From the Heart: Heart Health Matters

“I looked in temples, churches and mosques. But I found the Divine within my heart.” — Rumi

There is perhaps no physical bodily organ that has as much of a meta-physical and spiritual association as the human heart. We talk about our hearts every day in language that is both worldly and beyond ... tangible and intangible.

He had a heart attack.

My heart is breaking.

Medication will lower your blood pressure.

Meditation will make you more loving.

We need to unblock one of your arteries.

My heart chakra feels like it is closed.

Our heart is the only real proof we need that we are both human and divine. It is both the seat of life and resurrection. When our physical heart stops beating, life as we know it ends. When love flows freely to and from our sacred core, miracles are possible.

It is vitally important that we pay attention to the signs we receive from our hearts to see what needs to be treated and how.

Despite a family history of significant heart disease, I believed I would be immune. As I watched my blood pressure creep up — at times spike — during the last year, I was convinced I could control it on my own like I have for years through exercise, meditation, natural supplements, and healthy eating. This time, though, it didn’t work. I decided to see a cardiologist for the first time.

It turns out a very low dose of a water pill was all I needed, along with everything else I was already doing. I don’t even have to see the cardiologist for another year.

So many of us put off dealing with our physical health for a number of reasons: fear of what will be discovered or diagnosed; not wanting to be put on another medication; feeling invincible; putting someone else’s needs ahead of our own.

It took a nurse telling me about her younger brother who died suddenly after not dealing with his rising blood pressure for me to take action. I didn’t want my sister having to tell anyone a similar story about me. We owe it to our loved ones and also ourselves to do whatever we can to preserve the gift of life.

It’s just as important that we nurture and sustain our spiritual heart so that we can give and receive the gift of love. In the same way that we can’t always deal with our physical health alone and need to seek the advice and help of a medical professional, we may need to trust the wisdom and experience of a spiritual director, inter-spiritual counselor, or reiki/chakra healer to put our meta-physical heart in order.

Consider the following when trying to create and foster better heart health:

Passion and purpose

It is important to identify on a regular basis what fills us with passion, and if we have ways to express it. When we are doing what we love, and working and serving “in the zone,” we feel better physically and spiritually. Our hearts experience less stress, and we spread more love in the world.

A laugh a day ...

How much laughter do you have in your life? They say it’s the best medicine for a reason. Experts believe laughter protects the heart by improving the function of blood vessels and increasing blood flow. It also makes us feel good on a deeper level — the place where purpose and passion meet.

The character of Moira Rose on Schitt’s Creek made me belly laugh out loud more than once during the pandemic. Find your Moira Rose. Let her or him, or them, help to heal your body, mind and soul.

• Vibrate at a higher level

Just like pacemakers and defibrillators restore normal heartbeat by sending electric pulses or shocks to the heart, our thoughts, words and deeds can stimulate our spirit and help to raise our consciousness and level of compassion.

Think good thoughts. Silently wish people well as you pass by them. Smile whether you believe someone deserves it or not; they likely have their own sad story.

Power of forgiveness

Think of just one person you have been holding a grudge against for way too long. Too much cheese isn’t the only thing that can kill you. Call and let them know you were thinking about them. Forgive them ... if not in person at least in your heart.

• Lighten the load

Try to let go of just one thing that’s bothering you. Pick the one disappointment or challenge that would matter the least if you were to find out tomorrow you only have a week to live. Not only will relieving stress and anxiety as a result lower your blood pressure, it will make you happier and more grounded — and easier for others to be around you.

• Avoid toxins

Just like it is important to surround ourselves with organic fruits, vegetables and snacks that prevent the risk of heart attack or stroke, it is vital that we choose to spend time with people who bring out the best in us ... who inspire us to be better people because they are. It is the same with what we choose to watch on TV and listen to on the radio. What goes in comes out the same way.

• Stay connected

Commit to spending more time — quality time — with what connects you most strongly to your source of love: nature, music, God, family, friends, prayer, or maybe your beloved pet. Make whatever it is for you your higher power. Open your heart to this wellspring of love. It will heal you in ways you can only begin to imagine.

Sometimes the help we need is on the surface. Sometimes it goes a little deeper. Sometimes healing takes place through science and medicine; sometimes it happens through spirituality and grace. Most often it’s a combination of the two.

My blessing for all of you this week is that you do whatever is necessary to tend to your pr