“Since emotional processes can work faster than the mind, it takes a power stronger than the mind to bend perception, override emotional circuitry, and provide us with intuitive feeling instead. It takes the power of the heart.” ~Doc Childre, Founder, Institute of HeartMath
Those who have known me for some time are aware that I had a cardiac episode in 2002. For me, it was life changing – in many respects.
I have since written and spoken about my heart, our hearts, and how frequently we take that 10 ounces of blood-filled muscle for granted.
In what has become the universal symbol of love, the Greeks believed the heart was the seat of the spirit, the Chinese associated it with the center for happiness, and the Egyptians thought the emotions and intellect arose from the heart. No one is exactly sure of the love association, however.
Reflecting in a hospital cardiac unit, I got to look deep within the center of my heart and find that tiny pinpoint of brilliantly colored light – red to some, white to others. It is such a beautifully rich color. And in that light, I found the center of my love.
Wrapped in a warm sheath, each of our hearts possess the power to guide, inspire and protect.
Recent research into the field of Neuro-cardiology has improved our understanding of the respective roles of the brain and the heart. Scientists have long recognized that the brain has the power to influence the heart. Researchers have now proved that the heart has the power to modulate brain activity and optimize its function.
In a relatively new field, scientists describe a state of well-being called cardiac coherence, obtained by synchronizing the brain and the heart which yields remarkable benefits in the areas of health, personal energy and relationships.
Put simply, positive emotions like appreciation, joy, care and kindness create a harmony in the heart’s rhythms and nervous system. Other systems synch up to this rhythm, which is called coherence. Coherence leads to more mental clarity, creativity and better problem-solving abilities, and therefore, better ways of handling stressful situations.
Most of us have read about the global energy crisis. Others believe we are experiencing an even greater issue: the personal energy crisis. Lack of energy is the root of many physical and mental illnesses and is the result of painful emotional and unfulfilled spiritual connections. Unfortunately, modern medicine has limited solutions for this symptom.
This crisis is evident by our disconnection from ourselves and our connection to everything ‘out there.’ The crisis exists because we no longer trust our heart or spirit, trusting instead the fears, limiting beliefs and assumptions surrounding us. Throughout all of this, the heart – quietly – knows the answers and choices that are best for us and continues to whisper them, over and over.
To hear our hearts we have to slow down and listen. This means focused listening. We need stillness to quiet our busy lives and silence to quell persistent mind-chatter. Then the heart can be heard as it prompts and softly directs us what to choose and do.
We need to love and respect our body and give it what it needs to function optimally. Knowledge of the right foods and right exercises is often not a strong enough stimulus to entice us to engage in heart-driven, energy-providing activities. Most of us need an extra factor to get us excited about helping ourselves. This indispensable extra factor is self-love.
There are innumerable ways to exercise self-love. Try these three:
Laugh out loud! A hearty laugh, the kind that sends a stream of tears from your eyes, does more to warm the soul. Research shows that hearty laughter can cause the lining of the blood vessel walls to relax, increasing blood flow for up to 45 minutes after the laugh attack!
- Eat healthy foods. We’ve all heard if before but there really are foods that provide exceptional heart nourishment. Consider these: mackerel, edamame, plums, kidney beans and barley – just to name a few.
- And at least three times a day, stand with your arms open wide and say, “I am willing to let my heart prevail. It is safe to let the love in.”
I invite you to pause and reflect on your heart and the role it plays in your life. Consider allowing it to guide more of your choices.