Musings on the Heartspace from My Puget Sound Viewpoint

I’m writing this staring out the window into a beautiful Pacific North West bay, ancestral home of the Coast Salish peoples, colonized as Washington state. From every angle on this island the eye is captivated by water and mountains, and green space, rolling into the waves in an infinite dance of patterns and textures.

Poppy-Jai is desperately attempting to get me to play with her, and I am diligently attempting to work. Who will win, the call is clear on both sides. My mind is pensive and my heart tender as my best friend from college is taking her daughter to freshman undergraduate orientation. We’ve been reminiscing and pondering the path of time, and the feelings of love, connection, and place.

justine fanarof's legs with bedrock thong sandals sitting on an outcrop overlooking the water of deception pass state park in washington state usa islands in the distance heartspace
yesterday at deception pass state park, august 9, 2022, photo by justine fanarof ©

For me, at 46 years old, this is the time of life that is historically known as mid.

I’ve been in mid for a while, and it actually feels good. I gratefully recognize it’s the move to open Oregon from suffocating Texas and my privileged ability to work from wherever I have WiFi (not always readily available, and only one of a number of things I need to work on the road effectively and with ease).

Mid gifts me purposeful time in a somatic experiencing group process this past month with strangers and two of my closest spiritual friends, ongoing commitment to a quiet spiritual life with daily practices of movement, yoga, teaching, walking, breath, and energy work, the joy and balance of working with my law and spiritual clients, the ongoing process of connected and authentic friendship, the time with family in this magnificent nature, and my ongoing work in discovering the balance, beauty, boundaries, and benefits of my light and shadow self, free from the constraints of persona.

Carl Jung says the first half of your life is biographical and the second half is autobiographical.

(Some people never get to the second half.)

And once you get there it keeps expanding.

Like the heart-ocean-space, the call of a pulsating experience is innate and omnipresent, the choice is to feel it, breathe it, relax into it, know it, understand it, adapt it, get dirty with and in it, and then do it all again with new tools and from a fresh orientation. The ongoingness of the inhale/exhale, the tide coming in and out, the earth rotating and orbiting around the sun, the seasons melting into one another, the process of aging, the loss of a beloved, the taste of a raspberry picked right of its thorny branch.

sunset over holmes harbor in freeland, washington, usa. pink clouds scattered across an ombre blue sky a single green pine tree rising up over the water, a long dock extending out over the bay, the tide is high, green park scene in the foreground.
sunset view of holmes harbour from our casa. photo by justine fanarof, august 5, 2002 ©

To every thing there is a heart, a hridaya in Sanskrit.*

On a basic level a heart is the center of something —

the heart of the tree, the heart of the matter, the human heart; a mediating point between what’s above and below in the sagittal plane.

It is likely that the English word heart derives from the Sanskrit word hrd. In Sanskrit, the etymological breakdown of this word hrdaya has interesting correlations to the function of the anatomical heart. The prefix hr means to remove, and we could think of the blood that flows back to the anatomical heart as being “removed” from the body and carried back to the heart. The Sanskrit syllable da means “to give” or offer, and so the heart is the giver; the organ that extends or offers blood to the rest of the body. The final syllable ya derives from the root yam meaning to regulate, as in the regulatory limbs of Astanga Yoga, the eight-limbed path: yama (regulation of conduct in relationship to others), niyama (regulation of our interior), and pranayama (the regulation of breath).

Thus, we can think of the heart as the remover, the giver, and the great regulator. In the body it is the great regulator, for it regulates its own local neurological activity via a built-in pacemaker and its sensors govern rhythmic activity in the smallest capillaries of the body’s periphery. In order to achieve homeostasis, the heart is continually sensing and adjusting for blood pressure changes from the crown of the head to the heals.

Another way that the heart can be perceived as the regulator is within the hierarchy of the chakras. Located in the middle of the configuration of the classic seven chakras, the heart is the intermediary between the lower three chakras (muladhara (root), svadhisthana (sacral), and manipura (naval) chakras, and the upper three (visuddha (throat), ajna (third eye), and sahasrara (crown) chakras). Thus, the heart syntehsizes and coordinates physicological impulses and sporitual energies related to all other chakras.

–Tias Little, Yoga of the Subtle Body, The Lungs and the Lotus Heart, pg. 188

Physiologically the heart is the mediator between heaven and earth, up and down, head and gut. In classical Indian representation of the anahata (heart) chakra, there is a Star of David, one triangle pointing up and another pointing down. Can you visualize this energetic shape within you, perhaps just in front of your spine?

Inquiry*

What does it feel like to recognize this symbol, and its symbolism, within our own biology?

How does it feel to you to feel your heartspace?

Is there a felt sense of connection with this energetic center?

How does the energy move up and down, through and around?

Does it have a tone, a taste, a name, a voice, a vision, a sound?

How may listening to your own heartbeat serve as a tool for self understanding/knowing/regulation?

*Please get the internal juices flowing with your personal inquiry/reflection questions.


I am sharing a new recording in the audio section of this website. May it offer you the space to go inside, explore, be an innernaut, and feel what you’re feeling right now.

May it support you in training your awareness (mental fixation), and softening the tension in your shoulders and jaw. Perhaps you choose to do the practice with your child/ren, lover, heartner, or sola. It’s a gift, and it comes from my heart and the ongoing wonder of the endless ocean.

image of green tree in the center of a view of the puget sound and a rocky pebble beach down below
heart of the bay, deception pass state park, photo by justine fanarof, august 9, 2022 ©

*Unfortunately not using diacritical marks in this post as I am quite limited by my keyboard. Please know they are there in your spirit and you are invited to feel and sound out/vocalize/hear/feel/express the non-English words in your own way and with the help of any in-person and virtual guides you may or may not encounter.

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