Happy Aloha Friday my friends!
Today marks the third Friday of Heart Health Month and Friday blogs are about connection to something concerning mind, body and spirit. The four Fridays this month have been devoted to mind, body, emotion and spirit, represented by the four chambers of the heart. Today we are appreciating the connection to our hearts, our beloved center of emotional expression.
How often do we refer our experiences to how it makes our heart feel? He sure is a “heart-throb”. That letter was “heartfelt”. My “heart is breaking”, I am ‘broken-hearted” and “my heart aches”. I could name a hundred of these that connect us to intense emotions we can feel from day to day and in a lifetime of experiences. We know our hearts can feel resonance and can experience entrainment, synchronizing heartbeat patterns with others. The HeartMath Institute has done fascinating research with this. Entraining can happen when we feel compassion and empathy and are able to feel what the other person is feeling.
In stress management using biofeedback, we can learn to slow down our heart rates, relax our muscles, breathing and blood vessels during the relaxation response. We can put ourselves into an emotional state from the kinds of thoughts we conjure up, linking feelings of joy, heartache, grief, separation, love , fear, etc. to heart health. These can be stressful states or feelings of eustress, or good stress. Our hearts don’t always know the difference. When a person suffers an extreme loss, especially an unexpected one, there is even a condition called “ the broken heart syndrome” where one can literally fall ill, sometimes fatally in response to intense grief. Many of us have personal stories of this or have heard of this happening. One such recent one may have been the death of Debbie Reynolds so soon after hearing of her daughter (Carrie Fisher)’s death.
The emotions and stress stirred up by recent political events are a cause for concern. Anger can be a positive way to move forward and fuel the energy needed for change but it can also reek havoc on our hearts. It can have the same effect of intense grief and cause our hearts to ache for another outcome. It is the feeling of deep disconnection that isolates us from three of life’s deepest human needs; love, safety and belonging. How do we mind and mend our hearts?
Making the mindful decision to take notice, slow down, take deep breaths and feel calm can be heartsaving, let alone heart healing. Take a yoga class, listen to music, go out and Dance! Reach out and be with a friend, a family member or a tribe who share your common values. Be present, hold space for each other as we try to navigate the sometimes uncharted waters. Let your hearts beat as one, feel the connection with yourself and with others. Keep a gratitude journal, your heart will thank you as you appreciate what hard work this little fist sized organ does for you as you put it through it’s workout. Turn this into a heart-centered meditation as you feel the energy and love your heart has for you and then turn that out into the world, letting it flow out like a pebble in a pond. We need this more than ever. Feel the intense joy in connecting with these other hearts, all beating in time with each other. Be the Aloha you wish to see in the world. See you next Friday for our final February Heart series where we will talk about Spirit and it’s connection to Heart Health. Have a great weekend everyone!