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On my Heart, (Not) Feeding the Animals, and Peace Lilies

Every week I am going to speak to three topics: anecdotes, books, ideas, products, or innovations that I believe are peace-building, heart-opening, community-celebrating, love-spreading vehicles. Complaining and criticizing are easy traps to fall into, but I am convinced that building up holds far more power and transformative energy.

So, my sweet friends, here goes…Our world is a beautiful village and peace does begin at home.

What I am thinking about / loving this week….

1) My heart

This fall I was diagnosed with a heart condition, mitral regurgitation. This is a common heart condition and basically means that blood is leaking backwards through my heart’s mitral valve. Untreated, this could eventually lead to heart failure.

When this situation came to light, I was pretty stunned though my intuition had been telling me that there was something physical that needed to be uncovered. During the last year or two I have suddenly become unable to do hikes that had never before been a problem.

My head immediately wanted to get to down to business and accept this new reality and deal with it, but my heart wanted to grieve something that had been lost.

After all, it meant recalibrating and perceiving myself in a new way….as someone with a heart condition.

This felt a little complicated.

I am a reader, a writer, and a lover of symbols and meanings and now,

here was this life-changing piece of news having to do with the greatest symbol that ever was. The heart.

My heart was struggling.

Just hear that sentence. Every time you insert the word heart, the mind cannot help but jump straight to emotion, life-experiences, triumphs and losses. Try to even enter the feeling realm and not use the word heart. It’s everywhere in our language- heartbreak, heart-ache, whole-hearted, heart-warming, big-hearted, piece of my heart, hard-hearted….

My interpretation of my condition, then, was immediately emotional as well as physical,

just as there are no separate words to distinguish the beating organ from the place where love sits.

This heart of mine has been through a lot. It has weathered divorce, illnesses, miscarriage, the death of my mother, friends, other family members.

It has given so much, too, in its efforts to love and be loved.

An understanding of the magnitude of how hard my heart has worked for me completely overwhelmed me during those first few weeks after my diagnosis. I held this consistent image of my brave little heart continuing to  beat on through all of the loss, grief, uncertainty and fears.

and –  All for me. Now that is love.

An even deeper appreciation crept in for its beating on through all the times when I have given too much, resisted too hard, compromised, put myself last, neglected my needs and dishonored my truest self.

I suddenly felt such tremendous affection for this beautiful and indescribably precious organ that not only literally gives us life but ultimately holds ALL of the cards at the end of the game.

How I suddenly desperately wanted to call in some troops, acknowledge how hard it has worked, and affirm my renewed support.

So it has been a winter of re-assessment, of letting go of many obligations and then slowly and more thoughtfully letting new things in. It has been a winter of asking myself constantly, ‘Does this fill my cup?’ ‘Is this heart-honoring worthy?’

On the practical side, the troops are on their way. Dan and I have been able to meet with the cardiac surgeon and contrary to what we were first lead to believe, the valve can be repaired through a new and minimally invasive procedure. We were completely delighted by this news.

I will be facing heart surgery within the next few years, but

my heart is ready and is willing to be opened.

Go figure.

It turns out that this gal who wants to talk about peace at home is being invited to raise the stakes by looking at her very own heart first.

2) (NOT) feeding the animals:

This past weekend we were in Waterton for Easter. We were all sitting around our table at the cabin one afternoon when we noticed out the window a vehicle stopped on the road. From this van, family members were throwing crackers at the bighorn sheep on the sides of the road. The sheep, of course, were busy being sheep so were mildly interested while also mildly annoyed by the crackers hitting them on the sides of their heads.

This seems like an insignificant event, but it made me sad.

Why is it so difficult for humans to understand that our earth is made up of fragile webs of interconnectedness? Without understanding the exact scientific placement of sheep in the ecosystems of Waterton, I am certain that it is crucial to the delicate balance of these ecosystems that sheep feed on the particular vegetation that they have always fed on, not ritz crackers. Maintaining their natural diet would be crucial for the sheep, crucial for the plants, crucial for all the creatures linked in this particular food chain.

We can enjoy the sheep, take pictures of the sheep but

the sheep are not walking down the road solely for our amusement.

This blog is about peace, and I do mean to make that my focus. Occasionally, though, peace means standing up for someone or something. My heart always knows when it’s time.

So that day in Waterton, I did run out of our cabin and I politely but firmly asked these people to please stop feeding the animals.

Happy Earth Day, Sheep!

photo[2]

3) Peace Lilies:

I cannot even remember when I purchased this peace lily. I think I bought it upon moving back to Lethbridge after my first marriage ended, though I’m actually not sure. No matter. I have always felt love and loyalty towards my lily. It rarely blooms, likely because my attention is fickle and I often forget to pay attention to what it needs. It sits in a nice little spot though by the back door where it gets lots of light, and lately I have been making sure that my plants are better watered. This week, after everybody was in bed I was standing in the kitchen and looked over at it and…behold! photo[1]

Dan said he thinks it’s a good sign, and now I can see yet another bloom.

Peace.

Have you had an experience where a health crisis has caused you to re-evaluate? How and when do you speak up for the earth? What is your current favourite plant or flower?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “On my Heart, (Not) Feeding the Animals, and Peace Lilies

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