I am feeling the energy of spring as its vibrant energy is springing up all around me. The flowers are blooming, the baby birds are chirping, and the weeds are filling my garden. This is a time of beauty and of work! I have been thinking a lot about how many options we all face as the days grow longer and the opportunities for work and play abound. We certainly can’t do everything that comes across our path and sometimes it’s hard to decide what we should invest our time in and what we should say no to and release. One way to make these decisions is to listen to our hearts. I love thinking of our heart as a sacred truth teller that tells us where we should invest our energy and where we should not. Have you ever had the experience of having someone suggest that you do something and your heart slams shut? It’s as if your heart is telling you, “Don’t do it!” And have you ever had the experience of having someone suggest that you do something and your heart expands or feels lighter? It’s as if your heart is telling you, “Yesssssss!” I find it very helpful to tune into my heart for its feedback into my life. When I work with clients I sometimes find that they are not used to listening to their hearts. This may have been because they were trained not to listen to their hearts when they were young.

I frequently had the experience of being trained out of listening to my heart as a child. One example is that as a kid I was sometimes required to visit my extended family even though my heart would slam shut every time it was suggested. No matter how many times I told my parents I didn’t want to go, they would remind me that family is important and basically tell me to stop complaining. The truth was that one of my uncles was cruel to my cousins and to my brother and me when my parents were not watching. I hated being around him and any time I would run crying to my parents and whisper to them the mean thing he had said or the mean thing he did, I would be told that I must be misunderstanding him and that I should go back to play with the kids. I quickly learned to keep my complaints to myself and I did my best to ignore his cruelty. Since the other kids also ignored his mean actions I thought that I was the only one being negatively affected by him. I remember trying not to cry and telling myself that I was making a big deal out of nothing. I would go to sleep before and after a visit with this uncle wishing that my heart would stop hurting and wishing that I would “feel things less like everyone else.” I tried hard to ignore my precious heart that was actually telling me the truth! Only as an adult did I find out that we all felt bad about how he was treating us and that I was not alone or crazy for feeling so resistant to being around him. Although this is only one small example I could think of dozens of other times that my heart saying NO was highly inconvenient and I became practiced in my youth at blaming myself for being “too sensitive.” I now realize that this sensitivity was a gift. I knew what felt loving and what felt toxic from a very young age. But I didn’t know this then.

When we become practiced at talking ourselves out of what our heart tells us, we can end up as adults living lives that don’t actually fit us. We might have a job we don’t like or spend time in relationships that are dissatisfying. Sometimes when I point out to a client in a session that I visibly “saw” their heart slam shut but then heard them talk themselves into something that they clearly don’t want to do, they explain all of the rationalizations for why they “have to” do the thing their heart doesn’t want them to do. Of course we all have some things that we need to do whether we want to or not, but I’m talking about an overriding pattern of that. Often these same folks suffer from anxiety or depression “for no reason” because everything is “fine.”

So what if we try to live our lives by listening to our sacred hearts? What if we commit to spending more time doing the things that make our hearts expand, open, leap and flutter? Why would we say no to that? If you don’t know what those things are, I encourage you to spend some time feeling your way through that inquiry. And if any of this feels like work that you would like some assistance with, please schedule a time for us to meet. I love helping people learn how to listen to their hearts and live a life that fits them just right and adjusts as they grow and change.

So this spring as we weed our garden and plant and nurture the seeds of what we want growing there, consider doing that in your life as well. Try not to nurture and nourish the things that your heart says no to. Instead do your best to weed them out of your life. And consider spending more time tending to the people, activities, play, and work that you love. Allow those things to grow big and strong in the garden of your heart.


And a beautiful poem titled, “Heart Prayer,” by Gina Purraro

I climbed inside my soul and sat beside my heart and sang her a lullaby.
I sang with all the love of all the grandmothers through all times.
I sang lamentations and I sang exaltations.
I held my heart like I would hold a newborn, precious, tender, vulnerable, wide open to receiving the love of the universe.
I sang my heart a lullaby and I ask her for her forgiveness for the pain and sorrows that had climbed inside and had hidden from me.
I sang a love song to the child’s heart that came into this world, wide eyed, innocent, longing to be seen, held and loved.
I sang to the old woman’s heart that had endured, that had been betrayed and betrayed, that had loved and lost love.
I sang to the strength of that heart that keeps on beating to the rhythm of the eternal heart beat.
May all sorrows that need to climb their way out of your heart, flow into a river of tears, that gush like a rushing river carving new wrinkles upon your brow, a holy rite of passage, scarification, marking endings, honoring mysteries yet to be born.
May your heart know peace, compassion and love in this New Year.