top of page

Shape Of My Heart

[Listen on Spotify]

This past week, I danced. A lot. I was in London participating in a 5Rythms dance retreat for 5 days, where we danced for five to six hours a day. The dance is completely free form, and the floor quickly became a canvas to express whatever my body wanted to at that moment.

I enjoyed very much the privilege of being anonymous, as I did not know any of the fellow hundred dancers who were on retreat with me. Had I been in an environment where I knew more people, or was known by many people, it may have influenced how my body moved. Here, my body felt completely free. Free of expectation. Free of judgment. Free of any desire to perform.

Each day consisted of two long dances, during which there was no verbal communication. With the music filling the room and our feet wandering freely across the room, each of us quickly came into our own private inner space, as if there was no one watching.

Ahead of each dance, the teacher shared a prompt to help guide our inner journey. One of the prompts stuck with me. He asked, ‘what is the shape of your heart?’.

The more I became curious about the shape of my heart, figuratively of course, the more I felt a lack of clarity. So many shapes, sizes and colors came up instantly.

First, I imagined the shape of a long diamond, with a glass texture and pleasant blue light radiating from it. It had sharp edges and points everywhere.

Then, the image of a dark purple cube arose, but with some of the corners missing and it looked a little worn out.

Then, a bright orange sun shaped figure, like the sun, that was too hot to touch or come near.

And so it went on for a few hours. A continuous stream of images of the shape of my heart.

Then, it hit me. The shape of my heart is not static, it continues to change. It is not a fixed object, despite me trying to define it with characteristics like shape, size and color, it is an energy that is living and adapting to the stimulus and environment it is faced with.

During the next dance, the teacher chimed in on the mic with another prompt, ‘who has shaped your heart?’.

I instantly thought about my mom, and then my dad. How they taught me to love, to feel, to be, not through words but through their example. How they continue to teach me.

I thought about my younger sister, and pictured the two of us at different ages, and how we would shape each other. Then friends, teachers, and people around me growing up.

Into adulthood, there was a big part of my heart shaped by my first love. And then by my second love. And the many loves since then. The moments of immense joy. The heartbreaks. All of it shaped my heart.

My dreams, hopes and desires. The ones I had early on in life, and how both getting some of them, and not others, have shaped my heart.

It is not intuitive to become curious about the shape of my heart. I was just on the phone with my mom and asked her the question. After she confirmed I meant her figurative and not literally heart, she paused. And then shared that she imagined a white ball, glowing brightly, that was soft yet strong. I asked her what it meant and she reflected out loud that the color white had a universal quality to it, the shape meant there is no front or back, and the soft yet strong texture is how it can interact with others yet overcome pain.

We went on to have a beautiful conversation about how our literal heart is the first sign of life the moment we are born. I asked her if she remembered hearing my heartbeat for the first time, as I joked that I didn’t. The phone went silent. I could hear her tears.

My heart has been with me my entire life. I recently wrote a reflection about the most important relationship in my life being the one I have with myself. It’s fitting that one week later, I am continuing to explore what that means for me, or specifically what part of me I am desiring to be most connected to.

At times, I have felt fear and a desire to protect my heart. To not let anyone in. To not let anyone shape it.

However I am reminded that my heart is essential to my life. Without it, I have no life. Literal or figurative.

I feel immense gratitude for all of the people, experiences and moments that have shaped my heart. And for the many more that I hope will continue to shape it in the future, in beautiful, unexpected and surprising ways.

Join My List

Join over 20,000 people who receive my recent reflections by email.

Thank you

bottom of page