One spring afternoon found Gran and Mikey at their small town library. A wave of fear had rolled through, riding headlined whispers of childnappers, and to help folks regain a sense of control, the local police had set up a Fingerprint Your Child for Safety day. Always there to assist, Gran had been more than willing to take Mikey down. Mikey, of course, thought it was grand fun, and ohsodeliciously dramatic.
After washing away the inkblot reminders, they’d taken full advantage of that trip to town by stopping at a local hamburger joint, the same one where Gran used to cruise and where, years later, Mikey would cry through her first heartbreak.
Perhaps sensing that this was in the cards, Gran led their conversation that day to the topic of heartprints. You know, like fingerprints, only slightly larger and much longer lasting. She said we always leave a trail of heartprints behind us, whether or not we want to and whether or not we care. It’s a tricky thing, Gran said, and one to which we could also apply that good old rule of outdoorsmanship: Take only pictures, leave only footprints.
Unlike fingerprints, our heartprints can’t be faked or forged – at least, not with folks who are willing to open their eyes and really look at ‘em. Do we walk gently through life, aware of our power and doing our best to leave only love behind, or do we roll through like a wrecking ball, so focused on our own needs and desires and wants that we don’t notice their effects on those around us, or that crushed heart and broken toe we bulldozed right over three yards back?
Which is not to say that one must always meet another’s need, no matter how delicately or directly it may be presented. Gran said we humans have all kinds of needs – some healthy and helpful, and some downright dangerous, usually in cases in which we haven’t done enough personal digging to realize we’ve become half-asleep puppets, dancing to the siren song of our shadow, and doing our best to act as puppeteer to all those around us. Here: You do this, and you do this, and you do this, and I’ll be happy. Hmm….. is that really true?
That’s why Gran said it was important to pay attention to our own heartprints – to do whatever it takes to keep ‘em clear and light and unsmudged by time or lack of attention. And if we ever realized we’d left a trail of fallen dominoes and burned bridges behind us, we might want to take a look at our intentions, to ask ourselves what exactly was going on in our own little heads and hands and hearts. To spend some time up close with a mirror for a while and get real honest with ourselves.
At the same time, Gran said we’d learn to be aware of the heartprints and paths of others, keeping our eyes open, leaving those blinders behind, listening to all the words spoken and all the words not, and making our choices accordingly. Gran said she’d noticed her life got a whole lot better when she started paying attention to all this right up front and listening to her intuition as well as what was shared. She’d paid the price for rolling over all those brightly waving red flags in the past, so intent on meeting one out-of-balance need or another that she’d chosen to ignore sign after sign after sign. And she’d learned about the consequences for doing so.
In later years, Mikey would learn all this. She would also learn about the price one pays when one gets a little too protective about their hearts and that heartprint takes on a two-tone teflon shine, whether it was her own, or whether she saw that sparkle twinkling from someone else’s breastplate.
As chronicler of Mikey and Gran’s journey, I lived my way through a lot of those lessons as well. A decade ago, it took spending some quality time with my brother, who was nearer death than any of us knew, passing too young at only 45, to realize how hard my heart had become, how self-centered and narcissistic my way of life, how arrogant my attitude. He never said anything about it. He didn’t have to. Maybe he had a touch of Gran in him as well. All it took was turning to catch the expression of pain on his face, in his eye – to break me open more deeply than words ever could have. And so began my journey of reshaping my heartprint, and paying more attention to others’.
Gran said it came down to intention, in everything we say and everything we do. Only we know the truth – what may look like our intentions on the surface may be far, far away from what’s boiling beneath. A calm exterior might be raging – or dead – beneath, and a bellowing bull may be crying inside.
Gran said the most important thing was to stay focused on our own heartprints – doing the work to keep them healthy and clear and reflective of one’s truth within. Not distracting ourselves by focusing a little too much on someone else’s – painting over to suit our preference or digging too deeply past that “Buried Lines” sign. We’ll know when that happens, Gran said, right about the time we get that jolt.
Keeping our eyes on our own work was more than enough to keep us busy, Gran said. To stay clear about our own intentions, to keep them focused on highest good. As long as we do that, Gran said, things have a way of working themselves out, taking on root and a life of their own, or melting away in the noonday sun.
One thing I’ve come to realize – how spot-on Gran was when she said it’s not just what we do that counts, but how we do it. There are ways, and there are ways. Someone else talked about this, I’ve been told, a long time ago, about how it doesn’t matter what I do or what I accomplish in life. If I don’t do it in love, it’s worthless. To me, and to everyone around me.
Today, as I do my best to step lightly along the good red road, may I remember to always test my intentions, and then to choose the path that is based on the heartprint of love, strengthened by the backbone of wisdom. In all our ways acknowledge Love, and it will direct our paths.
(C) 2017 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
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