I often do this… I purchase a book or a tape and it sits on the shelf until seemingly just the right moment. Yesterday, I noticed a book on my shelf that I literally purchased 10 years ago, before kids, and hadn’t yet read. The book is entitled HeartMath Solution by Doc Childre and Howard Martin. It describes the physical and spiritual role of the heart in our well being, even going as far as suggesting that the heart has a “brain”. It’s on my “highly recommended” list now. Their website, http://www.hearthmath.org/ is equally enlightening and documents their success with using this technology in schools to improve performance on testing.
It got me thinking about “the old ticker” and the spiritual role it plays in our lives. If someone asks me to point to myself, my finger goes directly to my chest, not my head. I am willing to bet ($5) that this is a universal reaction. I believe it makes a strong statement about us as human beings. We ARE our hearts, NOT our heads, and the more time we spend in our hearts, the more fulfilled our lives will be.
How does this relate to home school you ask? Well, of course, I am going to weave this into our science and leadership classes. My kids will think it’s really cool stuff to watch a computer graphic of a heartbeat and to learn about the brain of the heart. We are also going to learn some of the coping tools they suggest called a “time-in” and a “heart lock-in”. But there is more to it than that.
Our world is becoming a very challenging place, and I believe that part of the reason we are in such a global funk, is because our lifestyle causes us to live most of our time in our head rather than our hearts. I am willing to wager even bigger money ($10) that the isolated Pigmy tribes in Africa don’t exhibit this “head/heart” conflict.
Living in our heads causes us to be focused on our image rather than what is spiritually important to us. Put another way, I believe that “head centered living” may contribute to the dominant trends in our society of image, materialism, instant gratification, and self indulgence. I read a study recently that said young girls in Fiji exhibited almost no signs of eating disorders until in recent years as they have been exposed to Western version of the “ideal female”. Now, eating disorders like Bulimia and Anorexia affect Fujian girls at the same rate that they affect young girls in our country. Ouch! I believe the “head/heart conflict” effects more than our self image, it impacts our health.
Polls show that 4 out of 5 Americans believe now that spirituality is directly related to their health. But how many people actually dedicate time to study and practice improving this area of their lives on a daily basis? Maybe besides our daily dose of cardio, we need a daily dose of HeartMath cardio. But it doesn’t seem many of us feel we have the luxury of placing “heart centered living” at the top of our priority list, especially when there are other demands that are so pressing.
Consider this…according to the authors of the Heart Math Solution, “Feeling loved is more important to and for children than anything else”. It is not just a want. It is a must! Kids, more than adults, are really in-touch with their hearts. And when they are tuned into their hearts, they are much more open- minded, cooperative, and secure. They learn more effectively and have a greater sense of respect and honor towards others and themselves.
Emotional states are contagious. Parents with emotional balance are more likely to produce children with emotional balance. So in my mind, this isn’t really a luxury in our society if we want strong families and well balanced kids. We must practice “heart centered living”, daily.
Being emotionally balanced has now become a MUST for me. Flying off the handle, criticism and with- holding are no longer options. This is not easy for me as I am somewhat high strung and am a type A personality. In parallel with this blog, I am working on a blog entitled Why PMS and Home school Don’t Mix in which I take a humorous look at one of my more challenging days so far for achieving emotional balance. I digress.
What is it like to be a home school teacher? Whatever you want it to be, I suppose. I am noticing that the quality of our days spent in home school is directly proportional to the amount of the time we spend “tuned into our hearts”. My primary responsibility is to do whatever it takes to “stay in the zone” so that they stay in the zone.
And since I have decided that this part of my life is about connecting with myself, my children and my husband in new and more meaningful ways, I am playing the role of heart-centered living advocate. I have always been the emotional anchor for our family, but this role is challenging because I have to learn how to maintain an emotionally balanced state continually. Home schooling is giving me a very practical place to test out the theories in a real life setting to see what works and what doesn’t.
Our children (said in the collective “our") will bear the responsibility of transitioning the planet to a higher consciousness. They will need to know how to use their heads and their hearts to navigate the challenges they will face. According to the authors of the HeartMath Solution, “To improve our world, you have to go back to the basics, back to the family where the core heart values that make up a world worth living in, are meant to be developed and nurtured.”
Heart centered living means we need to get out of our heads and into our hearts!