Hey Rebooters! This week’s episode is such an exciting one – and a bit emotional too. Our guest Louise Livingstone talks to her heart, leads her business with her heart, and is the founder of the Heart Sense Research Institute. She tells us about looking at the world differently, and experiencing an awareness of the world through more than just her body and mind – with her heart. She shares her conversations with the heart theories here and we love what we learned. You definitely want to listen to this one even if you normally just skim the show notes – there is SO much good stuff in here!
Trigger warning – there is mention of dark thoughts and suicide in the first ten minutes of this podcast.
Louise has just finished a PhD around this subject, but her story starts in the early 2000s, when she contracted myocarditis at the age of 18. Through this illness and the effects it had, and in the depths of dark thoughts, she told us about the first time she heard her heart speak to her.
What we talk about
Louise’s journey from her first conversation with her heart to now, and her exploration of things like philosophy, and the way it drew her forward into something bigger. She felt the world itself was calling something from her through her heart.
The heart being more than just a muscle or a physical organ (and how this fits with Sarah’s experiences as a paramedic). A sense of something deeper, and which needed to be excavated.
How we speak of the heart, of heart vs head, but so many people don’t have a relationship with their heart, really.
Louise talks of following this journey, understanding the heart as an organ of perception, a gateway to the sacred – and of not wanting to pathologise it, or dismiss her heart speaking to her as a hallucination.
A key concept is that the heart is the organ through which the world speaks to us; or receives the world speaking to us through images.
Trying to get back to the mythic, enchanted, magical way of seeing the world which is so natural in childhood, and which disappears in adulthood. (and that many people never do get back to).
Her creativity comes from her heart and the conversations with her heart have changed her entire life. She talks about the land talking to her in childhood, and how rediscovering and reconnecting with that has come about.
We live in a narrative where the mind/brain is king, and the heart is seen as very sentimental and full of feelings – Louise feels this is a terrible mistake. Our hearts have so much to tell us, and so much of value to offer, that they complement each other.
Hut (hat tip Alex Franzen) – heart + gut = hut. Gut feelings coming from the heart, and neurons that connect the brain, the heart and the gut so they can communicate with each other.
(There’s so, so much more going on here but it’s almost impossible to catch in words – go listen and learn about your own conversations with the heart!)
If you make your heart speaking to you a possibility, and asked how that could change the way you look at the world – what do you have to lose by doing that?
Bringing the sacred back
The Heart Sense Research Institute is where all Louise’s research, papers and blogs live. She’s also creating from a seed which was set years ago when she realised that among the stone circles was when the land spoke to her.
After an admin job fell through, she also started to create miniature standing stones, stone circles and dolmens to bring the sacred back into people’s lives, and they are things of beauty, made from stones she has collected over many years.
We also talk about giants, Sarah’s experience at Stonehenge on solstice (not jealous AT ALL, honest), our senses of something much bigger than us.
Defining the sacred as something more – deeper, further into ourselves in our soul, or expansive outwards to the divine. Seeing our heart as the doorway out into something more.
Being open to your heart, remembering it’s like a new language – first ask your heart for a sign. That invitation is the beginning of a conversation and a process.
Staying open to possibility – and not shutting your heart down by assuming it’s just sentimental.
And finally, being open to there being another way to experience the world. Art and creativity can open the door to these deeper conversations which are so desperately needed in the world right now.