Creating Heartspace

“When we love, we always strive to become
better than we are.  When we strive to
Become better than we are, everything
around us becomes better too.”

~ Paulo Cohelo

In the mid 90’s I was looking for a name for my counseling and teaching practice that reflected what I intended as an outcome for what I had to offer.  My wonderful husband, Steve, came up with the word “Heartspace” as we brainstormed one morning.  It seemed to fit everything that I wanted to create within myself and invite in others – a sense of space and spaciousness infused with all the qualities associated with heart centered living and loving like loving kindness, understanding, empathy, joy, appreciation, connection, wholehearted attention, and BIG FUN and DELIGHT.

A crowd of people standing in a heartshapeValentine’s Week seems to be the perfect time for bringing attention to creating HEARTSPACE in your life.  Ideas for romantic encounters and gifts abound in our commercialized culture and they are all fine and good in and of themselves, but they do not hold a candle to the feelings and connections that are created with genuine expressions of appreciation like the one Steve just gave me when he came over to hug me and said how he loves having me around this morning. Or the peace of mind that comes with giving someone wholehearted attention like I felt yesterday morning making breakfast for my loved ones with foods I knew they loved.  Or the happiness that bursts forth when having BIG FUN playing with your children or the child within you.

When we act from this place of loving attention and appreciation, we benefit immensely ourselves.  Our heart rate slows, our breath calms, our whole mindbody opens to a state of ease.  There’s a scene at the end of the Jack Nicholson – Helen Hunt movie, “As Good As It Gets” when he is giving a big appreciation to her.  She tries to deflect it with saying something like he didn’t need to do it.  He comes back with saying she was misunderstanding.  Not only was he giving it to her, but he recognized that the act of giving loving appreciation made him a better person.  He was being a producer of love rather than just a taker of it.  I think that “as good as it gets” really means that we can continue to produce love in so many ways that it keeps getting better and better.

So my invitation to you this Valentine’s week is to Live, Love, and Laugh wholeheartedly creating Heartspace within you and all around you.

Here’s some ideas:

  • Let someone know how much they mean to you.
  • Write a handwritten note of appreciation to a loved one.
  • Spend a few quiet moments with yourself each day this week listening to your hearts’ wisdom speak.
  • Plan a BIG FUN outing for yourself or with someone who you know would love it.

From my heart to yours – May all be well and whole and heart-full with you.


About the author

Suzanne Kilkus

Suzanne Kilkus is a Soto Zen meditation practitioner and teacher and has practiced as a therapist and counselor for over three decades. She is dedicated to assisting people in expanding their capacity for giving and receiving love, and for recognizing and expressing their basic goodness in everyday life. Her path to live with wholehearted compassion and care is an invitation to everyone. She is a teacher with Open Door Zen Community in Madison, WI.