This–my first ever blog post–is hereby dedicated to my favorite organ. It must be my favorite, for as much as I think /speak/ write of it and act on its insistent whims.
We speak figuratively of the heart so frequently that the physical organ has become inexorably tethered to our emotions; to descriptions of a person’s character; to love in general. It is a universal icon–the representative of our bloody, throbbing passions. The associations of this anatomical bastion run many centuries deep through our human culture, impaling and stitching us all together at a point approximately one hand’s-width above our belly-button (and a little to the left). It’s fascinating to me that when I am heart-achey, I actually feel a dull pain in the center of my chest, or–alternatively–when I’m feeling twitterpated or very excited, the sensation is that of a radiant, warm tickle in this very same location.
I’m always tinkering in the associated aspects of this organ, trying to understand the myriad brilliances of it. To aid the process, I’ve given my own heart a specific identity that I can visualize and relate to: she is a sultry, voluptuous lady who lives in a luxurious, fort-like chamber, which is appropriately bedecked in warm-toned silk and velvet, with pillows artfully arranged for maximum poise. She gushes and oozes sweetness and acceptance all over everything she perceives…until she doesn’t. She is indulgent, fickle and intense. She is playful and very dramatic. I ask her questions about what she needs and wants, or just what to do with whatever perplexing situation I happen to be in. She is always sincere and never bothers with logic or censorship. When she’s scared, she simply sobs and hides inside the drapes. Although she may at times seem a flighty little hen, when I follow her instructions (even against my brain’s “better” judgement) I am always rewarded handsomely–that is, if I’ve listened well enough and am willing to sift out the gold…to see what I’ve learned or gained beyond the awkward limitations of expectation.
I’ve read from a variety of sources about the spectacular magic of the heart. Here, I’m referring to the physical organ again. One of the sources is a book about listening to plants, much as I’ve described the way I listen to my heart. It’s called The Secret Teachings of Plants: the Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature by Stephen Harrod Buhner.
As the title suggests, the book proposes that along with the brain, our heart is another center for intelligence, which really feels right to me. This philosophy is not new, but was a basic tenet held by many ancient peoples. One of my favorite things I learned from this book is about the teeny tiny, but extremely important part of our hearts…
The heart has multiple types of cells; the muscle cells have a beat because they make a kind of rhythmic contraction. When an individual myocyte (muscle cell) is isolated, it has a rhythm of its own but when it is integrated with other cells of its kind, all of the rhythms of the individual cells “entrain”, or synchronize, to form one beat. I don’t fully understand the science of this phenomenon, but I love the concept of these individuals coming together, touching each other and surrendering their individuality to create a cohesive rhythm; they work in unison. If it weren’t for this special magic, our hearts couldn’t pump blood to the rest of our bodies. If we applied the simple beauty of this concept to our interpersonal relationships, the issues of our species and to the declining remnants of our ecosystem…well, *you* imagine what that could look like. And then tell me!