The message of the green stone



Green heart and dish photo for blog on message


“The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers.”

–Deepak Chopra

(Part 1 of a 2-part series) 

A year ago, at the end of one of our last coaching sessions, a client gently handed me a heart-shaped, green stone (pictured to the left).

With compassion and kindness, she explained she no longer needed it.  The stone was given to her many years ago as a message to open her guarded heart.  She has since been happily married for more than 30 years.

She has attributed my coaching to helping her strengthen her relationship with her husband–and reclaim a life that she now loves.

It was my turn to have the green heart, she said.

Hmm…I thought.  The coach is being coached by her client–a client who has since become a very loving friend (one of the perks of coaching when clear boundaries are set).

“Stop.  Listen.  Put your professional hat aside,” I heard the quiet voice inside my head say.

Then, holding the heart in my hand, I shed a tear.  The strong, stoic woman I have been in the presence of so many others was “seen.”

In what ways have I kept my heart guarded, I wondered?  All sorts of answers began appearing, from choosing to be with people who are not physically available or emotionally ready for the type of relationship I wanted (hence they felt “safe” from a distance) to pretending I was OK when I was deeply hurt by those who I had cared for.

I carried the heart with me, sometimes leaving it on the center console of my car, or other times placing it on a tiny dish on my kitchen table to look at while eating breakfast.

Now, holding the heart again a year later in the palm of my hand, I realize I have indeed spent the past 12 months opening my heart to others, saying “yes” to new people and experimenting with the more playful sides of me.  Music and dance have become a big part of my life, along with friends who I met while working my fun, part-time job in Newburyport.

To live with an open heart, I am more conscious of:

  • Taking in and receiving as much as I give out. Reciprocity is the foundation of a healthy relationship.
  • Listening to my feelings, gut instincts and body instead of all that “thinking” in my head.
  • Trusting that a power greater than me is wise in the choices of people placed before me and staying open to the discovery process.
  • Discerning my needs at this juncture of my life and aligning with like-minded others–and stepping aside more quickly when a new encounter does not feel like a right fit.
  • Living “large” and associating with others who also make the same commitment of life by being brave, open-minded, tenacious and motivated.
  • Staying in observation mode for longer periods of time, allowing for the unfolding of outcomes versus “willing” or directing them.
  • Appreciating my own fullness and vulnerabilities, knowing it is OK to experience both when with others.

Perhaps the most important lesson I learned from the gift of the green heart is to listen by putting my defenses aside. When I listen with such detachment, I often hear messages that invite a warm feeling of grace into my life, sometimes gaining a valuable insight that moves me forward or opens my heart even more.

By midlife, we all have been hurt.  Yet, we have a choice of whether to stay in the past or risk opening our hearts and live more expansively.

My client friend did for me what I have done for others:  she held me in the light of the highest vision of myself and then in her indirect way asked me to claim it.

I stake my claim as a sensitive, brave, visionary, open-hearted, soulful woman worthy of great love.  Can you do the same for yourself?  I would love to hear your stories of opening your heart.

And, please stay tuned for Part 2, “The Art of Opening Your Heart,” featuring a guest interview, to be posted next Tuesday, February 4.




1.    I allow myself to open my heart and risk loving from worthiness.

2.    I allow myself to listen to and learn from others’ feedback.

3.   I allow myself to live in reciprocity, enjoying both giving and receiving love.


A special thanks to my graphic designer, Rose Russo, who helped create a warmer, soft background for my photo of the green stone which now sits on my kitchen table.


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  • Vicki huTcheson says:

    That was a wonderful story looking forward to part 2.
    Thank you. (:

    • Gail says:

      I am glad you found it to be a wonderful story, Vicki…and that it inspires you to stay tuned for part 2. There is so much guidance around us when we take time to listen–and take in another’s wisdom and expertise. Thanks for taking the time to post a comment:) Gail

  • Susan says:

    Gail thank you this is so heart warming !
    Looking forward to part 2.
    Take good care of yourself.

    • Gail says:

      You’re welcome, Susan…so glad you found it “heart-warming.” I am blessed with so many wonderful clients who teach me much. Gail

  • Linda says:

    Sharing this story is just another indication of how you open your heart to us, the reader, some who you know personally and some you’ve never met, I would imagine. Such a loving and warm reminder of the gifts we receive when we are willing to keep opening our hearts and see not only where it takes us but what comes back to us.
    Looking forward to Part 2

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