“I shall take the heart. For brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.”
-L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Living From The Heart
February is love month. We generally think of Valentine’s Day, chocolates, hearts and roses. However I want to focus this month on the real heart, the heart that beats inside of you and inside of me. Most people lead with their brains. Some people have learned to lead from their gut. I’ve always been led by and believe in the inherent wisdom of the heart.
I am a big believer in the heart. The heart is powerful and all-knowing. I’ve been heart-focused since an early age, able to feel the energy and intuition of my heart. When I’ve leaned into and been led by my heart, I’ve never been steered wrong. Listening to my heart, rather than relying on cognitive intelligence or what society has mandated as correct, has led to many of the most incredible experiences of my life.
And it’s not that I’m not a smart girl; I am. But it was my heart that knew it was time to leave a successful job to pursue a passion for service and social work, even when friends and family thought I was crazy. It was through my heart that I’ve been able to tap into intuition, implement new ideas and inherently know the people I was supposed to connect with. For decades now, I’ve engaged in the practice of asking my heart questions versus asking my head, which just seems to regurgitate data or elicit fear. While my brain would go over and over a question or an idea, trying to rationalize and sort through the files of data in my mind, my heart has always somehow known the answer before I even got the question out.
Some call this intuition. Others call it a connection with the Source. For me, it’s both. Tapping into the heart allows Source energy (God, the Divine, etc.) to come through us, to guide us, to be with us. Science would say that this is called coherence. “Coherence is the state when the heart, mind and emotions are in energetic alignment and cooperation,” says HeartMath Institute Research Director Dr. Rollin McCraty. “It is a state that builds resilience – personal energy is accumulated, not wasted – leaving more energy to manifest intentions and harmonious outcomes.”
The Science Behind The Heart
While shifting from predominantly clinical work as a social worker to somatic and energetic patterning work, I became curious about the science behind what I had innately always known to be true: that the heart is as intelligent than the brain, if not more. For decades we’ve seen scientists and researchers making discoveries and advancements in the understanding of the neurological patterns of the brain, so why not the heart too? With my inner nerd in high gear, I began looking for proof and scientific data to validate these truths, which led me to the Institute of HeartMath, a nonprofit research and educational organization with almost three decades of scientifically validated research that has demonstrated that the heart itself is an intelligent system.
I’m admittedly not the most tech-savvy person in the world. I actually tend to break technology, especially when Mercury is in retrograde. Even still, I had this awareness that when it comes to measuring the energetic fields of the body, technology could help. At my first HeartMath workshop, I watched the facilitator, Greg Bradden, put the Inner Balance Bluetooth Device on a volunteer. The Inner Balance Bluetooth device is designed to help people shift their emotional state in the moment, allowing them to think more clearly and feel better. It analyzes heart rhythms, which are measured by heart wave variability (HWV), and indicates how emotional states are affecting the nervous system. This innovative technology offers a unique window into the quality of the communication between the heart and the brain, which directly impacts how we feel and perform in life.
As the small heart monitor, connected to Bluetooth, was placed on the volunteer’s ear, I could see this person’s heart rhythm, which changed as the volunteer focused on love, gratitude and appreciation and then focused on something that caused her to feel frustrated and stressed. When we’re stressed, we feel poorly and our brain functioning and creative thinking become impaired. We can overlook or forget important details, overreact to the small stuff, say things we inevitably regret, feel overwhelmed, have trouble sleeping and feel exhausted and drained.
But, again, what if it doesn’t need to be this way?
The Inner Balance Bluetooth device has helped me and many of my clients learn how to regulate and restore emotional balance in the present moment. It helps to synchronize the heart, mind and body—allowing whoever is using this technology to reset and cultivate composure and inner clarity while calming reactive emotions and neutralizing stress.
HeartMath has recorded that the heart is roughly 60 times greater electrically and up to 5,000 times stronger magnetically than the brain. The science uncovered through HeartMath is constantly demonstrating that there is, at the very least, two-way communication between the heart and the brain, although most people have been taught to believe that it is the brain leading the heart, not the other way around. This quote by HeartMath sums it up:
“Most of us have been taught in school that the heart is constantly responding to “orders” sent by the brain in the form of neural signals. However, it is not as commonly known that the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends to the heart! Moreover, these heart signals have a significant effect on brain function—influencing emotional processing as well as higher cognitive faculties such as attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving. In other words, not only does the heart respond to the brain, but the brain continuously responds to the heart.”
A Heart-Centered Practice To Develop A Sense of Calmness, Coherence and Clarity
Here is a HeartMath Technique called “Heart Lock In.” It’s a heart-centered technique that can be done anytime, anywhere. This practice is especially effective for all you thinkers out there. When you get caught up in that spiral thinking, this simple, quick technique can help you find your center.
Begin this practice by closing your eyes if you are comfortable doing so and start breathing into your heart, almost as if your heart is breathing you. Breathe into your heart center for a count of three and then breathe out for a count of three, finding your own personal rhythm.
Once you feel settled in your breathing, drop into your heart. Ask your heart what you need to know or the question you are pondering at this moment. And listen. Listen to the intuitive power of your heart and its great intelligence.
The heart always answers instantly. Sometimes it answers even before you ask for its guidance.
When you are ready, open your eyes. Ask yourself if you got an answer from your heart. How do you feel now?
Messages from the heart come in many different forms, and as your heart is communicating, I encourage you to trust what you hear and feel. Be with each moment as it comes, allowing the heart message to arise without projecting into the future, which is the thinking that creates anxiety and angst. When you are in a place of love and gratitude, you are best positioned to create coherency between your head and your heart.
The “Heart Lock In” technique is designed to provide you with greater clarity—if you allow for and trust in it. It helps to calm the mind and balance emotions and do so with creativity.
Ask your heart, and your heart will answer. Trust it. Play with it. Practice it. I do this practice almost every morning during ME (My Essence) time. Reflect on your heart, follow your intuition and see how it feels. You may find yourself making decisions that feel more authentic and lead to more positivity, growth and joy.
To use heart rhythm feedback to help you feel calmer, more centered and focused, you can purchase an Inner Balance Bluetooth device here.