Subjective measures of relaxation: what would you add?

How do you know you’re relaxed? I have a hunch that most people think they relax sometimes, but compared to people who’ve explored relaxation, they are not. Relaxing with a beer, with friends, in nature, on vacation, etc. is what comes to mind for a lot of people when they think of relaxation.

Yes, it’s different from working or feeling stressed, and yet the depth of relaxation can be so much more. It’s not about what you do, it’s what you experience in your body, and in your mind.  Continue reading

The questions of the heart; seeking the sound of a normal heartbeat

I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.

Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now.

Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

I have a friend who just had a second surgery on his heart in two weeks. His heartbeat has not had a regular rhythm for some time now.

I’m searching the internet for a sound file or an iPhone application that is just simply the sound of a normal heartbeat. The longer the better, and if he can loop it to listen to all night with headphones as he sleeps, fantastic.

At a minimum, it will be soothing, because if you can imagine, heart surgery is a pretty nerve-wracking big deal, especially when the problems aren’t fixed the first time.

At best, listening to the sounds could entrain his heart into a normal rhythm, which he did experience briefly after the first surgery.

If you know of anything, please comment or email me. Thank you.

Meanwhile, remember that besides the brain in your head (headquarters for the nervous system that runs throughout your entire body), you also have two other centers of intelligence: your heart and your gut.

I believe Rilke is onto something about the intelligence of the heart.

I have learned to sit with the questions in my heart and let them transform me, and I am a much better, broader, deeper person for it. I get perspective on my own fear-driven behaviors. I get insight into the behaviors and possible motivations of others.

I don’t know that I have answers. Perhaps the only answer is to be willing to sit with the feelings that are unresolved and allow them to change, not forcing or judging, just allowing and noticing.

It does seem to me that gradually healing occurs. Gradually forgiveness comes. Gradually lightness replaces heaviness. Gradually clarity replaces confusion. Gradually …

This is another rhythm of the heart.

Please say prayers for Marco. Thanks.