February is National Heart Health Month. If you know this, you may already be receiving articles about how to take care of the most important muscle in your body, your heart. Information about eating right, exercising, managing your stress, getting better sleep has found it’s way into your inbox by now.
Here’s my take. You can do all of the things you are ‘supposed’ to do to take care of your body. They are all important and I’m not dismissing any of it. Maybe I’m ready to talk about another way to look at heart health because I’ve been in the habit of taking care of my body for a very long time now. I eat well most of the time, I exercise almost daily, changing up my routines as I listen to what my body is asking for the day, I get lots of quality sleep and for the most part, stress has left the building.
I have a knowing now that is relatively new to me. You can do everything ‘right’ and, if your heart feels heavy, if you feel there is something missing from your everyday life, your heart is working harder than it needs to. I wonder if the heart feels what the mind is thinking and struggles to keep pace with the message the soul wants to share. Confusing? Andrew Weil says in his book Spontaneous Happiness that he believes the healthy heart beats at varying intervals and he sees that as a sign of resilience and flexibility in responding to moment to moment changes in the rest of the body. I like that explanation, he’s saying what I’m feeling. Nothing is static, nothing remains the same. Embracing our human experience with an open heart and curiosity may be my definition of happiness today.
I no longer focus on keeping my heart healthy but eating right, exercising etc. As I said, I’m kinda in that habit anyway from years of practice and determination! Now, I include nourishing my heart with actions that show myself and others how simple and meaningful life is as long as we remain present to all of the abundance we are given each day. Today, I’m sharing a couple of my life practices. If anything resonates, I hope you will try them out and, I guarantee, within a month’s time, you will be feeling happier and healthier.
Find Gratitude in everything – Gratitude could very well be the key to a happy heart. Feeling grateful for pleasant moments and memories in my life make me a happier person. I started this habit with a gratitude journal, which I’ve now abandoned because I live most of my waking moments in gratitude. Committing to keeping the journal was my baby step which I continued to do until it no longer served me because I began to see beauty and delight in everything surrounding me. Even the ‘bad’ stuff. The stuff that makes me feel less than…I’m grateful for it all.
Wake Up – I say two things every morning as soon as I wake up….”Good Morning God” and “Wow..I’m breathing!” Then, I start my day. The next thing I say is “I’m happy, healthy and wise in body, mind and spirit.” I put that out there just in case the universe has different plans for me! I want to make sure I get my opinions in early. And finally I say “How can I be of service today?” I’m finding that the more I start the day with happy expectations, the happier I stay and the more resiliency I have towards people, things and circumstances that challenge my blissful self. I’m feeling the need to say here, I was not born this way. Those of you who know me know that this is work, people!! I’m not one of those lucky humans who goes around in a state of bliss..I’m making choices, sometimes minute by minute to embrace the brilliant feelings and also embrace the crappy feelings, all with the same love for myself and my human experience.
Simply Social – “People, people who need people…are the luckiest people in the world” Barbara Streisand…I’m not sure who wrote the lyrics. Some may disagree, saying needing implies the lack of. I don’t see it that way. There have been many times in my life that I’ve closed off from people. I’m famous for saying how I “hate” networking! In my life journey now, I’m realizing that interaction opens many doors to opportunities to learn compassion, open heartedness and forgiveness, just to name a few. I believe we are absolutely meant to have all kinds of characters in our lives. Those who make us laugh as well as those who make us cry. Those who challenge us intellectually by not agreeing with anything we believe in. Those who push our buttons to raise anger so we can learn to respond with compassion. Putting myself ‘out there’ to the vulnerability of engaging and reacting to others makes me a better person. It fills my heart with gratitude because I have a daily opportunity to reach out to someone. That maybe I can make someone feel happy. That someone will definitely put a smile on my face this day. Whose life will you make a positive difference in today?
Embrace happiness. Encourage happiness. Live happiness. Your heart will thank you….
Peace out my friends….