“Open your heart, ignite the flame in your being and awaken the natural flow of energy in your heart. When your heart opens the world around you changes.” ~ Mingtong Gu
What a precious gift it is to be alive and to give and receive from our heart. I’ve been in Peru for a week now and already my heart feels more open and full of energy. I remember this feeling-to truly live and breath from the heart. It’s a gift to be able surrender to our heart center.
One of the biggest things I see out in the world and with myself is being able to have the courage to keep our heart open. Closing our heart is a self protection mechanism and we think it keeps us safe, but actually it closes us more off to life.
Heartbreak is hard and we don’t want to repeat it, but what is even harder is giving ourselves permission to open our heart up to ourselves and life again once it is closed or blocked. Even if it’s just a small opening, honor the progress you are making is part of the heart opening journey.
Keeping your heart open after experiencing a death, a trauma, a heart break, any kind of tragedy is even more crucial. It’s very easy to shut down to life, to feel alone and to question the meaning of life. Ask questions, but don’t let yourself be closed off to live. This is one of the hardest parts. If you can just keep a crack open, you are allowing new possibilities to enter.
Keeping your heart opening is a daily practice, just as anything is. How do you start? Like Pema Choden says, you start where you are now. Don’t wait for tomorrow and don’t look to your past, just start where you are now. We can’t get better unless we acknowledge our self in the present moment. The only moment that truly exist.
Sit we awareness and feel your whole body. Feel and connect to your breath. Place your hand on your heart. Start here. Start with feeling your heart beat. It’s there waiting for you to receive it.
I have really began to understand is that we have a choice to open or close our hearts. It would have been easy for me to close my heart after Jake’s death, but Jake wanted me to live. He wanted me to experience, smell, and taste life to the fullest even when he was gone. One day he said he wanted me to experience love again.
It’s guilt that holds us back from opening our hearts. We feel we are not worthy of love or don’t deserve to live from the heart until we are a “better” person. But when do these thoughts end? They won’t unless you find the courage to open our heart again, again and again.
Life is going to continue to bring experiences into our life to challenge us to grow. These experiences are also going to challenge us to decide if we choose to live with an open or a closed heart. This choice can completely transform your life, but it’s not easy and it takes incorporating it into your daily life just like you eat, and shower, cultivating daily space to open your heart is also necessary.
One of the biggest ways I keep my open my heart besides my daily yoga and meditation practice is by traveling. Traveling helps me to open my mind open to new perspectives, people and cultures. It keeps me open and feeling alive. It’s not always a comfortable or easy experience, but it brings joy into my life, which is one, the keys to opening your heart. Being in nature is also a daily heart opening practice for me too.
To keep your heart open you must be gentle with yourself and you must not judge your emotions through this process. Know that your emotions will come and go, but when you choose to remain open to life you begin to heal.
Here is a simple heart opening practice:
Sit in a comfortable seated position.
Keep your eyes open looking down at the floor or feel free to close them.
Begin to connect with your breath, slowly inhaling and exhaling.
When you feel ready place your hand on your heart.
Feel your heart beating.
Continue to come back to your breath as you continue to hold your hand over your heart.
Invite yourself to think of something you love, something that brings you joy.
Either a person, a place, a thing.
Keep that image in your mind as you continue to inhale and exhale.
Keep feeling your heart and breath out what no longer serves you.
Find space for your heart and just breath there.