Two weeks ago, I wrote a couple of emails about making choices from the heart. As I was about to send the next one I got covid. I went to a place of extended deep rest. I'm glad I've got that under my belt. Now I'm back to thinking about our hearts.
About thinking with our hearts. Versus feeling with our hearts. And is there a difference?
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The other day I was in a book store. A book caught my attention. It was called Permission to Feel. It was written by the director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Brene Brown can't recommend it enough. She told us so on the front cover. When I saw that book cover, I thought well this really nails it. The queen permitter of vulnerability and and now an Ivy League scientist say it's ok to feel!
I didn't buy this book. Oh, it's true. I did perk up at the thought of having all that information, maybe to share with you. I wanted the years of research to back me up. I live in Boston, too, and we are wicked smart. I wanted to tell you that a Ph.D. was on my side. That we could free our emotions, and it would be healthy. There was a formula we could use with kids.
The books I did buy though? Books that don't explain emotion, but invite it.
1. A novel told from the inside of an oppressed and dying culture. It's lying on my night stand, daring me.
2. An account that's cracking me up, of someone who does what I do. He walks around alone observing our world, reading every sign on the subway with relish and delight, listening in on conversations that seem private, even though the speaker is using their outside voice. This author and I can't stop imagining things, noticing ants. Feeling feelings and taking note.
3. The Tao Te Ching. I read it in two hours. On the one hand, I can't believe I've never read it. On the other, I realized I hadn't really needed to read it. It's lived in my heart my whole life. It's been making me strange and sad and full of happiness all this time, this living in the silent balance between yin and yang.
“Countless words count less than the silent balance between yin and yang” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Having read my website, and perhaps these emails, again and again you come to my office to ask me, but HOW do I feel? How do I move this energy? How do I make choices from my heart? What can I DO to start?
Maybe you would like the book that I didn't buy. Brene Brown says it is actionable and practical. I mean this seriously because I realize that, although I am a nice person and I mean well, I don't excel at "actionable and practical." (See the photo below.)
I'll tell you what I do, too, in case you want to try it.
Then you do the thing that feels right for you. That's a good first step. In fact, it's the only step. We could just leave it at that.
Using Your Heart to Decide:
Stop where you are and focus.
1. Put your hand on your belly. Feel it rise and fall as you breathe. Ask yourself, "Where am I?" There is only one answer: "I am right here right now." Focus consciously on your breath and body. Ground into the now. Take at least 5 patient breaths.
2. Cover your eyes with your hands. Feel your eyes relax. Focus deep into the center of your brain. Do 5 more breaths. Ask yourself, "Who Am I?" Let it come to you, the life you want to live, what's important to you, your reason for being alive. Breathe it in. Know how perfect you are. Acknowledge your right to Be. Exactly as you are.
3. Place your hand on your heart. Focus your attention on your physical heart. Breathe 5 times. Slowly and with deep curiosity. Now let your heart infuse with light. Soften your ribs. Let the light expand outward from your heart. Ask yourself, "What do I want?"
NOTICE: What did you want? What was the first thing that came to you?
Now notice this:
Did you quickly dismiss the first flash of inspiration that came to you? Or did you smile with happiness and feel love and acceptance and ease. Did you know immediately that, for sure, this is what you're going to do!
THIS IS IMPORTANT: Even if you DID dismiss what your heart truly wants, even if you do something else instead, now you KNOW what you want.
Now you are conscious that you have consciously chosen to do something else instead. It's OK! Let yourself be.
Once you know, it's hard to UNknow. Maybe in THIS moment the action of knowing and acknowledging is the only action you need to take. Just notice, and let yourself be.
Maybe at some future moment, new choices will quietly emerge from simply having known what you truly want. Let it be easy. At some point you might do the exact thing that's in alignment with where and who you are, and what you want. And you might feel free.
Shifting your energy is done with ease. It isn't the same as muscling through. Cogitation and discussion aren't the same as knowing in your heart. "The tao that can be named is not the tao." 😅
Don't hesitate if you have questions or suggestions or just want to say hi!
My contact info is below.