In Ancient Greece, February was the month known to celebrate fertility, and to observe the mythical marriage of Zeus and the goddess Hera. In Ancient Rome, a priest by the name of ‘Valentine’ became Saint Valentine when he forfeited his life by opposing the edict of the Empire and agreed to marry young warriors going into battle. Then in the Middle Ages, when the illusion of love was all but lost, ‘courtly love’ became elevated to a love beyond marital arrangements, signifying a soulful and everlasting bond.
In today’s ever inclusive culture of love, we happily celebrate February 14th with every possible expression, engaging in “Galentine’s Day” and “Bromance” with champagne, chocolate and all the decadence of our day!
And science has also proven history to be a great teacher, for our emotional expression of love is truly good for the Heart Spirit, known as Shen in Chinese Medicine. It brightens our countenance and puts a shine in our eyes, regardless of who or what the object of our affection… whether engaging in evocative music, soulful poetry, a gorgeous sunrise/sunset, or solitary and peaceful meditation.
This Valentines Day, I urge you to seek out experiences to celebrate your heart and see how it lifts your spirits. As a health practitioner, I hope these loving moments will, in turn, direct your choices to become healthier, and that they may trigger your desire to improve your wellbeing and forms of creative self-expression. If you need some inspiration to get yourself into this self-loving state of mind, here are some ideas:
EAT organic whole foods. These ripe and ready treats have either been picked from a tree or harvested from the earth; and for meat eaters, elevate your protein intake to include consciously raised and humanely processed meats. Avoid processed foods which your body has to wrangle with in order to extract nutrients and eliminate toxins. Of course, you can enjoy an occasional sweet indulgence – after all, our bodies are designed to detoxify – but do so in moderation and with relish, rather than in an attempt of unconscious sedation or boredom.
DRINK purified water from glass bottles. There is no substitution for hydration. Many chronic conditions are exacerbated by dehydration. Our bodies are made of approximately 60% water, and our cells require it for structural integrity of the cell wall and to move nutrients in and wastes out. And just as stream water polishes stones smooth, we purify ourselves from the inside out when we are properly hydrated.
DANCE or move your body. Bring out your own Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers with whatever exercise you fancy, and which makes your soul sparkle.
BREATHE. I learned a wonderful breathing exercise from my colleague, Heath Scientist Dr. Deb Kern: Inhale to the count of 4; hold for the count of 4; exhale to the count of 4; and hold the breath out to the count of 4. This shifts us from our body’s fight/flight response to our rest/digest autonomic nervous systems, reduces cortisol, and improves blood circulation.
SLEEP. Get adequate restful sleep; lights out by 10:30 so that you’re sleeping soundly by 11. According to the Chinese Medicine clock, this is the hour our body most easily begins our detoxification of blood and brain.
SUPPLEMENTAL SUPPORT. If you want an additional boost, consider adding magnesium and chromium, the antioxidant Co-EnzymeQ10, and neurotransmitter, nitric oxide to support heart and cardiovascular health.
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Happy Valentine’s Day To You! May Your Heart Sing With Joy!