Skip to content

With a Hardened Heart, Your Life Will Always Be Empty

With an Open Heart

This post is part of The Awakened Heart Project

Week 11: With a Hardened Heart, Your Life Will Always Be Empty   

We could never have guessed

We were already blessed

Where we are…

 -James Taylor

Your Week of Reprieve

The past few weeks the posts have been long, and the material somewhat “heavy”. This week, I’m giving you a bit of a reprieve. This week I will leave you with a story I hope you will reflect upon throughout the next seven days. It will help you prepare for the next chapter of The Awakened Heart Project. Although the material this week is lighter, take 20 minutes to answer the reflection questions, as they will help you prepare for the coming weeks as well.

I hope everyone has been enjoying the “Life Lessons” thus far. I’m looking forward to this next chapter with you beginning next week. And with that, a story…

Between Peace and Joy

With an Open Heart

One day, a woman who found a folded sponge all dried and compressed, and tucked inside the hardened fold was a message she’d been seeking. She carried the hardened sponge to the sea and, up to her waist in the deep, she watched it unfold and come to life in the water. Magically, the secret of life became visible in the bubbles being released from the sponge, and to her amazement, a small fish, trapped in sleep in the hardened sponge, came alive and swam out to sea. From that day on, no matter where she went, she felt the little fish swimming in the deep, and this, -the swimming of the little fish that had for so long been asleep, -gave her satisfaction that was somewhere between peace and joy.

Whatever our path, whatever the color or grain of our days, whatever riddle we must solve to stay alive, the secret of life somehow always has to do with the awakening and freeing of what has been asleep. Like the sponge, our very heart begs to unfold in the waters of our experience, and like that little fish, the soul is a tiny thing that brings us peace and joy when we let it swim.

But everything remains hard and compressed and illegible until, like the woman, waist deep in the ocean, we take our sleeping heart in our hands and plunge it tenderly into the life we are living.

Clown Fish. Freedom. With a n Open Heart

  • With your eyes closed, meditate on the image of a hardened sponge unfolding like a flower in water
  • As you breate, practice seeing your heart as a sponge
  • The next time you do the dishes, pause, hold the hardened sponging it he water, and feel your heart unfold.

[This story and meditation exercises are part of The Book of Awakenings: Having the life you want by being present to the life you have. Author: Mark Nep]

 with an open heart

“A person’s world is only as big as their heart”

-Tanya A. Moore


  • Take five minutes and write a journal entry about what you got out of this story. I encourage you to share these in the comments are so others can gain more from your insight.
  • Do you believe your heart is hardened? Do you find it difficult to get close to people and be emotionally intimate in your relationships? 
  • When you reflect on your life, do you see more hurt and pain or beauty and joy?
  • If you feel there are issue from your past that have left your heart hardened, are you willing to work through them? If yes, begin today. If not, I urge you to reconsider.
  • Practice gratitude and forgiveness at least once this week. You will begin to see a change in your heart and your mind.
  • Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Write down your goals for the next month, year, five years, ten years, a lifetime. Then, write down your hopes and dreams for yourself and the world you live in. Will all of the be possible with your level of openness currently? What needs to change?
  • If there was only one things holding you back from being able to release and open your heart, what would it be?
  • Think back to when you were a child. Did you feel more alive then? What’s different now? How can you get that back?
  • Write these thoughts down, or at least have a generally idea of your thoughts and feelings for next week. Having a clear picture of what is preventing your heart from being fully open, and what your dreams are for the future, will make next week more beneficial.

Did you find this post inspiring / Thought provoking / Worth

reading? Share it with your friends!


The Awakened Heart Project 

Registration for The Awakened Heart Project is closed for the year. However, follow the blog for the opportunity to participate in 2014. With An Open Heart will be going through some major changes in the coming months! Stay tuned!!!

Please fill out the form below to be notified when The Awakened Heart Project will begin again. Thank you.

Nina Shadi Signature Length

One Comment Post a comment

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Reflections – Post 1 | Cindy Ortiz

Thoughts and Comments Encouraged!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s