It's Time To Step Into Our Heart and Come Home

a drawing of a heart with patches and scars
Image by Victoria_rt 

“The longest journey a man must take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart” - Native American elder

"My brothers and sisters: we are dying and we are killing the Earth. We need to re-center us in our hearts. To heal our hearts—to reconnect to our deepest essence—this is the necessity..." -- Natureza Gabriel Kram, Restorative Practices

We are all traumatized and living in a traumatized society. How could we not be? Between the violence that takes place around us, we also submit ourselves to "entertainment" which continues the traumatizing process. So many movies to watch on Netflix have the words horror or disturbing violence in the description. Those movies are nightmare-producing and traumatizing scenarios. Don't we have enough trauma in our world with school- and mall shootings, terrorism in its many forms, authoritarianism around the globe, without adding more trauma in the form of "entertainment".

No wonder so many of us are on anti-depressants or other mind-altering substances like alcohol, recreational drugs, video games, virtual reality, etc. The burden of the world, as we have created it, is traumatizing, depressing, frightening. Yet, to be able to change it, we have to first acknowledge that these atrocities exist. Once we feel, in our heart ,the pain and the cruelty that is rampant in our world, once we feel the sorrow and let the tears flow, we can then take steps towards healing, both ourselves and the world.

We are not separate from any of those traumatic energies in the world. Any violence, anger, hatred that we see "out there" is somehow within our own being as well. We must start with getting in touch with the darkness in our own ego-mind and then connect to the love-potential that resides in our heart. Rather than rant and rave about the world "out-there", we need to put ourselves in the other person's shoes. We must be willing to feel their pain, their rage, their sadness, and find the place in us that can feel compassion for their life and for their experiences, and also feel love for the child within them and the adult it now resides in.

To Hell and Back

We are living in a hell of aloneness, otherness, and separation. You may have heard the story of someone being shown hell, and what he sees is a group of people sitting around a huge pot of food. He doesn't understand. How can this be hell? Everyone has food to eat and companionship.

Then he sees that the only utensil they have is a long spoon, one that is so long that it is impossible to feed oneself with it. The only solution is to feed the person across the pot of food. Yet these people are so centered on their own needs, their own self, that they do not see that the solution to their problem is to feed the person across from them. That way, everyone would get to eat, everyone would get to live.

This is what hell is. Only thinking of ourselves, our own needs, our own wants, and not considering the needs of the other people around us and across from us all over the world. And in the story, the people in heaven are all feeding each other with their long spoons. (See Wikipedia for the long spoon story.)

What We Must Learn

We are not separate from everyone else. We are not here just to satisfy our own needs and wants. We are not here to compete against others. We are here to build a world together, to cooperate, lo live from Love, to share, to have compassion, to live as One.

Yet we are living in a schizophrenic culture, We have split ourselves in two: our "business" or work persona, and our personal or "at home" persona. We are two separate beings sharing the one body. At work, we are the "shark" -- competitive, trying to outdo others, to "win", to reach the top. And at home, we take off the competitive persona and try to be a loving parent, a loving sibling, a loving person. 

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Yet, we cannot be two separate things. The dominant persona bleeds into the other, thus we get home and "kick the dog" or shout at our spouse or children, or just close off and immerse ourselves in watching the drama of other people's lives, fictitious or not.

This creates a split - a schizophrenic person who ignores the separation within them and the destruction taking place in the world around them. We ignore it because, deep down, we know that we are responsible (response-able). We are able to do something, but because we are traumatized and anesthetized, we do nothing. We entertain ourselves with movies about the end of the world, about murders, about crimes, about violence... or we choose the other route and distract ourselves with comedy and romance.

None of this heals the inner split that we are experiencing. For any changes to take place, we must heal the inner split, the disconnect between our head and our heart.

Weaving a New World

"The way we are living is killing us and it is killing the earth. The survival of all we hold dear is at stake." -- Natureza Gabriel Kram, Restorative Practices

A story told by Native Americans about two wolves that fight within each one of us. When a child is told this story, he asks "Grandfather, which wolf wins?" Grandfather answers, "Whichever one you feed". So which wolf are we feeding?

I think it is obvious when we look at the world "out there" that we are feeding the wolf that represents greed, hatred, anger, fear, etc. Yet the conflict doesn't exist only "out there". It exists within our own self, and the way to create a new world for ourselves and for others is to make sure we feed the wolf that represents love, harmony, and cooperation.

It's not always an easy choice, or even a clear one. Sometimes we may think we are feeding justice and freedom, but we are actually stoking the fires of anger, rage, hatred, and fear. This is why it is so important to stop and reflect on our choices, our thoughts, words, and actions. Which wolf are they feeding?

The more our inner being becomes strong in the way of Love, the more the world that surrounds us will do the same. We are living in a holographic world -- as within, so without.

Waking Up...

"The future depends on what we do in the present". -- Gandhi 

We cannot change the past, but we can make amends. Just as they teach in Alcoholics Anonymous, waking up and making changes starts with making a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Making a list of all persons we have harmed, and be willing to make amends to them all. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Continue to take personal inventory and when we are wrong promptly admit it.

We may think that the people we have hurt are just those closest to us, yet our actions stretch out the world over in sweatshops, in starvation, in countries decimated by war, droughts, and global warming. Even the actions of our ancestors require amends. They are no longer here to do so themselves, thus we are their emissary, their voice in the present. So our moral inventory will reach back centuries to the atrocities committed in the name of growth, progress, and religion. We must wake up to all the injustices present in our world and do what we can to bring Love back in the weave of life and the tapestry of the world.

This Is Our Story and Our Choice

We must all look back at the wounds we carry as well as the wounds the world carries. We are the architects of our future and of our world. Do we want to sit back and let our world crumble to pieces, to burn, drown, and be destroyed? I doubt that any of us want that. Yet, because we feel powerless, this is exactly what we are doing.

When we reconnect with our heart, or perhaps with our Heart with a capital H, we will discover what we need to do. When we open ourselves to hearing the small still voice of the Heart, of the unadulterated child within, we will discover what we need to do, one step at a time. 

We must come together and seek the highest good for all, for the planet, for the future, for the wounded children that we are. We must come together and create the future that will nurture us all -- humans, plants, animals and Planet Earth (and beyond).

We know the legacy our ancestors left us. What legacy will we leave our descendants? Is it one we will be proud to claim? 

It is time to step into our heart and come home. Our lives, and more importantly, The Future depends on it. 

Article inspired by:

Restorative Practices of Wellbeing
by Natureza Gabriel Kram.

book cover of: Restorative Practices of Wellbeing by Natureza Gabriel Kram.In this pioneering volume, connection phenomenologist Gabriel Kram addresses two fundamental practical questions: how do we address the trauma and disconnection endemic to the modern world, and how do we turn on the Connection System? Marrying cutting-edge neurophysiology with awareness technologies from a wide variety of traditions and lineages, this book maps a novel approach to the creation of wellbeing informed by the most cutting-edge science, and the most ancient of awareness practices. It teaches over 300 restorative practices of wellbeing to connect with Self, Others, and the Living World. 

For anyone who has faced a difficult childhood, grown up with a sense that there is something missing in the modern world, or yearns for deeper connection with Self, Others, or the Living World, this book provides a map to a (r)evolutionary approach to wellbeing so ancient it hasn't been invented yet.

For more info and/or to order this book, click here

About The Author

Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.

Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on


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