Sunday, February 21, 2010

Psyche & the Heart's Rhythm

I've been writing iterations of this post for long enough, and by now I'm feeling restless. You know what I mean? Like you'll burst if you have to keep it all inside? So who knows- stream of consciousness will take us on a quirky, unedited jaunt here.

Someone asked me why this blog refers to Psyche. Lame wordplay, I suppose, but at the time it made sense: my personal psyche, the collective psyche, and Psyche, the mythical woman who captured Eros' heart... I was steeped in all of this at school, and it seemed a good enough name for what I was up to. I strongly connected to Psyche's myth, and have felt at times like the girl alone on the cliff, waiting; the girl sneaking in with the lamp to get a closer look at the one she's with; and performing Aphrodite's (seemingly endless) tasks with nothing but hope & desire & perseverance. And patience, I suppose.

My father is a cardiologist, so I grew up learning a lot about the heart: its functions, its structure, its rhythms. I learned how to take what you've been given genetically and protect it the best way you can. I've learned how to put yourself in harm's way, to begin to heal, to see others' health differently, too. When I asked my dad what the heart should sound like, he slowly said "lub-dub, lub-dub, but with emphasis on the DUB." I'm positive he's given this rudimentary explanation to at least a thousand souls like me: curious, maybe nervous, but wanting to understand. I thought about it the other day. He hears heart dysfunction so often after all these years that it must be a blessing to hear a healthy heart beating when a patient comes to see him.

In my own life's inquiry (mostly psychological, literary, poetic), I've been so focused on tasks to prove my self worth that I almost forgot my own heart and how it sounds. I realized that I've recently had another experience akin to one of Psyche's- when she hovers above sleeping Eros with her lamp and realizes who he is. She is in love. Not with a stranger in the night, not with someone making rules that she (of course) broke, but with who he is: winged, illuminated.

Anyone who knows the story knows all the trials, the stumblings, and the successes in Psyche's quest to appease and win over Aphrodite and her lost lover Eros; knows that Psyche went to hell and back (no, really!) on the off-chance that she could try again with her beloved. The damn thing is that angry and absent as he was, Eros watched her the whole time, loving her as she struggled. Was she so intent on proving herself worthy that she failed to notice that she was already in his heart? What is so scary about being seen & accepted that we often fly away like Eros did: reacting defensively, instead of allowing someone to lovingly discover us & care?

Recently I've been working on marketing strategies, non-profit fundraising ideas, event coordination. I am trying to balance these new tasks with the self that connects me back to my heart symbolically, lyrically, and literally. Some of the smallest, strangest questions have arisen in me lately with no linear answers. All of a sudden I'm tongue-tied. I don't want to play hide and seek. I want to be seen and found- my own stumbling block is allowing that unfolding. Until then I will quiet my fears and attend my heart .

Because when I do, I can hear it strongly, clearly, liltingly, not a flutter: lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub...