Repairing a Broken Heart (Essay)

    I have two early memories that I’m sure are my own and not based on the stories told and retold to me by others. In the first, I have escaped across the road to a neighbor’s garden and am surrounded by flowers. I don’t really remember getting there or what happened afterwards, but I remember the colors and scents of being there.
    The second has me walking down a long white hallway holding the hand of a white lady. Putting this in context, I know that I am in a hospital holding the hand of a nurse. I had open heart surgery when I was three years old. Prior to that, my family focused really hard on keeping me close and keeping me quiet. Back then, repairing heart defects had to be postponed until the candidate was of a size and constitution to tolerate them.
    I have the articles (and the family stories) from back then. Community blood drives were held for me. I shared the experience with my Raggedy Andy doll. If I had to be poked in the arm and wear an IV, he got one too. I was released from follow up monitoring when I was six years of age.
    The last, probably the most important, thing I remember is the frustration of being protected and restrained. It didn’t end when the medical monitoring did. My family had fallen into a habit of saying, “No.” Their reasons were well-intentioned, but fighting against them wore me out. I was encourage to excel intellectually and artistically, but not physically or independently. I had to fight for those things. I think my favorite phrases were “why not” and “you’d let me do it if I was a boy.”
    Many years later, after I’d been through various health issues and learned not to depend on my physical abilities, I began searching for something more … a purpose or an experience beyond working to get money to buy more things and getting a better paying job that would let me buy better things. I was exploring shamanism and taking an introductory workshop in journeying and energy healing.
    I volunteered to be the subject for the initial journey by the instructors. I lay with my eyes closed and tried to stay focused on being calm and open. I am naturally guarded and self-controlled and did not want to block the experience. I kept getting fleeting visons of a young “cinnamon bear.”
    The instructors explained that they’d been guided by my guardian bear who’d told them that my heart had been broken … that I’d been blocked or even abused too many times. Under its direction, they applied honey to all the cracks and broken pieces and sealed it back together. They warned that I’d likely feel more emotional, but would adapt to this over time. They asked if there was anything in my history that fit into this. I had given them no advance information. For some reason, I didn’t equate this with anything physical. I didn’t feel abused or victimized and didn’t make the connection between feeling that there was ME and then there was my adversary, my BODY, which failed and thwarted ME.
    My husband was (reluctantly) attending with me and he asked, “What about your heart surgery.” The instant he did, I started making the connections. My heart had been “broken” in two ways: physically by the defect and the repair and emotionally by all the times I’d tried to grow by doing and been told “No” because it wasn’t safe. I went to the instructors on the next break and shared what I’d realized. I believe that the energies of the body, which is after all a bio-electric system, can be interpreted by individuals sensitive to those energies. That sensitivity can be physical (medical intuitives), emotional, and psychic or metaphysical. I believe that sensitivity can be developed and expanded. And I believe that energy can be manipulated.