Certain scenes remain burned in my brain, whether from an actual experience, an intense nightmare (I have many vivid, detailed dreams that all too closely abut reality), or images from movies. One such cinematic memory is the notorious heart removal clip from Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. Perhaps it was my prodrome for studying medicine, my age, or my human rubber-necking tendency to absorb every ounce of detail that subsequently burned this recollection deep into my hippocampus. It was not hard-wired parallel to fright thankfully, but its intensity etched itself, carbon-copy style into the deep recesses of my psyche. I don’t know about you, but my memories are extremely visceral. They collect like iron fillings to a magnet on my soul. I never suppress them. They serve as my navigation system, real, evoked, stories told, or otherwise, and they become mine. I savor the emotions they spawn, perhaps somewhat masochistically. This famous heart-ripping scene not only symbolizes mortality, imbalance of power, trauma, and gross cinematography (for its era) but it epitomizes vulnerability, cloaked in miraculous beauty.
Beauty, you ask? And to that I answer a resounding…maybe. Let’s first consider the actuality of this situation. If one were in the presence of another who could literally rip a heart out, well, that is a daunting and (perhaps) unfortunate situation. One’s instincts might be to avoid this person altogether, naturally, or to somehow protect oneself from his or her power with elements like distance, averted eyes, a posse, an implement or piece of armor. For the sake of argument, let’s also say the interaction with said power is inevitable. What now? Our DNA-imprinted self-preservation spawned long before our bipedal ancestors tread the earth, and that alone was millions (like 7 million!) years ago. Our sweet minds pain to imagine that amount of time. Brain explosion if we try and perceive billions of years. Suffice it to say, living organisms live to survive, no matter what the timeframe. So, in a situation where our heart is at risk, what do we do? We guard, we fight, we run, we play dead, we seek protection in the masses, we go to battle, or we surrender. And then we are spared. Right?
The symbolism of heart-wrenching cuts a deep crevasse, whether physically, emotionally or energetically. And the protections we aggressively put into place remain akin to each other across the board. So, all theatrical references aside, what if the raw vulnerability of our tenderized hearts is actually the road to authenticity? Suppose the jostling or our unguarded emotions is the real path to love? What if we take our hearts out, have a good look at their capabilities, their insufficiencies, their losses, their blockages, their emptiness, their voids, their abundance and finally see the overpowering truth? That love is sustained from within and without. That love needs no other to foster it, but begs for everyone once it is ignited. That love is magnetic, self-promulgating, bountiful, ever available, and needs exposed nerves to electrify it into being. That love is ever-present and available for the taking, especially when pain and suffering are climaxing. That love knows no color, no sex, no age, no era, no species and is raining down like the most toxic and pervasive storm that Earth could conjure. What if love is YOU? What if love is ME? What if love is everything? What if our perception is the only thing tainting the reflection of pure love in the mirror?
What if all that needs to be done is to blink, take a breath, and open our tender hearts? Would you be willing? Would you be vulnerable? Would you be raw?