Heart: What's in it for me? Why should I live with heart? - Heart Centered Relating

Heart:  What's in it for me?

Why should I live "with heart"?

Heart is a very common word these days. You see its representation everywhere:  in advertisements, on products, and in countless emojis. But what does “heart” actually mean? Heart is central to all sorts of idioms. “Having your heart in the right place.” “Having a song in your heart.” “Bless your heart.” “Break your heart.” These are just some from a pretty impressive list! Clearly, heart is a central concept in our society, and is most often connected with love. But even “love” can have multiple meanings. In ancient Greek culture, there were six distinct words to distinguish the different kinds of love. Yet English lumps all those meanings into one word. When word meanings are so elusive, it is no wonder we have trouble communicating clearly.

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 Besides the importance of love to each of us, what is in the concept of heart that makes it so valuable?  What’s so great about it?  My brother Bryan and I were talking about it recently, and he noticed something remarkable about the word “heart”.  It was as if he were playing a popular word game, where you try to find the words inside another word. He suddenly saw these three key words: hear, ear, and art.  In writing and editing his book over several years, we found it quite amazing that neither of us had ever noticed them before! Perhaps it is no coincidence that these three little words are integral to the meaning of the word they inhabit. Let’s examine them one at a time.

EAR: Listening with Heart

The “ear” in heart is central in the word “heart”. It is also key in being able to really listen to what someone is saying. As we have already determined, sometimes words aren’t good enough -- or more accurately, people can’t find the ones they need. Without the “ear” to listen with heart, we will not be attuned to what is behind the words. When we listen with heart, we become aware of the feelings and needs motivating what someone is trying to communicate. Listening with heart means being fully present to the person speaking, and helping them know that you understand, or are sincerely attempting to understand, what they really want to say.


When we are listening with our heart (what the virtue of empathy is all about), our heart’s ear is sensitive to nuances and subtleties in how something is communicated…to tone, facial expressions, and body language. These are clues, because if the words don’t match the voice tone used, there’s something more going on. Likewise, if facial expression, eye contact, and body language say something different, it is that incongruency to which the heart’s ear must attend.

Heart Empowered Living Tip!

The virtue of Empathy leads to deeply connecting with others. This is only possible when we are listening with our heart. Our heart seeks to understand the feeling and needs behind another's words, and invites us to connect with others there, at their point of need. Only then can we understand how to move toward needs fulfillment.

Heart Empowered Living Tip!

The virtue of Empathy leads to deeply connecting with others. This is only possible when we are listening with our heart. Our heart seeks to understand the feeling and needs behind another's words, and invites us to connect with others there, at their point of need. Only then can we understand how to move toward needs fulfillment.

HEAR:  The Message of Your Heart

Adding an “h” to the central word “ear” gives us the word “hear”. This, too, is an important component of the meaning of “heart”. When we want to emphasize the importance of an impression, we say “I feel it in my heart”.  When we are given life advice, we will often hear “Follow your heart”. Our heart speaks to us through our feelings. Sometimes we listen, and sometimes we don’t. Why? Because sometimes, we don’t want to trust our feelings. What if they mislead us?  Do we really know how to hear what our heart is telling us? 

As children, we are very in tune with our heart. Children hear what their heart is telling them without all the clutter of “thinking things through”. They respond instinctively and immediately to what their heart says. They cry easily and love unconditionally. Their reactions are pure and genuine. As adults, our own feelings are still as true -- it’s just that we have learned to second-guess or intellectualize them. To hear with the “heart of a child -- without judgment or suspicion -- is the way to accessing the message of your heart. Without being able to hear the message of our heart, we will not be able to act with its wisdom or empowerment.

Beyond hearing the message of our own heart, we need to be able to hear what other hearts are trying to say. We need to remember that just as our own feelings are messages from our own heart, so are the feelings of those around us. Their feelings communicate their heart’s message: of their needs, requiring something from us.  How can we “hear” what they need, even if their words don’t say it?  We have to be able to examine the unmet needs behind the feelings, words, and behavior of others. Once we are aware of our shared human needs, we can suddenly “hear” much more clearly what is motivating those around us to speak and act as they do.

ART:  Living with Heart Wisdom and Heart Empowerment

Finally, we come to the concluding portion of “heart”:  the word “art”. There is no doubt that living from the wisdom of your heart and acting upon its power is an art. It is certainly not the way much of our current society is operating.  We have been seduced by the glamor and fascination of fast-paced change in an increasingly technological world. The awareness of our shared human needs, and of our capacity to bring great joy to each other through meeting those needs in mutually fulfilling ways has, for the most part, eluded us.

 

Not surprisingly, the word “art” has multiple meanings and applications. However, all definitions refer to human imagination and creativity, and to the skill required to accomplish something unique, beautiful or captivating. To master a skill, we must practise. And thus, the art of heart empowered living also requires practice. First, we need to become aware of our shared human needs. We cannot possibly fulfill our own needs, never mind anyone else’s, if we do not even know what they are. The best way to fulfill our shared human needs in mutually fulfilling ways is to live and relate virtuously. 

Again, most of us would be hard-pressed to identify what “living and relating virtuously” means. The bookThe Art of Heart Empowered Living clearly lays out what it means, providing needs fulfillment and virtues definitions that are insightful, clarifying and inspiring. I know it might seem like I’m plugging the book my brother wrote (and that I edited). That might seem to be the case, because I AM!  I believe in the message of heart-connection. I know that we really need it. And I have experienced for myself how much being involved in the HCR project has changed me.

ART:  Doesn't Just Happen

Sometimes we think that an artist is just gifted, and certainly, the greatest ones are. But whatever inborn talent we possess will never flourish without careful instruction and consistent practice. Indeed, most practitioners of any art form seek training, and know that without practice, there will be no improvement.  Their potential will remain just that:  potential -- rather than a realized dream.

Having the life skills to be able to live virtuously and fulfill our own and others’ needs in mutually fulfilling ways requires both knowledge and practice. Our inherent imagination and creativity will provide myriad ways to engage those life skills and virtues to enable life-enhancing needs fulfillment. But we need help to know how to go about it. The same is true for the “heart” that’s in you. It needs nurturing for its potential to flourish and grow within you. When you enable that to happen, more and more of what you think, feel, do, and say will beautifully represent the Art of Heart Empowered Living.

Reading The Art of Heart Empowered Living is a first step in learning not only what you need to know, but also how you can put that knowledge to use. Finding the “heart” that’s in you, and putting it to work to enhance your own life, as well as those of others whose lives you touch -- is the promise of the book.  But it will remain only a promise without your engagement in what it has to offer. This book will help give you the EAR to listen with heart, enable you to HEAR the message of your heart, and provide you with the tools to achieve the ART of heart empowered living.  That’s what’s in it for you! 



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    Marlene Bourdon-King

Marlene is the older sister of HCR founder Bryan Bourdon, and the company's Editorial Director.  A life-long teacher of English, Creative Writing, and Drama, she also loves the outdoors, and spent many years as a Guider taking young girls camping and traveling.  An avid student of HCR, she loves to share  the message of the positive changes living and relating from the heart can have on people's lives. She loves kids, teaching, singing, gardening,  creative arts, books & the power of imagination and language above all! 

    Marlene Bourdon-King

Marlene is the older sister of HCR founder Bryan Bourdon, and the company's Editorial Director.  A life-long teacher of English, Creative Writing, and Drama, she also loves the outdoors, and spent many years as a Guider taking young girls camping and traveling.  An avid student of HCR, she love to share  the message of the positive changes living and relating from the heart can have on people's lives. She loves kids, teaching, singing, gardening, creative arts, books & the power of imagination and language above all! 

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