There are times when our hearts become closed. Just like tender skin that has come into contact with a hot stove; we contract and recoil from the pain. Our body’s defence mechanisms are designed to protect us from further discomfort; if we fail to withdraw, we risk severe burns, or worse still – death. Our natural reaction, therefore, is to retreat.
But what happens when we remain constricted, when we close our hearts through fear of ‘getting burnt’? When we build a wall of protection around us, we cut off the natural flow of love. Not only do we prevent ourselves from giving love, but we also restrict our ability to receive love. What is called for is not complete constriction, but caution; which is simply another word for ‘attention’, or ‘awareness’.
Just as the stove does not purposely set out to burn our skin, it is not usually another’s intent to inflict harm upon us (with the rare exception under extreme circumstances, of course). But more often than not, we get hurt because there was some degree of carelessness involved. Our own carelessness or that of another. Maybe the heat was turned too high and the pot had reached boiling point? Could it be that we rushed in impatiently, or approached at the wrong angle? Maybe we neglected the stove completely and a fire broke lose? Whatever our reasons for getting burnt, regardless of who was to blame, the affects need not result in the permanent closing down of our kitchens. And the same is true of our hearts.
When we remain open, we choose expansion over constriction. The doors are set ajar for love to drift through once more, filling our hearts with the sweet aroma and comfort of joy. To close our hearts is to take a pillow to our souls and smother our very essence. At the core we are love. And to restrict that life force within us is a slow death for fettered hearts. That is not to say that if you are dealing with a hazardous or faulty stove that you shouldn’t replace it, because your safety and wellbeing is paramount. But what I am saying, is that there is no need to stop cooking, to stop loving, to shut up shop and starve.
It is ok to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. We need only exercise more care and attention, that’s all. But what if I am hopeless in the kitchen? – you may ask. As a child raised on boxed food and packet noodles in working class Tameside, I reply: cooking takes practice and patience. We don’t always get it right. Sometimes it leaves our kitchens in complete disarray, or an unpleasant taste in our mouths which can linger – but when we do manage to create something wonderful, nothing compares to the pleasure and comfort of a sumptuous home cooked meal, prepared with tender loving care.
Those are the ones that warm our hearts, soothe our souls and ‘light the whole sky.’ That, my Dear, is a love that tastes simply divine.