How to Sustain an Open Heart

Emma Harrow Not Still Life – Media Training Thought Leadership

How to Sustain an Open Heart

We had just had a heavenly 7-course meal at the Pan Asian restaurant Saucy in Oakland and were taking a stroll past the art galleries. My brother Jimmy was here from Hawaii with his wife and 7-year old daughter who is a budding artist—to celebrate my mom’s 90th birthday. My other brother, Josh, a Klezmer musician and scholar and his equally gifted musician wife, were all enjoying the glow of the rare times we are together as a family.

Suddenly a thin, ragged and smelly woman rushed up to us to loudly and aggressively ask for money. Without hesitating Josh pulled out his wallet and handed her a $20.

I asked him why he decided to give.

“Whenever anyone asks, I give,” he said.

“They have less than we do. That is reason enough to give.

Turn Towards, Not Away Toward Generosity and Giving

My brothers are both audaciously generous. They always have been. Yearly Jimmy and a group of his lifelong friends travel to areas devastated by natural disasters like Nepal and the Philippines to rebuild monasteries, midwiferies and other structures with the locals.

My father, an orphan, who was given a scholarship to attend Cornell, set up a fund to do the same.

We were raised by parents active in the community and often had strangers, like International students from Stanford, attending our Thanksgivings.     

And yet, I turned away from the woman in Oakland and my brother turned toward.

I wish, I too had turned toward, instead of shying away from the smell, the fierceness of her need—to remember, and live by, how I was raised.

A Deep Intention = Successful Media Interviews

In her Sounds True podcast interview with Tami Simon Eve Ekman, Ph.D., MSW, Greater Good Science Center’s director of training asks, “How do we sustain an open heart?”

One way is consistent awareness.

I ask of all of my clients when they are first embarking on media interviews, “What is your deepest intention? How do you want to serve?”

This informs and infuses their overall work in the world.

The constant revisiting of this intention before every interview helps to sustain an open heart—when things go cattywampus or a host taps into triggers or asks the unwanted or unexpected question.

How to Keep the Spirit Alive

How do we keep this spirit alive not just in our homes, the workplace, out in the world and in media interviews?  

For one, we look to our thought leaders, the disruptors, the innovators to remind us to keep an open heart when it’s easier not to.

In spite of all the upheaval and hate in the world on so many levels, there is simultaneously increasing awareness and insistence for corporations to take a greater responsibility, for politicians and people in power who are in care of our environment, our children, our education, our ability to feed, clothe, house and pay all people a living wage—to take action, to pass legislation, to move forward on difficult decisions.

More of us, including millennials, are demanding that brands sustain an open heart by speaking out on their policies, principles and values.

According to 5WPR’s 2020 Consumer Culture Report 83% want companies to align with their values and 76% want CEOs to speak out on issues they care about.

Gandhi, in his infinite wisdom says, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

We all can in our own way shake the world. By living into our values, by turning toward…

How do you sustain an open heart?

Find something useful, delightful or valuable here? Please share!

If you’re not against it, I invite you to book a free consult so we can shake the world together.

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Hi, I'm Susan

I’m a media coach, martial artist + marketing strategist who helps you communicate your values, mission + message during media interviews to multiply your revenue while building your brand + business. I believe that you don’t need to brag, beg or whore yourself to get the publicity you want. Nor do you need to be an axe murderer, a shamed sports star, or be involved in a sex scandal. There is another way…

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