This year, one of my (few!) intentions is to listen to my heart and to obey my inner wisdom. I know, I know: cliché, blasé. I’m doing it anyway. I’ve realized that all of “secret to happiness” books say the same thing because it really is that simple.
Yet only one month into the New Year, I’ve encountered an obstacle. My heart just wants to sleep. A lot.
I like to write at night and nap a bit during the day. Yesterday, I dropped into bed for my siesta late in the day and severely over-tired. When I woke after an hour’s sleep, I did not want to get up.
I pulled the covers around me and asked myself, “What feels good right now?” Yeah. Ask a drowsy body that. My body begged for 15 more minutes. I closed my eyes and drifted off to that lovely space between sleep and waking. (I could stay there forever.) When I woke for the second (or was it the third? fourth?! time), through the fog and delight of that in-between place, I asked my heart again, “What feels good right now?” Again, I heard the yearning for continued sleep. Then, through the haze, I perceived something else. A question: “Which feels better? What do you want more? 30 minutes in la-la land or a strong healthy body?” (I had been so tired that I lay down before exercising.) “Which do you want more? 30 minutes of sleep — or to write a few more pages of the book?”
Ah! The always-insightful heart-wisdom pulled me to half-awake. It knew that even though I had to drag myself out of bed and even though I hated putting on my gym shoes, in a few months I would feel magnificent if I did this today — and tomorrow, and the day after.
When we ask our heart a question, listening intently will reveal the true response.
Sometimes, the first response comes from a place that is not our heart. My heart-wisdom does not have a whiny and pathetic voice. It’s timbre is strong and, usually, gentle.
When I ask my heart a question and am not sure who or what responded, I ask: “Who is speaking?” Whether it is my ego or my heart, it must answer truthfully.
Listening to Heart-Wisdom in Parenting
All children, and particularly uniquely magnificent children, those who are autistic, ADHD, indigo or exceptionally challenging in some way, require a lot of real work from their parents. We do the physical things: prepare meals, launder clothing, read with them, drive them to lessons and appointments. We are called upon to be patient and kind and loving — often when our children’s behavior does not automatically elicit gentle responses. We do a hundred things every day to be the kind of parents we choose to be.
Each day, both in parenting and in self-care, we are presented with opportunities to live from our heart. I often ask myself, “How can this be easy?” or “What feels good?” My first response is usually right on. However, sometimes what feels good in the moment – and usually only for that moment — would not make me feel good overall.
The energy release of slapping a defiant child might feel wonderful in the doing — particularly if you have been doing patient and loving for 30 minutes and the defiance shows no sign of yielding. But the second after the slap, the feeling of relief flips to shame and disappointment in self and to sadness for the child. We wonder, “Why does it have to be so hard?” (What happened to easy?)
Accessing Heart Wisdom
Here is a simple and effective way to calm yourself and access heart wisdom.
1. Place your hand on your heart.
2. Breathe into your heart for a count of six.
3. Breathe out of your heart for a count of six.
4. Continue until you feel centered and congruent with your heart.
If you are using this exercise for calming, stop here. To access heart wisdom, continue.
5. Ask your heart a question. If you want to know something but aren’t sure how to phrase it, ask, “What do I need to know right now?”
Do the above exercise daily – or hourly – to keep yourself healthy mentally, emotionally and physically.
Won’t you join me in listening to your heart-wisdom? A group of mothers and I gather by phone or Skype for a few weeks and learn to change ourselves. Peace in our homes begins with us.