Number 4 in a Series
Remember a time when you were completely present in the moment, such as being immersed in the grandeur of nature, looking into the eyes of your loved one, coming to the aid of someone in an emergency, meditating, gazing at your newborn child, or playing with a pet. What were you feeling during that experience?
In those magical moments, freed from fear, you were out of your mind and in your heart. You had an experience of being in the flow of your authentic self.
Living in integrity with my authentic self is the primary focus of my life. Whereas, oneness in nature and awareness of my universal oneness is very important, staying connected to my heart in everyday life is my greatest challenge.
My goal is not to be in my heart all the time. In fact, I doubt that’s even humanly possible. (At least I’ve never known anyone personally who has been able to achieve that super-human state.) It is, however, how I want to live more of the time.
Connecting to my heart is a moment-to-moment experience. I can be connected in one moment and lose it in the next. An important step toward being more heart-connected is becoming aware of when I’m not in that state.
Without knowing that I’m disconnected from my heart I’m stuck. Becoming aware of my disconnection gives me a choice. I can continue my disconnected behavior and hope for a positive outcome (I love the idea that, a definition of mental illness is doing the same thing and expecting a different result). Or, I can stop my disconnected behavior, reconnect to my heart, find my balance, and be in “the flow.”
For athletes being in the flow is called the “The Zone.” Whatever you call it, most of us have had those memorable experiences. Skiing in the zone helped me better understand this idea.
The first time I felt the high of skiing in the zone, I knew I wanted more. Without fear I sailed down the mountain. My body was weightless and my face lit into a huge smile. I was centered and felt totally connected with everything around me.
Skiing out of balance happens when fear enters my body. I tighten up and lose my center. Not skiing in the zone is certainly not awful or wrong. It just isn’t as carefree, graceful and fulfilling as it is in the flow. My skiing goal is learning how to spend more time in that awesome state of oneness, and when I lose it, how to get it back.
It wasn’t much of a stretch to transfer my skiing awareness to how I lived my life. Realizing how much time I spent off-center, especially when confronted with upsetting situations, was a sobering shock.
When I realized the power and blissful pleasure of living in the flow, I knew that I wanted more than just the occasional “Kodak moments.” Thus began my commitment to living more in my heart.
Knowing my authentic self was the first step. Lacking this awareness, meaningful change was like trying to navigate without knowing “True North.”
Once I reconnect to my center, I can confront and learn about the fears and beliefs, such as losing face or another person’s love, that close my heart and take me out of my flow. (A future post, “Reconnecting With Heart” suggests some practical ways for returning to center.) Resolving the fears and beliefs that create my heart-disconnection is allowing me to stay centered more of the time.
One of the things I like best about the skiing analogy is that it helped take the judgment off of my heart-disconnected behavior. Just as in skiing, being off-center is not bad or wrong; it’s just out of balance.
Placing my hand to my heart is an image I use to symbolize a heart connection. For a four minute video that uses a skiing analogy to illustrate this symbol, click on Heart Connection Symbol.
For Your Journey
- Think about how much of the time your life is in the flow and what keeps you from living more in the flow?
- Take each of the answers from the previous question and consider the fears and beliefs that drive living out of balance.
- Share-it-forward. Share with another person what you’re learning about living in the flow.
First in the Series: To Live Joyfully: Get Out of Your Head into Your Heart
Next Week: # 5 – Mindfulness: The Key to Living from Heartfelt, Not Heartless, Feelings
BECOMING YOUR OWN HERO illuminates a path available to us all to attain the kind of personal power demonstrated by our most revered and inspirational heroes. Marianne Williamson, #1 New York Times best-selling author said, “I highly recommend this illuminating and touching look into the possibilities of staying connected to our hearts, even when facing difficult situations.”
Photo: Alex Guerrero/Flickr