Coping, Mental Health, Treatment

Living From the Heart

Since yoga class yesterday, I have been in a terrific mood, even when my pain was bad. I’m loving the warmth of the shining sun, listening to music so loud that I can’t hear myself sing, admiring the pure happiness of the neighborhood kids.

My yoga teacher talks about living from the heart rather than always being led by your mind. We are guided to surrender our thoughts to the “heart center” (essentially your spirit or soul). While I agree with this idea in theory, believing in it is different than feeling it.

I spend too much time in my head. I’m a thinker who obsesses easily and am extraordinarily self-critical. The life changes of having a chronic illness have intensified and increased the frequency of all these thoughts.

Being in my head is not only in my mind, but in my brain. It literally directs one of the most prominent aspects of my life—chronic daily headaches and migraines. Living from the heart means thinking and obsessing less, but also keeping my illness from controlling my life. [insert raucous laughter here]

When I’m guided to send kind, supportive messages to myself, I give demands couched as encouragement: “Be nice to yourself,” “Worry less about if you’re a good person,” “Approach everyone with love.” Yesterday I unwittingly replaced these judgments with “Honey, honey, come and dance with me.”*

I got it. My heart invited my mind to celebrate with it. Love widely, be compassionate to yourself and others, care for others without neglecting yourself, accept who you are. It was an incredible feeling. The message was so clear that I haven’t thought about it much; I have simply lived from the heart.

*Maybe I should be concerned that lyrics from a Dave Matthews Band
song popped to mind while meditating. The song, Everyday, was originally written about the 1993 assassination of Chris Hani, the leader of the South African Communist Party who fought against the apartheid government. It’s all about love. I’m good with that.

6 thoughts on “Living From the Heart”

  1. I think that some people still people believe it is possible to be in your heart at a thinking level. In other words they imagine how it would be if you were in a heart space and yet it is in mind that the imagining takes place.
    Discovered a beautiful way of leaving my very busy mind on a lay by for a while.
    Lie on the couch under the grapevines in the garden.
    Let the early morning rising sun, gently touch one’s whole body.
    Put your left hand in the center of your chest.
    Breath in and out through your hand.
    You are removing your breath function away from your head region.
    It is effortless to breathe this way.
    After a few breaths, there are no thoughts, because your breathing is redirected to your heart.
    The forests of mind are chopped down as saplings.
    (This is for Lucky Dube, left his body this week – May you be experiencing the most beautiful, profound peace and silence.
    May you be embraced so tightly in wisdom and grace.
    And may that reach to your family here.

  2. I’m definately the type of person who lives too much in her head, and with migraines living inside there as well, I’m finding it to be a constant struggle. Thank you so much for this post about living from the heart.

    Thanks. And thank you for saying that you have the same problem. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.


  3. In a funny, sort of oblique, way, this seems almost like a response to my blog entry from yesterday (link above).

    I didn’t get the connection, but I did love your post!


  4. I was just listening to that yesterday; and it was with a guest from S. Africa,right now, I’m half asleep, tomorrow I can give you his name. It’s on the soundtrack I just got a few months ago. Isn’t he always great to listen to!! I think I’ll go to bed with that song.

    It must be the same version I’m listening to nonstop. The guest is Vusi Mahlasela — he’s the reason I bought the best of album. I stumbled upon him elsewhere and think he’s amazing. Hart and I saw him play in the spring. What a voice!


  5. I love the way you (and your yoga teacher) put this idea. It’s exactly what I’m working on with my therapist, but hearing it described in this way brings home to me that I’m on the right track and doing exactly what I need to be doing to become a happier, more fulfilled person.

    I’m so glad that you’re experiencing similar things. It feels great, huh?

    I know how hard it was for you to go back to a therapist. It sounds like it has been really helpful this time.


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