By Susan McNeal Velasquez
As we age, heart health moves to the front of the line when it is time to check in with your doctor on the state of your overall health. Blood pressure stability, oxygen levels, glucose numbers, lung capacity all become the focus to determine how we are doing in the day-to-day job of optimal functioning as the number of candles on our birthday cake becomes a massive fire hazard.
Since my upbringing varied considerably from most people, doctor visits were almost unheard of in the rubric of my family constellation. Since I had ten siblings and my position was second eldest, I learned early that if you had any hope of being able to stay home and enjoy a “sick day,” good luck. A raging sore throat would yield a glass of salt water that you were told to gargle, and most illnesses were met with a firm once over from my mother and then the declaration: “You’re fine. Once you get out in the fresh air, you’ll feel better.”
Since the only reward for being sick was blatant disapproval and physical humiliation by an inhuman necessity to use a thermometer that required that you bare your buttocks, we were the healthiest kids in the neighborhood.
Since my career choices sent me toward obtaining knowledge and understanding of the realms of emotional and mental health more than the workings of the physical body, I remain a true novice when it comes to paying much attention to the dire warnings about possible diseases.
My heart has always been my friend. When I think about my heart, I see a beautiful red heart like kids draw, and I overuse the heart emoji when giving my approval of someone’s posts.
Last February, I had a cough that I couldn’t get rid of, and so I finally went to the doctor.
Fast-forward, I ended up in the hospital within two weeks and a misdiagnosis of lung issues. I felt like I had fallen down ‘Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole. The cardiologist blamed my sweet heart as problematic. Once I got home, I would try to reconnect with the breezy relationship I had always had with my health and failed miserably. Am I going to drop dead? What am I dealing with? Is there any hope of getting my peace of mind back? These thoughts circled in my head, undermining any sense of inner solidity.
I value and actively use my imaginative perception to manage my emotional health. Imagination left uncurbed quickly slips into catastrophic mind movies that can unhinge your core reality. During my first weeks home from the hospital, I was being hopelessly tossed from hope to despair like a rag doll caught in the teeth of a ravenous dog. It took time and patience to inch my way back to any sense of peace, but I am happy to say that I am experiencing a renewed trust relationship with my heart.
The key, for me, has been that I needed to reclaim my deep personal relationship with the tender velvet interior that resides at the core of all my heart represents. I needed to regain the courage to notice once again my heart’s gentle gifts that bring mystery and magic to my daily life.
I have allowed my heart to return to the crucial job of the importance of keeping me connected daily to the awareness of when I am pleased, touched, and gifted by the many easy opportunities that I receive each day, that are of the soft and gentle kind.
Velasquez has been a Laguna Beach local since the 1980s and is the author of “Beyond Intellect: Journey into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind.” Reach her at: beyondintellect.com.View Our User Comment Policy