I’m delighted that Maria Shriver chose to publish my article. It’s a great honor. Enjoy the read.
Technically your heart is the primary muscle of your circulatory system; located on the left side of your chest near the center of your body; pumping blood throughout your body so you can live. It’s the engine that gives you life.
But, it’s also your emotional center. The place that tells you the truth; gives you freedom; guides you, creates and maintains the quality of your life.
That’s why it’s essential to examine the state of your heart, to take a deep and thorough look inside yourself, as a skilled surgeon would, and see exactly what the core of your heart is really made of. It’s a daily operation we should all do because the state of your heart not only affects your entire life but your feelings, thoughts and actions also affect the hearts and lives of other people.
Listen to your heart
In your mind you can rationalize all kinds of things you may want for yourself and others but the crucial choices you make come straight from your heart. Your heart always says what’s on your mind and it always tells the truth.
In her great essay, ‘Set it Free’, Dr. Martha Beck passionately describes what it means to live by your heart — to trust its wisdom and love:
As you learn to live by heart, every choice you make will become another way of telling your story, calling your tribe, and liberating not only your heart but the hearts of others. This is the very definition of love, the process that makes all-too-human people and societies capable of true humanity. It will chart you a life’s journey as unique and authentic as your fingerprint; send you out, full of hope and breathtaking exhilaration, onto paths you never thought you could travel. It is the way you were meant to exist. If you stop to listen, you’ll realize that your heart has been telling you so all along.
These amazing words are a blueprint for the life you’re looking to live because as soon as you pay attention to any feeling you have, drop out of your brain and right into your heart, your heart begins to open and you can start to live free.
It absolutely takes courage to ‘… live by heart’. Daring to put the deepest, most trusting part of yourself, your heart, out into the world. You bet you’ll be vulnerable and your heart might get hurt or even broken but, isn’t that better than feeling nothing and living an incomplete life stuck in fears and doubts?
How can you get into your heart center?
Try this simple meditation to connect with the energy of your heart:
- Sit somewhere and make yourself comfortable.
- Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and focus in on your heart.
- Picture it. Feel it. Easily breathe in and out from the center of your heart.
- Let your thoughts and feelings come and go without judgment.
- Simply relax and see what your heart has to say.
- Take all the time you want to listen to your heart.
(Your breathing may change and you may feel strong emotions; have joyful and turbulent memories, experience different physical sensations, maybe even tears but let it be what it is. Simply return to your heart.)
- When you’re finished, gently open your eyes.
What messages is your heart giving you? How does it speak to you? Did you notice that nearly every thought, emotion and memory passes through your heart — positive and negative — happy and sad – angry and peaceful?
This exercise allows you to see just how central your heart is to life. The more you monitor and connect directly to your heart the deeper you’ll come to know yourself and how you want to live your life.
What condition is your heart in?
- Do you have a kind heart?
- Is your heart warm or cold?
- Generous or stingy?
- Greedy or giving?
- Overflowing or empty?
- Full of love or hatred?
- Trustworthy or under handed?
- Are you heartless or does your heart beat with joy and gratitude?
I work daily on the health of my heart. Focusing on the quality of my thoughts, feelings and actions about other people and things. It matters to me how I treat people. I hope it is always with kindness, respect and love. Not anger and resentment. I practice healthy heart choices; going after emotions that strengthen me and have me like myself. Kindness, respect and love are not namby-pamby fluff. They’re mighty emotions I try to live by and to run my heart with.
Don’t be afraid to see what your heart feels and wants in every way. Go after it no matter how terrifying or surprising it may be. Sometimes our heart lets us know we need to make changes – to have a change of heart. Listen to it. Trust it. Go with it. Let your heart lead you. Let it be strong and authentic, warm, helping, compassionate, loving and kind. Our hearts are imprinted with these wonderful emotions and millions more. It’s up to you to tune into your heart and the deep truths it holds for you.
‘Once you are present in your own heart, you’ll find your life goes places your mind has never even dreamed of.’ – Martha Beck
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And also take a look at - How to Live Out Your Dreams