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  • Writer's pictureSam MacLean

What the H*%^&?

People frequently ask me, what is HeartMath? 

I wish I had the perfect answer, one that is short and catchy…an answer that would be received with an affirming gesture of, “ahh yes, I got it!”


“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” -Anne Lamott

In one sense, HeartMath is a re-set button or perhaps we could think of it as our internal charging station. In reality the practice of HeartMath reflects the origin of its name. The name HeartMath (heart + math) was created to symbolize a simple equation for returning to the power of the Heart. And, yes, there is more to it than that, but that is the essence and my pithy answer (for now).


In actuality, HeartMath is not about learning something new and different.

It is not about connecting with something out there…

Or adding something else to do in our every day world.


“Every choice before you represents the universe inviting you to remember who you are and what you want.” -Alan Cohen

HeartMath is about re-turning—re-discovering—remembering our innate being…our unity with all of nature…our Home.


That Home, our essential being, is our Heart.


“Your heart knows the way. Run in that direction.” -Rumi

It is our very nature to live and play and giggle and connect with other beings and create beauty through our hearts…We all know this deep in our being. This is how we lived when we were 2, 3, 4 years old; we were totally at Home in our hearts.



And, yet, sadly, for most of us we no longer live like that. We have learned to question our hearts, disregard our heart’s intelligence and not even pay attention to the information and communication we are receiving from our body and our natural environment. Instead of trusting the innate wisdom of our hearts and tuning in to how it supports us, we have all grown into adults who spend most of our time in our heads thinking, planning, worrying, regretting, hoping, judging, analyzing, and obeying rules, following cultural norms, and trusting our bosses, religions, and leaders over ourselves.


Returning to our Heart means we have to also experience our physical body, our senses and the myriad of feelings we might embody in any given day. Sadly, by being so focused in our heads many of us are out of touch with our bodily sensations and feelings. Ask yourself…what am I feeling right now?


When was the last time you experienced the feeling of awe? How about the feeling of peace? or calm? Or, what about the feeling of gratitude? What does gratitude feel like in your body? 


“If it makes you happy, soothes your soul, grows your garden...choose that.” -Maia, “When the Waves Come”



This is the point where we return to the essential—yet overly simplified— equation that is HeartMath…


FEELING   +    BREATHING   =   COHERENCE

When we focus on a regenerative feeling in our body like appreciation or gratitude or even calm  AND we breathe slowly we will experience an amazing physiological and psychological state of order referred to as coherence. 


It is in this state of being…coherence…where we resonate with nature…we resonate with our animal companions, our loved ones, the trees or even the stranger standing next to us in line at the grocery store.



Some of us know what it feels like to be seen and heard and felt and fully accepted for being exactly who we are…and we feel safe in our Home, our Heart. We all want to feel that resonance…that connection to another, we all need the feeling of safety. And yet for many of us, I’ll include myself here, we felt this acceptance and safety as a young child most of all with our dogs or cats or our horses or another beloved animal. They became our comfort in a disconnected, cruel and empty world. As a young child learning to co-regulate with our special animal friend was the safety and security we needed. 


Even now as an adult I can still find my refuge and calm with animals and in nature.

And yet, we can all be reminded of/learn how to self-regulate our emotions to reduce the effects of stressors in our lives and not always be dependent upon our animal friends to lower our stress. HeartMath is one of those tools.


“The goal of HeartMath is to help you learn to generate emotional and mental coherence deliberately—on demand—so that ultimately you spend more of your day at this optimal, regenerative level of energy efficiency.” ― Doc Childre, The HeartMath Solution



So returning to the original question…What is HeartMath? 

My answer is:

HeartMath is a way of returning Home to our Heart. 

If this makes you more curious and want to know more, the best way to explore HeartMath is by taking my 4-week course. In the course you will learn:

-the importance of breathing correctly

-the power of the bio-electric field 

-somatic exercises to get you feeling safely into your body

-how to create heart-brain coherence 

-how the nervous system is your ally 

-4 HeartMath techniques that do not require technology and can be used on-the-go in your daily life


I hope you’ll join me for the next HeartMath course begins soon (March 5, 2024) and registration is now open.


If you feel like you are not quite ready for the full course, then watch this video podcast I did with my friend, Kirsten Nelsen of the Horse Geeks podcast. This video will get you started on the HeartMath journey or share the video with a friend.



If you still have questions, please reach out by email.



In the mean time I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.” -Helen Keller


With ❤️ and in harmony, 

Sam

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