Many Americans, watching interviews with former vice president Dick Cheney or reading coverage on his new book, Heart, may have become fired up with emotions, as he's among the most powerful and polarizing vice presidents in U.S. history.
While he slowed down from political engagements, his predominant topic lately has been... his heart, his fight for survival against cardiac disease, and his recent heart transplant.
Even in this, he's a figure of controversy. Through his five heart attacks, two open-heart surgeries, and a transplant, he received extraordinary care -- the kind of care that has long been denied to many Americans.
Cheney says now that he is a new man with a new heart. He says that he has mellowed, spending much of his time back in Wyoming with his family, playing with his granddaughter.
"It's been a miracle. You wake up every morning with a smile on your face because you've got a new day you never expected to have. And there's a sense, well, of wonderment. Nothing short of magical," Cheney said.
For me, that's the real headline: That Dick Cheney uttered words like miraculous and wonderment.
Listening to Dick Cheney, I see a different man. Beyond the gratitude and a new lease on life, what I hear in Cheney's words are directly related to the language of his new heart -- something close to the core of my own work on heart-based leadership.
Cheney was using the language of the heart to describe the wisdom of the heart.
Over the past 20 years, scientists have discovered new information about the heart that makes us realize it's far more complex than we'd ever imagined. We now have scientific evidence that the heart sends us emotional and intuitive signals to help govern our lives.
Instead of simply pumping blood, it directs and aligns many systems in the body so they can function in harmony with one another. And although the heart is in constant communication with the brain, we now know that the heart makes many of its own decisions.
Heart intelligence is the intelligent flow of awareness and insight that we experience once the mind and emotions are brought into balance and coherence through a self-initiated process.
It is experienced as direct, intuitive knowing and wonderment of feeling that manifests in thoughts and emotions, and which are translated into words we speak and actions we take.
The heart is intelligent and powerful, and it has a language that is associated with words spoken from the heart -- the language of gratitude, wonder, and magic. The language we've been hearing from Dick Cheney.
When Cheney got a new heart, he also got a new meaning of heart.
Now he is is doing things differently and he is speaking in a different language. In his own words, when he was very ill all he was concerned about was working harder, and he brought the hard-working Cheney along.
What a gift his donor gave him! The gift of continued life, and beyond that, the gift of experiencing something more significant.
Getting a new heart means getting much more than an organ that pumps blood through our arteries -- it is getting a whole new system that communicates with our brain, a whole new set of principles and meaning.
Most of us will go through our entire life with the heart we have had from birth. And we strive for heart-based meaning.
Whenever you become stressed out, overworked, and overwhelmed with your life, stop for a moment, take your hand and place it on your heart. It's a small gesture, one you can do in business meetings, on airplanes, standing in line, or on a stressful phone call. Allow it to to remind you that it is better to be led through life by the heart than by the mind -- to lead your life and not be led by it.
The language of the heart is positivity and gratitude. Take the time to listen and allow it to lead you to wonderment and magic.
© 2013 Lolly Daskal. All rights reserved.