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Musings of the Heart

February 4, 2013


“I once asked an old man: Which is more important, to love or be loved?
He replied: Which is more important to a bird? The left wing or the right wing?”
Author unknown

As Vista Hill SmartCare’s mission is to provide preventative integrative behavioral health services, it strikes me, in this month of the Heart, that there is hardly anything more “mind/body/soul” than our hearts! Our hearts skip a beat when we catch sight of those we love. Depression and heart disease often are linked. And most of us even know of those who, having lost a spouse, have died of a broken heart.

Self- love, whether speaking of physical or emotional health, should be at the core of preventative heart health. If we don’t address self-love first, we don’t take the care to address our physical health: from the foods we choose, to not taking the necessary time for exercise and mindful pursuits, to allowing hurtful and destructive people in our lives, breeding dependent and compromising relationships. Conversely, when we care about ourselves, we take care to nourish ourselves with healthy foods, physical activity we enjoy, spiritual fulfillment and supportive, loving friends and partners.

SmartCare began the month with a “Celebrate Wear Red Day” at Ramona’s Community Senior Center. This is an annual event started by the American Heart Association in 2003, to raise awareness about women’s number one killer: heart disease. Dozens of women came out to learn about the gender specific guidelines for prevention, detection and treatment, all in red and to also enjoy the heart-healthy tomato soup lunch!

I was personally so pleased that my Saturday morning yoga class this week focused on our heart chakras. The heart chakra is at the core of our spirit. When deficient, you may experience physical symptoms that affect your breathing and lung function, as well as emotional symptoms that include distance from your emotions, difficulty with forgiving and loneliness. As we moved through our asanas/poses it was wonderful to notice the gentle release of both these physical and emotional symptoms.

If self-love is a new concept to you, take heart! (pun intended!) This is not meant to be a selfish, narcissistic concept, but an act of self-appreciation and encouragement. Our team likens it to the flight attendant’s direction of the necessity of putting on your own oxygen mask before attending to the needs of others. It may come from a place of forgiveness. It may include daily affirmations. It will most certainly include gratitude.
And you will find that when you unconditionally love yourself, you are opening yourself to receive healthful, supportive, wonderful love in return.

Pamela Sachs Bryson, LCSW

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