“What looks like heart often isn’t the real McCoy. And what the real heart tells us often isn’t what the head wants to hear. The head is motivated by quick results, so it gets discouraged if the heart’s rewards are slow to show up.” -The HeartMath Solution
The best sugar you will ever taste doesn’t come in a bottle, a jar, a bag, or even in a high end pastry. It comes from your heart. It’s that feeling of uncolored love and giving without expectation of return; it’s that sensation of freedom when rock climbing or riding your favorite horse; it’s that moment of awe while watching a sunset or holding your baby’s little hand; it’s that instance of perfection on the dance floor…
I know this state of being well, as I trust you do too. The challenge comes when we let our emotions take over. The natural state of the heart is one of giving, openness, flexibility, understanding, forgiveness…you get the picture. But often the mind, or our emotions, interfere with bargaining, judgement, and expectations. This isn’t to say the mind and heart can’t be in alignment. It is when there is discord between the two that our hearts get broken. This is also when we use ourselves as punching bags – most commonly through overeating, bingeing on junk food, self-loathing talk, and/or isolation. And if not addressed in a timely manner, our health and happiness suffers.
I recently had a family member pass away who died of a heart complication. It was one of those passings that was unexpected and shocking. Knowing how she lived, one has to wonder how much of her physical heart issues resulted from the state of her emotional heart.
Times like these are when I am so thankful to have a mindfulness practice I can turn to. It’s the one thing I know I can do to help bring me back to center. It isn’t always immediate, and it isn’t always a pleasant process, but in the long run, my practice brings me peace, gives me confidence, and brightens my world. It literally makes life sweeter.
Just as we are bio-individuals in regards to our diet, I truly believe there is not one mindfulness practice that fits all, either. And depending on the day or the challenges I face, my practice alters as well. Lately I have been loving what I call Heart Breaths. For 15 minutes or more I take slow deep breaths and tune into my heart, focusing on thoughts that make my chest swell with love and gratitude.
The more we all tune into moments of love and gratitude that are uncolored by judgment, expectations, and bargaining — the more often and quickly we can turn around the discord and unhealthy patterns in our lives. I know this; and I trust that if you don’t already know it yourself, you will soon.