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Have you been looking for healing in all the wrong places?

When you think about getting healing help for the ways your heart suffers, do you immediately feel like it’s something you have to do on your own? Does healing your hurt heart feel like a solo project, maybe with the help of a good therapist or compassionate healer?

What if the solo journey, or “you getting better” is only part of your story of healing and the deeper purpose of the pain you feel?

Our culture puts a strong emphasis on the individual and making your way on your own.  (I’m referring to “Western” capitalist culture. If you are living in a different kind of culture, I’d love to know…hit reply!) Even families have become little nuclear units that have to do it all, with the result of burned out parents.

Being strong on our own is our model of heroism, strength, and confidence. If you have to ask for help or lean on others, you are weak, right?

I’d say there is some more recent lip service to the power of vulnerability, but I think we are all so steeped in the predominant narrative, that most of us default automatically to ‘pulling up our bootstraps’ and ‘rugged independence’. Does this feel true for you?

Vulnerability and asking for help takes courage! It means risking exposure! Most of us just put self-care on the to-do list and do it ourselves, or curl up and keep our hurt and need in.

What if there was another way to heal your heart that is equally powerful to therapy and 1:1 healing work?

It’s the way humanity has been sustaining hearts for millennia…until just recently that is.

It’s called COMMUNITY and it’s quite a good drug for the heart, as it turns out.


First, let’s do a review: do you already belong to any communities that nourish your heart?

You can skim this list quickly, but if you want some real healing movement, I recommend spending a little time journaling on the questions I present here.

💚 Your family is a mini-community. 

Do you live alone? 

Do you live with others? 

Are you related by blood, or other ties? 

Do you have this level of community? 

Is it nourishing or part of the suffering? Is it a bit of both? 

Journal a few notes for yourself about this. Notice how your heart and heart chakra feel as you do this.

💚 Your workplace is a community. 

Do you work alone? 

Do you work virtually with others? 

Do you still go into an office or shared workspace? 

Do you enjoy your interactions with others at your work, or is this a source of suffering? 

Journal. Feel. Pay attention. How does your body respond when you think about work?

💚 Do you live geographically in a place that has a sense of community?

Do you know your neighbors? 

Do you spend time with them or avoid them? Why? 

Do you live in a densely populated area like a city, or a sparsely populated area in the countryside? 

Do you feel like a stranger, or do you run into people you know and have some connection time? 

Does your heart like that, or do you feel safer being anonymous? Why might that be? Have people and relationships been unsafe for you?

Write. Contemplate. Feel. Does your heart open up here, or close up? Does it become sad, angry, fearful? 

💚 Do you have a sense of community with the land you live on?

Your heart chakra responds to relationships with plants, animals and all beings in nature if you experience them as sentient. I know I do! (See this month’s blog post about your heart chakra connections)

I feel a sense of connection and communication on a level that is not talking with the cloud beings, the rain that comes, the land, the plants, the trees, the skunk who stops by my compost bin, and the butterfly that lands in my garden. 

If I slow down and sink in, I can feel that connection to the community of life and Nature. If I’m in a rush, I miss it.

💚 Do you participate in virtual communities online? 

Does virtual connection open your heart? 

Do you love how easy it is to connect with others, or do you still miss the physical presence of others? This is quite a new way of having relationships for us humans. Maybe we used to do it (and still do) in our dreamtime at night–go visit others and check in. 

Do you focus on virtual connection but still seek physical contact? 

Or do you find it easier to keep most of your connections online?

💚 What are the communities you belong to centred around?

Are they about ideas and information exchange? 

Are they about getting things done in life like activism or just practical tasks in your life or neighborhood? 

Are they spiritual communities that are about sharing and deepening purpose and soul connection? 

Are they just for fun or creative exchange and joy or creativity?

Do you belong to a mens, or women’s or queer folk group or community?



A personal story about community heart.

For the past 20 years, I have belonged to a spiritual community called the Sacred Fire Community. I have just returned from our 20 year celebration gathering at the Blue Deer Centre in Margaretville, NY. 

I connected with Sacred Fire after I studied Plant Spirit Medicine in 2005 with my elder and teacher of 17 years, Eliot Cowan. 

Eliot was steeped in the wisdom of the indigenous path he had the honour (and responsibility) of being initiated into. He was a Mara’kame in the Huichol (Wixarika), a community of people indigenous to the Sierra Madre region of Mexico.

His12 years + journey of initiation brought a deep relationship with the spirit of fire, and the wisdom and the medicine that comes through the divine expression of fire, which the Wixarika people call Tatewari (grandperson fire, or grandfather fire).

To grow his relationship with fire and thus the fire within that we all hear as the voice of our heart (as opposed to our head, or mind, or ego voice), he sat around the fire a lot. He invited his students to sit with him and also connect with the medicine of fire.

This meant a lot of jokes, songs, poems and laughter! These are an expression of the fire element within us that warms, melts and brings joy and connection. He was a very good joke teller.

Then, there was time to settle down and hear him share wisdom teachings. He was a very wise elder. This aspect of fire was and is a guiding light in my life.

It is very nourishing to let the truths that guide the laws of nature, the laws of the universe, and the laws of relationship and exchange, wash over me. This ‘heart wisdom’ is something held within the traditions of all indigenous peoples.

Heart wisdom is there in the major religious traditions too, but sometimes it gets co-opted by mind and distorted into a lot of rigid rules.

When I sit around a fire, the deep heart voice in me somehow recognizes it is hearing very old truths and I become calm, grounded, oriented back to my own soul centre. It is my spiritual practice.

But what good is it to receive wisdom teachings and hear my own heart voice if it is just for me?

Yes, I need guidance in my life. But I live in communities, within communities, within communities. And wisdom tells me that I am part of that, to both receive from others so they can express their gifts of service and to give my gifts and service to others. 

I belong, if I can open my heart and choose to. I belong, if I can risk connection.


So back to healing the suffering that may live in your heart.

Yes, it is good to seek help from a therapist or healer.

This is a very good way to take your heart to a safe place to clear out some of the hurt, allow cleansing feelings to flow through that may have become stuck, and practice being vulnerable with another human! (I have openings coming up in September, come on over! Start here.)

You can also bring TREMENDOUS healing to your heart, by stepping outside of yourself and seeking connections.

Go share your heart. Let others share in you.

Find communities big or small that nourish you.

Put it in your schedule.

Have your downtime to come back to yourself. But don’t keep yourself all to yourself. You are too valuable a part of our human community for that.

And unless your life purpose is to be a monk or nun in a monastery in solitary prayer, your life purpose likely has an aspect of service and connection that you need to give in order to fulfill your mission.

Happy communing out there!

P.S. If you would love to sit around the fire to amplify that heart voice within, share community heart and practice some heart sharing (and joke telling!) maybe you would like to visit a Sacred Fire near you? 

You can see where there is a firekeeper holding monthly fires for heart connection and community building in the Sacred Fire community here.

Maybe I’ll see you around the fire next month.


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