Wise Words About Connection and What It Means to Step From The Heart

My vision for the HeartStepping movement is to inspire others (that means you!) to embrace connectedness and connected action. To know deeply that you are not alone, and also to know that no one can replace the unique qualities and superpowers that make you, well, you.

But my goal is not to create a tribe of followers of me. Rather, it’s to make way for a tribe of leaders who create and inspire in their own unique ways.

Because what I have to say is nothing brand new, really. I’m offering up my thoughts and wisdom here in ways that reflect my own unique message and experience–but the elements are all pieces I’ve gotten from other wise people along the way.

So, in the spirit of not making this all about me, this post honors the fact that I am connected to those who’ve shared their messages with me, as well as those of you I’m sharing my message with.

Here are words of wisdom from others who have at some point influenced or inspired me. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list by a long shot. If I wanted to, this collection of quotes could go on for days! (I’ll spare you that, don’t worry.)

The following quotes highlight some key definitions of HeartStepping.

Honoring Wholeness In Ourselves

HeartStepping sometimes means connecting with our heart, our center, our core. It means tapping into ourselves for the sake of healing, and being fully present.

“When you honor your body temple and begin to achieve balance and union, all manner of cosmic doors and windows begin to open. Through them, you see to another level of consciousness. You let go of old wounds and all hatred. You begin to see the good in the universe, not just the bad, and you see the same goodness in yourself (after all, you are but a reflection of the universe).”
–Bikram Choudhury, Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga played a huge role in my own healing process, and his quote describes my experience to a tee. Through a year and a half of dedicated practice, I went from feeling numb yet uncomfortable in my body to feeling truly connected to the universe. Many times, as I lay in the final relaxation pose after many a Bikram yoga class, I felt a sense of intense gratitude at how both precious and universal each of us human beings is. Our bodies are full of emotion, energy, and wisdom, and “yoga”, which literally means “union”, was instrumental in my own journey to uniting and transforming my mind, body, and spirit.

“‘Opening our heart’ may enhance our feelings of compassion and unconditional love, but it only transmits a fragment of our self. Without integrating the other energetic centers of the body, we cannot effectively manifest love or a sense of wholeness.”
–Donald Epstein, Healing Myths, Healing Magic

My sister is a Network Spinal Analysis practitioner–a practice derived from chiropractic that was created by Donnie Epstein. I’ve gotten network care from her for years, and I love the whole philosophy behind the practice, which is all about honoring the unique rhythms, strategies, and wisdom of our bodies. Donnie offers an expanded view of healing that incorporates our whole bodies and selves, not just our “heart center” that’s the seat of our emotions. In HeartStepping, I define “heart” loosely to include any and all of our energetic centers. It’s really about taking action that is connected and conscious of what’s inside and outside ourselves, whatever and wherever that may be.

“Concentration is a narrowing down of the mind. But we are concerned with the total process of living and to concentrate exclusively on any particular aspect of life, belittles life.”
–Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

My family used to watch Bruce Lee‘s movies with an immense sense of pride–thinking that because he was Chinese and we were Chinese, he was practically our brother! In my view, Bruce Lee’s mindset and wisdom were just as breathtaking as his skill as a martial artist. In this quote from his book laying out the philosophy of his own martial arts methodology, he also points to the importance of expanding our view of life to encompass wholeness. When we try to break things, people, and our environment down into their parts, we miss the synergy of how it all works together.

Stepping Forth With Courage

Did you know the word “courage” derives from the word “coeur,” which literally means “heart”? Sometimes HeartStepping means courageously moving forward.

“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time…”
–Andre Gide

Andre Gide was a French author who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947. This quote of his inspired me to finally take the leap of faith of quitting my 7-year career as a software engineer to become a full-time coach. It reminded me that at the end of the day, regardless of how meticulously I had prepared myself financially for the career change, it wasn’t possible to predict the future, and that was okay. I knew I would face uncertainty for a time, but the new lands I was setting out to discover were well worth it!

“We are practicing not weightlifting but commitment. Commitment spawns success. Only by redoubling our efforts do we best succeed. Expecting success to motivate our efforts is the loser’s gambit.”
–Greg Glassman, creator of CrossFit

I’ll never forget a session I had with my own coach in which I expressed a fear of what would happen if I failed to succeed at my new career. I thought it meant I’d have to give up my new career altogether–until I started comparing my new career to a really tough CrossFit workout. My coach asked me, “So what is the equivalent of failure in a CrossFit workout?” “Dropping the barbell,” I replied. “And what do you do if you drop the barbell?” “Well duh, I just pick it up again–OH!! I get it!” That’s why I love doing and teaching CrossFit. It doesn’t just make you fit–it changes your mindset about what’s possible, and busts through the limits of what you thought you could achieve.

Connecting With Our Passion

HeartStepping is also a way of guiding ourselves through life using our own internal compass. When we connect with what our instincts tell us, we create powerful results.

“Masters focus on what they do best. That’s how they become masters. They stay in their zone, and the zone is what feels good. Damn good.”
–Danielle LaPorte, The Fire-Starter Sessions

Danielle LaPorte is a wisdom- and truth-teller, blogger, and author, and seems to be everywhere these days, taking the world by storm! And deservedly so; she is bold, inspiring, and insightful. She’s all about finding and doing what feels good, and creating momentum for yourself and your passion that way. Have you ever been paralyzed by a sense of obligation and heavy, heavy boredom? I sure have! Danielle’s work is a breath of much-needed fresh air that teaches you how to leverage your talents with ease.

“Do you want to dwell in a peaceful abode, with a deep sense of fulfillment and purpose? Or do you want to wander the corridors of a House of Horrors where ghastly apparitions appear without notice? It’s your choice. And only your choice. And it is far, far better to live in the bosom of a benevolent Universe.”
–Srikumar Rao, Are You Ready To Succeed? Unconventional Strategies to Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life

This book by Srikumar Rao is refreshing in its straightforward simplicity. He also makes a strong disclaimer at the beginning of the book that none of his ideas are brand new, and that he’s merely compiled them from other wise people before him. In this quote, he makes it crystal clear that we are ultimately at choice in how we experience life. As my coaching clients discover all the time, we get to choose the perspective we live in. Learning to become aware of our perspectives, and to consciously choose ones that empower us into resonant action, can transform what’s possible our lives.

Bringing Our Hearts Out

Another flavor of HeartStepping is allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in front of others.

“In the beginning of life, when we are infants, we need others to survive, right? And at the end of life, when you get like me, you need others to survive, right?” His voice dropped to a whisper. “But here’s the secret: in between, we need others as well.”
–Mitch Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie

Such an endearing quote, isn’t it? I’m sure you’ve at least heard of this book, if you haven’t read it. It’s full of the true-story wisdom of Morrie, a man dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease. What I love most about Morrie’s story is how fully he accepts and surrenders to his utter vulnerability and dependence on others, and how much he is loved as a result. So many of us strive to be ultra-independent, thinking that makes us brave. I know I’ve certainly fallen into that thinking. In many cases, it’s actually our willingness to need others that takes the most courage of all, and that allows others to connect with us.

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
–Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Brene Brown kicks ass, in my book. If you haven’t watched her quintessential TED talk on the power of vulnerability, do it now! Her concept of wholeheartedness is all about how we as humans crave belonging, and how we must believe in ourselves and our worthiness to truly open ourselves to human connection. Her ideas have been a huge inspiration to me as I’ve created HeartStepping. In many ways, HeartStepping could be defined as “applied wholeheartedness” or “wholehearted leadership.”

We Have Impact

HeartStepping is also about stepping off the “island” mentality that isolates us from others, and simply realizing that we are all connected, and that we always have impact on others, whether we’re conscious of it or not.

“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
–Marianne Williamson

I think this quote is on many, many people’s all-time favorite lists, so I won’t belabor the point too much. Basically, whatever we do to bring our true selves out and into the open, benefits others as well. ‘Nuff said!

“The point is that we all learn from one another every day. You can learn to improve yourself, or to advance in a discipline. You can also pass on your knowledge and influence to others. See: great power, great responsibility.”
–Chris Guillebeau, The Art of Non-Conformity

This quote is from a recent post by Mr. Non-Conformity himself–creator of the World Domination Summit and other fun goodies. Chris’s blog turned into a full-on movement, and the worldwide community he’s created around living a bold and unique life is totally inspiring! I really appreciated the message of this post: that we all have the power to influence others, and that being conscious of our impact is therefore important.

The Best Leaders Serve the Greater Whole

Finally, HeartStepping is about leadership that’s connected and conscious. Connnected to a sense of compassion and purpose, yes, but also connected to a sense of the greater whole. Here the “heart” really refers to higher wisdom, intuition, and sensitivity to what’s present in ourselves and in our world.

“…the meltdown of old organizational forms from a hierarchical wiring diagram into the mandala of a web, along with the ascendance of teamwork, increases the importance of traditional people skills such as building bonds, influence, and collaboration.”
–Daniel Goleman, Working With Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman, who coined the terms “emotional intelligence” and “social intelligence,” has raised awareness of the fact that it takes much more than book smarts to be a successful leader. Here, he notes that the nature of our organizational structures is changing, and increasingly require us to connect with and work with others on real, human levels. To thrive in today’s world requires greater awareness of complex relationships and group dynamics.

“A true Master is not the one with the most students, but one who creates the most Masters.
A true leader is not the one with the most followers, but one who creates the most leaders.
A true king is not the one with the most subjects, but one who leads the most to royalty.
A true teacher is not the one with the most knowledge, but one who causes the most others to have knowledge.
And a true God is not One with the most servants, but One who serves the most, thereby making Gods of all others.”
–Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 1

While I don’t personally ascribe to any particular religion, I have a rich spiritual experience of the world, and I am often fascinated and inspired by the common messages and threads of various religious beliefs. In this book, Neale Donald Walsch goes through a written correspondence with himself, and he believes God is speaking through him. The book literally reads like a dialogue between himself and God, and whatever the truth may be, there is a lot of beautiful wisdom in the book. The above quote is from the book’s God character, and it really points to the selfless nature of leadership. It’s not about being given praise, power, or respect. It’s about being of service.

“A fixer has the illusion of being causal.
A server knows he or she is being used
In the service of something greater,
essentially unknown.

Fixing is a form of judgment.
Serving is a form of connection.”

The above quote is an excerpt from a poem I encountered while going through CTI’s Co-Active Leadership Program. It distinguishes between “fixing” or “helping” and “serving. Fixing and helping frames things as being wrong, weak, or in need of fixing, and creates an “I’m right, you’re wrong, let me help you” energy. Serving, on the other hand, is less divisive, less self-seeking or judging, but fosters connection, respect, and encouragement–all important qualities of a leader.

Do You HeartStep?

So there you have it folks. I didn’t make this stuff up all by myself!

Which of the above definitions of HeartStepping resonate with you the most? What other definitions can you think of that I haven’t touched on here? And how does (or could) HeartStepping enhance your experience of connection with yourself, others, and your world?

Step on, my friends!

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  1. Izzy

    Great Post Cindy,
    These are some really powerful people. The three that have had the biggest impact on my life are Bruce Lee, Chris Guillbeau and Mitch Albom.

    I read Bruce Lee’s Tao of Jeet Kune Do back when I was a kid. Though, at the time I didn’t really understand it fully. Once I move to Kyoto in about a month I am going to pick it back up once I go full bore ahead in my martial arts training.

    Chris Guillbeau is an inspiration in his work ethic, patience, and his knowlege. I just love hearing his story about how he has become a successful blogger. It is so inspiring. And his new book the $100 start up is the bee’s knees.

    I read my first Mitch Albom book “Tuesdays with Morrie” back in college. It was such a beautiful and touching book. Since then I have read “The 5 People you Meet in Heaven” (which was way different that I expected) and “Have a Little Faith”. All of them were really powerful books. I quote different pieces of each of them all the time. My favorite line is when the Rabbi (or “the rab” as he is called in the book) says the secret to life is “gratitude”.

    • Thanks Izzy–glad to hear some of these people resonated for you.

      Bruce Lee is the bomb. I haven’t been following Chris Guillebeau for that long, but am really enjoying his message and his work so far, and appreciate how he’s inspiring people to do what they want in a way that also helps others. I’ll have to add his book to my reading list.

      And speaking of gratitude–thanks for your awesome comments!

  2. Awesome round up! Truly, this post gives justice to the “heart-stepping” title. It started giving me a feeling of inspiration- honestly 😉

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