April 8, 2022

“The Atlas of the Heart”: A Need to Watch Series by Brené Brown.

Our thoughts and experiences fuel our emotions.

Our emotions contribute to our energy, which affects our health—emotional and physical.

I used this information to cure myself of seven years of chronic illness in three weeks, 14 years ago.

Since, it has been my life’s work to learn more and apply and create tools to help myself and others live their best lives. I absolutely love the idea of the continued learning ahead of me on this topic and recently came across a series that truly took my understanding to the next level and opened up a whole new level of awareness, healing, and curiosity.

I have been a fan of Brené Brown’s for a while. Brené’s TED talks on shame and vulnerability are two of my all-time favorites.

Her five-part special on HBO MAX called, “The Atlas of the Heart” does not disappoint. In fact, it takes us all on a deep healing journey through the importance of language for our relationships (and health) within ourselves and with others. In naming our emotions, we truly do create a bodily response to what we are saying we feel. Often, we are not using the most appropriate word for what we are feeling, so we are not stimulating the correct bodily response. Emotions truly are feelings, and our response to them is the same as if something is physically affecting us. So, it is important to truly know and be able to name what we are feeling to process the emotions in a healthy way.

Often, we tend to lump emotions into the more common names. It was a “happy” moment, I felt “sad,” “Boy was I angry.” But can you feel the difference if that “happy” moment was really “awe” or “wonder”? If that “sad” moment was really “grief” or “overwhelm”? What if that “angry” moment was really “resentment” or “envy”? Knowing the correct language takes you into a deeper understanding of yourself and how you are relating and reacting to the world and the people around you. It can empower you as you begin to look inward and connect with what you were truly feeling.

I had a profound healing moment in the first episode when I recognized that the moment my mom’s soul left her body as she passed, I was actually filled with “anguish,” not “grief.” Yes, grief is part of anguish, but I bet even in reading these words you are calling to mind the difference. The anguish I felt took me to the ground and I had this feeling of wondering if I could ever cope or be happy again. This extreme was a feeling of powerlessness, pain, distress, and boy, I remember even having heart pain as I witnessed my best friend leave this plane.

When we correctly name the emotion we are experiencing, there is a deeper awareness and compassion that comes into play. When I heard Brené say the word “anguish,” I was instantly taken to that moment in my life and it felt like I was looking at myself and wanted to wrap myself in a hug—anguish is a heartbreaking emotion and I suddenly had a deeper understanding of myself and more compassion for myself than before.

Brené leads us through movie clips, art, quotes, and the studies of many great thought leaders to bring us to the emotions she has focused on for this special. She allows for a deeper understanding of the language, and the audience participation and questions help us integrate the information on an even deeper level. As you go through this special, you will reflect on moments in your life and gain new understanding of how you were feeling in those moments. I felt my heart opening for myself and for others as I watched this series.

As humans, we have the ability to feel many emotions. Knowing exactly what we are feeling and being able to name our emotions is empowering.

This knowledge also allows us to show up for people in a much more compassionate and loving way. We are on this planet during a time like no other and we can all use as much self-awareness as possible! I love the Ram Das quote, “We are all just walking each other home.” We truly are in this together.

It begins with the relationship within ourselves and that truly does begin with a deeper understanding of our emotions. Once we connect with the correct language around what we are experiencing, we can forge a healthier dialogue within ourselves and with others.

I really cannot recommend this special enough and know I will be watching it again and probably again after that.

I have studied the importance of thoughts and emotions for almost 15 years and this series took me deeper than I have been in a long while. I’m grateful to Brené Brown for her endless research and bravery in diving deep into emotions.

I would love to know if you have watched this special and what you have gained from it. This special can spark a lot of important discussions and healing and I am deeply grateful it came into my life at exactly the right time.



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