Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Shatterproof Your Heart

Lately, I’ve been feeling like a long, thin piece of glass. The elements are whipping around, throwing up pebbles and debris, and there I stand, exposed. And little by little, they chip, chip, chip away at my exterior. The chips become fissures. The fissures become deeper cracks, and then like delicate china on a marble slab, I shatter.

That’s about where I am right now, at the shattering part. Don’t you have those moments? Moments that last days or weeks? Moments that test the fiber of who you are and the decisions you’ve made up until that instant? Though the Universe generally gives back what you give it, sometimes it seems to push you to your limits. It’s as if some invisible force is throwing every obstacle at you just to see if you are who you say you are… to test the stuff you’re made of.

When I am feeling like my heart's about to shatter, I think of a wise woman I know, and the valuable kernel of wisdom she once shared with me... wisdom that I’ll never forget…

I said to her, “Why does it feel like that no matter how much good I try to do, and sincerely, people find a way to tear it down or attack me?”

She looked at me with the compassion a mother has for her child and took a deep breath, and she explained this: “In all my years of living, I’ve learned that when I am doing something big, something really good, people come out of the woodwork to attack me… So I know I must be doing something right.”

I sort of waited for her to elaborate. And she continued. “What you’re doing at your job with those kids* and how you’re trying to live your life might ruffle some feathers, but that’s because you’re happy and you stand for something, and people who aren’t happy will look for ways to put chinks in your armor.”

Then I got it. And I haven’t forgotten it since. As long as we are trying to live above the fray… as long as we stand for something BIG… as long as we strive to live with our hearts on our sleeves and happiness on our faces, we are going to be challenged. There will always be someone—an enemy, an acquaintance, a colleague, a boss, or even a friend—waiting in the wings to swoop in and spoil your joy. Don’t let them! Hold your head up high and carry yourself with dignity and grace. One day, when you look over your shoulder, you will know you were the best version of yourself in all circumstances… and above all; you will be able to live with no regrets.

So even though I feel like I am on the verge of shattering, I am going to make it my journey to seal up the cracks and firm up the armor of my heart. I know it's a good one, and I intend to make it shatterproof. I never want to have the misfortune of looking over my shoulder only to learn that I walked away from something that was bigger than me because I couldn’t take the heat or that I could have stood to give more grace in the heat of the moment.

So in closing, my friends, I will leave you with the wise words of the 70's rock band Argent:

And if it's bad
Don't let it get you down,
You can take it.
And if it hurts
Don't let them see you cry,
You can make it.

Hold your head up, oh.
Hold your head high.

And if they stare
Just let them burn their eyes
On you moving.
And if they shout
Don't let it change a thing
That you're doing.

Hold your head up, oh.
Hold your head high.


*For those of you new to The Universal Soul, I am a high school English and journalism teacher. I see the full spectrum of students: upper class children from the suburbs to inner-city children from downtown Tampa who are bussed into the school.


  1. I guess that ia a price we pay for success in what we are doing. People can't really stand when someone does better than them, when someone does the right thing while they are stuck with their lives. It is like they want someone to be resposible for their disappointments and then you are their vicitm. May be it is really wise to say that when people attack you or try to belittle you it means you are doing something wrong and they are just jealous that you did it.

  2. When we live a soul based life rather than an ego based one we can never do anything wrong, no matter what anyone else thinks. You are right keep your head up and keep doing what you are doing.

  3. Thank you for your comments and insights. It seems life is never easy or predictable. We will all struggle, but it's how we struggle and what we struggle for that matters. ;)



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