. . . on Her New Book Heart Minded
by Karen Larré, Carla Garcia and Mary Anne Weaver
Sarah Blondin is an artist, writer and internationally beloved spiritual teacher. Her guided meditations on the app InsightTimer have received nearly 10 million plays. She is the founder, writer, videographer and one of the top teachers on the popular podcast Live Awake which she regularly hosts. Her goal with the online course Coming Home to Yourself is to share what she has gleaned through decades of introspection, solitude and meditation…to turn course participants toward themselves, so they may feel at home in their beings and hearts. Her work has been translated into many languages and is in prisons, recovery and wellness programs.
Her first book, HEART MINDED: How to Hold yourself and Others in Love was released earlier this year and we are honored to feature it in this November/December 2020 edition of Truly Alive. The book is filled with “Letters from the Universe”, which are beautiful messages given to her by spirit and are truly uplifting and inspirational. Her guided meditations are phenomenal and available at: sarahblondin.com/heart-minded-meditations. Listen to her Live Awake podcasts: https://www.sarahblondin.com/podcast.
Truly Alive: In the introduction, you talk about how we turned away from our hearts and entered our minds. Can you please elaborate on this?
Sarah Blondin: I remember being deeply connected to my heart at the beginning of my life. As my life began to unfold, I watched as fear, doubt, insecurity began to take hold. Awareness of my heart and my body began to fade and be replaced by a connection to my mind – which included worry, chaos, disharmony, problem-solving, and fear. For me, fear was what caused me to turn to the mind for solutions. The mind is there to find ways to help us feel better. When we rely too much on the mind to solve problems, we experience amnesia around the heart and body; and forget to re-enter that sacred place of the heart. When we come back into our heart, we feel that sense of home, peace, and homeostasis. I wrote this book to remind everyone of this place within us, which is literally medicine within arm’s reach.
TA: What is our heart-centered self?
SB: The easiest way to experience this for yourself is to place your hand on your heart and bow your head down to the heart. You will feel an inner shift – a sense of vulnerability which changes the quality of your being. When we are connected with the heart, we have fewer walls and drop down to a deeper place. If you practice placing your hand on the heart and bowing your head to the heart, while saying “I love you, I am listening” – the heart will start to work its magic on you, in its presence on a physical and visceral level.
TA: Please explain how feelings are frequencies:
SB: I’ve always experienced feelings as intense flashes of energy or vibrations that flood my body and my consciousness. If I let them run rampant and don’t attend to them, they can override my system and current experience of reality. Even joy, if not tended to, can cause me to feel a bit overwhelmed and less grounded. Feelings need to come up and out; each feeling is a frequency runs through the body and needs to leave the body. If we keep it within, we keep adopting and imbibing these feelings. In the book, I teach the reader how to address their feelings by going into a room, quieting down, letting the feelings speak, and naming them. The gentle act of naming the feelings allows them a way to release. Then, the frequency can come “up and out” instead of cycling through the body. It really helps to find a way to release the frequency.
TA: What does it mean to “wake to our grace?”
SB: We can think of grace as coming down into the heart – the process of the reclamation of the abandoned places, touching all of that lingering pain with forgiveness, and then finding buoyancy in that somehow. When we are starting to do deep spiritual work and an excavation of the higher self, we discover an incredible grace that supports our efforts. Finding grace works in tandem with meeting the heart, as a way to clear out issues and built-up energy within us. It is not always found in a place of ease. Grace often shows up when we are in great adversity, like a gust of wind that rises up to give you assurance even in discomfort. That’s where all my writing has come from: the confrontation of adversity – the voice of grace – the voice of the heart that comes with comfort.
Meditation Video: Accepting change
TA: What is “soul-itude”?
SB: My first experience of “soul-itude” was moving from the busy city life to country living, when I had my first son. I was dramatically catapulted into quiet, solitude and peace. Entering that peace also requires meeting the self for the first time – meeting what your experiences are. You are no longer escaping; you are entering the quiet of your being, which can mean so many different things, depending upon where you are. But soul-itude consists of carving out and space and time, where you are sitting quietly with yourself and watching, feeling, digesting and processing what comes up in that quietness. It’s a very deliberate practice. I know everyone can’t move to the country like I did; and so, you have to create space where there is nothing (“no thing”) stealing your time. You are meeting the self and watching it unfurl, whatever it needs in that moment.
TA: How does “giving name” to our pain help us understand our feelings?
SB: Everything in us wants to be named, wants to be seen. Our life experiences are not meant to be ignored, or flippant about. We don’t ignore our children; and our pain is very much the same. It arises within us, asking for attention. Giving a name to the pain helps it feel seen. In being seen, it can then rest. Like a child who is seen when in distress, our emotion can begin to calm down and to soften and the emotions begin to feel safe again. When addressing and naming the pain, we are creating inner hospitality in our being. We are creating safety and refuge. We are housing the body and the mind and the heart and regaining our sense of peace and love. It’s so important!
When I feel pain or distress, I know that as soon as I work with it, I will touch joy and grace. I know it. Once you get really skilled at it, you get to the transforming edge quickly. That’s what we all truly want to feel…that life is touching us that deeply. It does get easier, and it does bring the juice of life back.
Meditation Video: Fear unmasked
TA: How can our ancestral line block our connection to our hearts?
SB: I became aware at a young age that we are holding pain that is not ours. I could see that the pain that was in my Mother, was in her Mother as well; and also, the pain in my Father, was in his Father also.
My name for this inherited trauma is “ancestral fog”. It’s a mental and emotional “fog” we can easily lapse into if we are not claiming agency over ourselves and doing spiritual work. This fog can keep us comfortably numb. We all experience a part of us that wants to stay asleep, that wants to pull the covers back over its head. I experience it as a river of inertia that I am pushing against. I feel the “fog” comes from a lineage of people who haven’t yet learned to step into their power yet, and we are all affected. If just one person rises up above that current of inertia and sleepy state of suffering and unconsciousness, we will start to change that lineage. My kids are going to wake up a little bit more because of what I’m doing. Our awakening contributes to the evolution of humanity.
TA: Why is “becoming heart minded a tiered journey?”
SB: In my journey, I have opened levels of love that keep surpassing themselves. I keep seeing that the heart has more to teach me. Once you break the heart open, it will break open a million more times…so I experience this process as never-ending, and not about arriving somewhere. The process is about learning, and finally a curiosity and an excitement about how much more love you are going to unveil through living in the heart as much as possible.
TA: In the book, you say, “your pain is valid”? Can you explain?
SB: We have all been hurt, and it is so important that it is acknowledged; that we are told: “Yes, dear ones, you have been hurt.” It is so important to us, that other people understand the pain we’ve been through. We want to be understood. In the book, I wanted to acknowledge: your pain is valid, it’s real, it’s true, you’ve been through so much – and it’s not devastating. The pain is real, but it’s not who you are, and it’s not capable of devastating you, so don’t stay in the pain perpetually. I wanted to validate that for people because we want to be heard and seen; and that is part of the healing process, just as naming our feelings and our pain is part of the healing process. It begins the softening that helps us then transform.
That’s why I talk so much about pain in this book. We don’t want to deal with the pain, touch the pain, or see the pain. However, I’m saying this is exactly what needs to happen on a continual day-to-day basis, to actually change the ground of the foundation of our being. There is a large amount of built-up pain inside of us, and the reason it has accumulated is because we’ve not acknowledged it for decades. That’s why the pain is there. It wouldn’t be there if we were continually processing it.
TA: How can we “tenderize pain?”
SB: We tend to the pain daily. So much of our fear, doubt and reactivity, is all pain that we have been carrying – stories that we’ve been carrying. If we begin a daily dedication to recognizing our lingering pain when it comes up, putting the hand on the heart, bowing the head down, saying “I love you, I’m listening”, naming the pain – letting it be seen. This practice begins the softening process, and you can already feel it happening. The pain needs to be named and recognized, and then it has space to move and soften. It’s the same process…the simple hand over the heart, surrendering to the heart, and letting the heart do the rest of it. We don’t have to do that much; we just need to create the space.
TA: How do those closest to us trigger us and reveal both our beauty and ugliness?
SB: Our human relationships and the ones closest to us are incredible tools, in the sense that they will reveal our great beauty and our great ugliness. Our emotions are more easily engaged by those we are close to. Reactivity can come up, and the rise of anger, judgment or criticism, and pushing someone away. You or others may react by barricading the heart, protecting the heart, and denying love from other people.
That’s why our relationships are sacred tools for self-growth – if we are willing to use them. When we are denying another love, we are denying ourselves love. We can use our interactions with people to show us where our tipping points are. “Why am I denying love here? Why am I judging or angry here?” Those “tipping points” can serve as portals to name our feelings, and again claim and reopen the heart in places that have long been wounded. I use my children and my husband as spiritual tools, so that when there is upset between us, I think to myself: “Oh my! Look at how that hurt; how that makes your life smaller and hurt another.” You can create a huge hill of compassion in that way, for others and for the world. You’re not being run by unconscious programs. You are using what comes up for you in relationships, to process and let go of them.
This work is never about what “they” are doing. It is always about you. It is not ever about the other person. It is always about you, and what you are needing to claim; what you are needing to let go of; what you are needing to heal. Use those reactions and triggers, to help you deal with those properly.
Meditation Video: How to re-claim your power
TA: How does choosing self-preservation hinder us?
SB: Self-preservation arises when we are protecting the heart; we are tucking the heart away, and we are going up to the mind. The mind is saying, “this isn’t safe, this person said this, this person did that – this is not safe.” When we leave the seat of the heart and are saying “this is not safe” or “this is not right”, we are protecting the heart. What happens when we leave the seat of the heart? We enter that state of disharmony again. Barriers restrict the flow of love into, and out of, our hearts. In reality, we all want to feel love and connection.
You can remain open in the face of being hurt. You can remain open, porous and in your heart even if someone has mistreated you. There is a fine art that allows you to remain vulnerable and open and speak how you feel from your heart. In the book, I explain that the softness or the sweetness of a heartfelt word will bridge the gap between you and another, but that those words are often the hardest to say. We can achieve this by refusing to remain closed in the heart; because in being closed, we rob ourselves of love. Love is the only reason we are here. We need to find a way to remember that in every moment.
TA: Please explain what’s happening when we “harm instead of love.”
SB: I see this daily on several levels, especially being a Mom of young kids. We have such a small tolerance, and when we do, it’s our reactivity (again) in the form of old wounds coming up. Old emotional wounds are knee-jerk responses, and that’s why the harm we do is accidental and unconscious most of the time. We have to understand this is all part of our spiritual evolution and find a way to have compassion and gentleness with each other. When we harm instead of love, we are responding unconsciously and staying in our minds; we are forgetting the heart. When that happens – after it does happen – we have to be honest about what happened and create a sacred space for love to rekindle. Do not go into shame and judgment because that will drag you down deeper into the state that you are trying to rise up out of. To help create the sacred space, I apologize to my children or my husband and explain what happened. I take responsibility and help initiate a feeling of recognition between all the souls involved. After that, I go to my room, I run it back, and I name the feelings. I let the feelings do their own healing process and then I relax. It is a process that should be built into our daily lives. I wish this could be taught to little kids!
TA: Please summarize: What are the steps to becoming heart-minded?
SB: Start giving yourself permission. Say, “I want to become heart-minded. I choose to learn from my heart. I give myself permission to be led and guided and instructed by my heart.” That’s the first step. The second step is agreeing to stay in the heart now. Let the journey unfold as the pain is revealed. When suffering occurs, remain committed to and steadfast with your hand on your heart, and just agree to be in that place perpetually for life. Truthfully, you are handing your life over to your heart, no matter what that means – no matter what that looks like. It’s a commitment; a new way of living and being.
TA: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?
SB: How grateful I would be, for anyone who wants to come along in the heart-minded revolution. I would be truly honored to be journeying alongside anyone who chooses to do this kind of work, who feels a resonance in the heart for it.