Love is the Answer

Posted by Sabina Pettitt on

This past October, I taught a new workshop in Brazil. It was about healing trauma in the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and how Essences can help to erase the cellular memory of traumas.

It was a three-day workshop where we explored the impact of traumatic experiences on the meridians, and how different symptom patterns might be directly related to some traumatic event in our lives. I’m not even talking about big traumas like assault and violence and war and maybe pandemics. I am talking about ordinary life experiences like death, divorce, loss of jobs, loneliness, and maybe feeling powerless in the face of daily life.

Whether it is an experience of big trauma which should never happen, or the stuff of daily life which almost all of us will experience, the reality is that it is always how we handle these events that keeps us in a state of well-being. If not digested and released, these ‘ordinary’ experiences can contribute to dis-ease in our Body/Mind or eventually cripple us.

On the second morning of the workshop, I was up at 5am making sure I was prepared for the day’s curriculum. When I checked my emails, I received a link to this song:


My heart cracked open and tears streamed down my face. And I realized that I was crying for the recent loss of my dog Baba, and maybe for all the other losses in my life.  I asked myself – what are you doing teaching about healing trauma when you are clearly still in pain?

That morning we talked about the Fire element, and especially the impact of trauma on the heart meridian and the heart itself. My heart was hurting. But one of our dear teachers, psychiatrist and homeopath and floral therapist Tereza Guimares, had suggested the day before that music is a universal language that can help us to heal. Music can bridge cross-cultural differences. Like Essences, music is vibration and we can be embraced in its non-verbal energy field. So I went ‘off script’ and played the song that had cracked my heart open at 5am.

That class turned into an amazing healing experience for all 60 students and for me. After the song, ‘we were all in this together.’ There was a little more ‘seeing and being seen,’ a little more vulnerability and openness to possibility.

One huge realization for me has been that for our hearts to be healthy we need to love. It’s not just physical exercise and the right diet which keep our hearts healthy. You can do all of that but if you are not sharing love with some being – 2-legged or 4-legged or even Mother Nature herself – your heart will not be functioning at full capacity.

Love is the answer.

And now I’ll go ‘off script’ once again. Recently I was at a concert featuring a 50-voice all-female choir who sing a cappella. While the music was exquisite and multicultural and befitting the season we are in, I was also captivated by the audience. I spotted a baby with his grandfathers and father and grandmothers. His mother was in the choir. The gentleness and caring emanating from this family was palpable even though I was on the other side of the church. Both grandfathers took turns soothing this babe – rocking him, carrying him, and feeding him a bottle. And he remained calm throughout the two-hour performance. After the show ended, I went over to them and told them I was enchanted by the love that I felt them sharing. When I rejoined my friend, he said, “Wow, you look like you’re in love.” And in fact I was. I carried that feeling with me into the next day, and as I share it with you I feel it all over again.

So how can we cultivate love? Put your attention on something or someone that makes you happy and lights up your heart. It’s curious how I can at the same time feel such profound sadness that Baba’s physical being is no longer in my world, and yet so much love for him and gratitude for all the adventures we shared. The same goes for my husband Michael. Everywhere I look I see his unbounded love for me and for Mother Earth and this sacred journey with the Essences.  All of these thoughts and perceptions nourish my heart.

In TCM the spirit of the heart is called Shen. Often translated as consciousness, Shen gives us the capacity for joy and love, inspiration and passion, courage and compassion and commitment. It is laughter and light, peace and allowing, comfort, ease, and enthusiasm. These are all the qualities of a healthy heart in TCM.

So how can we regain harmony in the heart?  In her book Five Spirits: Alchemical Acupuncture for Psychological and Spiritual Healing, Lorie Eve Dechar says:

The Shen are Yang and like precious wild birds they seek heaven and unless they are entranced and nurtured by the Yin essences of the earth, the Shen rise up and fly off, back to the heavenly realms.

In order to maintain a suitable resting place for the Shen, the heart must remain in a state that is close to its original nature, serene, accepting and open. The light of the Shen radiates from such a tranquil heart to illuminate the lives of all those it touches. The sage’s one and only concern is maintaining the tranquility of the heart so that the luminous wild birds of the Shen will have a suitable resting place.

And again I say, love is the answer. Or as the Persian lyric poet Hafiz put it:

The subject tonight is Love
And for tomorrow night as well,
As a matter of fact
I know of no better topic
For us to discuss
Until we all die!

I hope that you like the song. It is a sobering thought to think that maybe we are all in this together, and that somehow each of us can make a difference by how we choose to take care of our hearts and be in our world.

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