Be still my beating heart.
Or not. Because if it were still for more than about 5 minutes, you’d be dead. But there are probably times that you wish your heart were more still than it was…like on a roller coaster ride, or when someone provokes your anger, or just before giving a big presentation.
When you feel overwhelmed—and otherwise—your heart responds:
In general, feelings of emotional stress – including emotions such as anger, frustration, and anxiety—give rise to heart rhythm patterns that appear irregular and erratic. In contrast, positive emotions send a very different signal throughout our body. When we experience uplifting emotions such as appreciation, joy, care, and love; our heart rhythm pattern becomes highly ordered, looking like a smooth, harmonious wave [that] is called a coherent heart rhythm pattern (HeartMath).
In other words: thoughts, emotions and other stuff in your environment affect you.
Likewise, how you feel also affects your environment.
To wit: Your loved one says something that angers you. Your heart pounds and you can respond about a billion different ways. If you go eye-for-eye and respond with anger, well, you already know where that gets you. Responding with a compassionate hug leads to a very different scenario…and rest-of-the-day for you, your loved one and everyone else who crosses your path. In contrast, responding via improv dance would likely lead to a whole new ball of wax (if you ever choose this path, please let me know how it goes).
So your heart receives input from the environment and provides output to it. Materially (e.g. increased blood flow) and energetically (e.g. anger).
Kind of like black holes:
In some ways, [a] black hole resembles a beating heart that pumps blood outward into the body via the arteries. Likewise, a black hole can inject material and energy into its host galaxy and beyond (NASA).
The energy injected by a black hole (which comes from enveloped matter) is surprisingly similar to the energy emitted your body (e.g. infared/visible light, gamma rays). Of course, there are many differences between you and a black hole (unless you ask Nassim Haramein, who posits black holes at the heart of all atoms, including yours). One is discernment—you get to choose what to give and receive; I’m unclear on the intentionality of a black hole, but guessing it’s not 100%.
The giving part can be a bit easier to engage, so: What is your heart pumping into the world? Or rather…What do you want your heart to express? You have the choice.
Jubilation? Wonder? Luminosity?
Once you know how you would like to feel, you can stack your day, accordingly.
For instance: If you would like to feel vivacious, well, what activities can you add into your day that invoke that part of you—running on the beach? Playing with your pooch? Wearing bright colors? Seems like a simple question but, to the best of my understanding, society has got the equation ass-backward, in that we do/buy/eat/etc with the hopes of feeling a certain way…instead of using “How do I want to feel?” as a litmus test for then choosing our activities.
It’s tough choosing how you want to feel. I’ve actually created lists of adjectives because many of my patients could not reach beyond the prosaic ‘happy/healthy/balanced/calm/etc.’ I don’t say that pejoratively, at all. Society has made emotional expression a no-no, which is why it’s ok to watch reality shows and movies with folks crying—and maybe even cry while watching them—but somehow it’s not ok to really truly cry in real life. Envision it: you wailing in an apartment in NYC = your neighbors calling the cops because something must be wrong for you to be crying so long, so hard. Same goes for laughing loudly and long-ly on the street; you could end-up in a straight-jacket.
A shame, because emotions – even the ‘negative’ ones – provide us with more power for our day. But that’s another blog.
So back to your litmus test: “How does this make me feel?”
Here’s how to practice feeling:
Choose a feeling. Any feeling. No right/wrong here. Let’s choose groovy.
Walk around as if you were groove personified; How are your feet stepping? Arms swinging? Face gesturing? Notice…and then compare-and-contrast how your body moves when walking around depressed, then angry. Walking is walking (same stance/swing phases, flexion/extension at the hip joints, etc) – you’re just changing the quality of the movement. The feeling infusing it.
Pick an emotion-a-day and practice infusing it into your walk…along with everything else you do, i.e. ask ‘how can I add more groove to this situation?’ and then let your heart lead the way.
Added bonus: Watch the final dance scene to ‘What A Feeling’ from Flashdance, and notice:
Her routine doesn’t really inspire the judges ‘til she dances with feeling. Not thinking. Feeling. Hence the name of the song.
When she does it with feeling, that’s when the judges literally wake up to what she’s putting out. They feel her vibe. They tap their feet. They respond. When you express different emotions, people respond differently. See for yourself.
She falls down. Then gets up again. In other words, she moves through the feeling of failure to start anew. Just like strengthening your arm muscles requires repeated practice so, too, does strengthening your emotional muscles. Don’t give up.
Enjoy the unexpected cameo by a male dance-double at 3:53min during the back-spinning/break-dancing move.
Your tides of feelings & emotions & ups-and-downs aren’t necessarily going away any time soon. The ground is moving under our feet collectively and individually. What will make your life and our world feel smoother is for each of us to learn how to ride the waves next-level-of-the-game; the better we surf, the greater equanimity we learn…and can share with others.
Including black holes. ‘Cause black holes have an even harder time establishing equilibrium than you do 😉