A year ago, I was a stressed-out mess. I had been editing a magazine for a well-known association on a freelance contract for nearly a decade, and it was as demanding and pressured as it had ever been. I was also trying to build up the rest of my editorial business, so that I could let go of the contract, which was really starting to affect my health. But letting go of my largest client, and half my income, was a scary, scary thing.
Then my head exploded. Literally. With what I thought was a spider bite in the centre of my forehead, but which later turned out to be a severe case of shingles, brought on by stress. It was when my eyes were so swollen that I could barely see that I finally decided something needed to change.
As soon as I recovered, I quit that contract – a huge, symbolic step for me. After that, it felt like I needed a stint in recovery from life as a magazine editor for 25 years. Those kinds of deadlines for that many years take their toll…
I knew that I needed to rebuild my business from the ground up, this time attracting the kinds of clients that wanted to work with me as I much as I wanted to work with them – and clients that did not ‘bring the stress’. And, let’s not beat about the bush, the kinds of clients that paid well also.
During my ‘recovery’, I did an online course with a guy called Gregg Braden (author of Human by Design amongst many other books) who works closely with the HeartMath Institute in the US.
Their work, which is right at the cutting edge where science meets spirituality, looks at ‘heart-brain resonance’. Braden describes this as the ‘ongoing conversation between the heart and the brain’, and the particular neurons that fire between the two. It’s essentially the practice of compassion that Buddhists have practised for millennia, and science is finally able to identify exactly what is going on.
The HeartMath Institute offers a short meditational practice that harmonises the signal from heart to brain, which also triggers the neurotransmitters and chemicals in the brain and body that calm the nervous system.
Braden then takes it a step further, suggesting that you can create the life you want by visualising it as if it already exists, while you actively practise heart-brain resonance.
It felt like this might be just what I needed for the rehabilitation of my health and my business. This is how the practice works:
- Get quiet, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing.
- Slow your breathing down.
- Focus on your heart. Put your fingers on your heart if it helps you to remain focused.
- Think of something you feel grateful for, or that you feel appreciation, compassion or care for.
- Hold that feeling in your heart.
- While holding that feeling of gratitude in your heart, actively picture what you want to create – and this is key – as if it is already happening.
Do this for 3 minutes or more. Do it every day and watch yourself begin to change. After a few weeks, it became natural for me to drop into that space whenever I stopped to think about it. I even do it while I’m driving on quiet country roads – only without closing my eyes!
Firstly I’m working on my health – visualising myself at my ideal weight, not stressed, full of energy, positive, excited about life. I’m picturing myself free from the little niggling aches and pains of middle age encroaching on me. I’m picturing my best self. And of course feeling grateful that I’m already free.
I’m picturing myself already having replaced the income I let go of when I gave up the magazine contract. I am seeing myself attracting clients who appreciate me, and whose values align with my own. I’m doing work that excites me, that I’m passionate about, that I love. And I’m grateful for it.
And it’s working.
The exciting thing is – this is just the beginning. As my recovery from 25 years as a magazine editor continues, my creative juices are starting to spring back to life. I have three or four creative projects bubbling around… I’m just letting them percolate for now. I know when the time is right and my energy is restored, it will be full steam ahead…
Meanwhile, I continue to work on my business and do my daily heart-brain practice.
In the end, it’s a 3-minute a day practice to create the life I really want to live. Why wouldn’t you?
The HeartMath Institute offers some free tools to help with the practice of heart-brain resonance: heartmath.org/resources/heartmath-tools/