I read a story recently in which the narrator described how she had been taught something so very wise. As a young girl her father wished to show her how to hear the essence of souls; how to listen past the words voiced to know what was being told. The narrator further shared how one day her father saw her practicing what she felt he was trying to teach. She was putting her head against someone’s chest to listen to their heartbeats.
A single word, heart, yet it means so many things. It is our physical source, and it is our soul centering. It is that which resides in our brain, our chest, and our stomach too. And it is what we follow in what we desire to do. It is a rhythm that is most often smooth yet can be erratic periodically. It trusts the flow of life yet can experience uncertainty. It is a sound we hear of another’s and the sound of ours we hear when we are sitting quietly. It is what whispers yes, no, this, not that when we listen to our feelings.
It is what can beat strong, and stronger still as we elevate its rate. It is what can propel us forward in hope and in faith. It is what can plug and struggle to flow. It is what can feel broken and empty of will to forward go. It is what moves us naturally every moment of every day we live. It is what moves us exactly where we are meant to be every moment we exist. It beats without words to tell it to do so. When following its authenticity, it always knows. Interwoven with the air and water to survive, it cannot beat without connectivity. The air above joined with the earth below for harmony. Interwoven with mind and body, the power of three. Fire in the soul begetting love of all things.
It is that which expands as we grow from baby to adult in age. It enlarges to match the size of our body’s frame. It is that which enlarges as we open to those we meet. In each moment we experience we decide to keep expanding it or let it shrink. It has no limits in what it can do to support our body’s desire in how our body wants to move. It has no limits in its ability to love if abundant love is what we choose.
There is one difference in its physicality from its soul. We can give it away in one respect, and in the other we can’t let it go. In some instances, we can donate our heart after our breath rests for life. We can give of our love unconditionally never stopping if we make that our choice. Of course, life teaches us best through opposites and it teaches us to see more than we initially see. Life teaches us to dance and stretch between giving and keeping our heart under lock and key. It teaches us to look again at gifts we received.
My gift was in the form of fur and four legs when I was six, seven, or maybe eight. It was a gift from my father, a special package on an ordinary day. It occurred to me as I was reflecting on the narrator’s story; my ability to listen to hearts is something my father also gave me. I’m certain my father saw me put my ear to Peppi’s chest frequently; she would tell me much though she couldn’t verbally speak. Some of my father’s best friends were also those with four legs and a fur coat. I smile to think just how much he knew before I did what I would need most.
Perhaps each time our heart beats it places a stitch into that moment, and then to the next. And invisible to us is a linked thread. Peppi taught me to listen in quietness to the thump thump thump within both her and I. Hers one of the first rhythms I started to harmonize with mine. The rhythms I hear now threaded from that day on the porch when a long nose and eyes greeted me. When my father gave me the gift of hearing heartbeats.
If you think of the rhythm of your heart, how does it beat? Is it smooth and even? Or is it erratic or the sound stifled with you holding the key? Is its rhythm something you trust in how it flows? Or is it something you try to hold back or control? Do you ever sit quietly and listen for how it is unique? Or do you surround yourself with noise and continuous activity? Have you paused recently to put your head against the chest of another to hear what they speak? Is there opportunity for you to hear the additional rhythm of someone else’s heartbeat? Do you have opportunity to revisit something given to you to see with new eyes? Is there something you now realize was a treasure beyond price?
Perhaps every one of us were taught when we were little how to listen to what is spoken in what someone doesn’t speak. What do you hear when you listen closely?