➣ Lub Dub: The Sound of Peace within a Community
by Pat McGuire
“Since the human heart is never completely born, love is the continuous birth of creativity within and between us.” (O’Donohue, Anam Cara: Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World).
The first sound any of us hear in this world is the steady “lub dub” of our mother’s heartbeat. Throughout our lives, if we are lucky, there is a great deal of touch from nurturing family members, friends, and pets. This keeps us connected to the “lub dub” of our humanity and also to “the heart that is never completely born.” This is the significance of the eternal, ubiquitous “lub dub.”
When we are confronted with losses or disappointments of any kind, our primal sense of connectedness is reduced. I have had the opportunity to facilitate many groups throughout my career as a bereavement coordinator. Family support, cancer support, grief support, addiction recovery, The Hero Within book circles — no matter the purpose of the group, one of the basic needs of the attendees is a sense of connection. Coming together with others with the same issues can be very healing. However, these groups generally fill one hour of a week and the need for connection has no such limit. These feelings of disconnection are felt most intensely in the middle of the night.
At the ending of the group meetings, through consensus of the group, we end in a circle. Holding hands, each person says whatever is on their heart. It struck me more and more how strong the energy pulsing from hand to hand was when we were encircled in this way. I called this to the attention of the groups. I reminded them that even when we were not holding hands, our hearts continued to ”lub dub” together. I asked them to remember that when they were home alone at three o’clock in the morning, they could reconnect with the group by feeling their own pulse. The message of the” lub dub” was: “We all have to do this life ourselves, but we do not have to do it alone.” The groups responded well to this intervention, often saying that during chaotic times, “It brings me peace.”
I have also responded to this intervention, but in an even larger way. Just thinking about the great lub-dub of this universe draws me into my center where I am the birther and the birthee. When I open myself to the lub-dub among people, the energy in the room changes; we are no longer separate entities, but rather one entity of shared humanity; it’s a communal abiding spirit. This is the value of community: common unity. Creating small communities restores personal wholeness, TOGETHER. I was lucky. I came by this naturally. I was born into a family with 13 children. Although there were some serious disadvantages with being part of so many, there was also a distinct advantage: I learned how to be part of a thriving community that took care of each other — we lub-dubbed together; we restored personal wholeness together. Now, my parents and two of my siblings have died. Several years ago, I left my hometown and many of my siblings in New Jersey to move to Florida. I found myself longing for the lub-dub missing from my heart. It was painful; it was lonely. It wasn’t until I transferred to the hospice unit that I again discovered my community heart. Deborah was my boss. She had built a thriving community of hospice staff who loved and respected each other in a communal way. My pulse quickened as I was welcomed, supported, and grown into this new environment. Mainly, I felt safe. Deborah did not allow bitching and back-biting; instead, she showed us how to open up to our hostilities so we could own them and use them for personal growth.
Now, I am partnering with Deborah to create healing communities everywhere. I have started three Hero Within book circles in just the past three months. I call it lub-dubbing, and I am seeing healing transformations right before my eyes as new “Hero Within” communities are birthed. It is, indeed, exciting to witness.
When I try to explain lub-dubbing to Deborah, she said: “Sounds like you are experiencing what the Beatles sang about: ‘I am you and you are me and we are all together.”
“Yeah. Something like that,” I tell her.