Heart in sand

Photo Credit: Stacey Whittle

What does it mean to put your heart on the line? To live your life with heart? To put yourself out there to life despite the fear and as Nike says, “Just do it!”

Along that vein, I have been given one of the greatest gifts on this planet, and for those rare few who have had a similar experience, you would probably agree.

What am I talking about?

Growing up with horses, and especially in knowing my Little Miss for 34 years now, there is NOTHING more exemplifying of feeling the passion, the raw emotion, the determined drive, the sense of other-wordly power, and the soul-freeing exhilaration of an inspired heart. A horse who loves to run for the pure joy of running is that very example. To witness it, it is emotional enough, but to experience it? To be on the back of one who simply loved to run all out across the fields and up hillsides with a determination like that of a speeding locomotive… Well, there just are no words. To feel one’s spirit who would use the challenge of a steep hill to go deeper into her heart and soul, despite how tired she might be, and to drive her way to the top with no fear of “what if?” but rather, for just the absolute joy of being alive.

Miss and me running on the beach

Miss & I running on the beach in Santa Barbara on her 30th birthday. Yes, her 30th birthday. May 11, 2011. Photo Credit: Stacey Whittle

That was my Little Miss in her hey day. Though not “officially” a racehorse in this lifetime, but in her mind, in her imagination (well, both of our imaginations… let’s be honest), we “won” many races in our day, together. To experience the teamwork of both of us working together, encouraging each other… feeling the infectious rhythm of her strides connecting with the earth, hearing her breathing, nostrils flared, I would move my body with hers as though we were dancing in the most “two operating as one” kind of way, and then, with just an ever so slightly energetic nudge with maybe the whispered words, “Come on, Miss…”, it was what I imagine it would feel like taking off in the space shuttle. Somehow, she would go a little deeper within herself and find another gear, her muscles and legs responding, taking it up to a level to, I admit, my fear would set in. Holy crap! Miss! Where is this coming from?

“Joy, Lisa! Pure joy! Because we can,” I would hear her say. “Just hold on for the ride!” Gulp! Ok… and then she’d kick it in even more. Seriously, who needs to be on the space shuttle? We are flying through the stratosphere right now on this little horse that, in this moment, is ALL HEART! The energy and power of the whole Universe might as well be flowing through us. Is there any separation? Not in this moment. We’re ONE with it all.

Miss & Me running on the beach 2

Miss still running with that passion, that spirit, that drive, that determined heart at the age of 30! Photo Credit: Stacey Whittle

 Ah, Miss… one of my greatest teachers in so many ways, but mostly in living life with that kind of passion, that kind of joy, that kind of aliveness! That kind of heart! Putting one’s heart on the line. Putting one’s self out there. No matter what the fear. Just doing it because we were put on this planet to live. Just doing it because we can.

It is what I learned from these heart-filled experiences with my Little Miss that has helped me in my experiences of being an athlete (actually once while struggling with the run part of a triathlon, all of a sudden, Little Miss “appeared” next to me, trotting along, encouraging me to dig deeper, to hang with it, to stay in the moment and keep putting one foot in front of another… there she was… my biggest fan), as well as in my life, especially when the road has been challenging, to “run with heart.” To stay with it.

Seriously. The heart. The most amazing entity… not just the physical, but the emotional and spiritual heart. There is nothing more powerful in this life. Our own heart!

If there is one thing I am beyond passionate about in this life, it is this: living life from the heart! I created a business 14 years ago based on this alone. Nothing gives me greater joy than helping people to find that passion, that desire, that feeling of aliveness, that freedom in themselves. It’s the facing of our fears and discomfort but damn it, doing and being it, anyway! Because we can!  This is the place I teach from. This is the place I coach from. This is the place I live from.

To show one of the most profound and incredible demonstrations of what the heart can do, here is actual video footage of one of the greatest racehorses to have ever lived – Secretariat – winning one of the most grueling races on the planet, the Belmont Stakes in 1973 (as well as the Triple Crown, which included winning the Kentucky Derby and The Preakness Stakes a few weeks prior). It was a performance that has not been matched since; his record STILL stands today, running the mile and a half faster than anyone, ever. And as you watch and listen, you can feel from him what I described from Little Miss. You can feel him digging deeper… and deeper… and deeper… getting stronger… and stronger… becoming more determined with every stride… while taking his jockey, Ron Turcotte, as well as all who watched on that day, to another realm of disbelief. Secretariat was running on all heart, pure heart, his heart on the line. Ron Turcotte said he never had to encourage Secretariat that day. He just was the lucky one who got to ride this amazing animal who showed the world what his heart could do in that moment — his moment to shine.

Wow! Be inspired!

State of the Heart Fitness. What is the state of YOUR heart? Are you living from yours?

Let me know if I can help! We all deserve to give ourselves this gift… the gift of our heart. :)



Lisa Brisse – Exercise Physiologist, Heart-centered Wellness Coach, Motivational Speaker, Writer
Founder of State of the Heart Fitness
Author, Michael Jackson: The Man in Our Mirror, A Reflection of Our Collective Soul