Healing the Orphans of the Heart

Healing the Orphans of the Heart
The Invitation of the Broken

At times, a broken heart will appear as your teacher and you will be asked to place your raw, shaky vulnerability on the altar before you.

The invitation of the broken is rarely sweet or peaceful, but is always reorganizing and whole.

“The freedom you are longing for is found inside me,” it says, “not in sending me away with spiritual process.”

Your ancient companion aloneness has arrived as a clarifying wisdom-guide from beyond, along with your fellow travelers the moon and the stars.

As you continue to explore the depths of what you are, renewing your vow to turn in to those tender aspects you had to disconnect from along the way, you are sure to meet many orphans of the heart, abandoned ones of the emotional and somatic worlds who have been turned away and denied holding in the crucible at the center. Personal and collective allies of integration, surging within and around you, seeking communion and permission to return home.

The disconnected parts of yourselfExplore the depths of what you are and those aspects you’ve disconnected from.

Passage of Wholeness

Sadness, shame, heartbreak, and rage: travelers on an old journey, tired and in need of rest. Loneliness, confusion, joy, and fear—secret messengers sent from inside to remind you of an inner family member who yearns for reunion. At an earlier time, you were unable to provide safe passage for these voyagers, an attuned sanctuary where they could join you on your passage of wholeness. But they have not given up.

Whether during a conversation with a friend, hidden in the purple of an evening sky, or buried in the unfolding crystals of newly fallen snow…as a fragrance, a vague sense of longing for home, or by way of a vivid, translucent figure of the dream world, they are always appearing and will never stop trying to reach you.

While at times they come in sweet and peaceful forms, at other times they utilize energies of deflation, ferocity, and wrath, whatever they must use to remind you of what you are. In this way they are relentless, making use of the entirety of the phenomenal world to illuminate your path and reveal how majestic it is inside you.

Difficult emotionsWe disconnect from our sadness, shame, heartbreak, rage, loneliness and fear.

How Will You Respond?

At times, a child will appear at your door. She will be cold, scared, and tired from a long journey. Her heart may be broken, rage may be erupting from her body, and she may be confused and uncertain about who she is and what is being asked of her.

How will you respond when she comes calling?

Will you allow her entry, move toward her with love and curiosity, and provide a sanctuary for her to fall apart in your arms? Or will you first demand that her fear convert to joy, her anxiety be healed, her confusion turn to clarity, and her heart be mended?

Will you take the risk of caring deeply and listen carefully to the dreams, the stories, the feelings, and the vulnerabilities which emanate from the little one in front of you?

Or will you admonish her to ‘get over it’, to urgently forgive even if she is not ready, quickly ‘transcend’ her heartbreak with spiritual techniques, or require that she stay unwavering in the present moment? Demanding that she first surrender the dream of a separate self.


The Path of the Heart

The ‘other’ is always appearing, in both inner and outer forms. Look carefully and you will see. Externally as the people you are in relationship with, who provide endless opportunities for you to remember. And internally as the unmet other of the unlived life. Of the abandoned feelings, emotions, and somatic material that have been sent away into the forest of the unconscious, in the hope of protecting you from the full-spectrum nature of the path of the heart.

The broken parts of youHow will you respond when broken parts of you come calling?

The tired, open, and luminous children of love will continue to appear, not to harm or as an obstacle along the way, but as alchemical allies of integration and wholeness. By way of feeling, sign, symbol, and soma, they will do anything to reach you.

Before you turn from her and demand that she be someone other than what she is, open the door and see.

Honoring the Internal Family

Look carefully and see how the split-off pieces of your body, your psyche, and your heart continue to appear as your partners, your family, your children, and your friends…even as the colors, the trees, the sun, and the moon. They will never give up on you and will continue appearing until they are integrated and allowed back home. While their longing for reunion is profound, they are patient and will wait into eternity until you are ready.

Even though you sense an unknown world of aliveness around you, it is not possible to access it until you break the spell that you are undeserving. This trance is subtle and is deeply embedded, the result of both personal and collective misperception. The cleansing of this perception requires full-spectrum attunement and reorganization at psychic, emotional, somatic, and transpersonal levels. But the guidance is already here. It is not something that needs to be produced, for it is not caused. The signs, symbols, and information are wired into you but are often hidden and must be retrieved in nonconventional ways. In order to access the data of wholeness, you must travel into your own body, for there is no greater temple. As the great mystic Teresa of Avila revealed, there is an inner castle where the jewels of the heart have been buried, excavated through surrender, devotion, and love.

Your internal familyHonor your internal family that longs to be reunited within you.

You are Not Broken

It can be a revelation to allow in the sacred truth that is found in the center: You are not broken or in need of fixing, nor is something cosmically wrong with you that must be repaired by process, seeking, and struggle. You are not a project to be solved, but it can appear that something resplendent has been forgotten and displaced. The new vision cannot be released into a field of self-aggression and abandonment of the fire, but only into an environment of kindness and presence, where the circuitry can be re-encoded with empathy and attunement, and flooded with new levels of creativity.

This journey will inevitably require an encounter with the darkness and we must be willing at times to set aside our demand for consistent joy, happiness, and ease. There are no quick steps, no prefabricated instructions, and no guarantees of getting everything we want. The raw material for the work of love is found in the crucible where light and dark are one, and buried inside the very core of the rage, the emptiness, the heartbreak, and the disappointment.

The Wholeness of the Sacred World

Through deflation and reorganization, we step into the wholeness of the sacred world, which will never conform to the way we thought it would be. It is unprecedented here, a place of wisdom. Nothing is to be discarded any longer. The path is everywhere, but it requires being willing to turn toward and integrate all psychic and somatic energies, including rage, fear, jealousy, and confusion. The bias toward only half of the spectrum must dissolve into the wholeness.

You are not brokenYou are not broken or in need of fixing but part of the wholeness of the sacred world.

As a sensitive little one in a world that was unable to hold the light, you made meaning of an environment lacking in empathy and attunement by blaming yourself, by constructing the emotionally weighty narrative that something was wrong with you, that you were flawed, and that you were not worthy of resonance and consistent, loving presence. As painful as this organization was, it was much safer than allowing in the reality that those around you were limited and incapable of providing the empathic connection you so deeply longed for—to do this would be to open the gates to profound feelings of terror and overwhelm. While these conclusions once served an important function, the veil is starting to part and the call to reorganization is beginning to thunder. While the trance once served an important adaptive function, the spell has remained alive within you and is longing to be rewoven—the dream is aching to be unwound and re-imagined in a more whole, integrated, and luminous form.

Tending the Aliveness

Honor the role your internal family has played until now: the unlovable one, the unworthy one, the broken one, and the one who has failed. They have served as important companions, providing context and purpose and keeping you out of unworkable states of fragmentation. They represented your best efforts to care for yourself and find meaning in an environment where meaning was not immediately apprehended. You need not aggressively send them away or even ‘let them go’. For they will let go of you when their protective function is no longer needed, when the time is right for you to return to the vulnerability, tenderness, and wide openness of your true nature.

Your true natureReturn to the vulnerability, tenderness, and wide openness of your true nature.

While a battle has been raging inside, the invitation now is into surrender, to step off the battleground and call off the war. Surround these ones with your awareness and breathe warmth into their center, into the images and symbols that have danced within you for so long. The inner family never intended to harm, but only to protect you from the raw, fiery tenderness of your own innocence. While you required this protection at an earlier time, it may no longer be necessary. But you must look and see for yourself. When you are ready, while honoring the safety and ground that has been provided, you can offer safe passage for these ones to end their tired journey, and go back into the vastness where they can rest. While they have done whatever they could to care for you and keep you alive, they are longing to return to you the sacred task of tending the aliveness of your own heart.

This is an excerpt from Matt Licata’s latest book, The Path is Everywhere republished with his permission.

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