The Truth About Following Your Heart
Always begin with the heart.
We have a physical heart, an emotional heart and an energetic heart.
The physical heart is one giant pump. Every minute, the heart pumps about five quarts of blood through a system of blood vessels that's over 60,000 miles long. The heart is the epicenter of your body. And when it gets clogged, the walls of the arteries narrow, cutting off the supply of oxygen. Heart Disease is the number one leading cause of death so you can imagine the care and attention that doctors, scientists and researchers put into curing and preventing heart disease.
The emotional heart, different from the physical heart, uses the language of feelings and sensations to communicate. Similar to the physical heart when it’s hardening from excess plaque, the emotional heart also feels a hardening sensation when something is wrong or when the body feels like it needs to develop layers of protection. We especially feel it when something “breaks our heart.” We feel vulnerable, fragile and hollow. The heart breaks into pieces leaving us to feel broken and betrayed. When my heart breaks, it literally feels like heavy pressure on my chest and then there’s this shattering sensation that goes into my pelvis and my limbs and I feel numb. If I were to explain my emotional heart break to a doctor, he would probably say that those could be symptoms of a heart attack?!
Conversely, when I am in love, my heart feels heart feels like it’s softening, like a gushy lava volcano in the center of my chest. I feel so full, that it feels like it’s overflowing, each drop of that love oozes into every cell of my body. When I think about that someone or they are in my presence, it literally burns my heart, it takes my breath away and then a river of energy pulses into the rest of my body. The person that I feel this love for has this hovering energy over their skin like this iridescent glow that even if we are close in proximity but not touching, still feels like it’s too far away.
Apparently, according to research from the Heart Math Institute, these sensations, feelings and electrical pulses from the heart, which has its own nervous system separate from the brain, sends radio waves that not only permeate every cell of our body on the inside but also 3-4 feet outside the body, broadcasting out from heart into this electromagnetic field. It makes sense too because when you go to the doctor to get your heart tested, they do an EKG, an Electrocardiogram… they are testing the electrical system in your heart.
The emotional heart, not given nearly enough attention by western medicine, society and quite frankly, ourselves, is usually triggered from some event from the outside. Events such as falling in love, mourning a loss, mending a broken heart, feeling betrayed, abandoned, supported, sad or actually feeling someone else’s pain. But how much attention is actually given to these feelings and sensations?? Grieving, mourning a loss, even crying in public, is not really accepted in today’s society. The first thing we do is apologize for having these feelings. Even our modern day yoga classes are missing an essential piece of shifting the energy in the heart by focusing too much on the physical aspect of yoga or thinking that it’s a workout. Yet what science and technology are starting to prove, even though the ancient yogis have known for decades, is that the physical heart and the emotional heart have an energetic relationship that contributes to the state and wellness of our whole being.
When you are in this state of wellness or this sense of being balanced and having thoughts of positivity, compassion and love, modern day philosophers, like positive psychologists, self-help gurus, therapists, yogis, and meditators, call this being in a state of coherence.
When you are coherent, your electromagnetic field can be seen and appears to be in order. And conversely, when you are in a state of negativity and experiencing feelings of anger, frustration or stress, your electromagnetic field is incoherent and somewhat distorted.
A study conducted by UC Davis, suggests that a couple’s hearts begin to beat at the same rate when they fall in love. In so much, that if you are within 10 feet away of your lover, your brain waves will sync up to their heartbeat. And it is not limited to romantic love, a mother’s brainwaves will synchronize to her baby’s heartbeat as well.
The Law of Attraction now has scientific proof that what we create in the inner most part of our being can manifest into the world. Our emotional heart has a relationship to our energy and this energy radiates from our hearts in an electrical field that can be measured and seen. So we now know that our thoughts, emotions, feelings and our state of coherence within ourselves can, in fact, shape our own reality. Whoa.
Want more? The heart, in addition to having its own nervous system, sends more information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart. How about that?? In fact, thanks to the hormone, dopamine…doing yoga, falling in love and doing cocaine stimulate the same part of the brain… good news for people who don’t have a partner and who also don’t want to snort cocaine – just go to yoga and fall in love with yourself! Yay!
So what does this mean then when we say, “to follow one’s heart?” It means to allow yourself to be led by your own intuition. They call it a “gut feeling” or “heeding a call.” We learn how to listen and then act accordingly to the messages we receive. Research has proven that our hearts have their own brains – they have a different set of rules and language that may not always seem logical – especially for those that have really strong survival system, have been hurt or traumatized - choosing the heart impulse over mind logic may not be feasible for some.
In an argument with someone, who lives a very different lifestyle than I do, told me that, “You can’t just go around expressing what’s in your heart. You can’t just say what you are feeling all the time. You can’t just follow your heart all the time, you have to think about consequences of your actions.” And I suppose that there’s some truth to that. But talking and processing helps us evolve and move through conflict. Expressing our feelings, with care and love, with another is the most connected one can feel in an intimate relationship or friendship.
Think about it, when was the last time you had to have a difficult conversation with someone? Remember how you felt beforehand? After probably lots of avoiding tactics, you might have felt nervous, anxious, uncomfortable and then you talked it out, came to some agreement, maybe even hugged it out. You could probably see the pink elephant leave the room, researchers could probably see two distorted magnetic fields and how they might beautifully merge into one. It’s called connection. Trust. Intimacy. Expressing what’s in your heart. It’s love, dammit!
Me personally? This is all that I know. I have always had a high EQ, Emotional Intelligence. I have had a deep inner trust that has been with me since I was born. When I used to play basketball, I played with hustle and heart. When I was a dancer, who was competing against classically trained dancers, I just danced with my heart. And now, I don’t look outside my self for answers. I have been given a special gift of seeing things that other people can’t see or aren’t ready to see yet. Because I was given this gift of heightened sensitivity, I must rely on my own navigation system. So asking other people or looking outside myself only clouds or distorts the space I need to let it come to me.
Now let’s be honest, since we are talking about truth and all… The truth is my heart has been broken many, many, many times (too many to count) by friends, family, lovers, partners and teachers. I have learned multiple times to sweep up the pieces of my broken heart and glue them back together. But I am stronger, smarter and even more fearless than before. I wouldn’t change a thing and wouldn’t have it any other way. And I am still single!! I have been used, burned, cut-off, questioned, thrown under-the-bus, abandoned and assaulted and I am still standing here telling you that love, trusting and listening to the language of your heart is the most important thing above anything else.
One of my favorite sayings is, “omnia vincit amor,” it’s a Latin phrase by Virgil, which means Love Conquers All. Do all things with Love. Above all things, love is supreme.
So this is for my fellow warriors of the heart, soldiers of love, the shape shifters and the pioneers. It takes discipline and courage to cultivate your inner guide system but we are not afraid to get broken because we know that we are the same ones who are going to glue to put it back together. And as our fellow love warrior, Robert James Waller, author of Bridges of Madison County, says, “The human heart has a way of making itself large again, even after being broken into a million pieces.”
It is one of the reasons why I love living in LA. There are so many people out here trying to make their dreams into reality and who are willing to give up safety, security and a smooth life to follow their heart, believe in their dreams and strive for a creative and fulfilling life.
That’s also - for those of you that have been following my long distance coast jumping - the reason why I left Boston again. Some things just can’t be explained. I love my city, my family, my friends, I met someone right before I left, my Dad was sick (and better now) and I truly was devastated to leave my amazing yoga community. I had the best gig when it comes to my career. Down Under Yoga offered me amazing opportunities that most yoga teachers would kill for in their careers but noooo I gotta move to LA and start over AGAIN! But some things can’t be explained by logic and I have to listen to my heart to guide me.
Being a yogi, studying and practicing yoga, breathwork and meditation has allowed me to build a stronger navigational system or now one might say a stronger electrical system from my heart to my brain. I think that’s why I love to write and share this with you because I have the courage to tell my story but in hopes that there will be something in here that inspires you, makes you feel less alone or gives you the courage to live your life through your heart.
What does following your heart mean to you?? Is it chasing your dream, expressing your love, believing in yourself, falling in love after heartbreak, healing a loss, following your gut, creating your own business, speaking your truth, standing up for what you believe in or maybe it's loving who you love no matter what society says… ????
The truth is … following your heart is messy. It’s complicated, challenging and it’s not easy. You‘ll probably be misunderstood, judged, questioned, laughed at and at times you’re going to want to give up. But when you overcome some of these obstacles, it is so freeing!! It is liberating and beautiful and you’ll learn to love yourself in the process. It’s learning to trust that even though you may get rejected, that you may get your heart broken, that you may never become famous, that you might not ever receive the validation from the people you think you need it from but…
“The cost of not following your heart is spending the rest of your life wishing you had.”
The Chinese character to listen is called, Ting, 听. It has 5 different important components;
Ear, King, Ten and Eye, One and Heart
Ear: Hear with your ears what you are listening to.
King: Pay attention as if the other person were a king or a queen.
Ten and Eye: Be as observant as if you had ten eyes.
One: Listen with individual attention that it’s the only thing that matters in this moment
Heart: Listen with your heart
Listen with your heart.
So when it comes to love, inspiration and connection, science would say that I am listening more with my heart brain than the head brain. So I’m going to listen and follow my heart brain. I am going to trust my wisdom, my intuition and allow divine timing and know that every step along the way, I am in a state of grace. And I hate to pull a Carrie Bradshaw but no matter what comes along my path, I won’t settle for anything less than butterflies.
And neither should you.