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From The Heart - Excerpts

Renee Harp - From the Heart Excerpts

Excerpt from the book, From The Heart Section V - Number 2

True Beauty: Perfection is found in irregularity, true beauty breaks the mold

The Experience of the Heart

A heart of gold and steel and iron and reinforced concrete . . .

It is easy for me to wish I could have had more time with you. From the time I was little, you were larger than life to me. But for you to have the advantage of age, the years of hard-earned wisdom to share with me, meant surely you would have to leave long before I was ready to see you go.

I know I have idealized you to a certain extent, and I am all right with that - I need a superhero. But I don’t need you to be free of human foible to honor what I got from you. Because of you, I believe in the possibility of strength and self-reliance and perseverance and pure, sheer toughness. And unswerving loyalty.

Your strength of character and personhood was no illusion. And what brings me to my knees in humble admiration is what you did with it and the circumstances under which you did it. You leave me no excuses for not making the absolute most of my life. And you did it all with a whopping dose of glamour.

I honestly don’t know how you did all that you did in all the phases of your life. I feel small, but only for a moment. Because there is one other thing you managed to do. You absolutely convinced me that you believed in me, and that my ultimate success was already a done deal in your eyes. I don’t think I ever made sure that you knew how much that meant to me, but it was clear that you knew it was important. And that might be the most amazing thing about you.

The Wisdom of the Heart

The miracle of the amazing people in our life is not merely that they impacted us. The true gift is up to us to manifest into reality. Their legacy is powerful when we choose to believe it, when we actually validate it, and when we internalize it so that it becomes a part of us.

When I understand that this person made me feel good because they made a choice to behave a certain way towards me, I can do one of two things: I can look for and long for another person who will make me feel just as good, and I may succeed at that. But if I believe the magic is contained in their ability to make me feel good, I will always need someone else to do it for me.

The other option is to do for myself what they did when they interacted with me. This is love in action. It isn’t a feeling; it doesn’t even remotely resemble the fantasy of being adored. It is the act of adoring. It is intentional. It is willful. It is work. And it is the only possibility of real self-esteem.

Renee Harp - From the Heart Excerpt 2

Excerpt from the book, From The Heart Section II - Number 2

Today I am grieving. I am consumed in the flames of my feelings.

The Experience of the Heart

With time and effort, the pain has become a part of me I can live with. But there are still days it rips through me like a dull blade, just chewing my heart into bleeding chaos.

How can I even put words on what you have meant to me? In the time we spent together, I trusted unreservedly and shared myself without filters. I think you did too. We were young and eager to have someone to know and be known by. We learned soon enough to guard our hearts from the hurt others intentionally and unintentionally inflicted. And though neither of us was a stranger to heartbreak, for some reason, we risked it all, you and I.

Remember the first day? We were assigned to make crepe batter together, and I wondered anxiously how we would find enough to talk about to fill the time. When I finally had to go five hours later, it was without any batter. We forgot or ran out of time or just didn’t care anymore. I’m not sure we ever did make it.

And I will never know, though I assume, were you still here today, that we would have disappointed and let each other down a few times by now. But as the fates would have it, you are forever locked in a state of relational perfection in my memories. I can hear your deep chuckle now and see the mischievous twinkle in your eyes . . . but you laugh too soon. I didn’t say I thought you were perfect - oh, my dear, I know you too well for that. But for whatever strange confluence of events, our relationship was utterly without conflict. And I know it’s not because either of us was the accommodating type!

But you know what else? I would chance it; I would take the disappointment and conflict and having to work it out and really work at it to stay connected as grown-ups as intensely as we were as kids - just to have you here with me today.

I carry you in my heart forever.

The Wisdom of the Heart

Loving wholeheartedly carries a high price. But the journey of life is best made with much love along the way. To continue on this journey, with our hearts wide-open to more and more and more, absolutely requires us to figure out how to cope with all the complexity of feelings that get stirred up when we take the risk to love with all our heart.

Some people survive by denying the pain, others by dampening it with distractions and addictions. Sometimes it seems like too great a price, and we may avoid the risk altogether, pulling away from people and opportunities in order to minimize the pain by avoiding loss, disappointment, misunderstanding, rejection, and complications.

But the human spirit is courageous and insistent on connection. And so, to do it well, to surf the tides of joy and pain, we must feel both and acknowledge both.

That in no way ensures that things will turn out the way we want them to. The guarantee is that you can have more of everything—pain and pleasure—or you can have less of everything. It is a package deal. Which package you choose is up to you.

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