“You have a big heart.” “It is with a heavy heart…” “It warms my heart.” It’s likely that you have heard these and can think of many more sayings that reference the heart and the spirit. There is a common thread interwoven in many cultures and sayings that tie the heart and the human spirit together. In one of our Chinese Medicine ancient reference texts, the heart is poetically referred to as the emperor:
“The Heart is the emperor, the supreme controller. The Heart is the fire at the center of our being, from which the spirit radiates.” -Neijing Suwen (Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine).
When we are surprised or get some shocking news, we often will put a hand over our heart as if to comfort our spirit. We put a hand over our hearts to show reverence during the pledge or the anthem. Where our “spirit” actually resides remains to be seen, but there is a fascinating book by Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., a psychoneuroimmunologist, called “The Heart’s Code” where he shares his findings from heart transplant recipients and the families of the deceased. He found that the recipients of the transplanted hearts began to develop habits and/or affinities for the things the donor liked. Super fascinating.
One of my favorite quotes from Proverbs in the bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”. Did you know that “Broken Heart Syndrome” is actually a recognizable billable and specific diagnosis in Western Medicine? Chinese Medicine says that not enough joy or conversely too much joy (without rest) can injure the heart.
Check-in with your heart this month. Is it asking for some joy or is it asking for some rest? Can you create some space for it to have either of those?
The heart is represented by the fire element in Chinese Medicine. Here’s a list of how we can honor our hard-working hearts and cultivate the fire element this month:
Connection: Call up a friend or family member, get together for lunch, random acts of kindness, hugs
Joy: Find something that makes you laugh or tell someone a joke that makes them laugh
Activity: Dancing, Walking, Sports (anything that gets that heart & blood pumping)
Warmth: Beach, Sauna, or laying under a Heat Lamp at East Boca Acupuncture 🙂
From my heart to yours, Heather Koerner, AP