Heart Reading … Day 29

Karen Willard Ribeiro
4 min readAug 14, 2021

Claiming and Embracing the feeling of being invisible.

We’ve all seen things other people close to us couldn’t see — whether it be physical, spiritual, intellectual, or (certainly) emotional. This can be a debilitating experience — to want so much to give of our heart and soul to another, to a project, to a community, to a cause, and to not be received, heard, acknowledged, valued. Having wrestled chronically with this experience of invisibility for most of my life, I have just now received an insight — from my heart — which brings me, and hopefully you, comfort and spiritual nourishment.

The insight, incubated from yesterday’s heart reading and quotation by Jonathan Swift (which is also in the heading of the Adventure pages in my Inner Fortune Journal) is this: Our life vision quests are literally preparation for death in that as we see what — and who — is invisible, we become equipped to see in the afterlife. And in all spaces where we feel invisible, it is due to having more vision than those around us.

This insight carries healing energy which drudges up for me many old feelings, and some not so old given the frequent occurrence of invisibility in my life. I rationalize that having more vision than others in spaces I seek to share and speak of my perspective evokes in others jealousy and a much lower order desire to oppress my vision. My heart is beating wildly in my chest. This indicates not that I’m onto something true (that would be indicated by a full body hot flash), but that I’m feeling something important for me to attend to. [I took moments her to calm my heart].

Because it is all too easy to blame shift and rationalize pain and suffering, I must enhance this rationalization with a transformational technique I have named Pivot Moment of Choice. Instead of feeling self satisfied by the tepid explanation of “other people’s jealousy” with respect to my interpersonal discomfort, I have been making more pivots in real time in the moments when I am feeling invisible. It is hard because being ignored, spoken over, dismissed, and minimized always comes as a surprise despite my familiarity with it. And do you see that even my words, “despite my familiarity with it” is indicative of my raw edge on the matter?

Workplaces give us ample opportunity for Pivot Moments of Choice. In a meeting today I was able to relax tense muscles, acknowledge the different communication style of the person I was talking with (subtle style communicators tend to beat around the bush and direct style communicators tend to speak harshly), then I reminded myself of the heart beating in the other person’s chest (which is a new practice for me that I am getting direct physical and emotional benefit from), and allow myself to SEE more nuance, to widen the aperture of the lens through which I was looking at the discussion.

I had tears streaming down my face right before this particular meeting because of the news segment I’d watched about Ady Barkan, the lawyer and star activist who is dedicating his last remaining breaths on this earth to Medicare for All. He is visible — particularly in his inability to speak from his own body — and has catalyzed an ALS diagnosis or “death sentence” into a movement to restore democracy and the right to universal healthcare in America.

Ady’s film is called Not Going Quietly. I’m more than embarrassed, given the price he is paying, to admit I’m a bit jealous of the movement his activism has inspired even though there have been many despairing moments he’s faced. I hope (a word he defines as a state of action not a state of mind) his efforts result in universal healthcare. I was moved to tears by his clarity, which he also explains as the fruit born from bearing the pain of sadness and grief. I am grateful for his heroic efforts [his campaign is called Be A Hero], and concerned about the two young children and spouse he will soon leave behind.

I am also an admitted cynic in stating a rude opinion here that his message and movement may have been less operative if he was of an underrepresented gender group or had not graduated from an Ivy League. That’s a me thing, I know…

In … Out … Deep … Slow … Calm … Ease … Smile … Release. Breathing songs. Gratitude for this able body and her ability to speak.



Karen Willard Ribeiro

Beyond Karen: emerging from the depths of an epic epithet is available at innerfortune.com and at your favorite independent bookseller. Thanks for reading.