The Secret to Connecting To Your Heart
Your heart – what does it mean to be connected to it? And what exactly are you connecting to?
The Bible defines your “heart” or your soul as your mind, emotions, and will. It is where your thinking, feeling, deciding, and determining right from wrong all takes place.
Your heart is the center of your being, the core of who you are, and yet too often in the frantic hustle of life we neglect tuning in. It reminds me of the how sometimes the radio reception in my car gets a little fuzzy. The further away from home I get, the more my favorite radio station begins to echo with static and break up, becoming more and more difficult to hear well. And if it’s dark or cloudy the reception gets even worse!
In the same way, when my life is consumed with too much activity and hurry, the reception to my heart begins to wane and break up. The more out of balance my life becomes the more the connection to my heart suffers.
If I really drill down, fear is what messes with the reception to my heart. It keeps me spinning and drains the life out of me!
The more disconnected I am from my heart, the more my funky thoughts and beliefs impact me. I drift into thinking I “should” or “have to” do this or that. I should speak at that event next month even though I know the timing isn’t ideal – after all I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity! That’s fear speaking!
I run myself ragged believing I have to keep working harder and harder if I’m going to be successful – I don’t have time to relax. In other words, I don’t have time to nourish my heart, my soul, the very things that would energize me. More fear!
Do you relate?
Consciously Tuning In
I made a conscious choice several years ago to tune into my heart regularly. To slow down and pay attention to what it’s telling me so that I’m able to make adjustments in my life and work. It’s when I slow down and I’m quiet that I hear the whispers of my heart and what it’s longing for.
When I’m connected to my heart, I’m reminded again that my heart longs to be creative, to connect the dots by reflecting and processing life, to organize – actual stuff or just my thoughts, to get lost in a book, and to connect with others. These activities energize me in ways that dramatically increase my zest for life because they are a part of how God wired me.
My heart is sending out warning 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 the dangers ahead.
When the messages from my heart come through loud and clear, I know when I’ve done enough and it’s time to rest. When feelings of dread or the desire to avoid bubble up, I know those are important heart messages to tune into.
Speaking from personal experience, tuning into my heart rarely just happen! It’s something that takes effort and I start by…
1. Paying Attention & Being Curious
What “funny feelings” have you noticed lately?
What’s brought you joy or made you sad, stressed, happy, or mad?
It’s important to notice how the activities you engage in, the work you do, and the interactions you have with different people make you feel. Do you know what are those feelings are trying to reveal to you?
A while back, I had some personal projects in the works – projects that I actually enjoy working on – yet I was not working on them. You might even say I was avoiding those projects. After tuning into my heart, I discovered that I really did want to work on those projects, I just didn’t want to work on them when I was tired after a full day of coaching and writing.
It isn’t enough to just tune into my 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!
After that realization, I made an effort to truly relax in the evenings and to engage in activities that were more rejuvenating to me like reading or working a puzzle. I made a choice to save those projects for the weekend rather than forcing myself to conquer them during the week. Making choices like that feels hard, I thrive on being productive. Accepting when I’ve reached the end of my productive capacity is necessary.
Beware, paying attention to your feelings is not permission to let your feelings dictate your life. Sometimes your feelings are not telling you the truth! My job is to notice and the respond responsibly.
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 might 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’s 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 let your mind wander and get a little creative!
- Talk with a friend – A willing ear goes a long way towards helping you uncover what your heart is trying to communicate with you. And if you are sharing with someone you know well, they are able to point out when your thoughts and feelings have gone astray.
- Work with a coach – A coach is eager to help you become more self-aware so that you are able take proactive steps to move forward.
- Engage in a repetitive activity – Walking, crocheting, washing dishes, or even driving allows your mind to process what’s in your heart.
- Meander – Carve out a few hours with no agenda in mind. Follow your heart and see where it takes you.
3. Maintaining Margin
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?
4. Carving Out Space to Reflect
While journaling is about sharing whatever is top of mind right now, reflecting is more focused and intentional. It’s about stepping back and taking stock of where you are compared to where you want them to be. It’s an opportunity to assess, make adjustments, and approach your life and work more creatively. And a chance to be honest with yourself about what’s motivating and driving you as well as how you are feeling. Lots more on reflecting here.
My Power Center
My heart is a powerful place. It’s my control center. It’s where my beliefs reside – the beliefs that fuel my fear or urge me to operate in more loving and confident ways. And it’s the real unedited me so it’s wise not to ignore it.
All that God does in and through me takes place in my heart. If I desire change in my life, I must first change the beliefs I have in my heart and align them with God’s truth.
Ignoring my heart comes at a substantial cost. It leads to frustration. Suppressed emotions build-up and leak out in less than constructive ways that not only affect me, but also those around me. Suppressed feelings are also toxic and take a toll on my body!
Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Proverbs 4:20-23 (MSG)
What keeps you from tuning into your heart?
Originally posted on 12/14/16, this post has been revised and updated just for you!