak says:

    Der Courtney, Warm greetings! I hope this finds you well. I also hope we can connect sometime…so much to share.

    My heart leapt to see your “Heart Matters” subject line, since this is a title I have almost used for my writing about topics you address here…. Your “A Heart so Sensitive” is beautiful. I may ask for permission to use it , acknowledging you , of course , at some point since this is my major writing theme. (See link below to follow to my heart book) I will share your post on fb… Heartfully,Mary

    * : . . : * * : . . : * * : : *Please see http://www.maryoak.com/book about “Heart’s Oratorio: One Woman’s Journey Through Love, Death and Modern Medicine” Published January, 2013 by Goldenstone Press.

    Date: Fri, 5 Apr 2013 05:20:51 +0000 To: oak188@msn.com

  5. gemma says:

    I share your tender heart. Understand the Love and Sorrow reference. Though at times it is tough to feel so much, I am happy and sad. Remembering to be gentle with myself.

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