Tuesday, February 4, 2014
In February, Feed the Heart
The light is increasing (in the northern hemisphere where I live) but winter is far from over. Spring is quickening underfoot but it's too early to see the signs of spring. February can be challenging because it's not yet time to get excited about spring, but if you're like me, you're sick of winter. It's a kind of limbo, or it can be.
February is an excellent time to feed the heart. Eat cherries (real cherries please, not those hideous red things that come out of a jar. Those things haven't been cherries in a very long time.) Drink red wine, not too much if you can keep from it. Eat chocolate - again, not too much or you'll spoil the heart health benefits by making yourself ill or giving yourself a headache. Less is more with wine and chocolate, and cherries, too, come to think of it. For those who put their faith into scientific studies, here's a link to a Cleveland Clinic page about chocolate and heart health. This link is to an article about red wine and heart health, from Yale/New Haven Hospital.
I'm not a great believer in studies, though I believe we have to try to understand. I'm not against studies. I'm more of a believer in common sense. My common sense tells me that people who eat a little bit of chocolate, who drink a glass of red wine with dinner, have a joie de vivre about them. It's the joy that feeds the heart if you ask me. The eating and drinking of cherries, chocolate and wine are symptoms that point to an inner light and liveliness.
In Chinese medicine, the pictograms for the organs show what the organ does, plus a mark that indicates the function is embodied. For instance, the character for liver is a mortar and pestle with the mark "embodied." The heart is the only organ whose pictogram does not include the mark of embodiment. The heart is the ground floor of something vast and unimaginable.
As such, feeding the heart is far more interesting than eating the right foods. As I often say, we humans are not chemistry sets. We're complicated.
You can feed your miraculous heart by taking a brisk walk on a sunny day, or dancing around to music you love. Being active is a very important aspect of heart health on every level. To feed the soul, the activity should be enjoyable. If you're just going through the motions of exercise, that might be good for the body, but it will not feed the soul.
The heart is nourished, as well, with beauty. Go look at beautiful paintings, listen to beautiful music or gaze at a beautiful landscape outside your window. The heart is the throne where the soul resides. Make the throne opulent by taking in beauty. This feeds the heart. Though no study has been published that "proves" it, common sense tells me that we are tender, soulful beings who need a lot more than a kale shake to be whole and happy.
Feed your heart by connecting with the love you feel for your nearests and dearests. Bring their faces into your heart and let the love wash through. You know what I'm talking about, yes?
February is a trudge, a drudge. For many of us on the eastern side of the U.S., winter has been harsh. Getting through February can drain body and soul. Feed your heart, people, ok? Breathe in and out of your heart, feel the unexplainable miracle of love moving in and out.
Do not take your magnificent heart for granted. Don't assume it's nothing more than a pump. Do not deprive your heart. Feed it generously, yes? I say yes. Thank you. Shalom.