Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending A Ceremony to Open the Heart Chakra with Diana Scime-Sayegh of Happy Heart Yoga Shala. The event was hosted by the ever wonderful DollyMoo, which provided an intimate space for attendees to clear out emotional smog, open our hearts, and to forgive whatever and whoever has wronged us in the past.
Needless to say it was a very emotional evening.
We drew comfort from an intimate space. Seven or eight women sat around a centerpiece of flowers, flickering flame, and rose quartz, while Diana and Nicci (Owner, DollyMoo) passed around cups of rose petal and nettle tea. The warmth in our hands, along with the slightly sweet fragrance, was a grand introduction to an evening heralding self-exploration and discovery.
“The mind is a toddler; the heart is wisdom,” Diana cited. As the evening progressed, she smudged each of us with sage and passed around rose quartz for healing, oil for anointing. Diana went on to explain how there is a small section of the heart that provides us access to the greatest version of ourselves, an area so wise that we are somehow divinely connected with the universe. “The trouble is, we don’t listen to her enough. And when we don’t listen, she stops speaking.”
What drew me to enroll in the course was the promise of banishing fear – something that’s been clogging my headspace lately. Creative types are apt to know that when there’s too much “noise” – whether it be fear, doubt, or the needs of others – it becomes difficult to check in with ourselves and to operate from a clear and selfless place.
Fear becomes the stop which forestalls progress. Often, a defensive mechanism is to shift the awareness somewhere else so we don’t focus too long on the bruises which ache and disturb our being. If we don’t look, then we don’t see. If we don’t see, and by extension, experience, then we can’t possibly heal.
When we’re aware of our faults and our attempts at hiding, we are able to refocus and see things more clearly.
With clarity as an endgame, I sought out the Heart Opening Ceremony, which in all honesty made me a bit uncomfortable. I wasn’t exactly sure what I would be getting myself into or what sort of emotional rawness I would be facing. I believe, however, that courage is embraced when we say yes to the prospect of discomfort. So here I was, warm tea at my side, surrounded by strangers who were willing to embark on a similar journey. And so, we were united – if not by knowing each other, then certainly by our openness to embrace wounds of old, and to finally forgive ourselves and those who never gave us closure.
Through guided meditation, Diana took us on a journey to our own inner garden, lush and green. She asked that we focus on this light, this brightness within us, its levity. In this way we were to open our sacred heart space, to strengthen our inner voice, more give her permission to speak. Affirmations of, “I will take of care you,” and “I love myself,” were repeated over and over again. We joined one another in chanting and opened ourselves to healing. This was a lesson in building compassion, first for ourselves and then towards others.
In one specific instance, we imagined giving a bird a message. I remember sending three thoughts metaphorically skyward – creativity, connection, and strength. These attributes would serve me best in my current life path, allowing for the prospect of growth that I crave. In another, we were asked to imagine those who wronged us, those who hurt us deeply, and to place at their feet the most beautiful wreaths of flora that we could possibly imagine. This was our forgiveness, our letting go of all the baggage that weighed us. Emotions surged (as Diana mentioned they would) and tears poured from my eyes. I wasn’t crying per say, but the swell would not be kept at bay and I was not to judge or attach to whatever surfaced.
At the end of the evening (and a very intense period of Savasana) , Diana mentioned that we might feel a bit disoriented over the next few days. Opening the heart is a difficult task and might coerce unforeseen thoughts and emotions to arise. Once again, she encouraged that we reserve judgment. Nicci gave us a wonderful parting gift compliments of DollyMoo – an infusion of rose, peony, and lavender oil that would help ground our heart space during moments of discomfort. We parted ways feeling lighter and freer than when we first walked in.
The event was a sobering reminder of the power we possess. To incite profound change, all it takes is a shift in perspective and the willingness to embrace vulnerability. An open heart is a happy heart. And a happy heart is receptive to wisdom in all its forms.