When your heart is hurt, I think there is an automatic response by the part of you that takes care of things. I call it the heart spider. When first the hurt happens, you are open and raw and the pain seems like it’ll never end. But pay attention. Soon it will become wrapped in a sticky cushion, not unlike a ball of spider web. You will feel the pain less and less and you might not notice that it is lessening. You might even pick around in there a little, like checking a scab to see if it still bleeds. And at first it will. Bleed. But eventually that bleeding will heal over as well. And when it does, you might not miss it at first. But then, after a while you might notice that you are having little jabs of anger, or maybe a little weeping that seems not to be connected to anything that is actually happening. Then the eating begins. The sort of frantic need to eat things that aren’t vegetables. Things that are greasy or creamy or sugary. Especially sugary. Chocolatey. Comforting while you’re eating it, maybe leaving you feeling kind of yucky. And a little desperate when you realize there is no more. That’s the work of the heart spider. It’s protection, and at first it helps you get through the rough spot, but eventually I think you need to negotiate with her, to allow you to begin to feel again. It’s the only way, really to continue and regain your center.
In the prologue to his book,Anam Cara, John O’Donohue says it more eloquently, “If we become addicted to the external, our interiority will haunt us. We will become hungry with a hunger no image, person or deed can still. To be wholesome, we must remain truthful to our vulnerable complexity In order to keep our balance, we need to hold the interior and exterior, visible and invisible, known and unknown, temporal and eternal, ancient and new, together. No one else can undertake this task for you…”
Whew. Yeah, that’s what I meant.