Monday, 30 September 2013

The Power of a Happy Heart

Oh my goodness, I did the most exciting thing on Saturday. I went to Paris. For the day. I know! How crazy is that?! If you had told me a year ago that I would be making that trip, I would have raised one very skeptical eyebrow at you and gone back to being ill, but I have learned a lot in the past 12 months about the resilience of the human spirit as well as the power of the mind to heal the body, so when Susan, one of my oldest and dearest friends, called to say she'd be in Paris (when normally she resides over 5,000 miles from there), I just knew I had to get myself there!

My energy levels can still be low and unpredictable, but I was determined to make the trip... and be just fine doing it, too. I love Susan like a sister and we only get to see each other every few years. And Paris? Well, it was always going to happen, wasn't it? I got up with the birds and set off for the Eurostar. Any full-time mom will wax lyrical about the joys of solo travel and I am no exception. I settled happily into my seat with only my own needs and interests to meet. I snoozed, I read a magazine, I gazed absent-mindedly out the window and at no time did anyone ask me for a snack!

One of the things I have found to be true during my healing process is that it is almost always a case of mind over matter. When I am worried or unhappy, my energy dips and lethargy starts to creep in. If I don't nip it in the bud and instead let myself get really upset, I end up in bed with palpitations and chest pains. On the flip side, when I am able to maintain a healthy level of awareness regarding my emotions, I can simply detach from whatever I was about to become engaged in and just watch it roll on by. I read somewhere that our true nature is like that of the sun, always shining and bright, while our emotions are like the weather, just passing through. When I remember that, my energy lifts and I am able to tap into a space where anything is possible.

Therefore, I was not surprised to find my energy soaring when I saw Susan waiting for me at Gare du Nord. My heart actually lifted. Isn't that an amazing thing? I know of no medication that is as effective as a joyous heart. The bottom line is that I was happy, truly happy. Here was a person that I love and I was going to get to spend the whole day with her. My mood had an immediate and powerful impact on my physical health.

First, we hooked up with her beautiful family to say hello and then, being tourists, headed for lunch at Les Deux Magots before stopping to pick up some brilliant French pharmacy goodies. Then a quick pit-stop at Ladurée (bien sur!), followed by a gentle stroll along the Seine, through the Île de la Cité, chattering in the warm sunshine all the way to Notre Dame. Rain was predicted, but instead the sun came out. The perfect metaphor. I need not have worried for one minute about my heart. It was happy, so it was fine, and it reminded me yet again about how powerful living authentically can be.

I am so grateful for this wonderful adventure and to my generous husband for making it possible, and to Susan for sharing it, and her lifelong friendship, with me. They are both helping to heal my heart. Tell me, what boosts your energy levels and lifts your spirits? (A salted, caramel macaroon, perhaps?) Can you find a way to incorporate a bit more of it into your life? Well, maybe not too many macaroons, but definitely more of those special moments that connect you with whatever really matters, just to you.  Have a think. I promise it will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step!

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