Keep Your Heart Open
‘Nothing, ever, is worth closing your heart over.’ Michael A. Singer
By the age of 19 I found myself alone in a foreign country, I needed an algorithm to survive the whirlwind of decisions I didn’t know how to make. Intuition became my guide. When something felt right, regardless of common sense, societal expectations, I followed the path trusting it would take me wherever I was supposed to end up, whenever I felt a block, or resistance within my body, even if the mind was luring me into a situation, I tried to stay away. Intuition has been my lighthouse, but at times, I failed to hear the clarity I needed to make a decision. Whenever emotions were clouding my vision, I became blind. In that space of distortion, I no longer could feel, or trust my gut. I didn’t know how to overcome this.
Therapy helped me understand the fundamental principles of how traumas become the root of negative patterns we acquire in childhood and carry into adulthood. Primarily, therapy helped me learn to identify fear, which has a tendency to disguise itself as anger, rage, irritation, sadness. That which we label as character, in a lot of cases is the weight of heavy unresolved trauma. Someone who hurts us, are themselves in pain, whether conscious or not. When you find that you have immense amounts of rage within you, when you burn up like a match at the slightest comment from a passerby, when your reaction to your child overwhelms with intensity, when you hide in co-dependent relationships, when you succumb to addictions, when you seek validation instead of true connections, when you are riddled with anxiety… you must look within. Most of us, in the majority of times, operate from a place of fear. Probably not something you are going to nod to. Unless you are doing some kind of inner work, your most immediate reaction to this sentence will be defensive. Nah, this doesn’t apply to me. I’m balanced and happy.
Layers of pain, hurt, fear unresolved from the early age of a child, stored, suppressed, hidden within the depths of your being, triggered by life, by people, with the sole aim to let you breathe that negativity out, in the majority of cases results in you running away, shutting down, escaping. We are taught to protect ourselves, which inevitably closes the heart, stalls you. Noone wants to feel rage, irritation, pain, and whenever those are triggered we point the finger at the person in front of us, put up our defences and stay clear of them if we can help it. It is much harder to see that the only reason something scares you, pains you, is because of the unresolved pain and hurt stored within you. It is much harder to look within, than to allocate blame to the outside world, your husband, your mother, men, women, life.
Nothing, ever, is worth closing your heart over…
For the past two months, this has been my daily practice, whenever I felt angry, hurt, anxious, reminding myself that it was only disturbing energy flowing through me, liberating me from stored negativity I needed to let go off. I didn’t need to identify why I was feeling the intensity of the emotion, I didn’t have to engage my intuition to steer me clear of a person or a situation that was making me feel the nauseating anxiety I wanted to flee from. I didn’t need to hide in addictions like over excessive sports. I failed many times over. And then, I tried to breathe through it again and again, and let go. I tried to not engage with my thoughts, the mind racing to explain, to allocate blame, to find a solution that didn’t serve me. I just breathed and consciously noted that I wanted to keep my heart open, no matter what.
This practice is hard, there is no quick fix, but I no longer need to identify the roots of my traumas, I accept I have them. My sole intention now is to learn not act on fears, not to engage with thoughts, and to let go of all hurts I have stored within me. Keep your heart open. No matter what.
I have been working on eliminating a bitterness I have been feeling for the past two years-but it smolders, reappears and stuffs my mind with unexpressed anger. To me it seems harder to keep one’s heart open when the hurt was put upon someone you love. But even so, your words remind me that the work is the same. “Keep your heart open. No matter what.” Thank you.
Dear Sandra, thank you so much for opening up. It is precisely when the hurt is placed upon us by someone we love that the work can be most effective for it becomes essential. It needs to make an impact deep enough for us to take notice. Therapy helped me tremendously, but I have found many tools along the way, cold water swimming, running, yoga, breathing, meditation, but most importantly to take a minute between the trigger and my response. Underneath anger lies hurt. Learn to uncover the hurt and let it go. That is the mechanism of trauma in its most crude and simplified form. You will surely find yours. And know please, that once you become conscious of the need to heal yourself, you will, one day. Nothing is permanent.
Thank you, Masha, for being born and just being. At 70 years of age, and severe trauma during childhood, my internal journey has been at the core of my life, and, reading your words, I see that I have a fellow traveler of the spirit. Your writing has drawn numbers of other beautiful women here and I feel that I have come home. I am, despite chronic illness, teaching myself to sew. I feel such gratitude for this business and its love.
Dear Julia, what a beautiful, heartfelt message to receive. I hope that we can all learn to find such kindness to share with the world, with people, despite the past, despite trauma, despite unjust actions against us. I hope my words reach you with as much warmth as yours did for me. Thank you for making me smile.
Dear Masha, I look forward to seeing your posts in my inbox, and I always read them. Your observations are considered and subtle, and I have learned so much from you. Today I was moved by your understanding, and your willingness to share how you found the courage to choose love in the face of pain and loss. This is a lesson I’ve also learned and strive to live every day. Now when I smooth my linen tablecloths and wrap myself in the bath towels I’ve made with your beautiful fabrics, I will feel blessed by the wisdom of this community of women – beginning with you
I also found myself in a strange land half way around world and alone at age 19. I am now 74 and have had a similar journey of awareness. I totally love this fabric store not only for the luscious feel, colors and smell of a new cut of linen. But also the community of women that own and work at this store and the rest of use that complete a community of kindred souls.
It is a blessing to have found this lovely spot and I look forward to the daily posts. Sometimes I even purchase a cut of fabric because it is a physical way to reach out and touch you. Thank you all for being part of our community.
An absolutely lovely post today. It looks like you’ve repeated it from an earlier time based on the comment dates, and it’s well worth while, even for a repeat read. Your choice of words truly resonated with me, reminding me that sometimes you have to hear similar messages in different ways to finally respond emotionally to the wisdom conveyed. Many thanks to you and to all of the responders as well, who have added to the collective wisdom contained herein. As a 68 almost 69 year old, I was fascinated to see so many responders at about the same chronological age, and it’s a nice reminder that it’s never too late to join the celebration of life and healing self-awareness!
At 69 years myself I am awed by the wisdom in your words in a person so young as yourself. I am awed by the fact you have shared your journey in such a public way with such grace, clarity and truth. The road you describe is an arduous one. I know because I am traveling it myself and have been for many years. In your words I hear that you have not closed your heart to others, but even perhaps more importantly, your compassionate heart is open to yourself. I applaud you.
That depth of understanding and sensitivity should not surprise me because there is great depth of thought and expression in your website. I do not sew as much as I used to or buy as much of your lovely linen as I would like to, but every day I look at your blog to enjoy your insights and the delightful way you ascribe the colors of your beautiful linen to the works of the artistic greats. You give me a little bit of joy each day. Thank you, Jaime
When your heart is closed or about to close, look up to the vastly open sky, at a bud of flower is about to bloom, an opening garden gate (or book), or a smile of an innocent child, etc. anything that expresses the opening. Then visualize those images while closing the eyes & taking few deep, slow and gentle breaths. That’s how I practice to see opening is just the other side of closing; they both are sides of a coin. Accept and let go.
Thank you for sharing some beautiful images to keep in mind for visualization and suggestions about how to practice keeping your heart open.
Love your willingness to share. It helped me and looks as if many others.
Thank you for your kind words! my email is: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be writing you shortly on yours. We may be twin souls traveling this world together!!
This site is so much more than just a place to sell fabric. There is a passionate connectivity here. Keep up the great work.
Masha, thank you. Your message, given with such an open heart, and my fear, meet in the perfect space. Your gift is beyond my limited thought-based comprehension, yet blossoms in my soul. You have my gratitude.
Beautiful message, Masha–so important to remember. Thank you!
How did you know how to open my heart today? I, too, am 68 and loved sitting at the foot of my Grandmother’s chair watching her sew. Thank you for this wonderful meditation.
Your authentic, courageous and tender post this morning moved me to tears. Like the woman who wrote about her 70 year struggle with trauma, in my 68th year, I continue to face mine head on, yet fully knowing that God has always loved me, even though I sometimes forget. My craft has always been that of a sewist- starting as a child, taught by my beloved grandmother. I am most genuinely myself and at peace when I sew, and I am so very grateful for F/S Linens for your exquisite fabrics, your outstanding posts about art, color, and newly discovered gifted designers. Thank you with all of my heart! Blessings, Nancy Jones
Dear Nancy, I feel we are connected in a way. Perhaps even related. Truly not trying to be odd. I have an aunt with your same name. If you feel okay about contacting me please do at email@example.com. If not I’ll leave this at this.
Beautifully expressed. Thank you for reminding us of our shared humanity. ??
Masha, I am just seeing this now, but it is the perfect time.
“ whenever I felt angry, hurt, anxious, reminding myself that it was only disturbing energy flowing through me, liberating me from stored negativity I needed to let go”
I, too, have been working on this, your eloquent and authentic words have touched me. I find the conflict we encounter socially these days stem from fear. My response is just this – to clear my trauma and open my heart.
Darkness cannot exist where there is light. Shine on!
Thank you for your message of hope. I look forward to a day when I am no longer searching for the source of my own trauma, but living out each day with an open heart and solely being intentional about the way that I speak and act towards others. I don’t want to be any part of someone else’s trauma story.
I love F|S linen and all of the wonderful resources you provide. Thank you again.
Thank you Masha, I am a therapist in private practice and your words are so very true and universal to us all. Thank you for your wisdom and insight today?
Thank you so very much for sharing your journey. Your comments and feelings touched me deeply,…touched a nerve maybe, because I have been dealing with something similar and wondering why I react in certain ways and how to change my reactions. And thank you too for the beautiful fabrics, patterns and art history. I know I am growing forward in my sewing skills and becoming more in touch with myself.
Thank you so much to offer us this so edifying insights. I really appreciate your post! And I really appreciate how F|S does their thing, with humanity at all level and the thrue thing with their beautiful linen to which I become more and more addicted!
What a beautiful and very insightful lesson you have given us here Masha! I too have struggled with severe childhood trauma starting in infancy and at 70 years old I have finally gotten through the worst of it. And because of my faith in God and belief that He would heal me eventually, I was able to “keep my heart open”! Thank you for this beautifully written piece!!! It resonated within me very deeply!
Dear Sue.. thank you so much for sharing this.. 70 years is a long time to carry the weight of trauma.. what wonderful liberation you must feel now.. thank you for the kind words, I appreciate it
in addition to being addicted to your linen, I have been a psych nurse and therapist for 45+ yrs. I too have always enjoyed the musings on the thread, and they are often timely for me, as well. I have worked long and hard to transcend trauma from my past, and continue to do so now and likely forever. Masha, this was beautifully written, with depth and insight. thank you.
you and your cohorts have done much to bring more to your customers. yes, I buy, make and love the linen, – the thread makes your company so much more relatable. I sincerely thank you for all of the content in addition to the linen; the art, history, profiles, and genuine thought that you share is so rewarding and valuable.
Sherry, I can’t quite convey how much this comment meant to me, it was hard to write this, but much needed, cathartic… I so deeply appreciate your kindness to take the time to share this x (and a second thank you that you enjoy the plethora of amazing women who write for us.. we are blessed to be surrounded by so much great talent, wisdom, curiosity, the real stuff.. )
Thanks for this at such an important moment in my evolution. I’m going to print it so I can refer to it often even without my glasses on and through my tears. ??
Dearest Pauline.. thank you
I love it when a message comes at the very time one needs it. What a fabulous gift! Thank you! <3
Dear Deborah, this warms my heart, thank you xx
This was what I needed to hear right now. Thank you.
thank you Nick… means a lot to read this
I am impressed with the diversity and intelligence the essays in/on F|S exhibit. Always a joy to read. Thank you.
Dear Toni, thank you so much, it means a lot since I am also the editor.. grateful for your kindness
Thank you 🙂 this insight comes at a good time
Thank you for the feedback Lynne.. I appreciate it