What does it feel like physically when your heart is full? For me it feels expansive in my chest, in the area around my heart and lungs. I want to breathe deeper and deeper, like I want to take in ever more of what feels so good. Sometimes I’ll experience the sharp, warm sensation of the blood vessels in the skin over my heart suddenly expanding and more blood pouring through.
It happened like that recently…
I invoked heart coherence first thing in the morning right after waking. I lay still in my bed, hands over my heart and just breathed, visualizing the breath going in and out of my heart. Inwardly I chanted, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” After a few minutes, even though I woke feeling a bit grumpy, I felt a shift, and a sense of gratitude welled up from within. My breaths got deeper and I felt appreciation for the new day.
Then, I was up and out of bed, tossing on a bathrobe and wandering out to the kitchen to make some cocoa. Because the weather was beautiful, I took my cocoa out to sit on the patio in my back yard. Holding the steaming cup in my hands, sipping frothy, cinnamon topped, cocoa deliciousness, I gazed out over the bright blanket of grass and the multi-hued greens of the surrounding canopy of leafy oaks and cedars. The sky hovered overhead, turquoise blue. The hummingbirds buzzed back and forth at the feeder just to my right. The cardinals and their offspring alighted on the ground beneath the suet feeder, plucking up a seed and flitting off into the branches of the juniper tree, to consume their breakfast. A noisy family of blue jays chased each other around the spreading branches of the oak tree before me, and a single bright yellow gold finch sang a lilting melody.
My heart filled with appreciation almost sharp in sensation, and I felt such gratitude for the perfection of the moment. My heart felt full.
Sometimes it happens like that, a perfect moment. It might be triggered by something as simple as seeing someone you love, or hearing a child’s delighted laughter. Often though, it is something that must be intended, the way you intend to fill your stomach with a nourishing meal.
Our bodies hunger for food and we feel it in our grumbling bellies. Our hearts hunger for nourishment as well. Only what nourishes our hearts is love and all its attendant feelings.
One of the gifts of nourishing your heart by intending appreciation and gratitude, is that the moments that might seem less than perfect can transform and become perfect even in their imperfection.
Children are often our best teachers, and my grandchildren are no exception. I find it is the chaotic moments, the times when I haven’t slept well the night before and my patience level is not what I might wish. The times when the house is a mess, toys scattered everywhere, when the kitchen is filled with the detritus of multiple meals and snacks. The times when the children pick up on my emotional state and the boys play wildly, crashing and throwing toys around. The times when their sister is caught in a loop of worry over something and refuses to be distracted. Those are the times my thoughts may spiral into my own loop of negativity.
Perhaps then, it is with divine intervention or maybe just plain desperation that I will realize that I have a choice. I can take a deep breath, and then another. I can choose to focus on all that I am grateful for, grateful for these beautiful children, doing what kids do. I can invoke a feeling of appreciation as I focus on all that is right in this present moment. There is so much to feel grateful for. Then my heart expands, filling with the love I feel for my precious gran’s. The moment transforms. It is perfect, even in all its chaos.
It seems that chaos is a regular part of all our lives right now. With so much chaos going on, and worry over what the future holds for our country and the world, it is more important than ever to remember to nourish our hearts. Nourish our hearts by focusing our thoughts on all that we appreciate in our daily lives. There is so much to feel grateful for if we will just shift our attention.
We can feed our hearts with nourishing feelings even as we feed our bodies with nourishing foods. You don’t have to wait for that perfect moment to allow your heart to feel full. You can intend it any time you like. Most people eat a good meal once, twice, three or more times a day. Our hearts need daily feeding too. The reward is a heart that’s filled with perfect moments, even those that didn’t start out that way.
That’s when a small, potentially biting fly appeared and buzzed around my leg. I could have trapped it between my hand and my leg and killed it. I thought about doing so for a millisecond. Instead I waved it away. It dawned on me then, that tiny decision was a choice between love and fear. If I had been less aligned, I might easily have taken my negative feelings out on the hapless fly. I had done so out of irritation in the past. But this morning I pulled myself into positivity. I was feeling relaxed and appreciative of my yard and the morning by then, and so I chose to allow that fly to buzz on its way.
Every day in our lives is composed entirely of small and large choices. Every second of the day we are making choices from a place of fear or a place of love. It’s no wonder that Spirit is interested in the tiny details of our lives. Every one of those details involves the foundational choice between love or fear. Every detail asks, Will you choose to act from love or from fear?
The choice between love and fear is not a new idea. Yet understanding that our days are composed of countless choices between love and fear takes this wisdom to a deeper level. Your every thought is a choice.
For example, I walk through the kitchen intent upon some project or other. My husband is sitting at the kitchen counter chuckling over something he is reading. He wants to share it with me. If I am out of alignment my initial reaction is often irritation at being held up. Sigh… Does the irritation feel good to me? No. Why is irritation my kneejerk response? I’m focused and don’t want to be interrupted in what I’m doing. What am I afraid of? I’m afraid I don’t have enough energy and/or time and/or support to do all I want to do. What’s the loving response? Stop for a few moments and enjoy a positive interaction with my husband, knowing that Spirit has my back. I can believe that I have everything I need to do what I want to do.
My day is filled with small, seemingly unimportant decisions like this one. Yet, when I make the choice to respond with irritation or negativity, not only do I miss an opportunity for a loving and enjoyable interaction, I choose to believe in lack, I choose to believe that I am not supported by Spirit. It is a much bigger decision than I might have thought, because one choice based in fear ripples outward, creating more choices based in fear, and more and more.
Fortunately, the same is true the other way around. If, given this same situation, I make the conscious choice to know that Spirit is supporting me in all I want to accomplish, I can relax and enjoy a moment of pleasantness with my husband. The enjoyable experience of that choice ripples outward and I am more likely to make subsequent choices during my day from a place of love and trust.
I do understand that a person could be paralyzed if they felt they had to analyze every tiny choice made throughout the day. Am I blowing my nose now because I’m afraid I’m going to sneeze and make a scene during this meeting or because I’m lovingly taking care of my body? There is such a thing as overanalyzing. Just blow your nose already.
Still, assuming what we want is to make our choices from a place of love, how do we do that without getting all mental and driving ourselves crazy over every little decision? Here are some ideas.
What do you think? Will you choose from love or from fear today? It’s worth pondering.
with appreciation into my back yard, sometimes when I traveled to beautiful locations, or participated in spiritual workshops. It was nothing that I had any control over, it just happened. Yet I sought it out, increasingly hungry for more.
Then, last week, another spiritual explorer, a good friend and soul sister, who delves deep into meditation and inner guidance, recommended a very short video meditation by Gregg Braden. Gregg Braden is an author, well-known in spiritual circles for bridging science and spirituality. The video is about something I’ll call, Heart Coherence, and is a cut of the last few minutes of a longer lecture. He begins with a short explanation of the three-step meditation for Heart Coherence. Then he takes you through the meditation.
OMG! This was what I’d been looking for – a way to create a peaceful, aligned and joyful state intentionally and easily. The state I now had a name for, Heart Coherence or Psychophysiological Coherence. Let’s just call it Coherence for short.
“Coherence is the state when the heart, mind and emotions are in energetic alignment and cooperation.”
-HeartMath Institute Research Director Dr. Rollin McCraty
Lo and behold, I discover that the HeartMath Institute has been studying this state for almost two decades. In that time, they have cataloged the many benefits of Coherence for the body, mind and spirit. The results of the studies conducted at the HeartMath Institute show that Coherence results in sustained positive emotion and increased emotional and mental stability. Of particular interest at this time in our history, is the fact that Coherence allows us to build resiliency to stressful situations. We can recover more quickly without a reduction in energy. This in turn supports the immune system as well as cognitive function, memory, focus and learning. What’s not to love about all that?
The irony is, Spirit has been telling me about Coherence off and on for years, answering my unspoken prayer over and over. I just didn’t listen. I first heard about the HeartMath Institute long ago from another friend. But the sound of all that science put me off. What I didn’t realize was that the actual meditation for Coherence iss short, simple and easy. Over time, I heard about HeartMath from Dr. Wayne Dyer, and others on the forefront of spiritual teaching. But I didn’t tweak to it. I guess I just wasn’t ready to feel that good every day; not until now. Fortunately, Spirit is patient and persistent.
The state of Heart Coherence is entered into with a simple, easily remembered, three step meditation that takes only a few minutes. The benefits last up to six hours, at which time you can repeat the short meditation, for another six hours of benefits. The more you do it, the more you entrain Coherence into your brain and the easier it is to enter and maintain the state of Coherence.
I now love the fact that Coherence is a measurable, much studied state with all the science to confirm it. I love that it has all these benefits for my body, mind and spirit; but I do this meditation several times a day, every day, just because it feels good. I feel happy, aligned and balanced, connected with my spirit and in touch with my inner guidance.
In the video, Gregg Braden discusses the fact that once you enter into this state of Coherence you are in the foundational state for so much more. Do you want to ask for guidance? This is the time to ask, when you will be able to receive with clarity. Do you want to communicate with your body? Do you want to ask your heart anything? Now’s the time. Do you want to manifest something new in your life? This is the fertile ground in which to plant those seeds. Do you want to meditate? Pray? Or do you just want to feel good? You’ve got it.
So, I ask you, got Heart Coherence? If not, it might be worth your while to give it a try. It could change your life.
My home is in a between time too. No longer is it as I knew it. The breaking down phase of noisy machines, ripped up baseboards, flooring, and torn out wall boards is finally over. Now the skeleton of the basement awaits the builders who will create something new out of the destruction. I feel the potential of what will be, not just replicating what was before, but creating something new. I feel an appreciation for the best of what was, and what is to come.
It is like this time we live in. Right now, is a between time.
No longer is it the world as we knew it; that world has been torn apart. Our belief in our government, our newscasters, our scientists, our health, our safety, has been shaken to the core. The old, patriarchal, top-down structure of government taking care of us like a responsible and knowledgable parent has crumbled before our eyes. The foundations of our belief ripped out.
Still, we can appreciate and feel grateful for what right in our world during this time of potential. We have the opportunity to rebuild from the bottom up, from the foundational level of our highest beliefs, creating more of what is right in our world.
It has begun. Even with social distancing restrictions, business, store and school closings, people are reaching out, sharing their creativity, offering classes, making connections, enjoying being together digitally if not physically. People are coming together in loving community, sharing appreciation and gratitude for what is most meaningful in their lives.
I feel hopeful, like the in-between time just before the full awakening of the new day; like the time awaiting the builders who will reconstruct my home. I feel hopeful for the potential of this, our world, that we as the builders are creating anew.
Life is full of spiritual lessons. Some feel good, some not so good. All support us to grow. This blog is about my life lessons. Perhaps you'll find yourself within these stories.