In some teachings, there is a saying, ‘live with an open heart’, writes Bernie Rowen-Ross. When I first arrived in Scotland, I quickly realised it is a country that has an open heart and I love the generosity that
I experience here.


Recently, I spoke to one of my clients about open-heartedness, and we discussed moving our thoughts from the head to the heart.

Try this exercise:
Stop for a moment
Think about something that irritates you
Stop again
Now think about dropping into your heart area, literally allowing your thoughts to soften, being gentle
Just relax

When we realise the only thing we can control is our thoughts, we start changing unwholesome thoughts, and instead of “she is an awful person”, we can think, “I wonder if she is suffering?” or
I wonder if she knows how to be loved?” “What could I do to contribute positively to his or her life?” and so on. What we realise is when we change our thought patterns to the positive, we feel more relaxed, allowing things to happen. This is far easier and more productive than having a mental argument about it.

Every one of us faces challenges; some are obvious – such as the roof blowing off in the recent storm. Others are hidden – the young woman struggling with poor self-image, the young man who is painfully shy or the mother who is exhausted and has a sick child. But, if we try and meet our challenges with equanimity, life becomes more peaceful. So don’t fight the small stuff; there is no need.

I have lived and worked in some pretty dire places. When I worked in an informal settlement in Cape Town, South Africa, I visited a friend who had studied with me. She had made wallpaper on her corrugated iron walls with the wrappings of canned peach tins, she had aligned them beautifully, and it looked outstanding. I was humbled when I learned that she studied by candlelight; what moved me and opened my heart was that she smiled broadly, most of the time! Her next-door neighbour lived outside, and her stove was a hole dug in the ground where she made a fire and put an old clay pot to cook her lunch. This woman’s bedroom was a beaten-up old car, but she had a tin can hanging on the handle of the car door, with some flowering weeds in it – to make her home beautiful! When I remember these people, I am eternally grateful for what I have. I marvel at the human spirit.

Let’s make 2022 a year of positive thought processes, and if you feel disgruntled, change your thought patterns, make a promise to yourself to move from negative to positive thinking – it will change the lens through which you view life. 

Bernie Rowen-Ross is an Ayurvedic Counsellor and Psychotherapist, she consults via Zoom
t: 01620 844 321 |