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Why some of us stuff our hearts with rocks

Updated: Jun 14, 2020

Do you ever get that sick feeling in your stomach? We’ve all experienced it, right? Maybe before school finals, a job interview, or amidst the anguish of a breakup. You feel sick to your stomach, as if a brick has taken up residency in your gut. Now, can you imagine anyone intentionally wanting to experience the feeling of a brick or stones at the pit of their stomach? This wouldn’t make sense. But consider the Crocodile. Yeap, crocodiles and alligators swallow rocks knowingly.

Science Magazine says that crocodiles do it because the stones help basic digestion. Rocks in a crocodile’s stomach help crush and grate food, which could include large bones and hard shells. A recent study explains another reason for the stone-swallowing. The observation is that a belly full of rocks helps boost bottom time on dives. Science Magazine tells us that crocodiles and alligators spend most of their time in the water, stalking prey and escaping from predators. Anything they can do to maximize their time below the surface is an advantage. Scientists ran a study and found that when alligators swallowed the rocks, prior to a dive, this indeed increased their dive time by 88 percent, or by 35 minutes.

This got me thinking about the things humans stomach, like harsh foods, stress and viruses. Our other organs take in a lot as well. For example, the lungs take in bad air quality: smoke, fumes, dust. What about our hearts? The list can be long, both physiologically and emotionally.

Do you know anyone with rocks in their heart? Perhaps you’ve known people, who have been described as having “a heart of stone”. Ever wonder what made them stone-hearted? Maybe the protective rocks in their hearts help crush the pain and break down the daggers or flails of life. Maybe the weight of the stones helps keep them beneath the surface. Perhaps staying below the pain is the only way they can survive the surface of life.

There are plenty of things that clog up the heart. People experiencing pain might not garner the strength to cut through, so they surrender to the rocks. Others fight on, breaking down stones, but might be left with a little debris. Some might simply choose to remain emotionally clogged. And before long, the stones could end up taking most of the real estate in their hearts.

Alligators seem to have chosen the rocky road. But you don’t have to do things their way. If life is weighing you down, force yourself to come above the surface and find palpable tools that can help break down the pain, anger, sadness. Choose to be resourceful and spit out the rocks that life has flung and dropped into you. Friends, caring family members, spiritual hubs or counselors can sometimes help us grate the rocks and break the surface. Or you can be the one, who helps lighten the load of another and softens a rocky heart. When you're around a stone-hearted colleague, why not toss a positive word their way. Maybe you can help turn their rocks into tiny step at a time.

For more on alligators and rocks:

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