Lead with Love

Because I have a choice, I choose love.”Deepak Chopra

Our heart space is the place where our light comes from. When we let our heart give our brain more information than we allow our brain to give our heart, we lead with love. Our hearts can inform our rational mind. We can be less reactive and more intuitive. Your heart has two functions. It delivers those innate feelings of love, compassion, and joy. It is also the source of your light. Your entire world is lit by the quality of your heart. You may now ask, what can I do to lead with love? How can I bring more compassion, love, and joy into my life?

You might begin by taking time to close your eyes and be still.

Take a deep breath in and let it out slowly.

Just a few minutes of quiet can help us tap into messages from the heart.

I discover when I do this and pause in my day, I have a better understanding of why I am angry, irritated, frustrated, disappointed, or just plain mad. Often I find that I have not taken care of myself. When I close my eyes and breathe, I can ask myself, what do I want? What does my body need at this time? How can I bring more joy and love into my heart space?

Go outside. Find a park nearby or a trail and enjoy a walk outside. Breathe in the fresh air and sunshine. Take in the beautiful view and hold gratitude for nature. Take it all in. A friend reminded me, “There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.”

Rest. Find a comfortable place at home and lie down. Close your eyes. Listen to a yoga nidra meditation or set a timer and let yourself completely rest for a few minutes. Cover up and get cozy, supporting your body so it can relax and surrender to the moment.

Breathe. Take a deep breath. Fill your belly with an inhale and slowly exhale while the belly contracts. Just a few deep breaths can reenergize you and help you focus. An extended exhale can help calm the mind. There are many wonderful pranayama practices you can try. One of my favorites to bring balance to my mind and body is Nadi Shodhana, alternate nostril breathing. You can start with a few rounds and extend the practice to a few minutes. You can try this using your fingers to block the flow of air flowing out of each nostril or mentally directing the breath to flow from right to left.

Another simple breath is Sama Vritti Pranayama, box breathing. This breath practice invites the inhale and exhale to be the same length. You can count silently to yourself and inhale to the count of 4 and exhale slowly to 4, completely emptying the breath. After a few rounds, you can add retention at the end of each inhale and exhale. This is box breathing. Inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4. Repeat.

Eat nourishing food. Consider adding some of these foods to your diet to reduce anxiety and inflammation: dark leafy greens, walnuts, turmeric, wild salmon and other fatty fish, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, broccoli, celery, bone broth, cacao, blueberries, strawberries, and oranges. You can access some wonderful recipes shared on the Blue Zones website.

Hydrate. Drink water, tea, juices, and other things that are really liquifying and hydrating. Monitor your caffeine and alcohol consumption and balance with other nourishing liquids.

Move your body. Get up and move. Just a few minutes of activating your muscles can boost your energy and help combat the negative effects of sitting for long periods at a time. Get creative and move in a way that feels good. You can stretch, dance, walk, bike, swim, and move in ways that make you feel joy both inside and out!

Create. Stepping into a creative process does not have to be painting a mural or writing a book. Pick up a set of colored pencils or markers and doodle. Write your thoughts out in a journal. Create something delicious in the kitchen. Play with a child and create a new world to explore with your imagination.

Connect. Call, email, facetime, or write a family member or friend. We all need to feel connected and technology offers many wonderful ways to say hello. Let someone know why you care about them. Send a note, sharing a memory you have that you hold with gratitude in your heart. It will make both of your days better.

Practice gratitude and lovingkindness. Place your hands over your heart and quietly say to yourself what you are grateful for in this moment. Offer loving-kindness to yourself and to others with these words, “May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be safe. May I live with ease.”

When we take time to listen to our heart, we realize “one size does not fit all.” By slowing down, closing our eyes, and getting quiet, we can listen to our own inner wisdom and trust the process of remembering everything I need to know is inside me.

Image: Lori Portka Art