Stop for a moment. Close your eyes. Well… do that after you read this.
Breathe deeply into your chest. Feel your heart space. What does it feel like?
Does your breath feel constricted? Does your chest feel tight, or cramped? What exact sensations do you feel? Is it hard to breathe fully into that area?
Focus your attention there and just notice what comes up. Are there emotions associated with these sensations? What are they? Try to lean into them and be there, with yourself. You may feel tender, or sad, or afraid. It’s normal. It makes sense. Most of us have closed off our hearts to some degree. You’re experiencing those barriers when you feel this tightness or clenching in the chest.
Relaxing into the heart sounds simple, but is in fact very difficult for most of us. It’s so hard to keep a consistently open heart in this world. There is much pain, grief, hardship and trouble. We feel all these emotions in large and small ways every single day. We experience more of life and our grief and heartache compound. We feel that we need to protect ourselves. We feel that we can no longer open our hearts. We are exhausted. We are overwhelmed.
But I ask you: what is life with a closed heart?
I know that keeping yourself open, loving and sensitive is something you have to work with every single day. I have the same trouble myself. I also think we can reframe it as something else, something less difficult. Don’t make it a chore. Make it an act of letting go. Relax into opening your heart.
Start small – smile at a stranger. Stop to pet a dog. Give a hand to someone in need. These tiny heart-liberating actions feel good. They’ll encourage you to keep expanding and growing, to keep opening your heart in larger ways. It takes time, but just continue to breathe. Continue to relax. Continue to trust that opening your heart is the best way to live fully in the present moment.
You’ve got this. I know how courageous you are. I know that you want to live a meaningful and mindful life. You have the power to open your heart – and no one else can do it for you. It’s all up to you, love. Sending you the strength to truly let go.