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My Heart and the Angry Bag of Connective Tissue Surrounding It.

A Real-time Conversation with the Big Organ and Its Guard Dog

Me, Pericardium, and Heart circa 2016

I spend a lot of time inside myself hanging with my organs. It’s where I go when I seek peace and quiet. I’ll settle down into my liver or go for a stroll through my colon. Beyond peace and quiet, I find an intelligence deep within my body; one I can’t seem to access out in the world.

It seemed strange then when I realized I don’t spend a lot of time with my heart. It doesn’t seem to need me like my other organs do. Almost daily, I help my kidneys unload toxins; I help my intestines balance my microbiome; I help my immune system regulate inflammation. My heart, though, doesn’t really scream out for much care. In fact, the times I have spent with my heart, there wasn’t a lot to do.

Yet, with everything we hear about the heart being so important, I felt the need to venture down to see if maybe I had missed a more significant connection to my own heart.

Me: Hi.

Heart: Hi.

Me: So, it seems I don’t spend a lot of time with you or know you that well. I am sorry about that.

Heart: No worries. You actually do know me well.

Me: Um, oh. Okay. Once an astrologer told me I don’t really know how to love. So, I figured I must not know you well.

Heart: That’s not true. You love big.

Me and Heart, circa 2016

Me: It seemed true at the time. I had just had a really tough break up. The astrologer told me I was a “Monkey” in Chinese Astrology, and that I have Venus in my 12th house. She said I don’t know what I love. I feel like I know what I love and I know for sure I have loved very deeply, but still, I believed her.

Heart: Right, I remember that day. We were pumping along happily, and then we got all choked up and started crying. Alarms went off inside of us, then, in a flash, without even knowing what was happening, the bag of connective tissue wrapped around me got super tight.

Me: You mean my pericardium?

Heart: OUR pericardium. Yes.

Me: I can feel it right now, the tightening in my chest as I recall that astrologer telling me I don’t know what I love. I still wonder sometimes if she was right.

Heart: Ouch. That bag around me gets so tight when you question yourself. Maybe the astrologist was giving you a reflection you needed to heal?

Me: A reflection that I don’t love well?

Heart: No. No. She was dead wrong on that. You love perfectly. You’ve got good boundaries; Love In; Love Out. I don’t think your problem is with me. I think there might be more to learn about your pains around love found woven through the threads of the connective tissue of your pericardium. That tight bag has seen better days and in my estimation, is super defensive. He crimps my style and seems to throw everything a little off-kilter when it comes to love.

Somehow, I had gotten into my heart without even noticing my pericardium, the poor guy. Now though, as I turned toward him, I saw he really was a bedraggled bag. There were sheer thin spots around the upper left side of him that looked so worn you could see right through to my heart. And then there were pinched thick calloused areas which clearly had been wound tight for years.

Me: Hi.

Pericardium: What do you want?

Me: I was talking to Heart, and he said you seem to be the problem with my questioning my ability to love.

Pericardium: Of course, of course, it’s my fault. It’s always my fault. That fat Heart pumps in and out and speaks so easily of the flow of life and love. But he doesn’t have the job of protecting his naive ass out in this dog-eat-dog world.

Me: Wow. You seem pretty upset.

Pericardium: I am. I have been wrapped around that simpleton my entire life, told to protect him, but everywhere I turn there is danger. Everyone is out to take from Heart or hurt him. There’s danger everywhere.

I looked at Pericardium sadly and noticed layers and layers of individual threads of connective tissue. Some were thin, others were really thick and dripping with some sort of goop. Because we share our mind, Pericadium answered my unspoken question.

Pericardium: That goop on the threads, that is chemical information from your neurons. It’s how your brain communicates with me. Way back, when you were a child, we made up “threat and danger guidelines”. We stored that information in your brain. This information is hidden like library stacks in your unconscious and at every moment in your waking day, we send billions of synapses back and forth from the historical stacks down to your body and back up to Brain. It is a super efficient system. At this point, we don’t need to figure much of anything out. We take new events, new people, new circumstances and we line them up against our record of past events, stored memories of people and recorded circumstances. Brain shoots that information to me through the electrical and chemical neural highway without you having an conscious awareness and I know immediately when a dangerous threat is happening and tighten right up.

Me: Yeah, but you tightened up just a few minutes ago about an astrologer who isn’t even here. She’s not a threat.

Pericardium: Oh yes she is! You still believe what she said about your inability to love. That is a huge threat. You question your own ability to love — Major danger. In fact, on a daily basis, you are one of the biggest threats, betraying us by questioning your own personal deep knowing.

Me: Wait a second. You just told me you and Brain set this whole system up when I was a child. Now you are telling me I am the one at fault?

Pericardium: Well yes, you, me, Brain, whatever. We set up a good system so you’d know it was a dangerous threat to place any other person’s opinion above what you know to be true about yourself. That was healthy protection. Then you went, with the help of the culture you live in, and the fear of not be accepted for your unique understanding of the Universe and you laid a crazy belief that others’ opinions have more clout right on top of that splendid truth. Unbelievable betrayal. And now with that belief lodged in those thought stacks, I’ve got to tighten and protect Heart from that belief every single time you imagine someone having a greater knowing of yourself than you.

I sat there recognizing the irony of knowing everything Pericardium was saying was another one of my deep truths. I had betrayed myself time and time again by allowing my knowing to be sublimated by my fear of rejection.

Me: Wow. I am so, so sorry. I had no idea. I am so sorry Pericardium. I didn’t mean to betray you or Heart. I didn’t mean to make you work so hard to protect Heart from me questioning myself. I know I love big. I will never betray my knowing again.

Pericardium began to soften. Some of the tight danger-threads woven through him began to dissolve. The thick calloused area began to smooth out. I felt Heart flowing, pumping strong and stable; Love In. Love Out. Everything felt warmer in my chest. I had just released a deep unconscious belief somatically stuck in my pericardium. Again, I found a form of intelligence within my organs I can’t seem to access out in the world.

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