A girl in Raipur, India was born in November 2005 with an external heart— which she was holding in one of her hands! –Ripley’s Believe it or Not Comic, 1/25/06
I found myself inexplicably thinking about this baby girl intermittently for the last few weeks. The very literal truth about her situation is so unusual that its near-incomprehensibility immediately draws my mind to metaphorical abstractions. Strangely, there’s a part of me that finds her condition enviable.
The best moments of my life have been ones of harmony between head, hands, and heart. Getting the hands and head to work together is generally an easy process for me, but getting my heart into the mix has always been the tricky part. If wearing your emotions on your sleeve can be risky, then having your heart out in the open for the world to see, pumping life and love into your work is downright dangerous. Or so says my conditioning.
Except that I now know too many outstanding examples of people who, for lack of a better phrase, have an external heart that they’re holding in their hands. While the baby girl from Raipur died, these people thrive with their heart out in the open. Perhaps one needs a mature heart to work that magic.
Despite all its advantages, our busy, scheduled, polite, orderly, profitable, Western lifestyles can be a downright heart-shriveling affair. While you can cultivate wherever you are, India has definitely felt more conducive to learning how to use my heart, maturing it, and bringing it out into the open on a more regular basis. Behind all my fancy Western rationalizing, its that adventure of the heart that lures me back to India.
I bow my head to the baby girl whose fragile, fleeting life, if nothing else, reminded me of why I live.
(migrated from my original Livejournal post)