(Note for my non-US readers- TSA is the Transportation Security Administration, the group in charge of airport security in the US)
Airports and stress have come to by nearly synonymous since 9-11. The 9-11 incident changed our lives in many ways as a society, none more evident than our experience of traveling through the “friendly skies”. I travel extensively as part of sharing my film with the public and coaching with individual clients. While on the road, I am always asked by at least one person : “How can you stand to fly so much? Isn’t it just terrible at the airports today?” My answer is, “I love traveling and one of my favorite things to do is to lighten up a TSA agents’ day!”
But I had to consciously work on this, on many levels, especially when they started the “pat down search”. Here is a photo of how I felt before I hit upon an effective de-stress practice at the airport.
Would you rather be right or be happy, is a well-known lesson in A Course in Miracles. My Valentines version of this is: Would you rather wait for the “right way” to express love or, be ecstatic for all the ways and opportunities to give and receive more love and appreciation? In this article, I share with you six steps to turn a “Heart-Scrooge” into a “Heart-Sharer”.
What is a Heart-Scrooge? Obviously, borrowing from the Dickens character in A Christmas Carol, a Heart-Scrooge is a person who is miserly in the expression of love and appreciation, and by reciprocity, reluctant, unwilling or unable to receive it from others. Just like Scrooge in the Dickens novel, a Heart-Scrooge would say “Valentine’s Schmalentines” to Valentine’s Day and carry on like it was nothing special to celebrate.
I have to admit that I used to be a bit of a “Heart-Scrooge”. Before “Sacred Journey of the Heart”, I was someone who would go around saying things like “Valentine’s Day is just a made-up Hallmark card holiday,” or “I don’t need a special day to remember to say “I love you”, (and all the while, not loving myself very much and being somewhat stingy in expressing love and appreciation to others!). Not only was I stingy with my feelings, much like Scrooge was with money, but I also used to be afraid to express them, just in case I’d make a fool of myself or I’d get hurt.
I now call this my former “Heart-Scrooge” period. In fact, you can see how it looks to be an actual “Heart-Scrooge” in the first two minutes of the film, in my “before” pictures. (Click here to view the prologue to the film… ) – I look scared, withdrawn, serious (very serious) and kind of boring as a person. AND you can see what it looks like “after”, when I became a Heart-Sharer.
Heart-Scrooges most likely say “bah-humbug” about roses and cards and candy. As a recovered Heart-Scrooge, what I call a “Heart-Sharer”, I now love the holiday! I look forward to it and plan on expressing and sharing in many ways! And it’s a fantastic reminder of how we may choose to love every day, if we just give ourselves permission to say, “Thank you, I love you, I’m glad you’re in my life”.
I found out too, as I was recovering my full ability to live as a “Heart-Sharer”, that lots of people are walking around in a heart-scrooged-up manner. Meaning, they know that they are capable of loving, and sharing way more than they are right now. If you harbor this secret desire inside to share more from your heart, then know that there is a pathway to change!
As we all know, change occurs first with yourself. So the following steps are 6 steps aimed at helping you shift any last vestiges of your inner Heart-Scrooge to a Heart-Sharer:
6 Steps to Transform from a Heart-Scrooge to a Heart-Sharer:
- First, you have to admit two things: a) you’ve been miserly with your feelings as if sharing them would “cost” you something, b) you’re afraid you might get hurt. Without facing these two things, you gloss over the surface and set up defense patterns and barriers to the deepest part of your heart, thereby lessening the amount of love you give and receive. It’s a simple formula: Fear x denial = Shut down. Try this one instead: Fear x acknowledgement = Openness to change.
- Second, you have to “take the garbage out of your heart”. Plain and simple. You can’t shift from a Scrooge to a Sharer if you are not willing to admit that you picked up one or both of these core negative beliefs somewhere along the line: a) “love is scarce” and/or b) “I don’t deserve love”. You must face these beliefs and recognize them for what they are: FALSE. But you can’t change these beliefs until you love them! That’s the surprising part. You cannot change a negative belief by acting “negative” towards it! Saying “I want to get rid of this BAD belief”, doesn’t work. Try this instead. Look into your own eyes and say: “I recognize that I have held these beliefs until now, and I lovingly release them. I now believe, with all my heart, that Love is infinite and I am worthy of all that love has to offer”. The Rx for recovering from heart-scrooginess is to repeat this at least 20 times a day, no less! (Note: I give credit to this powerful process to Colin Tipping and the transformative process of Radical Forgiveness. As Colin says, “the only thing that transforms an old belief is to love first!”)
- Third, become Engaged to yourself! One of the experts in my film, Sarah McLean, shared this concept with me in last September’s telesummit interview for “The Science and Art of Opening Your Heart”. After years of being single, Sarah decided to treat herself as she wanted to be treated by that “someone special”. She gave herself compliments, took herself on long walks on the beach, bought herself flowers, went out to dinner at nice places and even purchased an engagement ring for herself. She stopped looking outside for love and fell in love within. It was during this time, when she wasn’t looking for it, that her soul mate found her and true love blossomed in her life. This step is life-changing. To be engaged with love, engage yourself within, with loving feelings, words and actions. (Sarah’s interview and transcript are available as part of our Heart Specials Month. Click here for more information about how to obtain Sarah’s full interview.)
- Fourth, you must be willing to be vulnerable. To become a Heart-Sharer, you must be willing to express not suppress! This means you have to take risks, sometimes purposefully play the fool and at all times, remember that becoming a Heart-Sharer is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and others! You have to be willing to open your heart and allow two things to happen: a) your feelings to come out and b) other’s feelings to “come in”, meaning for you to become aware of other’s feelings about you. Here’s another formula: Feelings ÷ suppression = Heart contraction (or heart attack). Try this instead: Feelings x expression = Heart expansion.
- Fifth, go for it! Make a promise to yourself that, “On this day, I will not let any opportunities to express love go by the wayside.” Promise yourself that you will not be someone who experiences one of top 5 regrets of the dying! (Regret #3 is: “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings”.) Go for it! Even if it’s hard, do not wait! Say what you desire and need to say. Sometimes it’s awkward but you will not have to live with this painful regret. If you need to, be willing to say: “I’m sorry I haven’t called in so long. I didn’t know how to reach out, but I’m doing it now. I miss you.”
- Sixth, get creative! Take advantage of any and all ordinary and special opportunities to Love – Valentine’s Day, Birthday’s holidays and any other reason to share. Why miss a single one? If you’re a recovering Heart-Scrooge, make a promise to yourself for the rest of 2014, you will have a Secret Valentine’s Day every 14th of the month. Without telling others, make the 14th your special day to express love and appreciation by surprising people with “secret heart-sharer” presents, sort of like “Secret Santa”. Leave a small note of appreciation on a friend’s desk at work or send a text, leave a message or put a small token of affection on your loved one’s pillow.
What I discovered through my own Heart-Scrooge to Heart-Sharer transformation, was that it was far more painful to live all “Scrooged-up” in my heart-space than the temporary discomfort I experienced in learning to open my heart and share. In the final lines of A Christmas Carol, Dickens wrote this about Scrooge’s transformation: His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him…. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!” Happy Valentine’s Day to all of us!
“The new frontier of human evolution is one that connects us, not just as a catch phrase, but in a deep and meaningful way,” says Ronna Prince in her documentary film, Sacred Journey of the Heart. What does this mean? “When we live in this interconnected way,we not only know it in our minds, we feel it in our hearts and in every aspect of our lives, in our relationships with each other and in every step we take on our journey to wholeness and love.” Ronna’s film presents the science and spirit of our connection and focuses on our hearts’ innate power to connect us, not only to each other, but to earth itself.
Here are Ronna’s 9 easy practices to change your life.
# 1) Making a heart-based connection with people around you is easier than you think! You can make a heart-connection to anyone at all in this simple way: look into a person’s eyes and silently say: “I see you.” That’s it, no words necessary. Try it and you will notice how this opens your heart to others. And often the person you are silently noticing will open up to you in a genuine way: with a true smile, a heart-felt “have a nice day” or even to a more meaningful conversation. Establishing a simple visual connection with another person can be the beginning of cultivating a more heart-centered life.
# 2) When you live in your head, or in the world of ideas and analysis, there is a tendency to ignore feelings and shut down your heart. In making the film, Ronna discovered that she was living mostly in her mind and ignoring her heart. One of the easiest ways to reconnect to one’s heart, says Ronna, is to try this simple practice: Look into the mirror and say to yourself, “I accept myself.” In doing this, you will learn exactly how you feel about yourself. You’ll instantly hear your inner dialog, and from there you can begin to give yourself new messages based on connecting to your heart. The rewards of being lovingly connected to yourself are many, including more energy, deeper peace, and an inner beauty that emerges for all to see.
# 3) When dealing something difficult or unexpected, we have a tendency to think about the possible outcomes in the future. We project, analyze and often, worry. If we remember that there is usually a deeper meaning in challenges, a silver lining in the clouds, so to speak, we can practice this heart-based action: close your eyes and ask yourself: “I wonder where my heart is leading me?” Adopting an attitude of curiosity opens our hearts to a wider perspective. This simple question can help us stay calm rather than forever being buffeted by the external winds of change.
# 4) Expressing your feelings effectively is at the core of heart-based living. If you’re not comfortable with feelings in the flow of everyday interactions, try this simple practice: ask a person you are comfortable with, a friend or partner, to sit with you as you practice simple feelings-based phrases like: “I feel lonely. I feel content. I feel sad.” In response, your partner simply reflects this back to you by saying, “I feel your loneliness, I feel your contentedness, I feel your sadness, and it’s OK” – even if he or she doesn’t feel it. This is very powerful and will bring forth a lot of emotion, so do it with someone you trust.
#5) If you live from your heart, you absolutely know what matters most to you at a core level. Heart-based living is about conscious choice in alignment with your values. It means that when change happens, as it always does, you are not left reacting to it. Rather, you draw upon a deep well of inner knowing. If you haven’t written down what matters most to you, set aside an hour to do this. Then review it every morning and you will notice a profound change in how you go about your day.
#6) As viewers learn in the film, Sacred Journey of the Heart, your heart sends out a specific emotion-based encoding that is broadcast heartbeat-to-heartbeat into the field around you. When you are stressed, frustrated or complaining, the signal broadcast from your heart looks like a jagged line. When you are in a state of inner peace and appreciation, your heart is broadcasting a smooth, coherent signal. Try this simple practice when you are feeling upset or riled up by something or someone: Take a deep breath, focus on your heart and silently say to yourself: “I choose peace.” Doing this diffuses your reactivity and brings you into connection with your heart. As shown in the film, your heart’s signal can actually influence those around you to react more peacefully.
# 7) Living a heart-based life means consciously choosing to experience joy. Joy is defined as “an emotion of keen pleasure or delight.” Joy can be a fleeting feeling based on something wonderful happening “out there.” Or joy can be cultivated by taking time to connect with nature, with animals and, of course, with the people in our lives. Joy is an emotion that regenerates us and fills our cups so that when challenges arise, we know exactly what we can do to enjoy a moment of respite from the storm. Having a “joy-list” is an essential part of heart-based living. Take a few moments to write down your “joy-list” and then create a joyful experience every day.
# 8) Heart-based living also entails the practice of expressing gratitude. Gratitude is a choice that becomes a lifestyle when practiced daily. Find something to be grateful for every day and take a moment to savor it. This is a key element to being in the connection to our authentic self and the world around us. The feeling of gratitude can be generated without an external stimulus. Just remember a time you felt truly connected to nature or to a person and you will know, without doubt, it was a heart-based connection. A simple practice to cultivate gratitude is to put a gratitude journal by your bedside and commit to writing at least 10 things that you are grateful for at the end of each day. This is also an easy way to set the stage for a great night’s sleep!
# 9) Love is the greatest gift in life. Celebrating love takes many forms: a hug, a smile, a card on a special occasion or a gift given for no reason at all. Ronna notes that people who take time to celebrate the love they already have, usually end up attracting more! “This is beyond the popular ‘law of attraction’ principle that so many people are now familiar with,” says Ronna. “To me, it’s a higher law that I call the ‘Law of Confluence’ that is presented in the film.” Attraction is based on duality, like-attracting-like. Confluence is a weaving together of multiple streams of interaction. Confluence creates a wide-open field of possibility, compared to the limitation implied in attraction. Celebrating love is a key part of confluence. When we come from a place of love and the reality of our interconnection, we create a new world of heart-based living.
To see an illuminating and heart-inspiring trailer, featuring such leaders as Greg Braden, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Mary Morrissey, Colin Tipping, Sarah McLean, plus Dr. Rollin McCraty and Dr. Deborah Rozman of HeartMath –along with Ronna’s powerful story—click here!