The heart of Apocalypto
A few nights ago as my husband surfed TV channels, he landed on a movie that I later found out was the 2006 Mel Gibson film Apocalypto, a supposed portrayal of ancient Mayan culture. I was half-paying attention when a graphic scene caught my view: a man in ceremonial dress standing high in front of a cheering crowd as he held the still-beating heart of one whose life had just been sacrificed to appease the gods.
My first response was revulsion, and the second, a request to my husband: "Could we find something a bit lighter, dear?" But he remained transfixed, and out of the corner of a reluctant eye I watched the scene unfold as the next unfortunate captive was pulled to the sacrificial altar. The man seemed to submit somewhat willingly after seeing a vision of his pregnant wife, also held captive, which stirred his conviction that his life would not end in this way. Sure enough, just before an axe was about to plummet to his chest, the moon shifted in front of the sun. A solar eclipse made the save. The high-ranking ceremonial man determined that the appetite of the blood-thirsty gods had been duly satisfied.
I didn't watch the rest of the movie since my revulsion response was strong. But I did leave the room intrigued by the message captured in that gruesome Hollywood scene: When lunar and solar forces work in consort, we are liberated from violence and from an age-old story of humans and gods that is based on separation, appeasement and sacrifice. I didn't give it any further mind until the following day when the film continued to play out mythically in the theater of my office.
The heart, the sun and the moon
A client came in reporting a great pain in his heart. As I placed my hand over his chest with the intention to track the story buried there, the Apocalypto scene from the night before came flashing forward. I remained silent, and asked my client what was happening for him. He told me that the feeling he was experiencing was as if his "heart was being ripped out of his chest."
Within my client's individual experience, I sensed another version of the emerging collective message that had visited the night before. Something was happening that was not affecting just one single person. It reminded me of the tale of the Hundreth Monkey — the island of monkeys who learned to wash sweet potatoes without ever having seen it done — simply because a critical mass of monkeys on the next island mastered the task. This repeating story of the heart reminded me of a similar phenomenon … and it was unfolding right before my eyes.
This client did some courageous work. He stayed present in the face of horrific feeling. And as I called forth the celestial forces of sun and moon to assist him, he was able to shift his experience of excruciating pain to one of extraordinary gift. What emerged for him could be most closely captured by this truth: When full, loving hearts are surrendered or offered and a choice is made to see and live a greater destiny, chains of separation and struggle are broken. The only requirement is a small human sacrifice: the willingness to relinquish those chains.
The heart and the harvest
Hours after the work with this client, I noticed a friend's Facebook post about her daughters. During an intensive cleaning of their rooms, a pile of old Build-a-Bears emerged, stuffing leaking out of their oversized skins. When my friend questioned her girls about what had happened, they said that they had opened the bears when younger to "harvest their hearts." The image struck her as sweet and funny; given what had emerged in the past 24 hours, it struck me as profound, even prophetic. The natural, innocent curiosity of children to probe what is hidden allows them to reach deep to claim and hold the heart of something they love. These two girls were free to just go in and grab it.
The divine heart
The next day, additional pieces fell into place. A student came to share what she discovered when returning home from the Inka Medicine Wheel program that I taught. She had realized that her connection to the divine had been sitting deeply in shadow. As "show and tell," she brought along a piece of artwork she had created more than ten years earlier. It was a colorful torus shape that lay on a golden disk. In the middle, a black oval exploded forward into three dimensions in folds of black paper. In the midst of that oval, a splash of red broke through a white triangle.
My client explained that she had created this piece while working with childhood wounds connected to her family lineage. At that time, she felt the black oval represented something that held and protected the blood of her ancestors. She had heard a voice that said the oval would move forward in some way to assist her later when she was "ready." Ten years later, upon returning from the Medicine Wheel class, she saw this piece of artwork and it "moved forward" as predicted to offer her a new perception. She recognized that oval shape as her own beating heart breaking open to reveal her true lineage: the lineage of her divine nature. Breaking free from the idea that the triangle of her family had disempowered her long ago, she was ready and able to see another lineage: her divine one.
As I gazed at the golden disc, I was reminded of the legend of the disc of the golden sun of the Inka, thought to contain and protect access to great cosmic wisdom. It was said to have been hidden away for a time while humanity readied its consciousness for it to come forward. This time has been called the great Pachacuti, the turning over of the world, spoken of by the Inka descendants as this year of 2012. Lore had it that the disc was hidden deep in Lake Titicaca in Peru.
I shared with my client the great wonderings that had arisen out of the many events of the last 48 hours. What if Lake Titicaca were a metaphor for the waters of our unconscious? What if what has been held in that unconscious until now has been the true nature of our heart as the heart of the divine? What if the only way (or at least one way) to access this wisdom is to be willing to find gift in pain and suffering, to sacrifice and surrender the long-held idea of separation, and to offer forward our full hearts to ourselves and others for their taking? What if the "becoming as little children" from Biblical verse (like the story of my friend's children) is an instruction in what is necessary for us to reach inward toward our own hearts, which beat full with the truth of who we really are? What if the true story of the Apocalypse is our "moving forward" from the unconscious to our super-conscious nature? What if our work is to manifest our absolute potential, the full "harvest" of our hearts that was buried in the unconscious so long ago like that golden disc of wisdom?
The heart's truth
When I left my office that afternoon I was aware of a still, grounded presence of embodied bliss. As is my accustomed practice, I switched on the radio, which often acts as an oracle in my life. I was met with the chorus of a song recorded by Rascal Flatts, one that I had never heard before. A song titled "Long, Slow, Beautiful Dance":
Sounds like a scene from the silver screen
Yeah, that's how it was
Love doesn't always look like a picture perfect story book
Ah, but sometimes it does
A deep breath and baby steps
That's how the whole thing starts
It's a long slow beautiful dance
To the beat of a heart
With gratitude and a smile I heard in the lyrics the summary of the previous two days. It began with a movie scene that appeared far from perfect, almost too painful to bear. But with a deep breath and the practice of small steps along the way, the long slow beautiful dance of the sun and the moon took the collective to the truth of the deepest wisdom there is to know — the wisdom of the still-beating heart, freely offered and held high for all to see. This heart, harvested in love, knows the truth of who we really are.