A little heart story for this day.
Once, many years ago, Milt and I were in Phoenix, Arizona and were able to hook up with the Jin Shin Jyutsu community there. JSJ is a Japanese healing art that works to release the flow of energy in the body. Milt is a practitioner and student of JSJ and has used the art to help many people. Anyway, we were fortunate enough to be there when the grand lady herself of JSJ was in town. Mary Burmeister was the woman who brought JSJ to America from her teacher, Master Jiro Murai in the 50s. We jumped on the rare opportunity to schedule a treatment from Mary B.
Jin Shin Jyutsu is very safe and comfortable. You are fully clothed and laying on a table while the practitioner places her hands on various energy points along the body to form a kind of “jumper cable” to open the flow between two points.
So, I am lying on a table and Mary B., silent as a stone, works the energy lines of my body. At one point her fingers feel like they are digging a deep hole just beneath my left shoulder blade. It was hot and almost painful and, as I think about it now, I realize that her hand was actually very close to my heart.
Again, Mary said nothing. I wanted her to be giving me sage-like words of wisdom from her high perch of understanding, but I got only silence. My mind was frustrated and disappointed, but she was not about satisfying my mind—she was all about the body.
When the session was over, I finally just asked her for words. “Do you have any advice for me?”
She finally looked at me with a curious little smile and said only, “You should have a lot of fun with this body.”
It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it made me smile. I could almost feel my body agreeing with her.
And this is where it gets interesting. After our treatments, Milt and I continued our journey. We were at the airport to catch our flight home. The airport was crowded with people and, as we walked toward our gate, I kept seeing people I thought I knew. It happened so many times that I wondered about it. You know how it is to recognize a familiar face in a crowd and just know that you know them. It was like that, only I was seeing dozens of people that I knew. It was as if nearly all the people I’d ever met had converged in this airport at a single moment in time. It was a phenomenal feeling of connectedness. My logical mind gently reminded me that I could not possibly know all of these people, but my heart just went on happily recognizing them—like a big family reunion was taking place in the Phoenix airport.
I don’t know how this came about, but I knew it must have something to do with Mary’s hands so near my heart opening all of its generous energy in some new way.
The experience continued for maybe a week or two—this constant recognition of people I’d never seen before. After a while the feeling faded away, and I was sad not to have it anymore.
I’m thinking about it today—Valentine’s Day—because I want to open that heart center again. I suspect it has its own mysterious connective arteries that extend far beyond my own bodily system. In fact, I don’t suspect—I know it does. But we need to keep it open and flowing outwards. It’s easy when you are bouncing a two-year-old granddaughter on your knee to feel that generous heart energy. It is much more challenging when you are surrounded by a “system”, whether at work or home, whose arteries are closing with negativity, fear, anger and suspicion.
I think an open, flowing heart (both physically and spiritually) is our most natural state. A brain loves to learn—a heart loves to love. It is a “sweet” heart that is open to both giving and receiving. The only thing that can interfere with this natural state is the little “monkey mind” that convinces us that a person (or our own self) is not worthy or deserving of love.
And that is a sad state to live in, for sure.
So, on this made-up, overly commercialized, and sometimes goofy holiday, don’t give somebody just any old heart. Give them your “sweet” heart.
Oh, and by the way . . . have we met before? I thought for just a moment that I recognized you. Happy Valentine’s Day!
For those of you who would like to know more about JSJ, you can visit their website at
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