Heartwork is a weekly podcast all about love, relationships, dating, and the work of the heart. If you've got a big heart, if you're a lover, if you love love then this podcast is for you. Heartwork is also a network of hearts connected together by host Tom Lloyd. Each week Tom interviews one of his favorite hearts whether they be friends, co-workers, aquaintances, lovers, ex-boyfriends, family, mentors, and even his Mom. All together the show's episodes provide a wide range of perspectives on love so that hopefully your heart finds its own journey of love reflected back to you. a resource of love to remind you you're not alone in your quest of love. there's a whole community of heart centered support to keep you motivated towards taking that next step into a greater arena of love, whatever that looks like for you.
Amina Jama >> black lives matter, black joy, inner strength, and learning to love yourself all over again
Joy. In this case Black Joy and specifically Amina style joy. I hope you soaked up some of the priceless joy in this episode. I hope it hit you. I hope you laughed. I hope your spirits got lifted. I hope it helped you move deeper into this work that we are all confronted with now. Of course we can move through these moments with anger, passion, ferocity, love, solidarity and even violence if necessary. But we can also move through these moments with joy. It helps open the heart, lighten the load, and keep us moving towards this work that must be done. It’s ok to laugh, remember to laugh.
The image Amina shared at the top of the episode, the one of the plastic bag over her head and not being able to breathe the same air as white people is etched in my head. I don’t know if that stayed with you but it definitely did with me. It gave a new meaning to the saying “I can’t breathe”. As non-Black folx some of what we do can poke holes in that bag to help a sister in need breathe. But what would it look like to remove the bag completely? This is why there is so much talk about defunding the police, abolishing the police, and creating a new system for public safety. We don’t need to cut a bigger hole in the bag, we just need to get rid of the bag. Reform isn’t enough. Defunding is a good start. Abolishing the police the answer. We’ve gotta get rid of the bag around Amina’s head. Standing behind that is some real love. Consider standing behind abolition.
Supporting Black people in this movement at the most intimate levels can be incredibly powerful right now. Did you hear what an impact her mother’s support gave Amina? True support to Black family members, chosen family, or friends could mean the world right now. Potentially a tremendous act of love. Especially if you’ve never given support in this way before. Show up for your people and stand behind them! A side note here is that support doesn’t mean “help me understand”. That’s the opposite of support because it’s emotional labor and Black people are already emotionally taxed right now. Simply show support, love, and care behind their actions, voices, and opinions. To be clear I’m talking about personal relationships here which is the focus of this podcast. My point is that personal support behind Black people in your life can help immensely while they tackle systemic change. It can even help you navigate how you personally show up to fight systemic oppression.
Face that one thing that you’re afraid of. It could change your whole life. Remember what Amina said, “you’re the only person who can stop you from true growth. You’re also the only person who can confront your own fear. So do it. There are gifts waiting for you on the other side.
Injustice, trauma, and pain are passed down in families just as easily as wealth and good fortune. We run into them in our relationships and family all the time. These patterns are good to be aware in order to navigate your own personal worlds. In this moment in history we have the opportunity to heal centuries of trauma, pain and injustice for our country, institutions, and the whole of society. However, we also have the opportunity to end generations of trauma with ourselves, our families, and our intimate relationships. Help heal all of it.
The phrase “keep it moving” kept coming up throughout this interview. Did you hear all the ways Amina kept it moving with incredible strength?! Life demands that we all keep it moving, but the question to me right now is what can we do to make it easier for Black people to keep it moving. Both personally and systemically.
If you say things like “They’re not ready. People aren’t ready. The world isn’t ready” Maybe the real person who isn’t ready is you. I was really struck by how Amina talked about this.
Going out to protest will make you happy. Like Amina said, it might make your heart smile. Not only that, but there’s a great
Lily DePaula >> heartbreak, ego death, trust, and beginning to set boundaries
Are you putting your needs on the backburner for someone or something else? Do an honest self assessment. Whether it’s in a relationship, with work, or some other situation in life it’s good to know. The key to self love is putting your own needs first. If you’re not used to this, it might take some time to figure out. That’s fine. Take the time!
Every break up or heartbreak is a form of ego death. To truly heal a new person must emerge from what was. This is maybe why heartbreak is so painful, because part of yourself must die to make way for something new.
Love might look and feel different as you evolve and grow. You might look back on a relationship and realize that what you thought was love is not how you understand love now. In fact, it might have been very toxic. Honor the love you had at the time, but know what type of love you’re looking for now.
Communication is key and it’s not just with words. Words can help articulate, but often actions can be even more important. Aligning your words with your actions is a great way to build trust.
A warning sign of toxicity is when a person is not listening to your needs. You state what your wants, needs, or desires and that person doesn’t respect them. In some way a person like this may try to encroach on your time or space that you’ve put a boundary on. Or you may simply sense that a person is trying to manipulate you in some way. Use this as a guidepost or develop your own strategies for identifying toxicity so you don’t bring it into your intimate circles.
Just because someone is going through something difficult doesn’t give them permission to hurt you. Being compassionate, tolerant, and forgiving is ok, but they have no right to hurt you. In cases like these you may want to consider putting up a boundary.
If you’ve never set a boundary with another person before it might feel really uncomfortable to do so. Like anything it gets easier with practice.
Sometimes no amount of communication is going to save something. In some situations you might discover that it’s not possible to work something out because a choice has already been made, a reality has already been chosen. Either by your partner or yourself. Working on it isn’t gonna won’t work and it’s not your place to change that person’s mind. So even though it might be painful, moving on might be the best course of action.
With a breakup you might loose friends along with your partner. This may be an extension of what Lily calls an “ego death”. But you have to ask yourself, “were they really my friend to begin with?” If they couldn’t stay around for some of the most difficult times of your life, they may not be a true friend.
One way to look at heartbreak is that your heart is actually ready to give and receive more love. However, the situation you’re in might be limiting that potential. Your heart breaks because it has to open up in order to be ready for new potential. Part of that process will definitely be experienced as pain if you’re strongly attached to a certain situation.
Often times we will keep encountering the same type of partner, the same type of love, the same type of relationship until we do something to change how that shows up for us. Setting boundaries for what you know doesn’t work for you is a great way to start changing these patterns. It’s a great way to tap into self love too. Remember to put your needs first, especially when starting something new.
What is a Leo? Lily and I share the same birthday and naturally the same astrological sign. We love being Leos and we talk about it a lot. In case you’re not already hyper aware, Leos are ruled by the sun and considered the king of the zodiac. We’re passionate, enthusiastic, generous, brave, loyal, courageous, fun, warm, protective, and charismatic. We’re also natural leaders, creatives, and we love the spotlight and attention. We can be seen as demanding, dominating, possessiv
Kwame Amin >> the 5 love languages, acts of service, and showing up to break down walls
Just because you’ve never been in love doesn’t mean you don’t know love. There are lots of experiences of love beyond intimate relationships. When love is absent in one expression, it most likely is showing up in another way. For Kwame, his relationship with spirit, faith, and service to life wherever he goes are how he experiences a greater love for life.
Just because you’ve been in relationships doesn’t mean you’ve been in love. Check yourself: have you been in love? In my experience, the phrase “I think I’ve been in love” might be a key indicator that you haven’t been. That might be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s worth it to know. Being in love is an all consuming feeling that you just know. It’s not logical, it’s experiential and all consuming. You don’t have to think about it, you just know. Also, if you haven’t been in love, you’re not flawed! You just have more exploration and experiences ahead of you.
What Kwame has to share is so important for parents out there to hear. What children experience when they’re young really impacts how they give and receive love when they’re older. How are you nurturing love in your children? The love languages might be a great thing to work with kids on. As Kwame points out, they’re not gonna learn in school! How will you teach your children to be fluent in love?
All of us are children of someone. It might be worth it to not only do an inventory of your own love languages, but also those of your parents. You may see that they weren’t speaking your primary love language, but they were in fact giving you lots of love.
I need to actually read the book on Love Languages, maybe you do too. I’ve been working with this stuff for years and it’s probably time to go deeper. The Book is called “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. You can order it online if you want to go deep into it. Or you may just want to do some quick research and take a love languages quiz. You can do that at http://www.5lovelanguages.com (www.5lovelanguages.com)
The 5 Love Languages are: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.
The concept of the “Love Tank” goes side by side with the Love Languages. Some languages will fill you or your lover’s tank up more easily. It’s worth it to figure out which language fills you up the most.
No love language is better than another love language. They’re just ways to give and receive love. If you aren’t fluent in a love language, maybe recognize that fact. Furthermore, being proactive in learning that language could open you up to a whole new landscape of love.
Kwame is a role model for service in my life. In that way he’s a role model for the love language of “Acts of Service”. It makes me think: what are the love languages of the people surrounding you? Who inspires you? If you want to become more fluent in a love language, do you have someone to look up to who’s a good role model?
A secret to service and the love language of “Acts of Service” is to simply not be afraid of doing things. Get rid of the “what if?” Just do things! What would you do for yourself or someone else if today was your last?
Persistence, showing up for yourself, and doing the work! Can you see how much work Kwame is doing to break through these walls that are barriers to more love? He is committed to more love in his life and that is incredibly admirable in my book. Just because your lover may have some walls it doesn’t mean they’re not doing the work to break them down. Maybe a little bit of patience and compassion could help.
Sometimes our understanding of love changes. You may look back at a time in which you believed you were in love and now you understand that what you were experiencing wasn’t love at all. It may have been infatuation, obsession, lust, or some other experience. Also, if you’re undergoing a transformation in what you understand love
Michelle Boulé >> do the work, move with life, go get your own love, and don’t run away from yourself
Are you here to learn more, live more, and help others live from a place of love? Michelle is. I am too. If you keep coming back to this podcast, maybe this is who you are too.
“Life is movement in service to creation. With love!”
Ask yourself these questions: Am I really honoring who I am and what I want? Who am I? What do I like? What do I love to do?
Know that your soul mate is out there, but it’s also in there: it’s in your own heart. Learn to love yourself like crazy
Whether or not a person likes you when dating has nothing to do with you. It’s all about that person and their stuff. Likewise, whether or not you like someone has nothing to do with them, it’s just you confronting your own stuff. People are just mirrors to who we are.
Whether it’s accepting something about yourself or accepting something about someone else, love is about accepting the reality of this present moment. Meditate on that.
What is at the core of your life? For Michelle one thing that’s always been there is movement. She even called herself a life movement specialist at one point. What’s at the core of your life? It might help you tap into your own unique way of showing up for yourself and for love.
Self love is selfish. This is ok! When we care what other people think, or we’re caught up in someone else’s script, we’re not living our own lives. Focus on you, be selfish! Your capacity to grow is in direct relation to your ability to look at your truth and not run away from it. Ask your self, “What am I doing to run away from or avoid my own truth?”
BodyTalk, Source Point, BioGeometry, Astrology, Dance, Coaching, Heartmath Institute, crystals, the Cardinal Method, and more. Michelle is doing the work and she doesn’t stop with one method or modality. Your truth, your guidance, your next step will come from many different perspectives. Are you tapping into them?
When we connect with other people our body biologically sends hormones and chemicals to the heart that creates an expansion of the arteries. So our heart actually expands physically when we’re feeling full of love.
The heart field is the strongest electromagnetic field in our body. This is research that comes from the HeartMath Institute. Check them out at heartmath.org. The mission of the HeartMath Institute is to help people bring their physical, mental and emotional systems into balanced alignment with their heart’s intuitive guidance. This unfolds the path for becoming heart-empowered individuals who choose the way of love, which they demonstrate through compassionate care for the well-being of themselves, others and Planet Earth.
There are lots of people who are looking for help. It’s not weak to ask for help. In fact some of the greatest people do. As Michelle says, “stand behind the good dancer”. Work with people that are better than you, love people with bigger hearts than you. I love that Michelle is working with someone that she sees as miles and miles ahead of her. If you know her from dance it’s so easy to see how accomplished she is. You may think she’s completely made it, but she’s looking at someone who’s far ahead of her. Mentorship, coaching, and asking for help are great ways to assist you to the next level of anything in your life. Who inspires you and what are the ways you can learn more from them?
To think that a person makes a big change and has no doubts is false. Doubts are something everyone faces. Some people may look bold and courageous, but the reality is they probably doubted themselves at several junctures of their journey.
Sometimes change might make you wanna barf. You’ll actually feel this in your body. The good thing about barfing is that you’ll feel a lot better after you do it. Don’t suppress it, just let it happen.
As we shift and change it asks that everyone and everything shifts around us. As you walk into more of yourself, and more love, not everyone or everything that’s ar
Queer Family >> making babies, connection beyond blood, and surrounding children with love beyond limitations
If you’re starting a queer family you’re awesome and brave no matter what. That is 100% true. Kudos to you!
True family, whether blood family or chosen family is always there for you. They are beyond ride or die. There’s no question. Family is there for you through all of life’s experiences.
What’s your relationship to family? Are you a family person or not? If so, why? If not, why not? These are great questions do delve into.
Choose your family, grow your family, and surround yourself and your children with as much love as you can find. Build a tribe of love! When I was a teenager I actually started skipping my own family vacations to go to my friend Jay’s giant family vacation every year. Nothing against my own family, I just found a special group of people there.That’s where I met Grace and I kept going because of the immense love and joy that I found there. Now there’s a baby that connects us. Jay and Grace and the rest of the Pokelas have always felt like family but now they officially are! Not only that but my own family is part of the picture too.
What you model in your family has a good chance of being passed down. Both Grace and Melinda grew up in families that were non-traditional and embraced a sense of family beyond blood in their immediate circles. In fact, mine did too. We’ve all carried this forward in an incredible way. Be the family you wish to see in the world. It will proliferate.
When creating queer family, at least in the conext of two women having a baby, you have the choice of having a known donor or an unknown donor. There is no right answer to this question. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide what’s going to work best for your situation.
In a lesbian couple there is a gestational parent (the one who carries the baby) and a non-gestational parent. When I was editing this episode I realized for the first time the politics of the non-gestational parent and it blew my mind. This parent might not be the one carrying the baby, but many times they have a say in who the donor will be, whether the donor is known or unknown, and that is huge stuff. I always assumed that this decision was made by the couple, but I was wrong. At least in my case. It makes sense when you think about it for a little bit. I know it gave me a deeper insight into our dynamic and to be honest a deeper love for Melinda. I’m humbled.
One of the best ways to make a decision regarding children is to put your own needs and opinions aside and ask what will be best for this child? Will this decision bring more love to my child’s life or will it take away love? If the answer is it will add love to your child’s life, then why hold back? Be aware if your own ego is putting limitations on the love your children could experience. Are you doing this for you or are you doing it for them?
However you arrange your situation around queer family or family in general try to remember that children are just small people. They will eventually grow up to have their own opinions, their own identifications, and their own personalities regardless of how you arrange the situation.
Let’s set the record straight: I had never had sex with Grace in order to conceive Evan. I’m gay which means I have sex with men. She’s a lesbian which means she has sex with women. Grace is also monogamous and married. In that regard it’s pretty ridiculous and border line offensive to even assume the two of us would have sex. We’re pretty jovial people so we laugh it off pretty easily, but know that not everyone would.
What we used to conceive Evan is called a disposable softcup. Look it up! It worked well for us and it saved Grace and Melinda a boat load of money.
If you’re going to start a queer family get ready for a lot of questions and assumptions. Most of the time people mean well but sometimes this can get borderline to heavily offensive. What helps me is to understand that people carry immense cultural baggage w
Grace & Melinda Pokela >> laughter, committing to yourself, being single, being married, and constant growth
There is so much love and joy in laughter. You can hear it in this episode. Find people you can laugh with. It’s such an easy way to open your heart to more love.
Don’t hold back on life just because you’re single. Don’t wait for that special person to arrive before you feel fulfilled. Learn to live for yourself first. Choose to love your own life. There’s something important that happens when you decide to fully commit to yourself.
Too much emphasis on finding love might end up in unhappiness. Live your life for you now, not for what life could become in the future.
Communicate until you’re blue in the face. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
In a relationship a growth mindset and the perspective of continually working to learn your partner is helpful. Learn how to fight. Learn how each other processes. Learn your styles. Talk about fights after you’ve had them.
You have to let someone love you back. Be aware if you’re the one putting all the energy into your connection. If you are, then it might be time to move on to greener pastures. A person who loves you will show up to love you in their own time without any effort or games on your part.
When dating, don’t put all your energy into one person and bank on it becoming serious. Play the field! Know your worth and shop it out. Melinda is a great example of this. Until the time comes when you’re both ready to commit and show up for each other, don’t sink your whole heart into the connection.
When dating someone, it often happens that people don’t realize they’re playing games. Grace is a great example of this. Their actions might not be about you at all. They might be entirely in their own world with their own hang ups. Try not to take it personal and move on when you’re not feeling valued.
Stop fantasizing about whether or not the person you’re dating is the love of your life. There’s a high chance it will push the partner of your dreams away. Try to channel your obsessive tendencies into other things that serve you.
Stop dating people that aren’t right for you! Know what works and what doesn’t from your experiences. When telltale signs of what doesn’t work for you appear, don’t indulge in that behavior or connection anymore.
When dating online, try to move the online conversation to a phone call or in person meeting quickly. The connection will most likely be stronger and you won’t waste as much time or energy in a connection that might not work out.
What do you want your relationship to exude? Welcomeness? Joy? Family? It’s worth it to identify and work towards because it most likely will happen. Grace and Melinda are such an excellent example of this.
Listening to this podcast felt like giving myself some tough love. It can be difficult to come to terms with one’s experiences of love, and I’m finding solace and hope for myself through these stories. Let Tom hold your hand, I promise, he won’t let you down.
Expressions of love.
There is so much to learn from heartwork each episode is a journey into love as it has expressed itself through and individual and his or her experiences. Beautiful.
This is THE BEST podcast ever, and especially right now!!! IT is a mega dose of refreshment to go All Up in the Heart at a time when anxiety and uncertainty are rampant. Where Tom Lloyd takes us, into the Heart of Love, there can be no fear. It just US, in our Human-ness, in our Love... This is such a portal into the myriad expressions of Love in our lives. In listening to others, I can hear the whisperings of my own Heart. Together, we all find a way to “work it out”, and when it isn’t working, Together we find a way to embrace it.
The more I listen to “Heartwork”, the more I focus on Love, I’m seeing just how MAGNETIC Love can be🌅🧡🌅