Driving home from accounting class a few weeks back, I was thinking about the accounting equation and I was saying to myself assets and liabilities, assets and liabilities, assets minus liabilities equals owner’s equity. And then I remembered a class: The Metaphysical Heart. One of the books we used was The Heartmath Solution by Doc Childre and Howard Martin with Donna Beech. I was trying to remember because I had a remnant of a recollection of there being a sort of human balance sheet in the book. I no longer had the book, so I checked it out from the library to see if what I saw in my memory was there or if I had seen it somewhere else instead.
That led me to back to my heart, and of bringing a sense of equanimity to my interactions and reactions, sometimes taking workplace comments personally. I turned to my heart—heart intelligence as the authors refer to it. Without much thought as though it was second nature, I would revive my heart intelligence and take it to work with me to aid me in those moments when I might go on the defensive because I’ve taken something too personally.
Since my first recollection those weeks back, it has been a ritual that when I am about six feet from opening the door to work, I imagine that my heart is in a beautiful silver protective cage. As I get closer to the door, I open the latch, allowing my heart to be my guide. I have to admit that this has helped me greatly. By bringing focus to my heart and acting from a place of love and understanding, I have been going about my work day’s much lighter, and not taking things personally and having a sort of protective love barrier. It seems I may be doing a modified version of Heart Lock-In.
Though the techniques of Heartmath can be found in other areas, such as religion, new age thinking, common sense even, I find that the Heartmath techniques offer a perspective that can only reinforce what we may already know intuitively and there are facts in the book for those that need their facts. I always try to keep compassion close by my side, along with understanding and openness, but recently it has helped me to bring my attention to my heart and to allow my responses to come from there in a more mindful and intentional way.
One day this week, I forgot to visualize the latch opening to release my heart before walking through the door. As the day progressed, I began feeling a bit stressed and it was then that I remembered that I hadn’t opened the latch—and then in those moments, I set my mind’s eye on the beautiful home of my heart and opened the latch to release her.
There are many tools to be collected and to be added to our toolboxes and this is one that my accounting class brought me back to.
The section in the book, “Becoming Our Own Accountants,” shows us to take stock of our thoughts and emotional responses, determining which are assets and which are deficits. The page shows an “Asset/Deficit Balance Sheet” where you enter your assets and deficits and tally them up to see if you are somewhat in balance or if you may have too many items listed under deficits.
Under assets you “list the positive events, conversations, and interactions of a specific time. List as many assets as you can think of, feeling appreciation for each asset as you go. Also list ongoing assets in your life—overall quality of friends, family, living and/or working environment, etc. (Notice how conscious you were of these assets during the period).”
Under deficits you “list issues, conflicts, and events that were negative or draining during that same period” (pg. 97).
Most of us may carry our human balance sheets around in our minds and may not need to go through this exercise, and for some, it may be a useful exercise and show us that we need to bring in more assets to balance out our deficits so we don’t wither away due to emotional stress and imbalance.
One of the key points at the end of this chapter is that, “by using your heart as your compass, you can see more clearly which direction to go to stop self-defeating behavior. If you take just one mental or emotional habit that really bothers or drains you and apply heart intelligence to it, you’ll see a noticeable difference in your life” (pg. 101).
Back in class, those seven or eight years ago, my project was on applying love—heart intelligence—in the workplace because I was having those same issues of taking things personally and not knowing how to deal with the boss’s sometimes offhanded personality, which would leave me feeling drained and upset. We had to break out into groups to discuss our projects and when I complained of my issues, one of the group members looked to me and said, “You have a choice in how you react.” It silenced me and I knew she was right and I thanked her. There was something in her tone, her tough but caring words that got through to me. It nudged me to accept my role in the equation, to realize that I had a choice to make. The first was to stop playing the role of victim. The second was either I quit, or if I stayed—if I liked my job enough—I would need to find a way to change my reactions. I still have my buttons and there have been moments when I have failed and my reactions got the best of me.
And yet, it is comforting to come full circle, taking an accounting class that brings me back to Heartmath; still the same job, with my same boss, still having our few moments, yet 98% of the time, all is well. I have found cycling back to Heartmath to be very valuable in maintaining my overall equilibrium—a tool in my toolbox that needed dusting off because it can be used anytime, anywhere—an asset to combine with the other assets on my human balance sheet.
The first link below is very helpful in summarizing the Heartmath philosophy and introducing the techniques.
Heartmath – Summary of Heartmath and Techniques