“Start listening to your own heart. Follow your intuition and your guidance. Become still enough to connect to it and listen. Don’t get lost in everything happening around you. Pay attention to what is welling up within you. You are your own north star. This intuition is a blessing. Follow your heart.” – Panache Desai, author of You Are Enough
Dividing my time between my profession and avocation for decades—a mid-level public relations’ manager position in an association, and my avocation, teaching fitness at night and on weekends—was getting to be too stressful for me. I knew something had to go.
When I visualized my life without my fitness work I felt empty and unfulfilled. When I visualized my life without my office position I felt free. My decision was clear. That is, until I talked about it with others. Just about everyone told me how unwise it would be to give up a well-paying position and all the benefits that went with it for a path that was financially insecure and uncertain. But my heart was telling me otherwise. When I checked in with my brain it said, yes, it would be risky but it assured me that if my business plan didn’t work out I could always get another job. I followed my heart, started my own business and never regretted it for one minute.
I’ve been living from my heart for a long time. I resonate with what feels good to me. I listen to my intuition or my gut, not what was is accepted path of the majority. My gut is not perfect, but my decisions keep me healthy and clear about my own path.
The heart is where we experience who we really are. It is also the way we can consciously co-create our world and fulfill our purpose for being. By living from the heart we connect to all life. And the best part is that we all can do more of it.
What is Living from the Heart?
“When we live from the brain we live in a constant state of stress (for survival)”, said Jana Lerbach, wellness coach. “When we ignore the heart and the emotional part of us, it impacts our physical health, increases stress, increases negative social interactions, and slows our intellectual growth.” Lerbach said she spends three of 10 coaching sessions with clients discussing living from the heart and understanding their emotions.
The heart is where our imagination resides. Living from the heart means our mind is accepting and expanding to the energy and wisdom of the heart. You don’t first try to understand with your head but instead, you relate and connect with your heart. You feel your way through the experience and call on your thoughts for support. You can be living from the heart and not even realize it. And you can be living from the heart and be deeply aware of the beauty of it.
The heart perceives life differently from the mind. The heart operates more from a feeling state. The heart sees how everyone and everything is connected, not how we are all different. Our heart is not only the organ that pumps continuously to keep us alive, but it is also our connection to our soul and our authentic selves. By tapping into our heart intelligence we can go beyond the limits of the mind and connect with a deeper aspect of ourselves.
Nil Demircubuk is an intuition teacher and life coach who has a background in engineering. She said there is much research that defines living from the heart, following your intuition or feeling it in your gut. She said, “Your intuition is like a nudge. It tells you to go this way or that way. Sometimes you may interpret it wrong but you can always check with your logic or your brain. It is like a crazy search engine that taps into all information in your subconscious without overwhelming you.”
Benefits of Living from the Heart
Demircubuk said that when we tune into our intuition we are connecting deeper with every living being. “Usually we are reacting to what is happening in the environment and what others bring to us instead of noticing what our body needs now,” she said. Demircubuk uses her intuition often while interacting with others. It helps guide her how to speak to someone and tells her when to be quiet. “It connects me more with my compassion, including self-compassion.”
“If you live from your heart, daily activities and creativity becomes easier,” said Karin Edgett, artist and nutritional cook. “One of the qualities is being present or being neutral. That means you can see that you and I may not agree but we are both right in our beliefs.”
How Can We Live from the Heart?
Modern culture has taught us the importance of intellect and outside ‘experts’ who know better than us about almost everything. We were taught at an early age to listen to voices outside of ourselves. In order to be accepted in the mainstream we learned to disregard our inner voice. After a while we couldn’t hear it anymore. The good news is we can learn how to follow our heart once again.
Dr. Kimberly Martin, a psychologist, works with adults to help identify their life purpose and find ways they can change both their thinking and behaviors to reach their goals. “I ask, ‘What is it that drives you? Your head can do too much planning. The logical process of the head contains lots of memories. Too much focus from the head can cause a person to get caught up in the past.”
Martin, who is also a yoga teacher and a Buddhist, said that yoga is a good way to begin listening to what your body is saying and to recognize what is best for you at the moment. “If you are focused on the moment you are more fluid,” she said. “If you are out enjoying a great day, you don’t want to focus on the impurities in the air which exist. You want to be more present and have a fuller life experience.”
Martin suggests that yoga or meditation can help you begin to focus on the present and begin to hear the heart whispers. She said the brain creates narratives. It spins a mile a minute. “Meditation will help you deal with that spinning and slow your brain down.” If you get the body to calm first then it’s easier to get the mind to calm down.
Living from your heart is like anything else. It takes practice to become expert. The more often I remember to breathe before responding, the more satisfying my responses are and the more my day is fun, filled with pleasant encounters and desired outcomes.
As Carlos Santana said, “If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment.” You may change your mind 1,000 times a day yet your heart remains the same. Live life from your heart space where you can feel more deeply and appreciate the little every day joys. As you become more aware of your heart’s intentions and realize it always has you in the best light, you can change your life.
Pattie Cinelli is a health and fitness professional and journalist who has been writing her column for more than 20 years. She focuses on holistic and non-mainstream ways to stay healthy, get well and connect with your true self. Please email her with questions, comments or column suggestions at: [email protected]