Heart Owner's Manual

Apr 10, 2022
Shannon Conway
Heart Owner's Manual

One of my favorite teacher crushes, John Wineland, posted this week about three levels of nervous system safety. His three levels are about intimacy, and yet are resonant whether you are partnered or not. Level one: feeling safe in the world. The feminine, says John, often does not feel safe in the world. Well, mic drop on that for me. If you are highly feminine, or in your feminine (men too) does this resonate?  


The next level of safety according to John is safety with your partner. Feeling appreciated, safe in the moment. In this moment right now. The world can be your partner. I gazed out the window at the Eastern sky feeling this. Venus is a bright star before dawn. The streets are quiet; the day spreads out like a beautiful table. For a moment the roughness and challenges rest. Safety in this sweet moment.


Third and final in this list is safety to open. What is required for a person to open their body and heart to you. “Each human is different, requiring different things”, but all are about the possibility of trust. Reminds me of my doctor back in Bend telling me that my heart energy was blocked. As soon as he said that, I felt the truth of it, and him witnessing it began the healing process.


Safety. Our hearts are the tenderest, and from them comes the most essential guidance, but they also hurt the most. Because we know this, we shy away from risking. One of my daughters spoke of this last night—it’s hard for her to put her creative work out into the world, she said. She fears rejection. She’s pregnant right now. Is there a greater risk we take with our ‘work’ than becoming parents?  Guided by evolution, purpose or reckless lust, we plunge onto the path. I remember holding my daughter’s  tiny little fanny right at my collarbone, freshly home from the hospital. I looked in the mirror and thought, oh my god, this is too much love and risk for me to handle.


But it was not.


Because we can grow into the risks our hearts want to take, if we create safety. 

We can learn how to risk. And therein lies deepening. The truth and beauty of being human in this world. Risk, reward. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we get crushed. But almost all of the time, it’s totally worth it. It is not easy being human in tender times, be they personal or global. But our power is found in choosing from our hearts, in favor of our perpetual expansion. The Universe, we are told by scientists, is itself expanding. As we are all part of it–all made of the same stuff–of course we are meant to expand too. This process isn’t always comfortable, but can be kept mostly safe, if done with awareness and intention. 


Creating safety is an inside job. Learning how to do it of course means you are interacting with others, asking for and receiving help, letting yourself be loved, healed, supported. The central premise, though, is choosing to BE in the world. To know that ‘the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse’ (Walt Whitman). To try, fail, get up, try again. To know you are not meant to suffer or stay stuck. To know that the thing that hurts, aches, won’t leave you alone–that THING needs attention, resolution. Humans are meant to expand. Give yourself the gift of safety all the way to trusting that you can open. Your work heals you, and also the world we share.

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