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”. As I’ve practice HeartMath this time around—I used to practice it everyday a number of years ago—I’ve been intrigued by the way that choosing to resonate with even the word “love”, or the idea of “love” brings my heart into coherence.
This also got me to thinking, yet again, about how important it is to be consciously aware of where we focus our minds, feelings, and physical sensations. The quality of our thoughts, the places we engage our emotions, and the ways we treat and express our bodies all reflect the qualities of being with which we resonate. For example, I find that when I take time to look at nature photos, engage the plants and beautiful crystals I have at home, or walk in Central Park, my whole body-mind being seems to settle more easily into a sense of connection with the world around me. If I watch the news, or spend too much time on Facebook, I find that I’m not as deeply aware of living from my heart space.
For this week’s experiment, I invite you to continue to bring awareness to where you spend your internal time, where your thoughts tend to reside, which emotions tend to be constant companions, and how your body feels, in terms of tension and ease. One of the helpful supports to this process is to develop an intimate relationship with “noticing”. This is the ability to allow your awareness to hover and take in what you need to know in order to make choices, moment to moment, that affect your internal quality of life, without judgment.
Those of you who do any kind of mindfulness practice are already quite familiar with this kind of noticing. If you do have a good bit of practice with mindfulness, it might be useful to add to this experiment an invitation to more fully notice how it is for you to shift gears when you discover that you are resonating with something that isn’t really good for you. For example, if you find yourself engaged in an internal conversation of self-talk that fuels distress, irritation, sadness, or whatever other emotion that may not support your well-being, notice what happens when you metaphorically put an arm around the distressed part of you and begin to use soothing self-talk. This is an invitation to shift gears and it can be quite useful to more deeply understand what works well for you and what doesn’t, when it comes to asking yourself to shift gears away from upset and toward a greater degree of internal equilibrium.
One of the important elements of self-talk for me is that it not become a way to override or deny what you actually feel or experience in any given moment. Rather, it can become a way to be a soothing, validating partner to your experience. This can allow you to feel whatever needs to come into awareness, but in an internal environment that doesn’t add any extra distress or activation to what you may already be feeling or experiencing. I’m sure I’ve written before about not adding more logs to a fire that’s already cooking. Our ability to generate soothing and honest, truth-honoring self-talk can be a powerful resource when moving through challenging times.
As with all these experiments, please remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion, as curiosity allows you to open yourself to awareness and experience in positive and helpful ways. Also, please remember to pat gently on the head any judgments that may arise. They almost never offer support or useful information and can become sources of a lot of increased distress and activation for most people.