Living with a Brave Heart

Estimated read time... 5 minutes

When we begin our own healing journeys, it’s scary to dive in and make all of the changes that are requested, if not outright demanded.

We don’t know what we might become, or how our lives will change – will we be better, worse, lonely, more connected, joyful, or angry? It is what keeps a lot of people, including myself at times, from taking the leap.

I wanted to share a story that may help you if you are afraid of taking the leap.

It isn’t about eliminating food from your diet, adding in a regimen of herbs, making sweeping exercise changes (or additions), or anything like that.

It’s about how we connect what we want to do and become, with who we are right now, and those paths and bridges in between.

The other night I was having a conversation with my husband, it was about people who talk about doing things, and people who do the things they talk about. I want to be in the latter category, with everything in my life, because I want that kind of integrity and to develop that kind of character. To be someone who knows that what they say is what they do, and vice versa.

I do my best to practice this with my diet, exercise, sleep, meditation (over 600 days of daily meditation and going strong!), relationships (self, and others) and with other things in my life – without making excuses for my behavior.

I’m not perfect: I’ve slacked on exercise this past year because I’ve been so impassioned with my violin, and thus regained a few pounds that I had lost – but you know what? I’m still finding the balance between practicing the violin and practicing body movement. (Tangent: I think it might always be a juggling act, we all only have so much time in a day and so much energy. I figure, the more I can cultivate in my life, the more I can do and give and partake in, and the more filled and happy I can be.)

Then I remembered an adage that I’ve been quoting for a while: that if I’m afraid to do something, I’m going to go ahead and do it – especially if it is somethign I’ve always wanted to do or feel particularly compelled to do.

I don’t want to spend my life being so afraid that I don’t get to do any of the things that I want to do and wind up not feeling like I’ve experienced what I wanted to in life.

I think of my grandmother, who passed away three years ago, and how all she ever wanted to do was go to Hawaii. She never got there because she was afraid of airplanes and boats. I vowed that I would not let that happen to myself, as much as I can take responsibility for what I do, I will do my best to work through those fears and excuses. (Now, there are very, very valid fears out there, and I’m not condoning dangerous behavior or behavior/actions where you do not feel safe!)

Since before I started playing violin again, I talked and talked about how if I started playing again I wanted to learn “this piece of music”.

When I first heard it, it gave me goosebumps, brought a smile to my face and caught my breath. I thought, “oh to be able to move others how I’ve been moved, to play with that finesse, sense of freedom and boldness.” Months and months went by, I was talking but not doing – mostly because I didn’t have the technical ability to do, but…

I’ve been learning a new piece of music for the past couple of months: “this piece of music”.  I have arrived!

This piece is hard, it’s bold, it’s asking me to be brave in a way that I have not been asked with previous music that I’ve been working on since returning to the instrument almost a year ago. I didn’t realize that this music was asking me to be brave, well, it’s demanding it actually, until the other day.

You see, there are multiple chords wherein three or more notes are played at the same time rather quickly in succession and the fingering is tricky. I’d been hesitating in this one section because of the awkwardness between one chord and the next, and then the next two. I saw myself slowing down and being afraid of that one measure of music, as if it were telling me I couldn’t do it. But I’d been practicing this particular section daily for over a month – that’s enough time (say 15 minutes per day, for 30 days – 7.5 hours) and I felt that I must know it by now, enough to trust myself that I could go for it and see what happens.

I dove in, took a deep breath, played it, I went for it, and the world opened up. I didn’t die. My violin didn’t explode. I saw for one moment what I was missing…

By hesitating, mostly through a lack of self-confidence, I was missing what was most important in this piece: a strong heart, filled with conviction and courage, one that lives with the not-knowing that comes with playing music, with living our life “to the fullest”, and stepping into the moment – all the way.

When I in that one moment, dove in, I felt and understood how a flower doesn’t hesitate to open it’s blooms in the summer, or how an ocean wave doesn’t hesitate to crest or crash to the shore, and how lightning isn’t afraid to strike the ground (or a tree).

Playing music can be the same thing, and by playing with a sense of inner strength, I might be able to express some of that to someone else, or at the very least keep developing my sense of inner strength and determination. (I have paralyzing stage and performance fright, as I work through that, I’ll be sure to write another post for you!)

This is the essence of cultivating wisdom (or zhi in Chinese Medicine), to let the Heart’s Shen inspire the flow of life with our intention (yi) sending our energy in a directed manner, despite (or in spite of) the fear that also gets unleashed. Our creative spirit (hun) grows and fruits in concert with all of these other actions to help us manifest our Heart’s desires and dreams. When we cut ourselves off too much (typically the function of an overactive, ill-balanced Metal element metaphorically clear-cutting our life), we feel the grief and loss of connection between ourselves and the world-at-large. We are not able to nurture life in a way that yields the fruits of our labors.

By diving in, by overcoming my fear – or rather taking action alongside my fear, not because of it – I saw that there was nothing stopping me but myself. My Heart-Kidney connection (the shen-zhi connection) was restored, and since then I feel like maybe, just maybe, something has shifted in my playing.

I don’t know that I’ll ever think that my playing is any good, or something to be admired in any way, but I now feel that maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to set my fears aside long enough to do some justice to the pieces of music that deeply move me. Maybe this will fuel future actions where I’ll be able to walk alongside my fear without being rattled by it (like play in front of others).

Maybe you will be inspired to walk with your fear, so that you can do something your heart is calling you to do. If you are, please share what you did and how you felt in the comments below, or email me. It doesn’t matter if it was a big leap or a small step – every little step brings you closer to your goal: the more fruitful, deeper and truer connection to yourself.

And last but not least:

If you want some herbal assistance in helping you make these types of connections, I’m offering a special package, a short and sweet 30 minute consult, and includes one 2oz bottle of customized Tug Hill Herbals tincture, shipping not included.

We’ll talk about what you want to work on from this perspective, and you get to try out what I’m calling a “clearing the way” approach to formula creation.  It is a recent approach, and one that I have received a lot of client-based positive feedback.

If you are interested, send me an email via the contact page and we’ll set something up!

1 reply
  1. Holly Hutton
    Holly Hutton says:

    Your ability to take a moment and allow it to flourish into a learning opportunity that then becomes lessons for us all is marvelous.

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