The Journey of the Heart

The Musical Bumps

September 2008: I am hiking a forested trail called Singing Pass leading me to a stunning alpine hike called Musical Bumps. It is just after ten in the morning, the trail marches for six miles, climbing steadily up hill for 3,300 feet before the alpine section of the hike begins. I am feeling somewhat fatigued. My legs are a little heavy and the prospect of a twelve-mile up hill hike to the peak of Whistler Mountain seems daunting. I encounter an area where the trail has slid. It is steep with no visible signs of a path. It is about fifty feet high. I ascend a slope that appears more gradual then find myself faced with a tricky side step on even steeper terrain. I feel uncertain and a little alarmed then pick my way carefully hanging on to tree branches wherever I can. I breathe a sigh of relief and give a short prayer of thanks as I reach terra firma. After a couple of miles I notice my chest feels a little tight. I start to do a mental check of any other side effects of a heart attack. No sweating or shortness of breath, no pain or numbness and I am still climbing steadily. I feel a little alarmed, wondering whether it is serious, or just anxiety. I do not feel like going back particularly with a major slide to descend behind me. I become more conscious of my chest. I have my cel phone with me just in case I get into trouble. Every now and then I check my heartbeat which seems steady and not excessive.
Gradually my anxiety diminishes. I wonder what this is about. I always seek meaning in the drama of my life. Is this physical or metaphysical or both. I complete the hike in just over six hours. Much of it is uphill and I notice my heart rate is regularly exceeding 140 b.p.m. with no apparent negative effect. I pause when I get tired but recover quickly. The scenery is magnificent, craggy peaks with glaciers and golden meadows reflecting the fall colour. My anxiety dissipates as my attention to my heart becomes less overt. I look forward to the cool lager I will enjoy once I reach the Whistler lodge.
Two days later when I get home I check the internet for the meaning of feeling chest pressure. The warnings seem quite dire and suggest an immediate visit to emergency. Somehow I am not convinced. Am I in denial? I am certainly of an age where heart attacks are possible. I decide to complete my daily soul journal. I sit in contemplation beside my altar. I light a candle and burn some lavender oil and enter my sacred space. I ask for guidance. Is this physical or metaphysical? The message I get is calming. The heart is a vulnerable energy center. Most of our lives we keep it guarded to avoid absorbing too much negative energy. It is though we create an armored shell that prevents us from absorbing too much hurt. As we focus on becoming more conscious we become more aware of this shell and that is what I am feeling. ‘But why now?” I ask. Because you have reached the moment when you are ready for a new exploration. I do not feel totally relieved. ‘How do I know this is not the voice of denial?” I enquire. I feel guided to open the BC Health Guide, which make me feel reassured. The lack of physical symptoms, and my ability to complete a twelve mile uphill hike with no ill effects, is like having my own stress test. My contemplation reminds me that this new awareness of my heart chakra has come to remind me that I have work to do to with my heart. My heart requires feeding. Feeding the heart comes from beauty, joy, laughter, music, compassion, poetry, peace and gentleness.
That evening I am going to an evening at the Callonish Society. I think it is a fundraiser but my friend tells me it is a circle for cancer survivors. We hesitate en–route then flip a coin. Heads we go. Heads it is and we join this lovely group of people. We do some chanting and I notice the heart engage. Then people share their stories and I realize that this is more heart food. My friend and I walk home and decide to pull a card each. I select The Power Deck Cards of Wisdom by Lynn Andrews. I form a very clear intention. “I need absolute clarity that I can believe this soul dialogue.” I pull card 44 – Witness. I read these words “Live in your sacred witness. The inner place of silence and observing is your true identity and therefore your true power. The answers that you find through the timelessness of spirituality and the innocence of nature offer the infinite. Answer your own questions by reflecting on nature and conversing with your own sacred witness.” How amazing. Pascal once wrote “The heart has its reasons that reason does not know”  I think I may be starting to understand what that means.
November 2008: I go for a medical and share with my doctor the fact that I have experienced heart pressure. She seems fairly disinterested in my theory of heart chakras and says I likely have angina. She arranges a cardiogram and reminds me that should I feel any more symptoms I must not take chances and  go immediately to Emergency. I don’t feel any anxiety but go for the cardiogram and get a clear result. I don’t raise the issue of metaphysical healing with the doctor as I sense paradigms are in conflict. She sends me for a stress test with “angina?” on the requisition.
January 2009 I am walking rapidly trying to keep up with the treadmill, which increases in speed and elevation every three minutes. A multitude of cables extend from electrodes on my chest and a pretty series of blues lines shows the performance of my heart. I am reaching ten minutes and the nurse has told me to keep going until I am tired. She also advised that the average time for the test is 6 to 9 minutes. My heart is beating regularly and powerfully at about 160 beats a minute. The nurse tells me I am doing very well. The machine whirrs into action and I am forced into a full jog to keep up. “I’m not tired but I really don’t want to jog for too long because of my knees” I tell the nurse. How ironical to have a successful stress test but ruin my knees. We agree to stop at thirteen and half minutes. My heart reaches 171 bpm which diminishes to 91 in five minutes – a very good sign. The physical heart is in good shape, now it is back to the more important healing of the deeper heart.

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