The Heart Journey, Our Path Back Home.

Updated: Jul 2, 2020


I created a free Guidebook for The Heart Journey, check it out on the Empowerment page filled with resources for YOU!


It is challenging to pave those sacred paths back to yourself, to come home to the gold inside, and to let go of resistance and be with what is.


It’s a tall order! Our predisposition is to flee, fight, and freak the f’ out! :)


So I want to explore together here why we leave our bodies, hearts and this moment, and how we come back. My intention is to support you on your journey and to give you a compassionate perspective as you walk this road.


Throughout I will be pulling from two women who I greatly admire, Brené Brown and Tara Brach. Both of whom I highly recommend exploring.


So right now, check in. Reflect.


Are you at home in your body? Are you here in this moment? Can you feel connected to your body and heart?


Place your hand on your heart space and take a breath.


Reflecting on your day, how much do you feel you have you been present for it? Is there a sense of being here?


Or is there that feeling of skimming across the surface of life and never really arriving? Trying to get somewhere, but never getting there? A restlessness?


Take a breath. Lengthen and strengthen your back, soften and relax your front and feel into your heart space. Breath into that space for a moment.


This feeling of skimming across the surface of life is a familiar one to us all I think. A tightness and sense of fear is familiar to us all as well.


It’s ok.


AND we get to practice reaching that edge and softening.


So let’s explore this topic of not at home with ourselves, or this moment, and how to get back and begin to release the suffering that is here.


The biggest indicator of not being at home with ourselves, in our body, in our heart, in this moment, is doubt. Tara Brach talks about how if we are living in a contracted sense of who we are, there is a tightness. And something in us intuits that, and we don’t trust ourselves. Somethings wrong, and it’s wrong with me.


Do you resonate with that?

I do.

We don’t trust ourselves.


We don’t want to be here. We feel that dis-ease, and yet we yearn for a real sense of ease. And so we are in resistance to what is and we suffer from that “home-sickness.”




Tara Brach frequently poses this reflection that I love.



“Right this moment, what’s between me and feeling at home in my body? Am I here? What would it mean to be at home right now? What would the felt sense be of being at home?”



I invite you to reflect on that.


When I reflect on this, more often than not what’s between me and feeling at home in my body is fear.


If I look closely, what it would mean to be at home would be to trust, and to let go of control.

There’s almost always a vulnerability that I am skipping over, that I have to touch on when I practice coming back home to this moment.


In some way I am resisting being here right now. In some way I am resisting what is, resisting what I’m feeling, I am fighting reality in some way. When there is resistance, there is suffering.

When we let go of resistance, we let go of suffering.


So often when I reflect on, what would it take to be here now, to be at home within yourself?

I find that it takes courage. The courage to trust. The courage to be with the vulnerability. The courage to let go of control, let go of resistance, and be present and accepting to what is.


I love what Brené says about the word courage:


Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart."


What comes up for you when you take this reflection? I would love to know.




Trust the energy that Courses through you Trust, Then take surrender even deeper. Be the energy. Don’t push anything away. Follow each Sensation back to its source In vastness and pure presence.

-Danna Faulds





So why is this so important? Why do I talk about it, and dedicate my time making content around it? Why does it matter to be at home inside ourselves, to be present to this moment, and to show up with all of us, here and now?


Because the cost, that sense of skimming over life, is that feeling of an unlived life.




When Death Comes


When it's over, I don't want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument.


I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

-Mary Oliver




I desire more, and I know you do too. That’s why you are here.


I desire to feel the vibrancy and fullness of life.

On a deeper level, underneath the fear, we know that we don’t want to live a half-hearted life. We want to live a wholehearted life.


So why do we leave then? If we desire to live fully and to be here fully, why do we leave?


We are more comfortable with leaving. With being lost in the busy mind, or reaching for distractions and things to numb with. Trying to control, scanning our lives for where we are wrong and where others are wrong. It’s uncomfortable to stay. It doesn’t always feel good to be with what is, to be in this moment. To be vulnerable and present. We have deep conditioning to leave. We are always wanting something, or moving away from something. We are waiting for our turn to talk, we are navigating and managing our way through life.


And OF COURSE we are! This is not to bring up judgments or self-blame about our natural survival tendencies. We are biological beings who have a nervous system. We are not made to empty our minds, be present, and still. If our ancestors had done that, we wouldn’t be here! It’s survival of the fittest, not survival of the mellow, relaxed and peaceful! We are wired to look for what’s wrong, remember where we messed up so we don’t do it again, keep moving, be in control, keep problem solving, watch out for danger, avoid pain, move towards pleasure, think think think think think…….


So, that’s ok. That’s just part of our wiring.


AND there are other parts of our brain too. AND the we have the ability to change things.


Neuro plasticity shows us that we are not “stuck with what we got” we have the ability to carve those new pathways, to live with more intention, more mindfulness, to be vulnerable, and show up for our lives with more presence, love, and compassion.


Because if we are scurrying around in our survival way, trying to get somewhere, get something, avoid something, that’s the feeling of skimming along the surface of life and never arriving. That’s the feeling of an unlived life.


And I don’t know about you, but I deeply want to LIVE my life. I spent far too long not being here for it. I show up now.


That was one of the reasons I took that first step down the path of healing. I had a deep sense that I was missing life. That I was looking at it through a window, and that the “home” inside, did not exist.


But in finding the home within, by cleaning house, by reclaiming my wholeness, by becoming a practitioner, by learning to be with the pain, and to stop fighting and fleeing, I was finally able to arrive in my life.


“Dwell as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows.”

― Henry David Thoreau


I often talk about it as the different between seeing in black and white and seeing color. The transformation of coming back to the life that is inside you and around you. The shift from being plummeted in the waves to remembering that you are the ocean. This is available to us, it’s finding the willingness. The courage, to be here.


So as I illuminate above, we often don’t feel that home even exists inside. We feel at war with ourselves, or we feel numb. We feel that we would rather be anywhere else but in the depths of ourselves. And this creates that underlying sense that something is wrong, and that that something, is me. I’m not ok. There’s the sense of I’m not enough, I’m unworthy, I’m failing short in some way.


Do any of those feel familiar?


And so we build our armor to navigate through the world and to protect ourselves, and we slowly become identified with that armor, with that covering and we forget who’s really inside.


In the Guidebook I share the story of the golden Buddha, and how we become organized around our covering, and we forget the gold inside.


We create a self to survive in the world, a self that will get accepted by others, that will belong. And in this self-construction process we abandon parts of ourselves, our tenderness, our openness, our vulnerability. We banish parts of ourselves to the shadows and we work really hard on our armor, so much so, we forget that there ever was anything else.


Tara Brach says that a core teaching of the Buddha is that “we suffer because we forget who we really are. We forget the essence — the awareness and the love that's here — and we become caught in an identity that's less than who we are.


And once again, if this resonates with you, bring compassion to it. Survival is important, each plate of armor that we have served a very important purpose at one point. It kept us safe. It allowed us to keep surviving in the world. So you are not broken. No one is. We just outgrow our armor and it begins to suffocate us, cut into our skin, and we begin to yearn and long to return to the mystery and vitality of life.


And so this Heart Journey is learning to get back to that gold and to be who we are. To connect back to the compass of your heart so you can be you.



“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it.”

― Martha Graham



We deeply desire to arrive in our life, in our beingness, to experience being alive. But it’s scary and uncomfortable. So we numb, we stay busy, we leave, we construct and perfect and we forget.



“To practice courage, compassion, and connection is to look at life and the people around us, and say, “I’m all in.”

-Brené Brown



So first it’s that willingness, that courage to show up and begin to open your eyes to your armor, to your strategies for navigating life, to your resistance.


It takes intention and attention.


What is my intention?

Where is my attention?


To stay here, to not leave, it requires you to pay attention. To strengthen your ability to uncover the layers and be with the raw feelings underneath takes intention.


Everything takes intention and attention.



So when you feel lost and don’t know where to start, start with intention and attention.

Have the intention to notice when you have gone off somewhere else and are not here in this moment, in this body and heart, and then bring your attention to the physical sensations. See if you can be present to what is. Recognize and allow. Tara says, Awareness of the body is our gateway into the truth of what is.”


Know that when you first begin bringing your attention to the physical sensations in the body you might feel nothing. You might feel numbness and “dead inside.” I did, for a long time. Have compassion for that numbness, it belongs, just like every other part of you. Know that with practice and patience it gets easier. And use the practices I outlined in the Guidebook for reawakening your body and heart.


Also, as I’ve talked about before, it’s important to have support. Especially if there is deep trauma. When my numbness began to lift, it had been there protecting something, and when it was time to process that pain that was held underneath I needed a lot of professional support, and I strongly suggest it. Sometimes there needs to be a time of gentle “ground floor work” before you have the security and safety to begin to explore more. Everyone’s journey is different and uniquely there’s. We all are different flowers that bloom at different times, in different ways. Honor yourself and your sacred path.


And know that whenever you are bringing your attention to what is, whenever you are coming back, becoming present to what is, bring with you, kindness and compassion. Think of yourself as a child or a loved one, if they were struggling and came to you, you would bring your attention to them filled with kindness and compassion, so that they would open up and tell you what is wrong. Treat yourself the same way. If you are mean, judgmental, blaming and shaming, and you beat yourself up, then you won’t open up. You won’t build that trust.


So to end I want to give you some invitations, to go along with the Guidebook. Try things on, see what fits. Adapt and grow. There are so many ways to come back home, it’s about you finding your way.


When you find the willingness be more dedicated to living the moments, you begin to create the pathways back to the gold within and the life that is here.



#1 Simple Mindfulness Practice


Pause when you are in the middle of an everyday activity and choose to bring some mindfulness to it. Practice doing just one thing at a time. Walking, taking a shower, doing the dishes. See if you can arrive in that moment. Feel the water on your hands, smell the air on your walk, sense the heat and pressure of the shower. See if you can sense more and more of you there for what you’re doing.



#2 Be with the Aliveness in the Body


I outline a lot in the Guidebook, but sometimes it’s important to start small. So what I would offer is to sit comfortably, place your palms open and close your eyes. Take several deep breaths. Then begin to bring your attention and focus to one of your hands. As much as you can, let all of your awareness and focus go to the physical sensations in that hand. Feel your hand from the inside out. Is there tingling, warmth, coolness, vibrations? Can you feel the movement of energy? Can you feel the aliveness in your hand? Now switch to the other hand, do the same thing. And then do both and the same time. It’s a simple, but powerful practice to begin to feel the aliveness within, and strengthen that embodied awareness. Training your attention and intention.



# 3 Give Yourself a Reminder


Reminders help. If your natural tendency for x amount of years has been x, y, and z, then it takes time to cave new pathways in your brain and being. Having reminders to live your practices are key. Reminders to help you remember when you forget. Like a reminder to PAUSE. Maybe a sound on your phone? Maybe a picture you have at your desk? Maybe a bracelet you wear? Maybe you have a reminder on a sticky note on your mirror that says, I AM ENOUGH. And you repeat it to yourself out loud each time you see it. Maybe you have a gratitude buddy that each morning you text what you are grateful for?

Whatever reminders support you, install them in your life. And frequently change them. Our brain loves patterns and putting things on auto pilot. So reminders can become just part of the background noise, if we don’t consciously mix things up:)



#4 Set Intentions


We don't have control over much, but we do control where we choose to place our attention. The more intentional you are with your life, the more on purpose you are living. Desire an extra resource for that! Check out this free Intention Challenge guidebook on the Empowerment page. I said above that it boils down to intention and attention. And so, learning to have an anchor to come back to, something to help inform where you place your attention, how you move about in the world, your way of being, and be extremely helpful.


Extra Resources:


*Check out Tara Brach’s Rain method, she has lots of free content out there.

And for a true dive into healing read her book True Refuge. Or any of her books!


*Get support! It’s hard sometimes for us to even see the armor from inside it. I cannot emphasis enough the importance of having others on your path. Find a group, a workshop, a coach, a therapist, a close friend. As with any relationship make sure that it is a healthy one, that supports you on your journey. If you want to get some one on one support reach out to me. There are some very exciting developments coming on what I am able to offer my clients, and I would love to meet you on your path.




So there you have it.

Be patient and kind.

Show up like it matters because it does. YOU MATTER.


Giving you LOVE LOVE LOVE on your Journey Home.




-Aspen

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