Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. Robert Brault
I was joking to a friend that I should rename this blog “Tina’s crisis of the week.” It just seems like a formula lately: have challenge, have screaming melt-down, have awakening, find resolution.
I wondered, after I realised last week’s anxiety meltdown took up about 1000 words of my blog post – and presumably a similar proportion of my actual life – if maybe I could skip the meltdown and make for a more snappy read.
But seriously. What would it look like to not go down that well-trodden path? To instead, face a problem calmly and with the trust that, based on previous evidence, there were pretty good odds I could find a satisfactory solution. And besides that, losing my schizzle didn’t really help either way.
Last week I attended the launch of The Slow School Of Business – a new collaborative learning space where purpose-driven professionals can realise the potential of deep connections and foster an environment of innovation, creativity, and sharing.
Among the bevy of fantastic people I met that night was two standouts, a meditation teacher and an intuitive energy artist. The three of us had a wonderful discussion about how to keep our energy centred in this crazy world.
If it be knowledge or wisdom one is seeking, then one had better go direct to the source. And the source is not the scholar or philosopher, not the master, saint, or teacher, but life itself – direct experience of life. Henry Miller
The ‘meditation guy’ said that he stayed centred in his heart centre, and experienced reactions of his other chakras via the ‘filter’ of his heart energy.
I found myself saying “yeah, but.” When what I really thought, quite condescendingly, was “that’s all very nice, and okay for you, but in MY life there’s too many demands on me to stay heart-centred ALL the time.”
After I left the party and walked through the nighttime city, I began to reflect on my week, and on how I might have acted differently if I had been acting from my heart energy, as opposed to this mental construct of stress and pressure.
Would I have been less attached to perceived deadlines and things that, in my mind, just ‘had to get done?’ Would I have been more responsive to real life circumstances that popped up and needed my attention, like my family and my lover?
Would putting aside my plans and designs for a moment, in order to act in loving kindness towards my loved ones, have created greater harmony and joy for me and others?
So this week I set the intention to notice when I am feeling pressured, agitated, rushed, panicked, anxious, or threatened, and consciously visualise breathing a deep green light into my heart.
Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic. Anaïs Nin
It’s working beautifully. (So far, I’m on day 3.)
Traditionally, I had found when my lover and I were having deeply intimate – and for me, difficult – conversations, I would feel a pressure in my solar plexus and that familiar feeling of anxiety would begin to grow. So this time, I commenced the heart awareness, visualising green light radiating in and around my heart, and instantaneously the anxiety shifted.
There was a sense of opening, perhaps the Vedic imagery of a lotus flower unfurling is a good one here. Imagining that transition from a tight bud, into a blooming flower utilising plenty of space in its open, relaxed form.
Interestingly, my ability to listen without judgement or insecurity or a need to defend my point of view accompanied this shift. When I spoke my truth from my heart, the communication was clear and effective.
Obviously, I don’t stay in this space all the time, and I can see the difference when my analytical thinking kicks back in. Now I’m not knocking analytical thinking, it has its place, but not in relationships. My greatest wisdom in relationships comes from my heart.
This ability to change my thoughts and thereby my perceptions at will is, according to French philosopher Charles Renouvier, the essence of free will. I read this in a fabulous book I’m reading called Superconsciousness by Colin Wilson. I’m sure I’ll be commenting more on that in coming posts.
To my mind, when I engage my heart centre, my mind shifts into a different gear. It moves from a rather frenetic sense of pressure and time constraints to a focusing in on what the heart wants.
And what does my heart want? Connection. With people I love, with beauty, with nature, with the things that inspire in me a connection with something greater, something divine.
It may be that through engaging the heart-mind in this way, I can live a life where my priorities are based on love, not fear.
What does that mean? Well, let me break it down for you. When I operate from a very analytical thinking space, I always focus on the gazillion things I have to do, and I find it hard to focus as I’m always worried about hurrying up and finishing the thing I’m doing so I can start doing the next thing. But never really present with what I’m doing because I’m busy ruminating.
The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. Henry Miller
As such, I can become stressed and pressured, quite inefficient and emotionally detached if they are people involved in the equation.
I experienced all of that this week, and as a result, not only did I take longer to do what I needed to do, but I managed to alienate a few loved ones along the way.
Not a gold star effort at all!
Rev. Dr. Charlene Proctor writes about the research done at the HeartMath Institute in America in her article ‘Nurturing the Heart Center’
I have read many of the HeartMath Institute’s papers on the electromagnetic field that radiates from the heart, the largest rhythmic electromagnetic field produced in the body.
Researchers at HeartMath have been investigating heart-brain interactions for years, especially how the heart and brain communicate with each other and how this communication affects our conscious and subconscious mind, and therefore our perceptions of the world. The heart responds to emotional energy, and as such is particularly affected by our emotional state.
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. Anaïs Nin
It is heart, not the brain, that generates the body’s most powerful and extensive rhythmic electromagnetic field. Compared to the electromagnetic field produced by the brain, the electrical component of the heart’s field is about sixty times greater. It permeates every cell of the body, and even well beyond the physical body.
In many meditative cultural traditions, it is a focus on the heart-mind, not the head-mind which is developed.
Your body is physically designed to send messages to your environment through your heart, and to receive electromagnetic information, not just from other people but from the natural environment also. Which helps explain why plants and animals can be soothing to our parasympathetic (fight or flight) system.
Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more. John Kabat-Zinn
This is one of my favourite heart meditations:
It seems I have been reminded of a valuable lesson. I have the choice how to experience my life. It can be task-focused and pressured, or I can take a broader, more holistic view of all the wonderful things happening around me, all at once. Do I choose awe or overwhelm? Pressure or abundance awareness?
I am reminded by the Slow Movement, of the power of slowing down, connecting within to that space where I can find my true self, and simultaneously find connection with my environment.
But possibly most importantly, for a stress-head like me, I am kind to myself. My inner dialogue is gentle and loving, not harsh and critical, and that radiates out from my thoughts into my speech, actions and energy I bring into the world.
The heart chakra is the central point of the seven main chakras. It is the bridge between the physical and the purely vibrational elements of our energy body. As such it provides a wonderful median point to achieve both grounded centredness and a connection to our higher consciousness.
I can choose, at any time, to connect with my heart, breathe in that soothing energy, and remember that I am alive, I love, and I am grateful.
Affirmations for heart-centred living from Chakra Anatomy:
I am open to love.
All love resides within my heart.
I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
I nurture my inner child.
I am wanted and loved.
I live in balance, in a state of gracefulness and gratitude.
I love the beauty of nature and the animal world. I forgive myself. I am open to love and kindness.
I am grateful for all the challenges that helped me to transform and open up to love.
I am connected with other human beings.
I feel a sense of unity with nature and animals. I accept things as they are.
I am peaceful.