Living Fully

As human beings, embarked on this journey of life, we often have times of questioning. During times of silence or stillness, as we lay in bed trying to go to sleep or even during moments of great intensity we can be faced with questions arising from the heart, questions such as: “Is there any point to my life?”, “Will things ever get better?”, “Am I loveable?”, etc.  In his book, The Voice of the Heart, Chip Dodd explores such questions and states that these types of questions do not go away on their own but instead require a journey of courage and vulnerability as we explore the truth of what it means to be human. We have been made spiritual, emotional and relational creatures and in order to live an authentic life, a life of fullness for which we are created, we must surrender to the heart’s true expression. As Chip Dodd points out, many of us were raised in ways or have been in relationships that have either taught us to or have forced us to numb the voice of the heart.  When such trauma occurs, we build walls around our heart and instead of living from a place of truth and health, we tend towards impaired expression of our feelings which keep us from experiencing the fullness of life. As stated by Chip Dodd, “if we do not address our woundings on an emotional and spiritual level by admitting and surrendering to how our hearts are made, they will never heal. Instead of healing, we try to defend our hearts against further pain, leaving our true pain ignored and unattended”. (pg. 10) When our true pain is ignored or unattended our lives cannot be lived with abundance and our questions will remain unanswered. However, if we can attune ourselves and our lives to the voice of the heart and recognize that our feelings speak this very language we can begin to find ourselves living more freely and with less anxiety about our purpose, relationships and the future. To live life is to feel deeply, and have awareness of the feelings that are healthy, help us grow and point us to what we truly need as opposed to the impaired expression of these feelings which leave us limited in our experience of life and healing.
The eight core emotions that Chip Dodd identifies have a specific purpose in helping us live fully are:

Hurt leads to healing
Loneliness moves us to intimacy
Saddness expresses value and honor
Anger  hungers for life
Fear awakens us to danger and begins wisdom
Shame maintains humility and mercy
Guilt brings forgiveness
Gladness proves hope of the heart to be true (pg. 34).

If you have found yourself struggling to identify or even experience your emotions or if you have been having re-occurring questions about your life, direction and relationships, The Refuge Center for Counseling  can provide someone to journey with you as you explore the voice of your heart. Please call 615-591-5262 or visit for more information about our services.

Information and quotes taken from The Voice of the Heart by Chip Dodd, 2001.

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