You haven’t lived on this earth very long if you haven’t been betrayed by someone you love. Few are exempt from this deepest and cruelest of heart wounds. We have all been betrayed by lovers and parents and children and churches. Beloved teachers, best friends, or business partners may have lied, cheated, or stolen from us. Perhaps someone in whom we invested trust has carelessly exposed our most private thoughts and behaviors. Communities may have let us down, willingly sacrificing us in order to preserve image, maintain the status quo, or to keep its dark secrets hidden.
Betrayal is the common thread (more like barbed wire) that runs through the recent stories of the sexual assault of women and children by those in power. Even though we as women have been all too aware of the pernicious nature of this type of abuse, we are still shocked, stunned, saddened, and enraged by its prevalence. The betrayals by those whose position is meant to engender our trust, wounds us anew.
When we are betrayed by someone close to us, we often say we are cut to the heart, that we experience heartache or heart break. We might even feel a palpable pain in our chests during these moments. Because betrayal always involves a breaking of trust, it naturally involves the heart because the heart is the point where we open to others our most intimate selves. It’s where, in a moment of vulnerability, we let our guard down. In essence, we have given the gatekeeper to our most vital Sacred Official the okay to let in those we believed we could trust.
Rape, incest, and sexual abuse are most egregious of wounds because it represents a heart betrayal of our innocence and sacred intimacy.
In Five Element medicine, Heart is one of the four officials that governs the season of Summer. Summer engenders the core emotion of joy and the fundamental element of Fire. The ancient masters saw Fire as a symbol of warmth and connection, balanced maturation, and the refinement process. Heart, the Sacred Official of Summer infuses all we do with a rich and vibrant sensuality. Heart guides and connects us, through the warmth of community, to our place of belonging, a place where we feel safe to be our most vulnerable self. The balanced states of joy, play, laughter, sensuality, sexuality, and open communication can only be fully experienced in a state of vulnerability and vulnerability requires trust. We cannot close the gates of our heart out of self-protection and enter into love, it simply isn’t possible.
“The ritual sacrifice of its members by their communities through racial and political divisiveness, sexual abuse of children by their own clergy, the criminalization of the homeless and the poverty stricken, and, through government and corporate sanctioned ecological annihilation has left us, its members, splintered, bitter, and disillusioned. Betrayed and lied to by those intended (and often paid) to protect us—those whose job it is to serve our best interest and the best interests of our community—we feel no choice but to withdraw our trust. Our faith in community shatters. We may even come to hate what we once so deeply loved. If we don’t find a way to correct our broken-heartedness, we are in danger of lapsing into bitter cynicism.” –from Soul of the Seasons, by Melody A Scout (c) 2018
One of the first steps we can take to heal our heart wounds is to summon a deep compassion for ourselves. Gently, and without judgement, we must begin to look at our injuries with unvarnished honesty and integrity. We must honor and respect the all the emotions that naturally well up in us as a result of our betrayal. We must own the power and mystery of our anger, joy, empathy, grief, and fear. We must surrender to the Divine our darkest thoughts, as well as our light.
This takes unbelievable courage.
Another important step in healing from betrayal is to remember we are not alone. Thousands of other gentle souls have walked similar paths. Many are here to support, encourage, and guide us along our way. A trusted few are here to teach us better ways of walking in the world, how to find our voices, how to forgive, and how to claim our light. They are here because they have traveled the hard road before us and have returned to show us the way out.
This is why I do what I do. I believe in YOU. I believe in the power and glory of your kindness as well as the sanctity of your rage. I know, from personal experience, that, in spite of your pain, despair, or anger, you can move forward into the light, that you can transform rage into right action and fear into a new vision of the future. I also know that some part of you knows it, too.
- Reach out to someone today. Whether you are in need encouragement and support or, if you have traveled this path before and you have gained some light to show others the way, connect with others who have similar visions. Loving community is where the heart thrives.
- In moments of stress, take time to pull inward and ruminate on your options. The greater the challenge, the more time to allot for reflection and contemplation.
- Find a safe, supportive environment to express yourself. Heart wounds can leave us vulnerable to manipulation and being further wounded by others’ insensitivity. Wait until you have constructed a good foundation before your build your new vision and head out into the world.
- Remember to temper your anger with kindness, your passion with periods of rest, and your fears with calm reassurance and the knowledge that new visions are on the horizon.
I send you prayers of strength, courage, and heart-centered resilience.
With Love and Grace,