The Secret to Intentionally Tuning Into Your Heart
When was the last time you tuned into your heart and really listened to what it was telling you?
Sometimes the reception to my heart gets a little fuzzy. It reminds me a lot of the radio reception in my car on long drives. The further away from home I get, the more my favorite radio station begins to break up, becoming more and more difficult to understand.
Distance isn’t the only thing that seems to affect my radio reception. It struggles on cloudy days and once it gets dark. Listening to my favorite station is pointless in those conditions!
For me, listening to the radio in the car has been a solo thing. Something I did only when no one else was in the car — my little personal rule. When driving with others in the car, I much prefer to enjoy meaningful conversation which taps into two of my top five values: relationships and communication!
When my life gets clouded by too much activity or too much hurry, the reception to my heart begins to fade and break up just like the radio reception in my car. I also find it tough to tune into my heart when my negative thoughts overshadow my heart, like the night time wreaks havoc with my radio. I find that allowing my thoughts to travel down the road of “should” or “have to” messes with the messages being sent from my heart.
Thoughts like… I have to keep working if I am going to be successful – I don’t have time to relax. Or I should speak at that event even though I know the timing isn’t ideal – after all I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity!
If you really boil it down, fear is what blocks the reception to my heart. It keeps me spinning in endless and exhausting activity that drains the life out of me! Oh, and there are my own little rules I’ve put in place that limit what I can do, rules similar to my no-radio-when-not-solo rule.
That’s why I am making an intentional effort to tune into my heart these days. To slow down and pay attention to what it is telling me so I can make adjustments in how I am doing things. That’s when I hear the whispers of my heart and what it longs for.
My heart longs to be creative, to reflect and process life, to organize – actual stuff or just my thoughts, to be, and to connect with others. These things energize me in a way that dramatically increases my zest for life because they are a part of how God wired me. Tuning into my heart allows me to be more connected emotionally and takes me to a very happy place! And it significantly increases my ability to focus and tackle what needs to get done.
My heart is sending out warning and test messages just like the Emergency Alert System does on the radio and TV. However, when my reception is fuzzy I miss the warnings! I keep on moving without being aware of potential dangers.
When the messages from my heart are unhindered, I realize I have done enough, that it is time to rest, and refuel. When I feel dread or the desire to avoid bubble up, it is a sign that I’ve been ignoring my heart again.
Speaking from personal experience, tuning into my heart won’t just happen! I have to be intentional!
In order to tune into my heart, I start by…
1. Noticing and being curious about those funny feelings
I have some personal projects in the works right now – things that I actually enjoy doing – yet I have not worked on them. You might even say I was avoiding those projects. I’ve had to tune into my heart and ask myself what those funny feelings were all about.
What I discovered is that I really did want to work on those projects. I just didn’t want to work on them after a full day of coaching and writing when I was tired. Realizing that I would be able to focus on those projects later in the week when I would actually enjoy the process was freeing! It also made space for me to just relax and enjoy some down time without feeling like I should be conquering my projects. That can be tough for us productive types!
It isn’t enough to just tune into the feelings, I must also be willing to flex and make adjustments to my expectations – to heed what my heart is trying to tell me. Being rigid and unwilling to flex stirs up stress – I don’t want that! The good news is that I’m able to do something about it!
What “funny feelings” have you noticed lately?
For me, writing is a powerful outlet. Seeing words spill out onto actual paper in front of me is a beautiful thing! It makes sense that I find journaling to be an incredibly valuable way to discover what my heart is trying to tell me!
What if you find writing to be sheer torture? How can you connect with what your heart is trying to share with you? Why not consider some of these ideas:
- Create a “heart” collage – similar to a vision board, but words and pictures that represent what your heart’s saying to you.
- Walk and talk – Use your phone to record your thoughts as you walk. For some people, expressing their thoughts verbally is a powerful way to process their feelings. And once recorded, it is easy to go back and listen to it again if you wish.
- Doodle – Put what your heart is telling you in picture form. A chance to get a little creative!
- Talk with a friend – Sometimes just a willing ear can go a long way towards helping you uncover what your heart is trying to communicate with you.
- Work with a coach – A coach is eager to help you become more aware so that you can take proactive steps to move forward.
- Engage in a repetitive activity – things like walking, crocheting, washing dishes, or even driving allow your mind to process what’s in your heart.
3. Maintaining margin in my life
The biggest enemy to tuning into my heart is me – especially when I schedule my life in such a way that I have very little space between activities to explore my heart and how I feel about my experiences. In order to create margin in my life I’ve made a concerted effort to stop multitasking and vigilantly maintain space between my obligations.
What’s your schedule like? Is it conducive to tuning into your heart?
My heart is a powerful place. You could say that it is my control center – the real unedited me. When you tune into your heart the rewards are great! I believe that is the place that God also whispers to you and me! I know I don’t want to miss out on His whispers!
My heart is where my beliefs reside. All that God does in and through me takes place there. If I desire change in my life, I must first change the beliefs I have in my heart and align them to God’s truth. My heart colors my thoughts; information alone won’t change me – I must believe.
There’s also a substantial cost to ignoring my heart. It leads to frustration. Suppressed emotions… they build-up and leak out in outbursts at inopportune moments affecting not only me, but the people around me. Suppressed feelings are also toxic and take a toll on my body!
Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice. Keep my message in plain view at all times. Concentrate! Learn it by heart! Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they’re bursting with health. Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Proverbs 4:20-23 (MSG)
What would change if you tuned into your heart?
© Can Stock Photo / arunchristensen