February is filled with sweet reminders of love in its many forms such as Valentine’s Day, and the affection we feel for special people in our lives are at the forefront. While taking this time to acknowledge and honor the longstanding, meaningful relationships that continue to nurture us throughout life’s inevitable transformations is important, it is also an opportunity to look within, listen to your heart and consider the role of love in your life.
Loving and being loved is so vital to our health and happiness that we don’t tend to live well without it. When we are feeling so nourished in life, we are better able to be fully present with others and connect on a heart level, rather than just a head level, and love becomes a core motivation for every positive action we undertake.
You might think that listening to and living from the heart would be the most natural and logical attitude, but sadly, this is not the case for many of us due to childhood wounds, conditioning and adult experiences that reinforce those early injuries; few are ready to live a heart-centered life.
If you have an “unhappy heart” and are in a chronic state of stress and discontent, your body’s defense system may be compromised, making you more vulnerable to disease. It is a fact that 90 percent of all illness is ultimately due to stress, because it creates a cascade of physiological responses that affect our hormones and immune system.
The study of psychoneuroimmunology (the interaction between psychology and the nervous and immune systems) shows that emotion and its underlying physical changes in the body are key to understanding the link between a healthy mind and body. Some scientists call the heart a “little brain” because it contains thousands of sensory neurites that actually allow it to send and receive messages. Growing evidence suggests that the organ also contains memories of our experiences and that it even carries its own intelligence. By harmonizing these two vital organs, a practice called heart-brain coherence, we can tap into deep intuition, emotion-based perspectives and enhanced well-being at a core level.
When we focus on our heart center, fear falls away, space opens up within us and solutions to challenges reveal themselves. I have discovered this to be a personal truth. By simply placing my hand over my heart center for a few moments, breathing in feelings of care, gratitude or love for someone or something, I automatically notice a natural shift in my thoughts, feelings and energy.
Our life’s work and passion includes knowing how to use life-force energy in this way wisely and to give it, willingly and skillfully, in such a way that enriches our experiences without burning out. If we can all learn to approach life from a heart-centered place with patience instead of simply reacting when our buttons are pushed, that will be one step in the right direction toward a better world.
This month, we invite you to open your heart and cozy up with this inspiring, love-filled issue. We send this issue of Natural Awakenings magazine to you with a big hug and wish you and yours a Happy Valentine’s Day!
Trina and John
Owners / Publishers
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~Lao Tzu.