Dirk Terpstra knows that the way to a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life is through the heart. As an intuitive speaker, coach and HeartMath® Certified trainer, Dirk helps individuals and organizations discover who they truly are, so that they can think more clearly, act more authentically, and make decisions more consciously. He understands that life is not just about ourselves but about connecting with others.
As a former CEO of a multinational organization overseas, and a longtime resident of the Okanagan Valley, Dirk has had his share of experiences, both high and low, and he has learned what joy and resilience are all about.
So we were thrilled that he shared some of his insights with us!
In reading about your work, I was struck by the importance of recognizing our inner beauty in finding our well-being. And yet it seems so many of us lose touch with our essence between childhood and adulthood. What is getting in our way? Why are we losing this simple focus?
That’s a very good question, and the answer is simple — it’s us! We are getting in our own way. And yes, we seem to be losing touch with our essence when we grow up and go through life. This happened to me!
As a child I felt deeply connected with myself and with those around me, but most kids seemed to have other interests, and so I lost myself so that I would fit in. Then I saw children getting bullied at school, had rough experiences in the military, and later learned how large corporations often do basically anything to boost their shareholder profits.
So now our external environment becomes the barometer for how we perceive life, and many of us feel the pain and begin to lose hope. But in this process, we forget that it’s not our environment that’s getting in our way, it’s us (and we use the other as an excuse for how we feel).
If you begin to understand and realize that life is always responding to you — it’s the law of (quantum) physics — then you watch what you’re sending out into your environment! By becoming fully present, you will allow yourself to make conscious choices instead of old running programs. But the key question here is this: how much do you appreciate the person you’re spending most of your life with? YOU!
A surprising fact I learned about your work is that the heart sends more signals to the brain than vice versa. The science behind HeartMath® is very intriguing. Tell us a bit about the intelligence of the heart and what drew you to this field of wellness?
Okay, I will try to give you the short answer, although you might understand there’s a whole lot more to this.
Learning about the science of the heart is providing me with many insights into who we really are. It’s much more than wellness for me. It’s all about the essence of life.
When I was interviewing author and scientist Gregg Braden, I was so impressed with the way Gregg bridged the science of who we are with the more spiritual aspects of our lives. It made total sense to me. Half a year later, I interviewed him for a second time, and shortly after that I interviewed Howard Martin, the Executive Vice President of the HeartMath Institute, in Boulder Creek, California. That’s when I decided to change course in my life (again).
The heart, the brain, and the autonomic nervous system are deeply interconnected, and for an optimal mental, physical or emotional performance, these systems need to be in balance with one another. When we feel stressed, angry, or even impatient, the rhythm of our heart starts changing and we lose that balance, that coherence.
This coherence is really important because it lies at the core of our capacity to intelligently manage our energy on a day-to-day basis. It’s fascinating to learn more about this process, and it’s very helpful and healing for individuals, organizations and even corporations around the world. I teach this process in my workshops.
You’ve worked with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While their stories may involve some of the most extreme of human experiences, what insights can you share from your time with them that might benefit those seeking a balanced stride through the stress of their everyday lives?
Yes, the work that I do with the veterans continues to touch me deeply on many levels.
I would like to say this:
When we are exposed to stressful situations or trauma, and we don’t process and resolve it in that very moment, the energy gets stuck in our bodies. We start literally building a ‘pain body’ that doesn’t live in the present moment any longer. Our cells have memory and this memory keeps our body stuck in the past, physically and emotionally.
The most simple answer to your question is this: Breathe slowly and deeply through your chest, and become curious about what you feel when something happens. Don’t try to analyze, judge or resist it (and don’t resist any resistance). Just become curious about how you feel. Emotions are not who you are, they are just a chemical process in your body that can be changed with intention.
Having interviewed many accomplished and fascinating people, what would you say is the essential characteristic they share that drew you to them?
Simplicity, a deep love for life, and gratitude. Life is simple; it’s only the seeker of life that makes it complex.
I’ve seen you a number of times now, and you’re always smiling. What’s the secret behind the smile?
Am I really? That must say a lot about you!
I was chronically sick as a child. I’ve witnessed multiple deaths and lost dear ones. And I’ve experienced what it feels like when death was knocking on my door. I also create amazing experiences, every single day. I have an amazing life. What’s not to smile about, then?
I really appreciate your genuine interest and care for what I do. Thank you!
I have an incredible opportunity for those who wish to learn and create magic in their life: dirkterpstra.com/retreat (attractive early bird price until Aug 27).
Tom Kernaghan, owner of Oak Writer
I write stories about people, businesses, and communities so that people will remember what makes them uniquely powerful. Tell me your story!