My best friend sent me a link to an amazing podcast episode yesterday. And ever since I listened to it, I have been practicing deliberate heart-work, in order to help me process my grief. As discussed in the episode, I have been finding that when we lean into grief, rather than run from it, we uncover all of our illusions. And when we drop from our heads into our hearts, and honor the wisdom of our chest-center, we can move through grief, pain, loss, and sadness, in a much more productive way. It’s such hard work, but so much better than avoidance.
Click the title of the episode, or the image below, to be taken to this podcast episode, “181. Centering the Wise Heart with Three of Swords” from Tarot for the Wild Soul with Lindsay Mack.
THREE OF SWORDS
If any of you ever practice tarot, or have been given a tarot card reading, you will know that the three of swords card almost always makes us panic. At first glance, the three of swords card often represents literal heartbreak, loss, and tragedy. And this unfortunately, is what is actually happening for me right now.
You can read about my recent breakup in my article, “I Lost My Dream Life 12 Days Before Christmas.”
However, in this episode, Lindsay Mack really debunks the fear surrounding this card. And talks about it a bit more generally. She basically explains that we all experience heartbreak every day, in one way or another. Our hearts are always aching, and we are always carrying grief around with us, at all times. So, essentially, don’t panic if you see this card!
But what’s even more amazing, is she really talks about the true meaning of this card. And how it’s less about impending doom. And more about how our minds tend to make things worse, regarding our grief and heartbreak. Pain and heartbreak are inevitable, and a part of life. But, the way we deal with it can make all the difference in how we experience it.
The swords in tarot represent our mental state. And in the three of swords card, there are three swords penetrating a bleeding heart. So, what this card really represents is the mental torture we inflict upon our grieving selves. And this card invites us to instead reframe how we process and deal with heartbreak.
We almost always abide by our mind, which is always going to try to figure things out. It wants to blame, or defend, or justify our grief. Because it’s just trying to help us make sense of it all. However, she states that the heart has a deeper and more profound wisdom to offer, if we can just begin to listen.
The Three of Swords card from my favorite tarot deck, The Luminous Void.
PERFORMING HEART WORK
Lindsay Mack asks that whenever we experience grief or pain, we stop and sink into our heart center. We lean into our grief, even though it’s uncomfortable. And we drop from our tortured mental thoughts, into our chest center.
So, how do we actually do this?
I recall, years ago, I started practicing some heart-centered work. And all I would do was sit quietly, and gently focus my attention on my chest center. Then, I would respectfully invite my heart to share with me her wisdom. Whatever emotions came up for me, I would honor and explore. And whenever I would find myself popping back into my mind, I would just sink back down into my heart again.
The crazy thing is, it really worked! And I recall that I would all of a sudden remember something from YEARS ago. A memory that had long been forgotten, but that always seemed to have a message for me.
Now, given my current state of affairs, I have begun this daily, sometimes twice-daily, heart work again.
LEAN INTO GRIEF
I have only had a few sessions of heart work so far. But wow, I can already feel a difference. Mostly, I am noticing that my tears feel different. Don’t get me wrong, they are still falling! But before, when I was wanting to avoid my grief, I noticed that I would stuff the pain down a bit. And then it would kind of abruptly and violently burst in a fragile moment. And my tears felt hot and full of intensity. However, when my tears flow under the umbrella of my deliberate heart work, I notice they are much softer. They stream down my face in a gentle flow, calmly, and almost at peace. And this feels vastly different from the much more raw and painful tears, that were accompanied by equally painful, mental thoughts.
I have been vowing to do my heart work, almost as a daily practice. I brush my teeth, I do my yoga, and then I do my heart work. I’m essentially sitting down to deliberately cry and feel shit. But in this way of doing it, it’s like I’m able to maintain my balance a bit more. Because I’m ready to lean into grief, and I’m prepared to feel all the feels. It makes crying tears of pain much easier, believe me.
I would like to now share with you a few messages that I’ve been receiving from my heart.
HEART MESSAGE #1
My first heart message was kind of an overall, philosophical idea, about my current situation. And it essentially said that my mind is experiencing the grief. But my heart actually just feels full from all of the love that it shared, and received, and felt. I received the message that the heart doesn’t lose love when the physical love is no longer. It stays with us, always. The heart just keeps growing with each experience. And in some ways, the physical loss is irrelevant. Because the heart just remembers the good. The good, and the pure, and the true love, is the only thing real to the heart. And all the rest is meaningless.
HEART MESSAGE #2
The next message I received was about my childhood. And my heart reminded me that when I was a child, I just wanted love from the people around me. And it hurt when I didn’t receive it. I carried that pain with me in life. And when I let my guard down with someone as an adult, and let love in, I finally felt so relaxed in love. I just wanted love from the man who said he would give it to me. And it hurts so terribly when people disappoint us, when we don’t get the love we want and deserve.
From this message, I was able to grieve my lost love from childhood, and from my relationship. I know, not fun work at all. But again, the tears felt so soft and gentle. It was amazing. If I’m going to be crying anyway, I might as well try to cry constructively! PS that’s such a Virgo, over-achiever thing to do 🙂
HEART MESSAGE #3
I was sitting on my couch, staring at the cable wires connected to my TV. And I felt so much grief overcome me. Because my ex always took care of the technology in our home. Which has always given me great amounts of anxiety. And when we were together, it felt so good to be taken care of. No one really nurtured me very much as a child. And I always had to be strong. No one was ever really like, “Here, I can see you’re struggling, let me help you.” Never. And that’s what I needed. That’s what we all need. And I lived so many years, taking care of myself, trying to be strong. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to. So, when my ex took care of me from a place of love, there was nothing in the world that felt better to me. I finally felt so safe, and it was bliss. And now that it’s gone, it’s such a loss, and so painful.
I share a bit more about this in my article, “Oops, I Did It Again, And Repeated My Love Mistakes.”
This message had less resolution, and was much more about honoring my pain, both past and present. It was again about shedding soft tears, and getting out all of the gunk, constructively, and gently.
LOVING MYSELF IN A NEW WAY
Okay, so I don’t know much about this at all. Since I’ve spent most of my life waiting for a man to come and make me feel safe. I really don’t know how to go about making myself feel truly safe, regardless of any man. But, I’m starting to think that this is key. Because it’s no longer working to put ALL of my hopes and fears into a love relationship working out. And trying desperately to hold onto that idea. Love apparently has other things in store for me. And fear and love can never successfully co-exist, long-term. It’s just too shaky of a foundation for me to be permanently paving for myself. And there must be a better way moving forward.
I just don’t know how the fuck to do this. How do I truly, and genuinely, in my bones, feel safe and good in the world, with just me? And without feeling like I’ve been abandoned. While still keeping my heart open to all of my fulfilling relationships. I don’t know. But I’ll just keep trying things until something sticks. Falling apart, and piecing things back together again. That’s what we’re all doing, isn’t it?
THANK YOU FOR READING!
What are some ways in which you lean into grief? Have you ever tried this before, and what has been your experience? How have you gotten through your grieving times in a constructive way? Or, in a destructive way? I would love to hear all of it! xo
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Statue photo by David Clode on Unsplash
Lion photo by Brianna R. on Unsplash