Robin Johnson, ACC • May 20, 2022 • 8 Minute Read
The Heart of a Client
As a heart-centered Life Coach, I care deeply about the heart of my client. In its purest state, the heart overflows with compassion, unconditional love and a connection to Spirit. That is the heart as God created it to be. The heart is the sanctuary of the divine, but even sanctuaries can be defiled. There is always choice in life. The greatest gift we have is our agency and we can always exercise free will. Everything can be affected by depleting or regenerating influences – including the heart.
If you observed a physical body in its most pure, healthy, and strongest condition, and then polluted that body with food or drink that was damaging, or didn’t give it sufficient rest or exercise, the body would start to break down. The same thing happens on a mental level. The mind is an intricate and fascinating problem-solving machine. In its healthiest state, it solves complex equations and logistical complexities, translates language, and creates solutions for problems that haven’t even occurred yet. The brain can also experience damage through injury, the effects of drugs, lack of sleep and negative thoughts. The function of the mind becomes limited and far from the capability it started with.
There are things that help or hurt the heart as well. The heart can be overcome with greed, anger, selfishness, desire, or pride. Just as we focus on keeping our bodies or thoughts healthy, we should also focus on keeping our heart emotionally pure, spiritually connected, and full of love. When we allow negative emotions to enter and affect the heart, we experience a change of heart.
This change of heart affects our connection with our own heart. To be able to clearly understand what is happening with our heart, we must first become aware of the varying heart conditions that we may experience:
1) A broken heart 2) A disconnected heart 3) A hardened heart 4) A faint heart 5) A pure heart
Awareness is the key to keeping us connected to our heart. We start by being aware of the state of our heart: Is it hardened? Have we disconnected from it entirely? Is it weakened and faint? Or is it broken? Recognize first what our connection is and then we can move forward to begin repairing the connection.
Here is an explanation of the different states of the heart that you or your clients may experience, as well as questions a coach can ask a client to explore the chance to change the state of the heart:
A broken heart is one that has suffered under the weight of grief or sorrow to the point of breaking. Our heart can feel shattered and the pain can be so deep it may be felt on the physical level as well. A broken heart often comes from loss – loss of a loved one, loss of a relationship, or loss of opportunity. Broken expectations often lead to a broken heart. A broken heart is a very heavy feeling and is often connected to trauma on some level. Grief, sadness, sorrow, anguish, depression and loneliness are all emotions we experience with a broken heart.
COACHING QUESTIONS FOR BROKEN HEART OR LOSS
- How did you feel when you got news of your loss?
- Have you experienced feelings of denial?
- Would you like to imagine connecting heart-to-heart with your loved one?
- What could help you find hope for the future?
- What would your loved one say to you if they were here now?
A disconnected heart occurs for a variety of reasons: 1) Life circumstances may have brought so much pain or disappointment in the heart that we disconnect completely to avoid feeling the feelings. 2) We may have quit trusting the heart if we trusted the heart in a decision and the outme was not what we expected. We can lose faith in the heart and rely on the mind instead for future decisions. 3) When we are experiencing trauma or have been re-triggered by trauma, the brain takes over in its perceived need to help us survive this fight or flight experience. While a hardened heart may be a process that takes place over time, a dis-connected heart can be like unplugging a lamp and the light going off immediately. A disconnected heart can experience a loss of self since they are no longer feeling their emotions or divine connection. We experience apathy, numbness, a “just-going- through-the-motions feeling”, emotionlessness, and emptiness.
COACHING QUESTIONS FOR A DISCONNECTED HEART
- What would have to change for you to feel safe trusting your heart again?
- Imagine living the next ten years without your heart connection. What would your life be like ten years from now?
- If you had a magic wand, what would you change within your heart?
- If you could identify one part of the pain in your heart that you are ready to release today, what would it be?
- If you could release the pain in your heart, what would it make room for?
A hardened heart is one that is past feeling and emotionless. The scriptures talk about a “stony heart” which is great imagery for something hardened and no longer malleable. Our heart hardens when we allow negative emotions such as anger, hate, revenge or malice to take root. Lack of compassion and love affects the heart just like soil that never receives water and hardens over time. “With the absence of love or the spirit, a hardened heart is often capable of hurting others, having no feelings of compassion and connection to humanity or even to themselves” (Robert Reynolds, Unstuck). Anger, revenge, hate, malice, animosity and pride are all feelings that lead to a hardened heart.
COACHING QUESTIONS FOR A HARDENED HEART
- What are you gaining by holding on to the anger?
- What is it costing you to hold on to the anger?
- What would happen if you could see the person you are angry with through the eyes of compassion?
- What have you already done to resolve the problem?
- What is really bothering you about this situation?
A faint heart is still open but the connection is weak. A faint heart wants to hold on to the heart connection, but doesn’t have the strength, courage, ability, or faith to trust completely and connect fully to the heart. We are often weary from life’s challenges in this state. Think of someone you know who is a caretaker for a loved one. When a trial continues for a long time, we do become depleted and weary. Perhaps someone has been hoping for an opportunity for a long time, or praying for a long-awaited miracle to happen. There are times in life when we are stretched to our very limits. A faint heart may be searching for something to strengthen it. The emotions within a faint heart are often weary, down-trodden, weak, depleted, or disheartened.
COACHING QUESTIONS FOR A FAINT HEART
- What is the biggest drain on your energy?
- At what times are you able to ask others for help?
- Would you like to take time to breathe? Breathe in love. Breathe out fear.
- What would you need to be able to trust God with the timing and outcome of your trial?
- Imagine pure light coming through the top of your head and spreading through your body. How does it feel to be filled with light?
A pure heart is the state of oneness: One with self, one with God, one with humanity. There is no pride or separation. There is no anxiety or fear. A pure heart is full of faith, compassion, light, hope, gratitude, charity, and is connected to truth. There is a desire to do good, an openness to being taught, and courage in moving forward. The pure in heart are meek, willing to accept all of life’s challenges with humility and grace. This is our natural, God-given state of the heart. When we seek for a “new heart” this is the state we are hoping to achieve.
YOU ARE HERE
Being aware of the state of your heart is the first step. You must know where you are to understand where you need to go. We each have many experiences throughout our life that challenge us and we fluctuate between these different states of the heart. You may recognize different states you have been in at different stages of your life. That is perfectly normal. No matter how far you stray from your pure heart, the hope is to have the tools and the vision to return.
We are rarely taught in life about our own, feeling heart. Our heart connection has a great impact on our happiness, our connection to self, and our success. Helping the heart of a client become aware of their state, guiding them through the emotions with powerful questions, and helping them return to a pure heart will be a gift they treasure.
With great love,