What does it mean? What does it matter?

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What does it mean to live heart to heart in a shielded world? What does it matter?

Today I passed the television as it played to an empty room. Katie Couric’s show was on, a first for me. She interviewed teens who nearly lost their lives from designer drugs. A young man explained how he got into Molly (ecstasy, MDMA, reportedly in its purest form) and began selling it to support his habit: when he tried it, it made him “feel like telling all his secrets” to someone, and in less than hour with someone he felt a close bond, like he’d known them forever. Wow. Sounds like the drug intensified then satisfied a craving he didn’t even know he had–a craving for intimacy, a craving for authenticity, a craving for feeling open and close to another human being. It’s too bad he needed a drug to give him that, since the side effects are so disastrous.

Living heart to heart is perhaps a bit like Molly, except it is real, throughout, and there are no significant negative side-effects. Living heart to heart is practicing honest, transparent, close and intimate relationships. Living heart to heart is an art, creatively risking authenticity, owning one’s own issues responsibly, and imbuing value to others. On top of that, it really feels good! Living heart to heart in healthy relationships is deeply fulfilling, abiding and sustaining; more so than a drug could ever be. Unlike living with Molly, when living heart to heart there is no need to worry about those nasty side effects–the resultant broken conscience, costly addiction, crash time, headaches, brain damage, psychosis, stealing or dealing, jail time, ruined relationships, wasted life, death.

Living heart to heart, as good as it is, is difficult–perhaps because we live in a shielded world. Imagine two intimacy-hungry souls, longing for deep and abiding, respectful relationships. Now imagine them both hiding behind full metal armour, holding up shields as they peer around corners in search of this love. Not too likely they’ll find love this way, is it? As counter-intuitive as it seems, we hide behind protective armour. We do it in countless ways. Perhaps we blame others, present an angry front, gossip, or avoid social situations. Some hide behind joking, focusing on sports or even helping others. We learn our defensive mechanisms early in life. From early childhood we are socialized to inhibit our true feelings and behave in an acceptable manner. We learn to say “yes ma’am” when we really think ‘no!’ We learn to smile when we feel like crying. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating the whole ‘do what you feel’ thing! What chaos that would bring! In learning to live in this world, we’ve had to find ways to get along. We’ve learned that people, in general, are faulty. They tell our secrets. They talk about us behind our backs. Some intentionally use us, pretending to be our friends and then taking advantage of our trust to get something for themselves at our expense. Some are just plain evil, stealing children, killing for your wallet, and such. So we really have to find ways to protect ourselves. In so doing, we’ve developed facades and shields.

It takes a great deal of fortitude to drop our shields and risk living heart to heart. There’s no rule that says we must do so. It matters, though, because we don’t want to throw our lives away on less fulfilling and more dangerous ventures. As with recovery from any unhealthy choice (such as drugs like Molly), we need time and a good plan to build a new, stronger way of life. Strength of this sort requires regular work-outs and sometimes a coach or trainer, to point us in the right direction and give us encouragement and prodding. Gaining the valor for a heart to heart lifestyle will be a journey, not a once-and-for-all event. It’s probably best to find a safe place to begin the journey, to test the water, and to take it one step at a time. You are welcome to come back and visit me here as you think about this journey. I will do my best to make it a safe place to be. It may not be here that you feel comfortable, but somewhere. . . share your adventure, share your heart, honestly.

I would love to hear your responses and appreciate lively discussion! Please be patient as your comment comes to me first for approval before appearing below. Thank you!

© Joan T Warren

6 responses »

  1. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about
    this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive
    the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog.

    A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

    Like

    • Thank you! Kit, I hope you do come back. I will try to add more photos. I agree and wanted to, but the picture process would have delayed me too much this month! There is a lot going on, I wish I had more time to blog, though, I love it for the ability to be creative and to meet people from all around the world who are so gifted and have so much to share.

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  2. Funny that you would mention MDMA as an example in your blog. As MDMA was originally created for marriage counselling. The side effects (dehydration, dependency, crashing, and more) made it illegal, and it quickly became a street drug and more dangerous than ever. It is now cut with everything from crack to heroin. So there are strong chances of overdosing on someone’s first try.

    I knew a couple who had long term effects of continuous heavy use. The wife said she felt numb, that without aid of the drug (after they had quit) she had a detachment to physical and emotional contact. Kind of like a robot. I remember seeing the husband at a night club high on Ecstacy. He was sweating heavily and about panting. He had a new piercing in his ear that was infected and not healing. He could barely keep his eyes open.

    I cannot find the link at the moment, but I had helped found a blog based off of my idea of “Stranger Therapy”. Many times in my life, I have found mutual outpouring with a stranger. Someone met on a bus or on the boardwalk, some random person who needed to be listened to just as much as you.

    I’ve always been an open sort of person who might be of the too much information variety. Ask me how’s my day and I will tell you. Oh, you wanted me to say fine… hahaha. I had never had a problem with talking about my problems with a complete stranger. I found it very therapeutic and without consequence.

    The stranger doesn’t know you or who you are talking about. They won’t go back and tell your friends and family. And you are the same for them. Though, of course a new friendship could be formed of this and have the mutual bond of having shared a profound moment together.

    I definitely feel Heart to Heart. I get that concept and how it applies in life to building stronger connections with the people in your life. I’ve always been honest in a relationship. And honest about who I am and what I want. The games people play and the lies they tell themselves are pointless and only end up hurting ourselves and the ones we love. We can’t go through life with relationships that aren’t built upon this openness and then one day, wake up to who we really are and really want out of life and find ourselves miserable.

    I’m going to bring this comment to a close for now, though I likely have more to say on the subject 😉

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    • Thanks, Gillian, for this comment. I’m glad to hear how highly you value authenticity, I’m with you on that! Have you always found it easy to be so upfront and honest in relationships?

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      • Yes. I guess it is the way I’m wired. Or maybe it is my non-acceptance of societal norms. Since society teaches us to play ‘the dating game’. Where we hype ourselves up or try to be someone we’re not, or look for someone who is looking for someone we’re pretending to be… That was never me.

        Of course, the people I dated were not always open like that or honest to themselves. When I met Kevin, we really connected and both agreed on so many things. We met online. So we didn’t have a lot of the courtship that goes with dating, instead we just got to know each other.

        Sometimes, I tend to be too honest. I’ve hurt my Mom’s feelings a lot and Moria’s too. But really, all I did was confront them for things they’ve done to me. I don’t like leaving things unresolved or just acting like nothing is wrong. It’s not a grudge, but sometimes, I just want honest apologies and acknowledgements. Neither of them handle confrontation very well, and frankly, I don’t so much any more, either. Some of the things unsettled may be small, but there’s a lot of big things, too.

        So, maybe my honesty isn’t always a good thing in every relationship. And there are times that I manage to just hold my tongue and say nothing at all. But that is hardest of all.

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        • Gillian, it sounds like we have similar wiring! To be honest, it is one of the reasons I migrated away from my family of origin; I was always trying to deal with deeper thoughts and feelings and kept getting hurt, blamed and just generally did not feel safe. With some distance and healing I’ve learned to mostly surround myself with people who are mutually supportive, but we are all human and feelings still get hurt. I still work with the issue of boundaries in relationships, and am yet to get beyond the need to face my own subconscious issues, i.e., faulty belief systems that feed into those abreactions.

          I will blog soon on this wiring you’re speaking of. For now, if you’re interested in some background reading that ties into it, take a look at
          http://t.ritholtz.com/bigpicture/#!/entry/know-your-myersbriggs-type-indicator-type,50d06a04d7fc7b5670b06f88/1
          And
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INFP
          Let me know what you think, as an INFP I love this kind of talk!!

          Like

I would love to hear your responses and appreciate lively discussion! Please be patient as your comment comes to me first for approval before appearing below. Thank you!

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