Recently, I was working with someone who’s deep into their spiritual journey; a highly intuitive, empathic individual and an amazing person. And yet, he still said to me, “I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t open my heart. It feels tight, closed and armoured. I want to love again.”

We worked in the energetic field together over a number of sessions, performing illuminations and facilitating shamanic healing, all the while opening his heart and allowing him to begin feeling love again.

Opening our hearts can be a scary thing. After all, we have years of conditioning in place—fear, pain, suffering, judgments, comparisons and the like. By now, we’ve had traumas, dramas, accidents, illnesses, heartaches, heartbreaks and everything in between. “Life” has happened and we can get discouraged, especially if we haven’t yet taken back the reins of our personal power and freedom.

So … how do we go about opening our hearts?

To get you started, here are some simple practices you can do at home to open your heart chakra more and more each day, which will help you begin to feel love again.

Connect with nature


Woman sitting outdoors on bench - Find your heart centreWhen we communicate with Nature, we connect with the interconnectedness of all things—the interconnected web of life that makes up the fabric of our existence. It’s here in nature that we can tune back in to our innate gifts and reconnect with ourselves on a whole different level.

Try sitting in a quiet place in nature, coming to the present moment—the only moment we really ever have.

Once sitting in nature, begin gazing with your left eye, keeping it slightly out of focus. Begin to look at the outline of the trees, plants and things around you. Everything—I mean everything—has an aura: a halo-shaped crown with light and love energy around it. When you softly yet dominantly gaze out of your left eye, you’ll begin to see this haze, this fabric of existence that makes up our space-time reality. Once you see it, witness the feelings that arise as you realize you’re One with the Infinite Creator of All that Is.

In these moments, we can smile to ourselves at the subtleties—we’re not in nature, we are nature. We are not in the Universe, we are the Universe.  We aren’t in love, we are love.

Not to mention, spending time in nature puts us in resonance with Mother Earth’s heartbeat. Through grounding, which is sometimes called earthing, the electromagnetic resonance of our hearts can tune in to the electromagnetic resonance of Mother Earth’s heartbeat. As our heart’s consciousness beats with and aligns with hers, we can feel a sense of “home” wash over us, reminding us that we’re loved and worthy. We’re infinite, spiritual beings having a human experience, and we’re supported by all of Creation.

Enter observer-consciousness mode


The third way to open our heart space is through meditation and stillness. When we’re the witness, meaning that we stay in observer-consciousness mode and witness what’s coming up for ourselves at any given moment, we give our hearts permission to stay open and invite love to flow through us.

The next time that something’s “coming up” for you, try staying as detached as possible and merely witness what’s coming up—as if it were raining outside, and you said to yourself, “Oh, it’s beginning to rain. I can feel raindrops on my shoulders. I’m noticing that it’s raining.”

That same sort of thinking can hold true when feelings are arising. Just like you’d notice raindrops, or perhaps as you’d watch clouds float by in the sky, you can say to yourself, “Oh, here comes sadness. I see you. I’m witnessing you. I love you and am here for you.” Hold yourself with love and compassion as you observe what’s coming up and through.

Staying in this heart-centred space invites your heart to feel safe and stay open.

Breathe mindfully


Our breath is our life-force energy, so we can use it anytime we wish to come back to the present moment—the Eternal Now. When we say that the “Eternal Now” is the only moment we really ever have, we mean that all that exists, ever has existed and ever will exist is only ever happening right here, right now.

There’s a myriad of breathing techniques available for use, so it’s just a matter of finding the one that’s right for you. Here are just a couple of options:

  • Taking deep, nourishing inhalations and letting go with long, audible exhalations
  • Holding the breath for five seconds, pausing for five seconds at the top and exhaling for five seconds

Finding a breathing technique that works for you can help slow you down at any given moment.

Light a candle


Person lighting candle - Find your heart centreThe next time you’re in a quiet place and have a moment to yourself, consider lighting a candle.

Take a few deep breaths in and out, and softly begin gazing at the flame. Again, with your left eye dominant and slightly out of focus, gaze at the flame that is the blazing fire of Spirit’s love for you.

After a few minutes of staring at this flame of Universal love and light energy, visualize the flame coming into your heart centre. Invite it to come inside your chest, pulling in the flames of the Universe’s love and gently bathing you in energy. Feel the first flickerings of love as this light of unconditional self-acceptance is installed in your heart space.

Anytime after this, you can again bring your attention and intention to this blazing fire of “Munay” (moon-ahy), also known as unconditional love, in order to fan the flames of your existence and eternal Being.

Connect with friends


Connecting with your tribe is a beautiful way to keep your heart centre open and activated. When we connect with like-minded people, we feel safe, and when we feel safe, our hearts can stay open and in balance.

Our vibrations come together like tuning forks resonating at the same frequency. When we’re vibrating at the same frequency, we can make a quantum leap in healing, aligning with the true eternal nature of one another: the one that was never born and will never die.

True friends are those who witness you without judgment or attachment, and with love and compassion. They allow you to be your Authentic Self, and they hold you in a sacred space as you fan the flames of existence for yourself.

The next time you’re feeling down or like your heart is closed, pick up the phone and call someone you know who truly cares about you. Set your intention to connect to their heart space, and begin breathing deeply, with a focus on the present moment, as you start your conversation.

Practice colour therapy


Sit comfortably in a quiet place and bring your attention to your heart. Begin to breathe as you focus on your chest area. After taking a few deep breaths, visualize the first colour that comes to you. Trust your inner guidance: whatever colour is coming up for you is the color that your aura needs for harmonization and balance.

Your aura is also called the luminous energy field—the torus-like, egg-shaped field of vibrations surrounding your physical body. This is the pattern of vibrations shamans are trained to see with the naked eye, and where our imprints, wounds, traumas and affinities lie. When imprints are created in this field, there are ripples created in our state of being. These ripples become affinities and these affinities become patterns.

Our beliefs are powerful, mighty beings that can lead us off-kilter in a matter of moments.

In another article, we talked about beliefs—our disempowering beliefs and how they make up the fabric of our existence in this space-time reality. Our beliefs are powerful, mighty beings that can lead us off-kilter in a matter of moments. So, the next time you’re having trouble opening your heart, or feel a tightness in your chest that you know isn’t physical but is difficult to ignore, examine what beliefs are coming up for you.

What are the lies your mind is telling you (mainly about yourself) that are stemming from a belief—a belief that’s branching from an illogical distortion? Bringing our beliefs to the surface, especially contradictory ones that we hold, is one of the quickest ways to begin self-healing.

Keep a journal


The practice of journaling is an amazing tool for processing. There’s nothing juicier than opening up the fresh pages of a new journal that’s waiting for you to fill its pages with your stories and experiences.

The next time feelings are coming up for you, consider pouring everything out onto the pages of a sacred journal. Sometimes, we just have to “Let it out.”

It doesn’t matter what you write or how you write it. Simply getting the words out onto the pages can help you release whatever you’re harbouring inside yourself at any given moment.

After you journal, breathe confidently, knowing that you’ve released what no longer serves you. Allow yourself to go about your day, calling back in all things that are your birthright—love, bliss, abundance, inner peace and all things of the highest good.

Live authentically


Happy woman running in snow - Find your heart centreWhen we live authentically, we give others permission to do the same.

Some people aren’t in a place where they’re able to honour our chosen path, so judgments, comparisons and the like can arise. What’s more, you’re a “secondary character” in the so-called drama or play of their life, and when you begin to change, you no longer fit into the box they had you in or the role you were previously playing for them.

This makes them uncomfortable, so (most of the time, unconsciously), they try to turn you back into the character you were once playing, which can hinder your growth and health in a number of ways. All the more reason why having healthy boundaries is imperative!

Set healthy boundaries


Setting healthy boundaries is necessary for us to move forward in our exploration of Self and the Universe. We’re the microcosm to the macrocosm, and we can’t explore the macrocosm if the microcosm doesn’t know itself—its individuated sense of Self or Beingness that has healthy boundaries. It’s true that we’re all one, but many people get confused by thinking that this means we don’t have to, or shouldn’t, have healthy boundaries.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Striking a balance between being compassionate and setting healthy boundaries is a problem that seems difficult for people who come to me to reconcile. Many times they’ll say, “I want to have compassion, be a compassionate person, be there for someone, do the right thing. And yet I feel awful once I’ve done so, because I’m not putting myself first.”

We can have compassion for ourselves and others, and have healthy boundaries. In fact, setting healthy boundaries is compassionate. It’s a “both/and” situation, not an “either/or” type of thing.

Healthy boundaries are a must during the self-healing process—and always.

Stand in your truth


In Shamanism, the direction of the West is represented by Jaguar medicine. Mother Sister Jaguar reminds us to stand in our truth, to have the courage to say what needs to be said when it needs to be said.

Speaking our truth is a powerful way to invite others to do the same, but speaking the truth doesn’t mean creating conflict or being mean-spirited, non-compassionate, unloving or disconnected in any other way.

Standing in our truth and allowing others to see what and who we are gives them the go-ahead to also stand in theirs.

All it means here is to be authentic, stand on your own two feet, do your best in any given moment and choose yourself before anyone else. This isn’t a way of being that’s derived from the Ego, but one that’s derived from self-love.

It’s not selfishness, it’s self-love.

Standing in our truth and allowing others to see what and who we are gives them the go-ahead to also stand in theirs. When we’re authentic with people, and speak with words of love, our truth resonates with them on a level that simply can’t be argued with.

Everyone has a personal dream, meaning that they have a unique way of seeing the world. We’re all artists, painting our realities and co-creating what’s before us in every moment. Respecting other people’s dreams—the way they see the world, the beliefs they hold and so on—is one of the most compassionate ways we can go about our days. This way of life includes relieving ourselves from conflict, drama, arguments and battles, and respecting the ideas and visions of others, for no two people see reality in exactly the same way.

Send love to others


Sending love, embodying love, is one of the quickest ways to fill yourself up with love. When we send love, we’re connecting to our own individual Source of energy.

When we connect to the Infinite Source Energy of all that is, we allow others to do the same.

The next time you’re feeling that tightening in your chest, overwhelming feelings of despair or any kind of lower vibrations, visualize someone in front of you whom you want to send love to (or, better yet, someone you don’t want to send love to).

Set your intention to connect to their heart centre. For a moment, imagine love and light energy pouring out of your heart into theirs. Begin to feel gratitude in every fibre of your being for this thing we call “life,” and then send those feelings of gratitude out through your core, to the other person and the rest of the world.

Gratitude is one of the highest vibrations, other than unconditional love, so when we emit these powerful resonances, we can vibrate at a higher frequency on a daily basis, and connect back into that space-time reality where miracles are commonplace and magic is real.

Listen to your heart


Heart shape cut in piece of wood - Find your heart centreListening to your heart and cultivating inner stillness is a powerful tool in self-healing.

What is your heart saying? What messages does it have for you?

Are you thinking with your head, or with your heart?

Come to the present moment and reside in that still place within you, turning your focus inwardinstead of outward—and quiet the mind long enough to hear what messages are coming through for you. Set an intention to only hear messages of love and nothing else, and to feel with the mind and think with the heart. Begin breathing deeply. Focus on the chest rising up and expanding, and then falling down closer and closer to the body.

Follow your bliss


In my previous articles, which include “Chakra to Chakra,” “Superheroes on a Supernal Path,” and “Walk in Beauty,” I’ve written about a formula for living life presently and fully. When we follow our Bliss, amazing things become possible. We step into the flow of the Infinite Creator of all that is.

Love is the vehicle for all things. The way we love ourselves, as well as the way we love others, is what says the most about us.

Following our bliss to the best of our ability, in every moment, without attachment to or insistence on the outcome, is the formula. One of the easiest ways to enact the formula is through passion. When we do things we’re passionate about, we step into that magical Flow, that “zone.” Passion, bliss, love, excitement—or any derivative thereof—is the way to get there.

Love is the vehicle for all things. The way we love ourselves, as well as the way we love others, is what says the most about us.

Have you loved yourself today? If not, then why not? What’s stopping you? If you aren’t loving yourself, or you aren’t feeling love for others, try practicing some of the tools presented here.

And if you are loving yourself and others, then relax into yourself even more deeply, and keep doing what you’re doing. Love is the only thing, the everything. When we vibrate with unconditional love, we’re then resonating in accordance with our true, unique energy signatures.

Love unconditionally


Unconditional love comes from a place of honour and respect.

Loving people (or ourselves) unconditionally doesn’t mean that the person can do no wrong.  Unconditional love is rooted in that timeless space of honour and respect, where we show up for another person and hold space for them, no matter what they’re going through. And, most of all, we show up for ourselves.

When we place condition after condition on our love for people, it becomes the furthest thing from love.

For example, “If you do this, then I’ll love you. If you act this way, then I’ll reward you with my love.”  Or, similarly, “If you don’t do this, then I’ll punish you, I won’t give you my love.” This isn’t love, this is control.

The next time you find yourself in any given situation that doesn’t seem to be going well, ask yourself, “Am I loving unconditionally? Or am I giving my love conditionally, on a reward/punishment basis?”

Along the same lines, you can also ask yourself, “Am I being loved unconditionally? Am I being shown love with honour and respect?  Or am I only receiving love from the other person on a conditional, reward/punishment basis?”

If you answered yes to the latter, it’s time to go back to your toolkit and set some healthy boundaries. You teach people how to treat you by how you treat yourself.

Next, turn the focus inward. What lesson is presenting itself here? What mirror is this person, the one who’s placing conditions on their love, holding up for me? At the end of the day, this has nothing to do with others and everything to do with ourselves.

And most likely—not always, but most likely—if someone isn’t treating you with love and respect, it may be because you yourself aren’t loving and honouring yourself.

How can others love and respect us if we don’t love and respect ourselves?

Bringing it all together


Sometimes I’m asked, but how do we love ourselves? And the answer is, by loving others. Other times I’m asked, but how do we love others? And the answer is, by loving ourselves.

How can we be compassionate towards ourselves? By being compassionate towards others. And how can we be compassionate towards others? By being compassionate towards ourselves.

If you’d like to invite more genuine love into your life, why not give these practices above a try? Let me know how they work for you in the Comments or by contacting me at the email in my bio below.

Olivia Weil is a New York lawyer turned shamanic energy medicine practitioner, soul alchemy coach and plant-based nutritionist. She holds post-graduate certification in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University; and in the energy medicine space, she was trained traditionally by the Four Winds Society and the shamans of the indigenous peoples of the high Andes. She has an international healing practice that involves travelling between the Americas and combines ancient wisdom with modern science. She can be reached at Olivia@onelovemedicine.com.

image 1: pxhere; image 2: pxhere; image 3: Pixabay; image 4: Pixabay