I have been thinking a lot about what lies within me during these darker months of the year. This time of year feels less spacious to me because the days are so short and because the chill in the air keeps me indoors most of the time. I am left to confront my inner world with fewer distractions outside. I close my eyes and ask myself a question that never gets old, “What’s the condition of my heart?” And then I listen. I listen deeply with the intention of hearing what my heart has to say. On New Year’s Day I listened deeply and my heart said “share.” This is my sharing.
I have been committed to knowing myself deeply for many years. I remember sitting on a curb in the Mission District of San Francisco while visiting an old friend in 1994. I was living in New York City and I was on vacation from my job as an analyst at an investment bank. I checked in with my heart as I sat on that curb and my heart told me that I was home. This declaration from my heart didn’t make any sense since I had lived in New York for most of my life and I had never before considered living in California. But as I listened to my heart it said again that I was home. I was so unhappy in my life in New York City that I listened. Although the surface details of my life looked as I had wanted – I was hired at a stable, well-paying job that I had applied for and I was living in a great neighborhood in the West Village – my heart was not happy in that life. My mind had created a life that my heart could not thrive in. I quit my job and moved to San Francisco a month later because I knew that my mind had not figured out the right ingredients to a good life. I took a risk and listened to my heart.
I could give many examples of listening to my heart over the years. One of them was when I fell in love with my husband, Eliot. He and I had been teaching self-defense together for several years and we were friends, but we had no interest in one another. And then one day he walked in the door of my house for a staff meeting and my heart nearly jumped out of my chest. I walked right up to him and said, “What happened to you, Eliot Nemzer?” My heart was impatient to spend time with him, which was brand new. I agreed to teach a class with him that weekend that I had previously declined to teach. We opened our hearts to each other and we fell in love. At first my mind fought with me because a relationship with Eliot didn’t make any sense for many surface reasons, but my heart knew better. Listening to my heart was the first step in being able to connect with Eliot and his beautiful heart. Twenty years of love later I’m grateful that I listened to my heart.
In late November 2017 I saw a friend who mentioned that she would be traveling to Kenya to work at a Global Youth Peace Summit in December. I asked her how I could have found out about the trip. She said, “Why? You want to come?” My heart nearly thundered out of my chest with a resounding YES! I texted Eliot to ask him if he would be up for my going to Africa for two weeks in two weeks or whether he thought I was crazy. He said, “Yes, you’re crazy. And that’s part of why I love you. Go.” I listened to my heart and spent two weeks in Kenya in December. My experience there was incredible on so many levels. We stayed at an orphanage and the kids were open and loving and wonderful. Although only a few of them were old enough to participate in the summit, I got to know and love many of them. When the 70 youth arrived from several African nations for the summit, I was struck by how friendly and open-hearted they were to me. As the summit progressed and emotional topics were covered, the youth were encouraged to talk to me as a therapist if anything arose that was overwhelming to them. As the youth started to approach me, I was amazed that none of them had ever talked to a therapist before. And I was even more struck by how many of them had never talked to anyone about the issues they were discussing with me. But despite their lack of practice at self-disclosure, they gifted me with trust and opened their hearts to me. I came home with a full heart and a commitment to raise money for the organization that runs the African summits (The African Dream Movement http://www.OurAfricanDream.org ) and to work with larger groups in the way that I learned at the summit.
On New Year’s Day as my heart said “share,” I shared my heart with Eliot in the way we have practiced for 20 years. Together we dreamed up a way of teaching together again, as we did when we met. We want to share with others our best practices for connecting deeply with our hearts. We invite you to join us for a day of connection on February 10, 2018. We will teach the class in our home, which is where our hearts live. We will donate all of the money earned from teaching that day to the African Dream Movement to help fund their future programs. You can sign up for this class as an individual or you can invite your partner, friend, neighbor, boss, parent…to join you.
Please let us know if you have any questions about the class or about counseling sessions with Kristin or Eliot. We look forward to connecting with you!
And if you’re ready to reserve your spot, please do!
Click the Schedule Now button and then on the “classes” link to sign up.
There are limited spaces available. We’ll send you more details by email once you sign up online…
Happy New Year! May this be a year of deeply connecting with your heart.