You know when you do some gardening; you get calluses on your hands? I believe our society causes us to have calluses on our hearts.
It starts with birth, with families being bullied through a system that treats them like machines and disregards their emotional needs.
It starts with separating mothers and babies. By disrupting the release of the love hormone, Oxytocin, and the bonding process.
It starts with a culture that encourages parents to ignore their instincts, and disregard their baby’s needs for closeness and nurture, lest they will never become “independent”.
It starts with a society that sees punishing a small sign as a sign of strength and good parenting. A society that tells parents to “ignore bad behaviours”.
It continues at school, where beautiful unique souls are pushed and formatted, and expected to “be good”, sit still and do as they are told. TA place where there is control in the form of rewards and punishment, mostly punishment.
Later, it carries on within employment, where there is no trust, and where the carrot and stick culture continues. Where you get punished the moment you make a mistake. Where a culture of bullying pervades. Where whistleblowers are removed instead of addressing the issues they pointed at.
It’s no wonder perhaps that we develop calluses on our hearts. These calluses do not just disconnect us from ourselves; they disconnect us from each other. They remove the ability to experience compassion, and the sense of interconnectedness that is so essential to our wellbeing.
How to we change this?
We change this by listening to our instincts, whether it is during the journey to become parents, during birth, by parenting from a place of gentle nurturance and respect.
We change this by reconnecting to our hearts. By acknowledging the presence of the calluses and treating them with tenderness. By acknowledging them in ourselves, and by acknowledging them in others.
Above all, we change this by starting to listen to our hearts (rather than our heads).
We change this by reconnecting to our hearts. And by reconnecting to the knowing in our hearts.
It is my belief that humanity is at the cusp of a major transformation. That we are leaving the era of head based knowledge, and that the way forward is heart based.
How do you start to reconnect with your heart?
You know about connecting with your breath? Next time you connect to your breath, imagine that you are breathing through your heart.
Next time you face a dilemma, or need the answer to a question, or need to ask yourself whether something feels right or not, drop into your body, and feel what the options feel like, in your heart.
Teach yourself to recognise your heart’s yes or no response to situations or questions. Drop in. Does it feel open, soft, warm? Does it feel closed, heart, cold? Your body knows. Your heart knows.
The Heartmath institute has many resources on how to connect to one’s heart, including this short animated meditation video.