I love that we get to focus on the heart, especially women’s heart health, in this issue of Natural Awakenings. After all, February is American Heart Month, which is wholly appropriate, since it’s the month when we celebrate Valentine’s Day. However, I’ve been thinking that heart appreciation is something we should practice daily. In His great wisdom, our creator made the heart the center of our physical, emotion and spiritual being, as well as one of our most resilient organs. It is our body’s central processing unit, if you will. And like a computer’s CPU, it’s fairly easy to maintain, hard to destroy and often taken for granted, and with normal use it’s usually one of the longest-lasting components of the body unit. Our feature article, “Heart of a Women,” covers the basics of caring for the human CPU. As Lisa Marshall explains, most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented naturally, through good nutrition, awareness and holistic living, and food can be a particularly effective medicine for women’s hearts. We’ve complemented Lisa’s article with some delicious, heart-healthy recipes.
The heart is traditionally known as our “love generator,” and while that’s really a function of the brain, medical science tells us that love—especially self-love—is an important component of good heart health. In fact, it has been my observation and experience that our love for others mirrors self-love; we can’t have the former without the latter. Self-love plays a vital role in our view of the world, so we must remember to give ourselves a daily hug and embrace life’s possibilities rather than creating stress by being fearful of them. How wonderfully our body performs, and how well we take care of others, when our heart radiates its natural, God-given light! Life’s inevitable challenges present opportunities to magnify and celebrate the good, thus strengthening our hearts and covering everyone in grace. The way we manage these situations and other unexpected moments reflects how we are caring for ourselves physically and emotionally. When we love ourselves, we’re rewarded with a growing capacity to bless those around us and flourish.
April Thompson illustrates that principle beautifully in her article “The Healing Power of Hugs,” which makes the case that hugs don’t just feel good, but are literally good for us, because they turn down our biological response to stress. So the next time you feel anxious, go find somebody to hug!
Ultimately, all this talk about love and heart health is a reminder that we human beings were created to love God and love each other. These are the First and Second Commandments in our instruction manual; Mark 12: 30-31 tells us that no other commandment is greater than these. We might not think about it, but love is programmed into our CPU—and it really is what makes the world go round.
We hope that this month’s magazine will encourage you to love more and laugh more, and that it provides a catalyst to help you live a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle that honors and preserves all that we have been given.
Until next month,