To Live With Heart means living with feeling. Everyone has feelings. When we are aware of how we feel, we are in touch with a basic part of ourselves. Living with heart means we live with all our feelings, accepting all, even the painful ones. Many of us choose to accept the happy ones and deny those that don’t feel so good. Why do we do this? We would rather ignore them than face them. We don’t know how to handle them, how to express them or how to heal the pain. In reality feelings are a mysterious force in our lives when are not aware of them. I.M. Heart helps clear up the mystery so that feelings of pain can be healed and feelings of happiness and pleasure can flourish.
Become aware of what you’re feeling. Observe and listen, without judgment, to feelings that are an everyday part of your life. From first waking up to when you put your head on the pillow at night you experience a constant flow of feelings – changing from minute to minute. We move through our days not being fully aware of feelings moving through us. Let them float through your awareness – just listen as they pass by. For many of us, this is a new experience.
Noticing is the first step. If we don’t notice what we’re feeling – then the rest of these steps are meaningless. It’s like we are sleep walking through life – going through the motions of living without really fully experiencing either the joy or the sorrow of it. Life contains both and that’s what makes it so rich.
Noticing is about change. When we are flying through life on the busy track there is little time to stop and evaluate feelings. For many, taking time to notice is something we avoid because we might find a feeling that is so strong that we cannot ignore it. A change might be necessary – a change of relationship, occupation, location, life style – and we may be reluctant to face such a change.
If noticing is a new experience for you – start slow and easy, patient and kind – but begin to pay attention to what you’re feeling in your everyday world.
Allow yourself to feel. I repeat – allow yourself to feel. Be honest about any joy, boredom, doubt, hope or excitement you may feel. Simply ask yourself, “How do I feel about this?” This can be a quick five-second check or if we have time we can take a few minutes to evaluate. If more time is needed, find a quiet place and let the feelings bubble to the surface, just to feel them.
Once we decide to allow feelings to surface be aware that they can come bouncing out when we least expect. It’s as if the gates have been opened, feelings have been pinned in the corral for a long time and they are finally free — so out they come to play. Play with them, laugh with them, cry with them, be with them – they are part of you.
When we know what we feel, then we can choose how we want to handle those feelings. If we don’t know, we are walking around in a blind spot to our future – just as there is a blind spot in the side mirror as we are driving down the highway.
By honestly questioning of ourselves, we can come to understand the source or motivation behind our feelings. Compassionate understanding is a gigantic step to healing. Instead of beating up on yourself for being upset or sad, treat yourself like you would your best friend. Seek to question, listen and understand. Ask yourself about these feelings. “What am I feeling and why? Have I felt his way before? Does this pattern repeat itself? What am I afraid of? Why am I hiding from with these feelings? Why am I reluctant to be honest about how I feel?” In answering these questions, we begin to understand ourselves.
Love yourself as you would your dearest friend and give to yourself the same caring consideration. When we understand the source of feelings, then we have the information to begin healing and to solve the mystery of feelings.
Many of us are carrying around feelings that have been submerged for a very long time – from childhood, a lost friendship, or a perceived failure. We couldn’t or didn’t cope with those feelings at the time – and the fallout from those effects our view of the world today. Getting in touch with healing changes us, our view of the world, and how we interact with those around you. It’s like a brick – or maybe two – has been removed from our back.
These are my feelings. They are not good or bad, right or wrong – they are a part of me. Some of them can be intense, some thrilling, and some very tranquil. Don’t judge them, but accept them as information about who I.M. By not judging them, we remove the stigma that it is not acceptable to have them and they become less of a huge, hairy monster to be feared.
As a complex person, we can expect feelings to change moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day. Accept, without judgment or criticism, this continuous flow of feeling. With this ebb and flow of feeling, we learn something new about ourselves and the world around us. Feelings give us valuable and important information.
Feel it to heal it – so we can release it and let it go. There is no benefit for us to hang onto hurtful feelings from the past. These feelings are like dragging a bag of rocks, chunks of fear, from the past as we walk to the future. Rocks weigh us down and keep us from moving forward to take advantage of new opportunities and experiences.
It’s ok to spend time feeling sad, frustrated or ashamed. Everyone feels these things. Sometimes we have hissed and spewed, kicked and bawled because these feelings were so intense. Sometimes we have stuffed them and decided we were even move unlovable. I.M. would advise you to spend time having a royal pity party – a timed pity party – and when the party is over – really let it go! Make a decision to heal it, instead of stuffing it!
Instead of finding a benefit in hanging onto the bruised feeling, find a benefit to let it go. The relief and freedom that comes from releasing old hurts is amazing – a new person emerges. That person can be you.
I.M. a human being – not perfect — not supposed to be. I accept all my warts, freckles and blemishes as part of who I .M. Those are great, individual parts of the character that is me. I.M. the real deal and a very lovable, worthy person.
Many times we are the least loving to ourselves. We can give to others, be patient and kind with them – but are very unforgiving of ourselves. Our expectations are unrealistic and when we don’t meet them, we beat ourselves up for failing.
Let’s stop this, back off, and give ourselves credit for being who we are, at this time, in this place. Yes, we’ve made mistakes, and so has everyone else. So what? I.M. still a lovable, worthy individual with much love to give and much love to receive. I.M. healing the wounds of fear so that I can open to the healing grace of love. I.M. loving myself – just as I.M. right now!
Feelings of fear can stop us. We are reluctant to start a new relationship, make a phone call, or enroll in a class. Something inside us tells us we cannot succeed, something bad will happen, or we will be embarrassed. The most personal fears are those related to how we feel about ourselves. We often think we are not a worthy, valuable, lovable human beings. These feelings, from the inside, influence our actions and choices on the outside.
Instead of letting fear stop us – use it – to heal, to be brave enough to try something new even if we are afraid. Many times we will discover that the fear is bigger in our imagination than it is in reality. Taking a step – some kind of action – dissolves the fear and then we are free to take the next step.
We are familiar with feelings of fear. We have all lived with those feelings. We are probably more familiar with feelings of fear than feelings of love. Fear can be a friend of foe. Make it your friend – use it to grow.
Choose to Change:
We can choose to change old patterns, by allowing ourselves to feel the full range of feelings, from joy to despair. This choice will change our actions and behaviors because we are learning about feelings, instead of avoiding them.
Our choice to change puts us in the process of learning more about ourselves. As we travel this path, let’s look for how we can change old limiting patterns, be aware of new emerging behaviors, and listen to what our feelings tell you about the different choices we are making. How do these new choices feel? How will this affect my life? What have I discovered about myself? These choices will take us forward into the future,
Get Ready for the Ride:
When we go to the ocean we watch waves crash to the shore, washing over the sandy beach. The waves are continuous, never ending, sometimes fierce and sometimes very gentle. They travel the huge ocean carrying various life forms and debris onto the sand. As the waves roll in and hit the sandy beach the sand shifts and settles back again, waiting for the next wave.
It is very much this way with feelings. They may travel to our awareness from long ago and far away. When the wave of energy from this feeling hits our beach it shifts the sand of our life. Sometimes waves of feeling come fast and fierce, like in a hurricane. The torrents repeatedly batter us and we feel beat up and soaked. Once the storm passes and the sun comes out the waves are much gentler and calmer.
When we make a commitment to heal bruised feelings, get ready for the ride. Our commitment will bring opportunity for both gale force winds and balmy seas. It is necessary for it to be that way. However staying the course means we can look forward to fewer hurricanes and more beautiful, sunny days at the beach.
Enjoy the Rewards:
Most of us function very well in the world we live in. Yet if you really talk to people, everyone is walking around with knots of feeling about events that have happened in their life. Although we are happy and successful, one has to wonder what we could do if we healed those knots. How are they stopping us from having a life that could bring us even more pleasure and abundance?
Freedom comes from releasing fear-based feelings and finally accepting the many gifts coming from love. The goal is to love more and fear less. All feelings – hope, gratitude, compassion, enthusiasm, contentment, serenity — and — frustration, confusion, doubt, guilt, pessimism come from either love or fear. Truly releasing the fear based ones makes way to receive more of the blessings coming from love.
Will you take these steps with me to open your heart to feel? Think of it this way – experiment with feeling. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain. Open up to part of yourself that you have never explored. This process of personal honesty will make you a different person. On that journey you will find many gifts. These gifts will enrich your life. You deserve to give these gifts to yourself. Blessings!