Be Well Be Happy

The hush of winter is upon us.  With that first early morning snow on Saturday, December 9, I felt its presence. Light flakes cascading straight down.  Hush. While we are here in Rockaway because of our spectacular summer with its long days, sunshine, vegetables growing, people visiting, swimming, the hush of winter is beautiful and awesome. Not talking about the cold or the dark or any of the things most of us complain about — rather, the physical feeling of the season. Hush. Stop.  Listen. Be present. For me, it’s the beginning of a time of introspection and rest and restoration.

The one “positive” that has been coming up frequently for me during this time is “Do everything with love.”  Just that one sentence shifts the feelings I have to be less hurried, present, happy to be doing, grateful I am able to do the task at hand.  This really is a shift. A softening into leading from the heart. If we cannot “do” something with love, we might as well not do it at all. This reminds me of some learnings which I weave in here and there in my yoga teaching. Yogic traditions recognize that the heart is the seat of individual consciousness, the center of life. We tend to focus on the brain as the driving force, so what is this all about?

Practicing heart-focus, heart-focused breathing and heart feeling brings a sense of calmness, openness and overall well-being. Sitting quietly, calling attention to the center of the chest, focusing on that place, then breathing deeper keeping the focus in the center, then feeling an emotion such as love for someone or remembering a peaceful moment, simply makes us feel good. It turns out it is not only in an emotional way, but also in physical ways, one is bringing the heart rate to an even place. 

We, as thinking humans, need to understand and know why. There is scientific study. Did you know that the heart produces a hormone that reduces the release of the stress hormone? Did you know that the brain and heart have an ongoing “communication” and that the heart — because it has its own nervous system — sends a lot of information to the brain? Did you know that as an “electric” organ, the heart radiates a field of energy throughout our whole bodies and even outside of our bodies? 

This is why in the yogic traditions, we learn that by creating an intention of love or peace in the world or compassion or non-judgment or kindness, we are actually sending it forth from our hearts into the world through the energy in the heart. So maybe start with you. Practice the heart-focus, heart-focused breathing and then heart feeling, focusing on a positive emotion. See how it makes you feel.  Then, by all means, send out all you can — kindness, compassion, love, peace and joy!

(Thoughts regarding “heart intelligence” adapted from HeartMath.)

Best to all in the New Year for happiness, freedom, gratitude, peace and love. 

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