January 11, 2017

Let love rule, and let the brain decide when that love is safe to trust with the heart.

Heartfullness by Katy Boynton

Alexa and I saw a rainbow on the way to school this morning. The storm is over. I am now sitting at my desk, where I can see Angel Island and Mt. Tam for the first time since I returned from my travels. I spent three weeks in summer and returned to a deluge of rain. I was awakened around midnight to a flash of light and the roll of thunder in the distance.

As I walked Lake Merritt with my dog while the sky was clearing this morning, I felt a blog post coming on. As often happens, an image appeared to me first. The feeling comes second, and the words after that. I recently watched Spark, A Burning Man documentary again. I don’t often rewatch films; this one I have now seen three or four times. In the film, Katy Boynton’s Heartfullness was featured. I had never really focused on that aspect of the film before, as I know many people in the film (there’s even a scene with me in the background) and watched on my friends. This time, her story stood out for me.

Her piece is a heart, broken and shattered and welded back together. I don’t have much experience welding. I took a course once at the Crucible and surprised myself by making straight seams right away. I think my years of training as a photographer in the darkroom may have helped me. Piecing together my heart? That I have a lot of experience with. I see my heart a lot like her art. The shape is there, the outlines, the contour of a heart. But the heart itself is broken into many different pieces, all welded together. There are some holes here and there, but together, the pieces all make up a still beating, still loving heart.

The door to the the inside of the heart is really what I was thinking about this morning. Her piece has one panel that opens to a soft inner chamber. In the film, you can see participants climb in and snuggle on soft faux fur. But not anyone can access that chamber – you have to open the door and climb in.

I love the image of own heart as a jagged bit of broken pieces welded back together with a soft, fuzzy center accessible by a door. When I was younger, anyone could climb into my heart and play there as they see fit. Now, I am a stronger and more aware adult that has experienced (more than?) my share of heart ache and grief. I no longer ignore my head and let anyone in my heart. With the tremendous amount of work in the last six months, my head and my heart are aligned better than ever. My head is the one to say who can open the door to my heart and who cannot. I have changed and learned so much, and the perhaps biggest growth has been to realize that my heart will no longer just open to anyone at anytime, but that my head has to give my heart the okay. If the situation or connection isn’t fully there, my heart won’t open to that soft, fuzzy core. Sure, this is a form of protection that comes from being hurt, and yet, I know it is right for me at this time. I know that when the connection and situation is right, my head will walk my heart through the process of opening the door and giving access. It doesn’t mean I won’t be hurt again, it means I will be wiser about whom I let in.

My word for Burning Man 2016 was connection. It was a powerful mantra that brought me special friendships and many hugs. On this 11th day of 2017, I will continue with connection, adding on ease, focus, and clarity. I am proud to be at a point in life where I can trust my head to tell my heart to open or not.

Let love rule, and let the brain decide when that love is safe to trust with the heart.

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