When I talk with my wellness clients about heart health we often discuss eating whole foods and incorporating exercise to help heal our cardiovascular system. But, our heart is more than a mechanical pump and a cardiovascular circuit. It is also our heart center, the location in our body where we physically experience love, meaning, fulfillment and joy.
What if “heart health” referred to enhancing of our heart center, rather than making our mechanical pump more efficient? What would life be like if we honored activities and ideals that brought more love, meaning, fulfillment and joy to our life? What would life be like if we lived by the simple mantra: “I am here to love and be loved.”
Love and be loved. Such simple words. Such simple concepts. But so hard to live by. I know in my life, if I don’t care for my heart center with daily meditation and devotionals, I find myself doing just the opposite of loving and being loved. Instead of loving others, I devote energy to keeping score, finding fault, noting differences, building coalitions and proving I’m right. Instead of loving myself, I spend my energy trying to become some imagined version of myself that I think might be more worthy of love…one who is firmer, doesn’t swear like a sailor or enjoy whisky on Friday nights. Instead of opening my heart my own worthiness, I close down and become small and mean, feeling sure that others are taking my measure and finding me lacking.
Choosing to live ‘small and mean’ is a tragedy because it represents the loss of potential, for ourselves and for the betterment of the world around us. Learning to live with an open-heart, to love and be loved, is the work of an entire life. It takes courage and bravery. It takes effort and will. And yields the very greatest glory that life can offer: the privilege of being exactly who we are and the capacity to experience love, meaning, fulfillment and joy.
Here are ways to open your heart center:
- Start EVERY SINGLE DAY with some practice that helps you recall, at a primal level, that you are worthy. Try prayer, meditation, gratitude, yoga, dance, spiritual reading, a walk outdoors, mantras, or affirmations.
- Question EVERY THOUGHT that starts a downward spiral. Demand that your brain choose a new thought pattern that opens your heart to kindness (to yourself and others). Your thoughts may be the only thing you can control on this big ball spinning around in the universe, so make them good ones!
- Associate with people who are doing these same practices.
- Read, read, read. It cements ideas into reality. Read Marianne Williamson, Brene Brown, Pema Chodron, Michael Singer, Wayne Dyer, Angeles Arrien, Miguel Ruiz.
Start tomorrow differently. Start tomorrow saying, “I am here to love and be loved.” Then choose the thoughts and actions based on those words that allow you to live from your heart center and experience love, meaning, fulfillment and joy.