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Inner Radiance Blog

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Beat of the Human Heart

Recently, I have been thinking about the beat of the human heart--when it races, when it is slow and steady. I have also been seeing more and more clients who are facing anxiety. This brought me back to a book that has been incredibly influential in my work as a therapist called A General Theory of Love.

In the book, the authors--three professors of psychiatry at UCSF--discuss neurobiology and the science behind love, bonding, and relationships. More importantly, the authors bring forward a concept called limbic resonance and how important having physical touch is, especially during early childhood development. Have you ever noticed how when you are next to someone who is calm, that soon your own breathing and heartbeat slows as well? This is a great example of limbic resonance.

If you are interested in learning more, Eric Fancis has written a thorough review of the book, where he talks about how therapy can help people re-establish connection patters with others by means of limbic resonance.

"Working with a good therapist, we are developing new limbic patterns; we are literally changing our brain structures, granted, in subtle but effective ways, and developing the capacity to feel. As part of this process, we begin to recognize that relationship experiences other than the ones we had as children and repeated (and reinforced) as adults are possible. We can then take these experiences into the world and relate to others, now that we both have the capacity to do so, and the sense that it’s even possible."

I highly recommend A General Theory of Love to anyone who participates in counseling or any form of alternative healing. It is full of information and will change the way you look at your relationships with your loved ones, family, and those close to you.

Below, I have included a poem I wrote about the beat of my own heart.

Blessings, Elizabeth


Stillness Inside (Rhodeden-drum)
by Elizabeth Anne Rightor

Rhododendron
Breaks through light
Out of the darkness
Loudly this fire breathes
Through me, moves through me
The sheer quiet when
The beat stops
All sounds emerge
From the stillness
Like flowers opening after
The rain
And then the drops come
Slowly at first
And then faster
And harder
And louder
Until they erupt back
Into stillness
Into quiet
Circling back into themselves
Into the space
Where words need not
Be spoken


Visit Inner Radiance Blog again soon for helpful articles, tips on relationships, inspiration, and insight. Author Elizabeth Rightor, MA, MEd is a family therapist in private practice who specializes in working with couples and women suffering from anxiety. You can find more about her and her work at www.elizabethrightor.com.

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