Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Take Heart

This post is dedicated to my Dad who died last week and loved all things mechanical.

I recently saw Hugo, the movie, in 3D, a magical little valentine to old movies—and to all things mechanical.  Think windup toys, projectors, and clocks.  Well, mostly it’s about fixing these things. And as it turns out, that takes unlocking the heart. 

In 1931, Hugo Cabret, a young boy, makes it his life purpose to repair a broken automaton and liberate the mechanical man to write what he hopes contains a message from his dead father.  The automaton is missing one part—a heart-shaped key.  Without the key to unlock his heart he is unable to operate.  Once Hugo meets Isabelle, who turns out to have the key, well, all things are eventually fixed—the automaton, human hearts, and lost chances.

This Valentine’s Day, try one of these keys to repair and unlock your own heart. 
  • Show yourself some love. I’m quite an exacting taskmaster with myself, dishing out all manner of unkindness, talking tos, and unrealistic expectations. That voice in your head—turn it off for a bit. Treat yourself to a little forgiveness, kind words, and a hot bath.  Softening toward ourselves is key to attracting genuine love from others. 
  • Then give it to someone else. Once you’re feeling more compassionate toward yourself, you’re likely to feel a bit more kindly toward others. So, spread the love. Part of the yogic path includes practicing ahimsa (“non-harming”) or compassion for all living things.  Just bringing awareness to this concept can awaken a practice of kind thoughts and actions toward all beings.  It’s especially helpful when dealing with difficult people, relationships, and situations. Perhaps you have a few of those.
  • Stretch yourself. Try this supported back bend to physically open the space around your heart.  Changing the physical landscape has an amazing effect on the mind.  Once the space is open, breathe into it, bringing animation and energy to the heart center.  Using the breath to relax the muscles allows for flexibility and ease rather than contraction and holding in the heart cavity. The rib cage is most definitely 3D, so breathe in to the sides and back of the body as well as the front.
While you’re there, here’s a little mood music:  OtisRedding sings “Try a Little Tenderness”. And check out my 2011 Valentine’s post to get the recipe for Aztec Hot Chocolate, appropriately described as a “sweet-and-spicy recipe that is just what the love doctor ordered.” Happy Valentine’s Day.

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