Are you feeling drained by life?
Are you struggling to adjust to changes in your life?
Do you feel like something is missing, like life shouldn’t be this hard?
What if I told you there is indeed something missing... and it’s easily found within your heart.
When was the last time you acknowledged what your heart needs? In our culture, we’re encouraged to take care of our bodies and minds by eating right, exercising, reading, solving problems, attending educational sessions, and so on.
However, what about your heart?
What do you do to take care of your heart?
Is your heart work as intentional as your gym habits, your eating habits, or your educational habits?
As I write, I discover new facets of this messy, but beautiful, world. Last week was no different. In the post Dear Adeline | For You I Will Try, I stumbled upon this concept of heart work—the messy, unsettling, sometimes scary and painful work we need to address within our own hearts.
In this and the next two blog posts, we'll explore how we recognize when we need heart work, how to address it, and how we can collectively support each other through it.
How do you know when it’s time for heart work?
As we journey through this life, we have a tendency to move fast, steamrolling our heartache by pushing through and moving relentlessly on to the next thing. Sometimes we don't even know the heartache remains until we feel like we're living someone else's life and wonder "How did I get here?" Heartache will always find ways to manifest itself, so we need to learn how to slow down and to pay attention.
Do the smallest of irritations lead you into a tailspin of frustration?
Do you feel like you have no control over your daily actions?
Do you respond differently to minor inconveniences than you used to?
The heartache shows up in each of us differently. Maybe you yelled at the guy who cut you off in traffic this morning; maybe you made a mistake and can’t forgive yourself; maybe, like me, you have a strong desire to run away and hide from the world. When I find myself tucked away in my bedroom avoiding interaction, spending hours searching for travel destinations, I know I'm avoiding something. I want to be anywhere but here, and at that moment I realize my heart is aching and it’s time to do some real heart work.
When our world seems harder than it should be, turning within your own heart can provide healing and a beautiful new perspective. When we slow down enough and notice our own behaviors and attitudes, we can hear our heart. Each of our reactions has a story to tell. Some are like little (or sometimes large) red flags waving us down saying, "HELLO, pay attention to me! I need your help here!" Just noticing and acknowledging without judgement can be a huge first start.
I’m trying to listen to my heart more, to notice when it's aching and let it know I hear it and will address it when the time is right. Even that can be enough to settle my knee-jerk reactions to this world around me for some time, until I'm ready to address the root cause(s).
And so I ask, over the next week, can you take time to notice your own behaviors?
Has your reaction to certain people, places, or things changed over time? Do you like how you're reacting? Does it feel good or a little off? Are those reactions attempting to tell you something? Are there any red flags trying to get your attention?
Is it time for a little heart work?
Stay tuned next week when we'll talk about how to engage in deep, thoughtful heart work.