Updated: Feb 8
S.T.U.A.R.T. is the Heart IQ™ term used to describe the intelligent, self-managing master system that coordinates all of your defense strategies. It’s job is to filter what you receive from the world and what you give out to the world, all based upon what is deemed safe and unsafe to maintaining the equilibrium of your world. Its protection is both helpful and limiting.
For example, when you’re ready to let others see, hear and feel you more, S.TU.A.R.T. can block your efforts to receive more from others and to express more of you in the world. In childhood, this protection was essential to keep you from feeling too much core unworthiness. Its job was to make sure that your innate worth remained protected and intact as you moved into adulthood. In childhood, you’re exposed to vital experiences that are meant to shape you into who you’re becoming.
These experiences are often delivered with the incompleteness of other people’s wounding. While these childhood experiences are invaluable to your eventual transformation, they can be potentially damaging when they occur. This is where S.T.U.A.R.T. comes in to protect your developing identity from harmful levels of overwhelm that could possibly shut down your ability to grow from these essential experiences.
Watch this video to hear more about S.T.U.A.R.T.
S.T.U.A.R.T. strategies are the behaviours that we use to:
Keep others out. (Manifests as a block to receiving and letting others in; this is the horizontal in Direction of Joy.)
Keep us from showing ourselves fully to others and the world. (Manifests as a block to expressing ourselves and stepping into our full potential; this is the horizontal out Direction of Joy.)
Keep us from fully feeling and seeing ourselves, others and the world. (Manifests as feeling numb, separate and disconnected from ourselves, other people and life in general; this is the vertical down Direction of Joy.)
Keep us from our divine connection to Source. (Manifests as a block to feeling the presence of the divine and results in feeling anxious, uncertain, non-trusting and unsafe; this is the vertical up Direction of Joy.)
Keep our shadows hidden from the world. (Manifests as being inauthentic and putting on an act. Life is lived through a conditioned and strategic mental filter.)
How Do We Disarm Our S.T.U.A.R.T?
S.T.U.A.R.T. is an acronym for:
These are the qualities that can dismantle the intricate defenses of our S.T.U.A.R.T. Without the additional nourishment of these qualities, S.T.U.A.R.T. strives to maintain containment and equilibrium through defense. As we develop our own Heart Intelligence, we learn to generate a more loving state in response to our fears, doubts, worry and pain, which increases our ability to be aware of our S.T.U.A.R.T. This new level of awareness enables us to let go of our defensive response to life so we can make new choices as we change our behaviors and create new experiences.
Remember that we need to accept, hold and not make wrong any parts of ourselves - including the ways that we defend from experiencing joy. The first step is to become aware of the ways that we defend ourselves. What are the most common S.T.U.A.R.T. strategies that you use?
Use your journal to brainstorm. Below is a list of some examples of potential S.T.U.A.R.T. strategies to help you get started. Enjoy this opportunity to take an honest look at how you defend against joy. We all do it, so you’re not alone. Your practice for now is to simply become more aware of how you do it, while you continue to grow in your acceptance of who you are and what you do.
Potential Physical Strategies
‘Checking out’ rather than dealing with challenging situations?
Addictions/fixes – e.g. compulsive overeating or unhealthy dietary choices on a regular basis; addicted to tension-release sex; using caffeine or sugar to feel energized?; spending time on the computer, Facebook, etc. at the expense of your dream
Drama – creating situations in life or blowing them out of proportion (sweating the ‘small stuff’)?
Hyperactivity – inability to stay calm or sit still?
Being ‘in your story’ – retelling your story over and over again to yourself and others?
Control – the need to control, fixate or micro-manage external circumstances?
Taking on roles – like needing to be the teacher,?or being the perpetual student, or being a victim, or the playing the role of preacher who tells everyone else what their truth is without claiming your own
Potential Relationship Strategies
Being extremely critical of others, or seeking to change everyone else in your life except for yourself
Tolerating abuse of any kind, or staying in a relationship that you know is not fulfilling for you, or that is unhealthy
Giving up relationships quickly, or withdrawing when they get tough
Extreme independence - avoiding asking anyone for help or avoiding relationships altogether
Cheating or acting dishonestly with a partner
Potential Mental Strategies
Intellectualizing everything, relying on science or facts rather than feelings
Adhering to dogma that you have been conditioned to believe
Making up excuses about why things haven’t gotten done or why those things really shouldn’t have been done in the first place; procrastination
Making to-do lists
Thinking you’re always wrong, or telling yourself that certain emotions or feelings are wrong
Potential Emotional Strategies
False joy - trying to ‘be happy’ rather than honoring what’s real
Keeping a high stress level
Holding on to phobias
Crying to avoid feeling more difficult emotions
Using a “New Age Bypass” (avoidance of emotions for a made-up spiritual reason) to avoid deeper feelings
Guilt; shame over past choices
Being frustrated easily
Cracking jokes to avoid or ease difficult situations
Denial - not looking at your current life picture out of fear
Judging and lashing out at others for their perceiving shortcomings, or towards yourself