February is American Heart Month. This February, as you think about Valentine’s Day and those whom you care about, don’t forget to show some love for yourself and your heart. Heart disease is responsible for 1 of every 4 deaths in the United Statesopens a new window. While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of thingsopens a new window you can do to make your heart physically stronger and reduce your risk for heart disease, I would like to suggest that you do an activity that makes you happy or brings you joy.
For me, I will be looking at The Secret Teachings of Plants by Stephen Harrod Buhneropens a new window. This book focuses upon the heart as an organ of perception in understanding the world in which we live. I read this book for the first time about ten years ago. As someone who loves plants, poetry, and nature, it had a big impact on me and my heart has been telling me that it’s about time for a reread.
One of the things I love about this book is how it is structured. In “A Note to the Reader”, Buhner describes the two halves of the book – systole and diastole – and how they relate to the book as well as to the heart. “Systole is when the heart contracts, forcing blood outward away from the heart. Diastole is when the heart relaxes and fills once more.” (p. xi). Buhner put the analytical explanations in the first half of the book, while “the second half is filled with poetry and doing”.
So whether you’re interested in plants, poetry, birding, biking, the Gem Showopens a new window, or the rodeoopens a new window, follow your heart and do something that brings you joy. It might make your heart healthieropens a new window. And if you're looking for more traditional resources for heart health, check out this listopens a new window.