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SuperBowl XLIX, cracking the bigger game: our hearts

03 February

SeahawksI know many of you think football is silly, but I’m realizing today what a profound practice for the dualities of life that it really is.

Yes, on the surface I am talking about the Superbowl and the “dumbest call by a coach in Superbowl history” when the Seattle Seahawks lost the game at the last second – when they REALLY could have and should have won. Just think of all Seahawks’ hearts filled beyond capacity with engagement, connection and joy that got dashed in the blink of an eye! The team was less than 1 yard and 26 seconds away from setting Superbowl history with a repeat, back – to – back win! They had arguably the best running back in the NFL, several chances and plenty of time to get this done. It was a sure thing … and then it wasn’t.

But in reflecting on why that game brought up such strong emotional reactions for me, I realized that football has such power because it’s really all about human hearts.

As many of you know, I lost several close friends and my ex-husband in the past 6 months or so. I’m always looking at the cycles in life and it was starting to just PISS me off that everyone has to die!!

Think about it. That reality means that some body, somewhere is ALWAYS broken hearted on this planet. I don’t know how many people are born every minute or how many die – but that is a lot of emotion, no matter what the statistics. That is a lot of stretching the heart to deal with powerful stuff. Good and bad.

And it is the way of life on this planet. It’s not going to be changing, no matter how many vaccines we invent, no matter how many wars get resolved and no matter how much we try to control the process! Birth and death, changes and transitions (the part that happens in the middle) are the reality of our physical existence.

But, DAMN, I wish that someone had taught me how to deal with it!! To embrace it and stop feeling like the shoe is about to drop again. To stop holding my breath, praying that it won’t happen to me or my loved ones ever again.

Last week, I got some scary health news about a dear family member. We are in a wait and see phase on that one. And obviously, staying positive, “seeing him healed” and sharing love are at top of my list at the moment.

Then yesterday, my gut was socked by a football game. I am a BIG Seahawks fan and it actually hurt my body to go from wonderful excitement to bottomless disappointment in 3 seconds flat. And when I started telling myself that it is only a game, so I “should” get over it, I also realized that it was a big part of my social life. I love this game. I love this team. I also love winning. So this was a real disappointment for me – and millions of other Seattle fans that are even more involved than I am.

And today, I got the heart wrenching news that a friend had died. A funny, clever, talented, smart friend that never quite got the “game” of the American success story quite right – but who was loved by many, including me. A man who leaves behind a mother and a family that loved him dearly every day of his life, in spite of “his shortcomings” – and who will feel the loss of his presence for the rest of their lives.

This is big stuff. This feeling the floor fall out. Feeling the loss and void. One moment everything right with the world; and the next a big fricking hole to deal with.

Loving comes with risks. It is destined to hurt at some point. If you love at all, then some one or some thing or some pet you love will die. That’s a fact. Unavoidable, unalterable, uncontrollable.

But, I’m pretty sure that we are not meant to close our hearts to love. Or even to numb ourselves with being busy so we don’t pay attention or dull our awareness with mind-altering substances so we don’t think too seriously. I believe quite the opposite actually.

So just like I hope like hell my Seahawks pull it together and stay engaged for next season, I’m thinking that we are meant to learn to love – full out, no holding back – all the time. I’m thinking that learning to have the courage to love – in spite of knowing that it will hurt like hell, somewhere along the way – is part of the journey.

Quite possibly it is even the main point of this physical journey through life.

Perhaps every time our hearts crack wide open in sadness or disappointment or grief – they are just leaning how to stretch (in every moment) even wider, deeper and more completely into love!