i felt my heart crack open.
i was teaching a heart yoga workshop,
here in washington, d.c.
it was not an emergency.
there were no tears,
no catch in my throat,
no spinning thoughts.
it just cracked and felt sweetly tender.
when it happened, i looked around at the roomful of yoginis
busy penning heartstuff into journals.
i realized my heart was practicing what i'd just preached:
with one another.
i’m not making that up.
hearts engage in a very real and measurable
exchange of information,
most of the time,
we aren’t paying attention
to what the hearts of those around us are saying,
but our hearts are.
i stood in the grass by the potomac river
toe-to-toe and heart-to-heart
with a brave and insightful woman.
i was there to photograph her.
when i conceived of this project, i thought i'd mainly be photographing and drawing wisdom from women who are years past their experience with intimate partner abuse, and have spent a good amount of time thriving. i still want to focus most of the work here.
but this woman reached out to me so courageously. i had to meet her. she is very much in the middle of what is arguably the hardest, rawest and most dangerous part of an abusive relationship: leaving, getting a divorce, and fighting for the protection of her child.
and yet, her eyes are clear. her voice steady.
and, i could feel the brutal tenderness of her heart when we met.
(i remember having had that feeling, too.)
hearing her share feels like the universe giving me a gentle reminder.
“remember, laura, where this work of moving into light begins: right here, in the fire.”
i asked her about her experience with jumping into this huge change, and the alchemy of transformation, what the base elements of it seem to be, from her perspective, right now.
she spoke about leaning into the pain of things,
digesting as much as one can stand to process,
practicing patience mixed with hopeful perseverance,
maintaining a widened perspective of things,
and cultivating the willingness to be with what is.
then she said
“courage is a huge ingredient in transformation.”
“sometimes we think we need to ‘get courage’ in order to do something.
when really, courage arises by taking that step, you know?”
yes. yes, i do! it’s true.
i’ve waited for courage before. waiting never got me anywhere.
courage is like the hot guy who never calls until you start taking charge of your own happiness and building the life you want, all by yourself. then, of course, he calls and wants to be a part of the magic world you’ve created. because it is amazing. and you are amazing for building it.
that’s exactly what courage is like.
“it’s not about waiting to feel differently to act,” she said, “but taking the step we need to take, right now, in this moment. however small. just do that, and trust that the courage will meet you.”
my heart began to beat a little differently when she said this – the way it does when it hears an important truth, spoken by one who knows it intimately.
courage comes from the heart, too.
(the latin root word, "cor," means heart)
in fact, the original definition of courage, says brene brown, was
"to speak one's mind by telling one's whole heart."
and true courage is contagious.
so keep spreading it.
give your heart voice.
i will, too.
sending so much love,