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Reading the Heart’s Guidebook

Getting free from the debris of a trauma and attachment history requires a re-orientation.

We have to shift our habitual orientation of looking outside of ourselves for the answer, for ways to fill ourselves up.

What happens, though, when despite everything we’ve done nothing seems to turn out right?

Those people whose approval you’re wanting so much can’t give you what you long for?

Or what if you’ve tried and tried for years, really and truly done everything, and still feeling pain after all the years of trying?

When we look for the answer outside it is so easy to miss the all-important turn off the road.

Being so oriented to finding “it” “out there” we missed the instruction to pick up the new map, the better map, new and improved.

Or maybe it was that when we see articles with titles like “Finding The Answers In Your Heart” — and we just rolled our eyes and kept on going, looking outside, grabbing at someone, anyone, anything to change the experience inside.

Yet that map, that one about the heart, that’s the one that is based on thousands of years of experience done by thousands of expert navigators.  The collective data from all those traditions says that if we water the buried seeds of our true nature we will flourish.


End of story.

The other stuff, the looking outside us stuff is at times fun but ultimately a pure distraction from getting content, happy, joyful, serene.

The world outside has many wonderful answers and perks for a good life.   But when the chips are down we need ourselves.  We need to be able to be grounded, centered, solid in our own hearts, minds, bodies.

When we’re there, with ourselves, then we’re no longer alone.

And it’s when we find others able, willing to be there with us.

We no longer overwhelm ourselves — or other people.

It’s really a magical formula.  When we can be with ourselves, tolerate (in the best use of the word) what goes on inside ourselves then it’s much easier for others to be with us in the ways we always wanted them to be. 

Learning to listen to the frequency of the heart the map, which really only comes in a braille like version, means we are almost always operating in the dark.

When we learn the language of the heart the map unfolds and begins to reveal itself. 

If we take the time to attend to the heart the frequency  becomes loud and clear, beaming a signal so strong and powerful it’s hard to miss.

We’re the ones that occlude that signal, filtering out the frequencies that orient to a better life.  We’re the ones that make it hard to hear and see the map guiding us home to our own hearts.

Probably the most important key to shifting the dynamic from outward grasping to inner confidence takes learning to soften and receive life, learning to be vulnerable to its vicissitudes, opening to the yuckiness of it all.

I know that doesn’t sound that appealing.

Our fear is that if we do this we’ll be stuck there.

Not so, say the sacred texts of meditation, yoga, or psychotherapy.  Not so, say the many thousands and hundreds of thousands who have walked this path before you.

If we see through the pristine lens the teachings give us we see the soul’s landscape come clear, vibrant, alive. 

Whereas before there was nothing, now we see the baby steps to take, the pauses to breath into, the people to turn toward and those to turn away from.

Try living from your heart.

Instead of looking at life, at others with your mind.  Look with your heart.  Let it guide you.  Expect to be delighted.

Reading the Heart’s Guidebook

Deirdre Fay, LICSW

Deirdre Fay, LICSW, has decades of experience exploring the intersection of trauma, attachment, yoga and meditation, teaches “a radically positive approach to healing trauma.”  An international speaker and workshop leader, Deirdre has written Becoming Safely Embodied (Morgan James, in press), Attachment-Based Yoga & Meditation for Trauma Recovery (W.W. Norton, 2017),  co-author of Attachment Disturbances for Adults (W.W. Norton, 2016) as well as the co-author of chapters in Neurobiological Treatments of Traumatic Dissociation.  A former supervisor at The Trauma Center, trainer for Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute from 2000–2008, she’s also certified in Internal Family Therapy, qualified trainer in Mindful Self-Compassion, former Board member of the New England Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation which add depth and understanding to these practices. Deirdre is a respected international teacher and mentor integrating trauma, attachment, yoga, and working safely with the body. Visit her website to get a FREE Safe Guide to Healing Trauma.

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APA Reference
Fay, D. (2020). Reading the Heart’s Guidebook. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Jul 2020
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