Today I turn 32.
I recently found out from a fellow coach in my network who comes from Jewish heritage that this number has special significance.
In Hebrew, you would write 32 like this:
It’s said like this:
These letters together spell this word:
Lev means heart.
So with that, I decided to call this my Year of the Heart.
You may not immediately guess from the way that I speak to personal development today, but when I left my first career in finance and started on this new trajectory I was not leading from my heart. I simply would not have belonged in a category such as “heart-led” or “soul-led” entrepreneur.
The truth is, there was a part of me, not insignificant, that was also experiencing a lot of fear and seeking to avoid pain.
I stepped onto this path because I was suffering greatly where I was, and because I knew that I needed to summon an amount of courage proportional to my fear in order to create a new possibility for landing myself in a place where I could thrive.
So while I have always had a deep interest in personal growth, understanding the human condition, spiritual wisdom and even mysticism, that desire wasn’t what led me here.
I even scoffed when my first coach told me that it was possible to make a living from doing this work. I thought that was the kind of alignment that only other people got to enjoy. I have no shame in sharing this.
When we look out into the world of pop-psychology and personal development we see a lot of talk about “following your joy”, “living your purpose” and “building your dreams”. Those things are wonderful, but sometimes the messaging around those ideas can bypass the reality of whatever difficult passages we might need to find a way through first in order to find a flavour of meaning that suits our unique taste.
I really want to keep it real here and acknowledge that sometimes finding our place in the world is a messy process, just like it was for me. And I’d assert, one that persists into perpetuity as we continue to refine it.
Anyway, back to the Year of the Heart.
As I do, I dug a little deeper into the Hebrew understanding of the heart, and I discovered that their historical understanding of this important organ was much broader than we hold in the modern context. They believed that the heart was the place from which you think and make sense of the world, where you make choices and where you feel your emotions.
This might sound strange at first to some, but modern neuroscience actually backs it up.
Neurologically speaking, there is more information travelling from the heart to the head than there is from the head to the heart. Further, a study I found from 2014 concluded that people with higher heart rate variability (“HRV”, a measure of the variation between your heart beats) are better equipped to regulate their emotional state as they are more adaptable. Lower HRV was associated with higher levels of hyper-vigilance and maladaptive cognitive responses to emotional stimuli.
Put simply: a healthy heart will greatly assist with your mental health and ability to be able to connect with others.
Factors that improve an individual’s heart rate variability include regular exercise, a regular (and sufficient) sleep schedule, eating nutrient dense foods, breathing properly and managing stressors.
It’s clear from this that some small lifestyle and habit adjustments can pay big dividends to your overall health, well-being and enjoyment of life.
Before I started to learn the skills required to regulate my emotions more powerfully and make decisions based on intuition, not simply logic and reason alone, I would have been described as someone who is “always in their head”.
If you asked my coach friends who have deeper training in somatic therapies they’d still say I am “in my head”!
(I prefer to say that I am someone who enjoys intellection… it’s all relative, right?!)
There is an old proverb, said to originate from the Native Americans, that the longest journey you will make in your life is from your head to your heart.
And that is why I am dedicating the coming year in my life to be the Year of the Heart. It's time to deepen the commitments I am making to myself, and to my role here.
This will be:
Where I step even more fully into this paradigm that is heart-led business.
Where I decide to commit to being completely responsible for my enjoyment of life.
Where I choose to fully let go of my attachments to the challenges that have characterised my path until now.
Where I allow my already powerful intuition to truly find a home inside me, daring to lead even more from this place.
Where I practise a greater level of devotion to caring for my physical body (because as we learned, that helps our heart).
Where I choose to speak more of what’s on my heart, because I know and trust that it needs to be both said and heard.
Where I take love off the ledger, and decide to give and receive it as though it was infinite (because it is).
Yes, this could have been a private declaration that I make just for myself. But I made a also choice a long time ago to become someone who can skilfully and authentically guide and support others as they grow through their lives, and to that end I see it as important to talk about what commitments I am making. And, to invite you to come along. As Ram Dass said, “we’re all just walking each other home”.
Are there some commitments here that feel relevant for you, too?
This week my friend, fellow coach and podcast host Mike Trugman released a podcast interview with me where I told my personal story as it’s never been told before. No coincidence that this episode should drop in a week where I make such a pledge to step more deeply into my own journey to the heart.
If you’re curious to hear more about how I arrived at 32, you can listen here:
I’m deeply humbled that you choose to join me here. I am convinced that you have a rich story to tell also, and I hope that if I haven’t already, that I get to hear it one day.
With that, I’m once again wishing you much peace, power and possibility, and welcoming you to share anything that moved you from this edition of Wellness Wednesday.
TL;DR - Life can be messy sometimes. Your most powerful compass in finding your way through it is your heart. The more we can practise living from the heart, the healthier we can become. It's a journey that lasts forever, but you get to enjoy the benefits by starting today. _______________________ How can I help?
If being "in your head" is something you recognise, you can read more about connecting to your heart in my article The heart: a solution to overthinking.
Are you looking for personal support as you go through a life transition, plan for something new, or decide once and for all to change the relationship you have with yourself? Apply for a 1:1 Power Hour session with me where we can explore the possibilities of working together. This is brave work. Freedom awaits.
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