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Self-Care Sunday with Allison: The Heart

A new series intended to support you throughout February by offering practices to help cultivate a deeper love: self-love

Self-Care Sunday with Allison: The Heart

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Hello, everyone, and welcome back to this third installment of Self-Care Sunday for February.

Today, we are talking about The Heart: the seat of our compassion, the seat of love for ourselves and others, and the place where true wisdom resides.

In some ways, I only became truly aware of the heart space over the past year as being more than just the area where our most important organ resides or the symbolic place where we locate our life's heartbreaks. In the last year, as I've delved more into my personal healing through working with the energy of the Divine Feminine and yin and yang balancing, I've realized that the heart is more than all of that.

The bridge within all of us is the connecting point between our earthbound human existence and that which exists beyond what we can see, taste, hear, and smell. The heart is where the two parts of our existence meet, and we can know what is meant for us.

In my journey into the heart over the last year, I have found that the wisdom and intuition that comes in through the heart have a different resonance than that that comes through the mind. The mind is loud, fast-paced, and holds a sense of urgency and pressure. But the more profound wisdom that comes from the heart–where our true inner selves reside–sounds more like a gentle whisper and feels like a wave of calm clarity, bringing with it a sense of "just knowing" what is right or wrong for us in a given moment, as opposed to the wrestling that comes within the mind when logic and ego come into play.

The practice of coming into the heart and bringing the divine feminine or yin energy back to balance are interwoven; they are the same. What the world needs more of, and has been needing more of for a very long time, is balance–to find a way to balance our busy, rushing, productive-focused lives (yang) with stillness, receiving, and joy in simple things (yin), without having to do more or be more than we can at any given moment. There is a collective imbalance between yin and yang, and the yin is sorely calling for us to bring her forward.

I've found the practice of coming into the heart and balancing the yin with the yang so helpful in the last year, especially as my life as a parent, wife, child, and friend continues to evolve and, in some ways, get more complicated due to interpersonal dynamics, hormones–always the hormones for us women–and a lack of time to do all the things and be all the ways to the people in my life.

When my mind can't figure it out, it's all too overwhelming to bear, and I feel like I cannot be enough for anyone; the heart has become a refuge and a sanctuary for me. When I drop into the heart, it's all just a little bit quieter, and I can hear past the noise and listen more deeply to discover the answers I need to hear. Most often, the answer is that I need to find ease and rest and not take things so seriously.

woman standing with her hands on her heart and her eyes closed iStock
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I was initially led to read and learn about the heart and the yin energy of the feminine through various teachers, writers, and academics. The work that resonated with me most was that of Rebecca Campbell, a renowned writer and teacher about the mysteries of the heart, the feminine, and the true self (or the soul) within.

As she puts it: "In the womb, our human heart is the first organ to develop. The moment it stops beating, this life is officially over. But the power of this magnificent organ lies much deeper than its four-chambered walls. The heart has an energy field that is 5000 times greater than the brain. Home of our intuition, it has an intelligence scientists are just scratching the surface of. A depth of wisdom, a knowingness, an interconnectedness, a oneness with all of life that cannot be put into words. Indescribable. Both human and cosmic all at once."

So, how do you drop into the heart that exists beyond the four-chambered walls? And how exactly is the heart connected to the true self, the inner wisdom, or the soul–whichever suits your belief system?

There are so many paths and avenues that you could take to answer this question. For me, what has come to be true is an understanding that beyond the body, the trappings of the mind, the thoughts, the ego, the outer self, there is something more profound and wiser inside of me, and when I connect to it, I feel calmer, more at peace.

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On a physical level, when I focus on my heart, I feel a sense of expansion and lightness that feels all at once physical and also connected to something much more significant than me alone. When my heart feels heavy or sad or just so lost, these are the practices that I have turned to time and again to help me drop into this place of inner knowing, where everything else fades away and the truth reveals itself in the gentlest of ways.

Oracle Decks

If you've never worked with an oracle deck, it may seem very far out of your comfort zone, like something reserved for witches and psychics. But for whatever reason, I was drawn to The Rose Oracle Deck by Rebecca Campbell after connecting with her work as a writer. By giving it a try, I discovered that the cool thing about working with Oracle decks is that they provide a straightforward gateway into meditation and self-reflection.

They are a tangible pathway to a daily ritual of going inward that's more fun than sitting on a mat and staring at the wall (but if that's your jam, all power to you!) Working with an Oracle deck means you don't have to work too hard or overthink anything. You just let your intuition guide you to choose a card, and then it's up to you how you want to take it. For me, it has become a part of my daily morning ritual.

I sit at my kitchen table, light my favourite candle, lay out my chosen oracle deck, often The Rose Oracle, and take a few deep breaths in and out to settle into the space, holding my hands at the heart in prayer. I allow my hands to guide me to a card. Then, the accompanying guidebook gives insight into the theme or idea behind the card that you can use for meditation, contemplation, or as a prompt for my daily writing exercise.

woman sitting facing a window meditating iStock

Rose Oil, Essence and Tea

If you feel the call to lean further into the heart's energy, I highly recommend working with rose oil and rose essence. Rose oil has been used in rituals of all traditions for thousands of years because of its healing and soothing properties associated with helping to release difficult emotions and supporting a sense of love, forgiveness, and kindness–both within and without.

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There are different ways that you can use it. The products I recommend the most that don't come with a hefty price tag are Heritage Store Rosewater mist, which I mist on my face each morning. If I'm feeling extra tender in my heart with whatever is going on in my life, I rub a few drops of rose oil like this one on my chest and back in the areas of my heart chakra and take a few deep inhalations before getting going in my day to calm and ground me.

At night, I sip on the Love Blend tea by Pukka with a bit of honey. If nothing else, I'm a big advocate for buying yourself a bouquet of roses in a colour that you find soothing or uplifting. Put them somewhere that you can stop and smell at any moment of the day.

Music Frequencies

That feeling when your favourite song hits just right, or after a long day when you come home and put on something slow and familiar and find yourself instantly soothed–it doesn't get much better than that. Music carries healing frequencies used in cultural traditions for millennia, so this isn't new. Still, science is starting to catch up to what the healers and sages have known for ages and are now studying the effects of music therapy in healing.

I find that beginning the morning by creating the most spa-like vibe I can in my home helps me stay calm and centered in my heart space throughout the day. Solfreggio frequencies are a set of tones that have been scientifically proven to have strong mental, emotional, and physical effects on healing, which in this context is just a return to a sense of peace and wholeness. I like to start my day by playing 528 HZ frequencies in the background, as these are intended to align with the heart.

woman closing her eyes meditating iStock

Yin Yoga for The Heart

Yin yoga is all about receiving–a core aspect of the feminine yin energy–and so is less about moving and more about holding the poses for longer and cultivating stillness. It's excellent for helping to restore a sense of calm and ease. Also, it provides very nurturing energy within the body so that it feels safe and cared for, which is crucial for restoring the parasympathetic nervous system. This Yin Yoga for Your Heart practice can be done in less than 30 minutes and focuses mainly on poses that help open up the heart space and a bit of the hip because we hold much emotion and pent-up energy in our hips and sacral area.

Guided Meditation

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As this series is all about self-care, which begins with self-love, this is a wonderful, brief guided meditation that you can do in 5 minutes to help cultivate self-love. We say it all the time, but it is true–if you can't love yourself first, it's almost impossible to give love to others. It all starts from within.

Whatever path inward resonates with you most in getting there, and with whatever you might be going through in your life, what remains is that the heart is where we can go when all else has failed us. When you've tried everything else, and nothing has worked, the heart will lead you to the answer and the inner peace you seek. If you are angry and confused, and you've tried everything else, the heart will tell you to try compassion.

If you are hurt and nothing helps, the heart will tell you to find gratitude. If you are lost and don't know where to go or what to do next, the heart will tell you to surrender to what is. If you are sad or afraid, the heart will tell you to seek joy. And if you have come to the edge of your rope and life is not what you want it to be, the heart will tell you what is always true for all of us, even though sometimes it doesn't feel like it: You are not alone.

The simple truth, when it comes to the heart, is that all you have to do is listen.

Until then, I am wishing you much self-love!

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Allison

Author:

Allison McDonald Ace is a YA Certified Yin & 200 HR Vinyasa & Hatha Yoga instructor, published author and expressive writing workshop facilitator. She is passionate about turning her own healing practices and experiences into offerings to help others on their journey.

For more resources or to connect with me, please check out my website at allisonmcdonaldace.com.

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