As I did my HeartMath practice this morning, I found that I could pretty reliably return to a coherent heart and internal sense of balance (which translates as a “green” response on the Inner Balance app), when I silently repeated the mantra, “I choose love”. Read More “Week 655: I Choose Love”
As I wrote this practice, I was on vacation and had planned not to do any work-related activities while out of town. I spent the first week in a family-oriented resort that touched me in a way that has stayed with me and left me wanting to share what I feel is the underlying dynamic that brought a vividly heart-centered experience to me.
One of the themes I’ve written about many times is the importance of recognizing that every quality we express is its own frequency. We radiate qualities and frequencies as we move through the world and this is true of individuals, groups, and places. I’ve written before about how it can be a powerful experience to tune into the quality of a building or a place in nature and to resonate with what you find there.
At this particular family resort, there was a pervasive quality of what I can only call “happiness”. As a trauma specialist, it was heart-opening and heart-nourishing to watch parents with children of all ages interacting with kindness, interest, and a focus on fun. Again and again, I saw parents engaged in play with their children, and families engaged in enthusiastic and laughter-filled “team” activities. Even the trees and many animals around the property—deer, chipmunks galore, birds, geese, fish, and the occasional bear—seemed to also resonate with a fundamental and underlying experience of being welcomed and at ease.Read More “760th Week: Heart-Centered Living”
I often write about the importance of kindness. An essential companion to that practice is cultivating empathy. A definition of empathy found on google says: “Emotion researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. … “ I would add to this definition, “…and the ability to imagine what any other living being might be thinking or feeling…”
Because I have focused on cultivating a deepened awareness of heart perception in recent years, on the quality of intelligence that naturally arises when orienting to the heart brain, I find that it hurts my heart when I notice the increasing lack of expressions of empathy in public and social spheres of my American culture. And, this lack of empathy is not only focused on a wide array of our human kin. It also applies to many, if not most, of our other earth-kin. What often saddens me is how a lack of empathy leads to a lack of kindness, as well.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to pay more attention to your relationship with empathy. One way to do this is to ask your heart brain, rather than your head brain, what someone else might be feeling or experiencing. I find that heart intelligence has a different take on, or brings different qualities to, most experiences. In this week’s practice, notice what happens if you take the time to ask your heart what it has to say about someone else’s experience.Read More “827th Week: Cultivating Empathy, Along with Kindness”
Walking to work one morning, I was in an area of Central Park where dogs gather for their morning playtime. As often as possible, I walk off the pathways, so I was in the middle of the doggie play area when a dog went by whom I hadn’t seen before. Both hind legs had been amputated and he had one artificial leg in the back to accompany his two front legs. What struck me was how agile he was and how he enjoyed sniffing the ground, moving around with relative ease. His situation looked so different from the many three-legged dogs I see in the park, and I enjoyed watching him move around, nose to the ground, doing regular “dog things”.
As I watched him, I thought about the power inherent in being adaptive and flexible in the presence of life’s challenges, changing circumstances, and unexpected developments. For many of us, the immediate response to change or an unexpected challenge is to pull in and constrict. When we do this, our brain’s natural ability to generate and notice options often goes off-line, leaving us with little to no flexibility.Read More “750th Week: Generating Flexibility”