Openheartedness

In a previous blog I wrote, “Music helps. Use it to chill and stay calm. Use it to crack your heart open so you can cry.”

I received quite a few questions about this. Why would anyone want to crack their heart open? Why would anyone want to cry?

We all have strategies for protecting the most vulnerable parts of ourselves. During times of fear and anxiety, like during this pandemic, our defensive strategies strengthen. In order to protect ourselves, we get more and more armored. Our protective shells get stronger and stronger. The bad news about this is that as that shell calcifies, our vulnerability becomes more remote, and we lose our ability to connect to others, and also to connect with the deepest parts of ourselves.

Becoming openhearted does not mean disregarding the fear or anxiety we might be feeling. It does not mean becoming reckless or falsely confident. It means staying connected to the tender parts of ourselves. It means not dissociating from our vulnerable states. That’s where music can help.

Music has a special way of sneaking around the defensive and protective structures. Listening to a moving piece of music goes straight to the heart and opens it up. That’s what I mean by cracking your heart open. The tears you feel when you hear a moving piece of music are a sign that your heart has been touched. Let that happen. It’s good for your well being and health, and especially right now when we are all feeling fearful, it will keep your shell from getting too hard.

Here’s one of my favorites from Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole:

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