Our hearts are powerful, potent, and accessible guides in each moment. Research is now proving that we produce hormones in our heart, as well as in our belly and brain. The production of heart hormones, particularly oxytocin—known as the love hormone—is dependent on having feelings for another human. You must have present-moment awareness to experience love for another person and release this hormone. And that’s more difficult than being present when you’re alone at home or in nature.
To develop sensitivity to heart intuition you need to drop into your heart. Dropping into your heart is done both by visualizing it and focusing your inner awareness on what the heart feels like. When you do this, your heart intuition will be on full alert when communicating authentically with an individual, with a team, or to a large group in a leadership capacity. Hormones and Behavior published an article in June of 2017 proving that the release of oxytocin promotes group bonding and cooperation at a higher level no matter how cognitively challenging the task and regardless of gender.
To speak from your heart space and open your intuition to have present-moment awareness, all you do is breathe deeply and imagine your consciousness dropping into the heart region, thereby expanding it, before you begin interacting. With this kind of presence, you will not only communicate with authenticity, but your listening skills will also be heightened. Sounds easy enough, right? Certainly, anyone can perform these simple steps. So, why don’t we? Most of us try to live honest lives and do unto others. But have you ever stopped to notice that we also tend to express ourselves in ways that are ineffective, with words that dance somewhere above the actual truth of the matter? We speak from our heads all day every day with our defenses up. I will share with you some examples here of tough life situations that could benefit from paying attention to the voice in our heart.
1) Jackson is a high schooler who gets good grades, plays sports, and has a part-time job. But despite getting adequate sleep, Jackson is always tired. His parents fight incessantly over his “laziness.” They blame genetics, squabbling over whose side of the family is the lazier. They blame the lack of sun. They blame marijuana, though Jackson is drug-free. (They test him monthly.) The problem? Jackson’s mom has issues with alcohol, and it’s stressed him to the max. And Jackson’s dad, rather than facing this, keeps playing the what-could-be-wrong-with-Jackson game with Mom. Meanwhile, the truth of the matter stays buried deep inside the family chest, as all the ineffective, analytical, left-brained words exchanged between his parents dance on top of it.
2) John has anger issues. He’s from a hot-headed Italian family. This is his excuse. John, however, hates his mid-level job at a big construction firm and wants to start his own company, building tiny homes. But he doesn’t discuss this truth with his wife, Rebecca. He just wakes up angry Monday through Friday, while she tiptoes around his moods. They’re one bad argument away from filing for divorce. What’s worse is John doesn’t even know that starting his own business would solve all this. It’s never occurred to him to listen to his heart.
3) Renée is applying to medical schools. Though she wants to write the next great American novel, she’s afraid to tell anyone. So, she keeps living the lie because she’s got a mind for math and science.
4) Kyler could be a starter at a D3 school, playing basketball. His parents, siblings, and friends are pushing him in that direction. He commits to the small school, though his heart keeps telling him to walk onto his D1 dream team and tough it out. Kyler no longer sleeps well at night since he signed his life away.
These are pretty typical examples of situations we find ourselves, or people we know, in. You get one, two, three, or more people together—with no one using their heart intuition as a guide—and you’ve got a breeding ground for issues that can really kick you and your loved ones in the collective pants, again and again. You can go through your whole life never speaking from the heart. When Thoreau said “. . . the mass of men lead quiet lives of desperation,” he was referring to this. And this happens on grand scales, too, with leaders and countries. It can and has happened on the world stage. Not listening to your intuition is common, it’s the norm, it’s what “the mass of men” do.
Listening to your inner voice and speaking the truth is for the practiced and the brave. You must learn to be present and open your heart to achieve this state of authenticity.
This takes courage, just as having a conversation about alcoholism takes courage. And switching careers takes courage. And walking onto your dream team, knowing you won’t be a starter, takes an assload of courage. Listening to your intuition builds emotional resilience and strong relationships because that voice is honest and comes from a place of pure love: your heart.
When I sat on the bench with Nakamura, gut feelings arose that I wasn’t even prepared for–like realizing I was extremely unhappy in my current career, and that when I saw myself twenty years into the future working for my father’s company, I became nauseated and lethargic. My shoulders would actually slump whenever that image came to mind. But I was thankful for the insight, the sick feeling in my stomach, and the energy zap. I had tapped into my truth for the first time ever, and I was finally paying attention. Intuitively, I knew that I would not bring my best self to that future.
It was a start. I could then ask the question: What other possible futures exist? That’s when I started to get insights and a direct knowing. I saw a warrior and leader who was happy and healthy two decades down the road. This image would arise without much work after I initially tapped into it. I had shoveled the dirt out from on top of my treasure chest of truth (to stick with that analogy). Slowing down and stilling your mind is part of how to tap into your heart’s intuition. The world would love to hear from you heart this week. Hooyah!