Nelson Mandela teaches us about keeping an ‘open heart’ during lockdown

Lockdown time is, and can be, a very special time. It’s meant to bring everyone to a standstill. It’s a standstill – calling people to pay attention.

Disinfecting society

The reason is – in order to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus, everything, including schools, businesses, social get-togethers, church gatherings and workplaces are closed down.

It’s time to disinfect our hands and our homes, clean up and clean out our society and our lives.  We also need to clean out our hearts.

The question is: How do we do this?

Once again, we can learn from the Madiba-wisdom

Everything starts with the heart

The heart is at the center of everything. It’s at the center of our lifeforce, our physical existence. If the heart stops beating – you die. We also have the heart of a nation, a business a religion, a culture and of course – humanity. If the heart is contaminated and corrupted – the business, church, country ‘dies. It becomes ‘soulless’.  

What is in the heart – determines what the quality of life is.

There are only one of two possibilities; The open, healed, healthy heart and the closed, broken dark, depressed, abusive heart.

It’s a mindful, conscious choice in what direction you will go.

The question is: What are the outcomes of these two paths?

The Closed heart

During his time in prison, Nelson Mandela had enough time to dwell on the injustices, discrimination and inequities inflicted by his adversaries.

The suffering of his people, created under the banner of ‘Christianity’ of the Afrikaner nation, could have led Madiba down the path of anger, bitterness, revenge and retaliation.  

Nelson Mandela could have closed off his heart and mind, harboring these thoughts and filling his heart with negativity that could fester and grow until everything is poisoned.  

Just imagine what the outcome would have been

However, at some or other point during his lockdown – Madiba decided to keep an open heart.

The open heart

The open heart is a heart free from judgement and filled with love, understanding, compassion and forgiveness.  

It’s the healed heart, the whole heart or the ‘holy heart’. It’s a choice.

We too have the choice to keep and open heart. Only an open heart can keep the love, compassion, goodness and forgiveness, flowing. Happiness, success, prosperity and progress all start within the heart.

One of the important spiritual teachings is: ‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it [i]

Take care of your heart

 ‘Taking care of your heart’, means keeping it open and free from negativities, revenge, malice and destruction. It’s a constant battle as the world throughs curveballs and people are inconsiderate, corrupt and even abusive.

To keep your heart open and we need to learn how to stay mindful and self-aware. We choose not to allow negativity to fester in our hearts. We learn to forgive[ii].

We place a filter around our hearts. We discern what to allow in – and what to keep out. Who to allow in – and who to keep out.

How to keep your heart open

Below you find some exercises you can use to start becoming sensitive to your emotions and what is going on in your heart. Build your discernment. Choose an emotional baseline – and keep to it. For example – use ‘gratitude’ as your baseline.

  Fear Danger, signals power has been taken away. Fear and pain are linked. Afraid you will lose something or experience pain    
  Anger Aggression Loss of power, frustration, blockages, demanding, wanting your way, compromise, feeling insecure, frustration    
  Anxiety Signals inner conflict, doubt, Fear is the underlying factor, blocking what you want to do    
  Depression Signals giving up power, compromise, loss of life force, Internalised anger and resentment, lack of authentic expression    
Boredom Signals inner passivity, lack of stimulation and growth, comfort zone, fear of change, unknown  
Frustration Signals wanting something to change, feeling stuck, progress blocked  
Rejection Signals investing too much of yourself in other people or situations. Losing the power from them makes you feel as if you have lost that part of yourself  
Guilt Signals overstepping boundaries, Rules and regulations. Needs not being met, condemned  
Hurt Signals an absence of love and care. Emotional pain. Experiencing separation as brokenness. Absence of positive (fill in…)?  
Inner peace Faith, trust and confidence that you have enough power to manage life in any situation. Understanding positive lessons and outcomes in all situations  
Happiness Understanding and fulfilling purpose, feeling content with choices and outcomes. Inner knowing you are on the right path, balanced, needs are met. High on happiness scale above  
Enjoyment Joy Outcome of acting purposefully and using creative powers. A flow of self-sustaining energy. Joy refers to spiritual satisfaction  
Excitement Releasing own potential, ready and prepared for action. Stimulates creativity, something to look forward to  
Passion Releasing positive energy with great force. The more passionate, the more positive the energy  
Faith An inner knowing of and confident belief in the truth. A knowledge that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. Holding the envisioned outcome/energy high  
Hope An inner knowing and confidence that you can and will manage the challenges of life. Persistence  
Love Feeling whole, fulfilled and fully connected to authentic self, others and life as a whole; gratitude, compassion  

To do list

Here are a few ideas to help you on this path:

  • Do the exercises above
  • Learn more about Emotional Intelligence (EI)
  • Contact us if you need help, assistance and coaching. 
  • To catch up and previous lessons see. Website: Stay up to date…
  • Free E-book: Read the free E-book: Coaching yourself to ultimate success. Available here
  • Enrol for the 10-part course: Learning to think, live and lead like Nelson Mandela. Available here
  • Subscribe for your free Daily Power Tools for Power People delivered to your inbox. Available here
  • To book a personal coaching session via Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp, call and leave a voice message or send a message to (027) 066 29 26808, or send email:  We will get back to you ASAP
  • Book Dr Brenda as speaker for your next event. Email: Remember, the lockdown and Covid-19 virus pandemic won’t last forever

Stay safe – stay connected

Have fun


[i] Holy Bible: Proverbs 4:23-27

[ii] Tomorrow we will focus a bit more on forgiveness.