At five weeks the embryo is 5-7 mm long (about the size of a dry lentil). It is budding upper and lower limbs. Its heart is large and rapidly growing in size. By week seven the heart is enormous. Using an adult body as a reference, the heart stretches from the bottom of the nose to the level of the hips. The embryo’s face is resting up against the top surface of the heart, and the tiny arms now have hands with webbed fingers at the end of them.
As the arms and hands grow around the heart, the embryo makes a series of gestures that are quite beautiful. The hands come up and around the lateral surfaces of the heart. The heart begins to pull into the body as the embryo grows in length, making space for the heart on its ventral surface. The hands meet as the heart completes its incorporation into the body. Then the hands change direction and open outward.
The gesture is this: first take care of yourself (guiding the heart into the chest cavity), and then take care of others (opening up the arms and hands to the surrounding environment).
We are able to give when our resources are plentiful. When they are not, our giving is taxing on us mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is important for us to know how to take care of ourselves.
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Often I ask clients to think of someone they really care about, and I ask them how they treat that person. How far out of their way do they go for that person? How much do they enjoy taking care of that person? How much do they think of the nice things they can do to help that person?
The small gifts, the hours talking and listening, the displays of affection, etc. Often the question is easy for clients to answer. They go way out of their way and they do this very willingly for the person or people they love. They even wish they could do more to express their love in some way. I then ask them if they do the same for themselves. Often the answer is no.
The way you express love to the people you care about the most in your life is the way to express love to yourself. What sense does it make to give all your love away to others and leave yourself empty and tired?
Begin by filling your own vessel with love, as the embryo does. Take care of yourself first. Then when your cup is full, pass on that extra love, stretching your hands out from your heart to those around you.
Read more from the Learning from the Embryo series:
Author: Samantha Lotti
Samantha Lotti is the founder of Biodynamic Health and creator of Body Compassing. She is a certified and registered Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist (BCST, RCST®), licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) and board certified herbalist in Oak Park, Illinois. A personal back injury brought Samantha to biodynamic craniosacral therapy and ignited her interest in a variety of healing modalities.