The History of My Heart

The History of My Heart June 22, 2015


During my cancer journey, I was able to see my heart on a screen during a test in which I was injected with radioactive dye, so they could trace the first pass of blood through the first chamber of my heart. It was an experience that changed my understanding of heart.


It has pumped strong since my first breath. At first it grew like a fish, no limbs, no eyes; just swimming in place while I tried to do what I was told. It knew nothing of where I would lead it or where I would be taken. As I grew, it spread into a red bird whose wings stirred me with a want for impossible things. But wanting, falling, loving, dying and being battered wore me down to life on Earth. Beating in the face of so many abrasions, it only toughened, its cords of muscle eating my heartaches like calisthenics; always whispering in my sleep, “Give me more!”

In my cancer, it grew very still. The doctors thought it was going away or back to where it waited while I was being born. It was only gliding beneath the storm. Now on the other side, it has morphed again. How to say it? I’ve become a mold hollowed by my sufferings: all to be filled by my heart which has slipped its casing completely, pouring itself into the contours of my being. Now it washes everywhere: behind my eyes, my lips, inside my fingers. Now, wherever you touch me, you touch my heart.

A Question to Walk With: Begin to tell the story of the history of your heart.

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  • Patrice Pastore

    Dear Mr. Nepo,

    I have been in the process of changing my life for the last 46 years. In the last two years I have found your Book of Awakening a necessary daily reading not get my day off to a better start. I am currently in Italy for a month of Italian study and personal reflection. I was not able to bring your book along with me and I have missed it sorely.

    So I am happy to see that at least there’s a weekly blog to check out while I’m gone. This may help me get through this month with a little more grace and equanimity.

    I hope to meet you someday and do one of your workshops.

    Maybe a book of nightly meditations to help prepare one for sleep?

    Thank you for the authenticity and the openness about your own struggles.