Take a Walk in Your Heart

Written by Christine Kane

This weekend, many of us will finally get warm Spring weather. I’m going to spend most of the weekend on hiking trails in the mountains, looking for pink ladyslipper, trillium, and Jack in the Pulpit. I’m sure many of my readers will spend lots of time walking or just being outside.

Here’s a little thing I do when I’m hiking or walking. The power of it never ceases to amaze me. You can try it this weekend.

Sometimes, even when I’m out in the woods, I’ll notice that my mind is just yammering its obsessions or its opinions or its to-do list. When I catch that happening, I pause for a moment. And then I shift to a mode that I call “Walking In my Heart.”

I started doing this when I was first healing bulimia. I would hike for a while. Then I’d put my hand on my heart. Then I’d move all that energy out of my head and into my heart. In other words, I’d slowly shift my attention from my yammering thoughts to the feeling of my heart. It took some real concentration and time to feel the giant shift. But the first time I walked in my heart, the whole hiking trail lit up. Trees were more alive. And I could see everything, not just a little bit of woods in front of me. The world was brilliant and lovely.

These days I do it with a lot more ease. (Practice helps!) The other day, I was on a trail that had been clear-cut in the 50′s. Now it’s filled with invasive stuff like kudzu and poison ivy. It’s not a very inspiring spot. I was walking my dog. I was in a “get this over with” state of mind. But when I paused and shifted into my heart, I saw the trail in a whole different light. It’s like it opened itself up to me in a way that I couldn’t allow when I was in my head and my opinions. I felt a deep inner smile expand inside of me. And an intense peace just took over.

So, Christine, what the heck are you talking about? How do you even do this weird thing you’re describing?

Well, that’s the thing. I don’t have any steps. I can only offer some thoughts on how it works for me. You can try it this weekend when you’re outside. And once you get the feel for it, you’ll want to do it all the time.

- When I first got the idea to do this, I was working with a massage therapist/ energy healer who sensed a huge disconnect between my head and my heart. She would often put her hand on my heart and hold it there until she could feel me move out of my head and into my heart. There was no effort involved at all. It was just a shift. It was palpable. I wanted to experience that feeling in other places in my life besides the massage table.

- The key thing is to make sure you’re not just “thinking about” your heart. For instance, some meditations begin with “feeling your hands.” Many people hear this and rather than feel their hands, they think about their hands. A great way to remedy this is to close your eyes and imagine that Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak has been thrown over you. Without opening your eyes, ask yourself how you’d even know that your right hand was still there if you couldn’t see it. That brief feeling of your hand is the answer. I call it “hand-ness.” Now, that very same idea is the starting point for walking in your heart. You feel your heart. You close your eyes and ask how you know your heart is even in there. You hold that feeling of “heart-ness.” And as you do that, you allow more and more of your being to move in there. (Your heart can handle it! Don’t worry!)

- When you’ve made the shift, it can actually feel like you’re seeing through your heart. Like the filters that your eyes normally go through are gone. And now your eyes are “going through” your heart. That is an amazing feeling. It’s how it must feel to be enlightened.

- If you’re “trying hard,” then stop. It’s not about trying hard. It’s gentle. It can take some amount of concentration (not a great word because it’s so mental) to hold your attention in the heart space, but it’s not “effort” or “pushing.”

- Most of us spend so much time in our heads. We have aching shoulders, tight jaws, and long to-do lists. Shifting moment by moment into our bodies, and into our hearts can create huge changes in our days and our work.

- In my experience, the heart is not about emotionality. It’s not about drama. There is feeling there, yes. There is compassion and openness there. But when someone claims that they are such a heart-centered person and that’s why they have such sadness and drama, I don’t think it’s their heart. I think that’s still their head! Your heart is actually a very serene and strong place.

- If you’ve never done anything like this, then the first time you try it might just be a fleeting moment, or a quick glimpse. You might suddenly find your way into the heart, and then jump right back up into your head. That’s okay. Once you get that glimpse, it’ll get easier and easier. Eventually, you’ll be able to take whole hikes in your heart!

Happy Spring!

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{13 comments ... read them below or add one}

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{13 comments ... read them below or add one}

Author Mom with Dogs April 20, 2007 at 7:27 am

Love the description of how to “feel” your hand rather than “think” it. Really enjoy your writing. Thanks for sharing.

[Reply]

shan April 20, 2007 at 8:31 am

I’m going for a walk with my heart today. Thanks, Christine, for this beautiful meditation!

[Reply]

Kathy April 20, 2007 at 9:10 am

A hike this weekend sounds wonderful! And trying to be heart-centered even better. I’ve never done what you suggest overtly but I think it happens for me every now and then. Now that I know it can help get rid of all that tightness in the neck and shoulders I have every day – I plan to try to get there more often. We have this beautiful outdoor sculpture park at the end of my road – and for years I’ve been saying that I will start regularly walking there – taking in the art and nature. Can you guess how many times I’ve done it? Yup. Zero. This post is giving me the much needed inspiration to get over there when I return from this business trip on Sunday. If there’s any place to inspire heart mindedness, it’s got to be Art OMI. Thank you!

[Reply]

Jeffrey Hunter April 20, 2007 at 9:36 am

Christine:

I turned to hiking and the outdoors after battling alcoholism more than 20 years ago. I returned to my outdoor roots – the things that I enjoyed as a young boy.

Today, it’s what keeps me grounded. If I need to sort something out or restore balance in my life, I head for the mountains. Today, hiking has become my magic elixer. And it’s still working more than 20 years later. A hike this weekend sounds perfect!

[Reply]

Susie April 20, 2007 at 1:32 pm

Hey Christine,
What a beautiful story…thanks for sharing!!!
When writing this, did you happen to realize that tomorrow is Earth Day? On The Sunshine Journal,
the last couple of posts have been about ways to celebrate Earth Day and I added a link to this
story for everyone else to enjoy.

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the hike!
P.S. You have Pink Ladyslippers in your neck of the woods…Pink Ladyslippers!!!
I’m sooooo “*jealous*” :-D

[Reply]

Swan April 20, 2007 at 3:11 pm

Beautiful.

[Reply]

Jim Bennett April 21, 2007 at 11:27 pm

Just a note to tell you how much I have enjoyed looking around your blog. And the music download was very nice. I like a distinctive voice! Wow!

I don’t want to leave without offering a little something we think is cool. See our blog at http://blog.attractionlist.com for demo of our stuff to Organize, Visualize and Make it Yours.

I am no songwriter but I bet one of tools would be very nice for developing lyrics, though like a whole lot in our project, we did not intentionally create it for that purpose. I am beginning to wonder just How we created this thing at all… We do hear the muse :^)

Jim Bennett
http://www.AttractionList.com

[Reply]

barb b April 22, 2007 at 7:26 am

thanks bb

[Reply]

Christine Kane April 22, 2007 at 9:00 pm

Thanks everyone for your notes! Susie – I had actually forgotten it was Earth Day. I live everyday like it’s Earth Day, so I don’t consider it anything different from the usual. (Except for some extra prayers and gratitude.)

[Reply]

Felicia K April 28, 2007 at 4:20 am

Christine, how come i felt like I can relate to this instantly?!
That’s an awesome sharing of your life experience! I love taking walks too…
it helps my mind so much! NOt only that, my body & soul are more than grateful for it!
A great reminder to all of us to go back nature once in a while or more! ~o^

[Reply]

Christine Kane April 28, 2007 at 11:34 am

Hi Felicia, Hmmm, I’m not sure how come…but it’s probably that thing about nature. So many of us spend so much time indoors and walking on pavement — that we forget to spend a little more time out in the world of dirt and leaves and plants!

[Reply]

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