When I talk about love and the heart in the context of attuning with Nature, I am pointing to something universal that connects us with all forms of life. Rather than referring to love in a romantic context, my reference point is love as an essential quality that IS life.
Partnering with Nature requires us to cultivate our hearts as the main organ of perception. When I work, I consciously shift into my heart, perhaps by placing my hand there, imagining that my eyes are heavy and rolling backwards into my heart, or spending a few minutes in a state of appreciation. It is the vibrational frequency of love that grants access to an expanded state wherein we can meet and communicate with Nature.
We hear so much about “being in our hearts,” and I wanted to know what that meant. I was drawn to explore the work of the Institute of HeartMath. They have an emWave biofeedback device that measures and shows heart rhythm patterns. This lets us know whether we are emotionally coherent or stressed. I experimented with this in a number of ways including closing my eyes and putting various foods on my lap to see if they created stress or balance. I also tried holding a decision in my mind to see which direction created homeostasis. Through this process I learned what emotional coherence feels like and how to have access to it at all times.
Besides being in the vibrational state where Nature and humans meet, learning to live in our heart has many other benefits.
Since the electromagnetic field of the heart is 5,000 times stronger than that of the brain, when we are emotionally coherent, less organized energies in our own bodies and the environment entrain with us and become more balanced. This includes our clients, partners, children, plants and animals. We become a blessing to the world.
Through my work with Dr. Dorothy Mandel, I have learned that our heart is actually an endocrine gland, which secretes oxytocin when we are in states of love, joy and appreciation. Oxytocin dissolves the stress chemical cortisol, which makes our tissues acidic and translates as generalized anxiety and has a deteriorating effect on our health. Other effects of oxytocin include the regulation of blood pressure and hormone levels, it speeds wound healing, reduces pain and inflammation, and shifts us into the parasympathetic nervous system. Practicing going into this restorative response actually builds new neural pathways to pleasure and relaxation rather than the habituated pathways to pain and trauma. Dr. Dorothy Mandel has pioneered and integrated the restorative response into her therapy practice and stress reduction based education, making it easily accessible to all.
There are many ways to trigger this positive cascade of chemical events. In my desk drawer I keep a two dollar plastic viewer with a scene of a woman floating on a warm, calm, Hawaiian ocean. I can turn a frustrating wait while on hold with AT & T into a restorative moment. All over my house are small altars with photos of people and places I love and items that remind me of happy times. Over my desk hangs a large collage that I did January 1st to gather words and images of my vision for the new year. Looking out my window and seeing the patterns of shadow and light dance on the wall bring me great pleasure. These are everyday examples of how we can shift our physiology, mental, emotional, spiritual and energetic states towards health.
Please contribute your favorite ways to shift into a relaxed, yummy, heart centered space.
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery