Heart Matters: The Case for Heart Centred Living in 2022

“If the 20th century has been, so to speak, the century of the brain, then the 21st century should be the century of the heart.”

Gary E.R. Schwartz Ph.D & Linda G.S. Sussex Ph.D

For all science’s importance and contribution to our understanding of the world, there is still not a single machine in the scientific field that can measure love. Love lies beyond logic.

I do, however, remember taking part in an interesting experiment on a personal development course a few years ago, where we used dowsing rods to measure someone’s energy field. It was certainly eye opening.

We were instructed to work in pairs. The ‘test subject’ was asked to stand still while the other person held the rods whilst standing at the other side of the room, who asked them to think about their family or people they loved, to feel appreciation and loving thoughts. They then held up the rods and walked towards the other person experiencing the loving feelings. As soon as the rods crossed each other it indicated the edge of their energy field or aura. The same process was then repeated with the test subject being asked to think sad thoughts, focus on things that upset them and made them angry as the person holding the rods walked towards them.

I must admit that I was sceptical at the outset of this experiment, but the results blew me away. Everyone in the room had universally the same outcome. The distance from when the rods crossed over at the edge of the energy field to the person having the emotions was much greater when those emotions were loving and uplifting, and much closer to the body when negative.

In other words, our way of being in the world affects ourselves and others. This subtle energy expands and contracts according to our moods and emotional states.

How can we define the myriad of feelings and plethora of emotions inspired by love?

That simple random act of kindness a stranger shows, especially at a time when you are feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, or that peace of mind that infiltrates your cells when you are able to help someone else going through struggle.

Perhaps poetry comes closest, but for me, so does music. In fact all the expressive arts in some way or another emanate from love and communicate love.

The way of love is not

a subtle argument

The door there

is devastation.

Birds make great sky-circles

of their freedom.

How do they learn it?

They fall, and falling,

they’re given wings.


Unconditional love is more than an emotion – it’s a way of being in the world.

I’ve written about the mysteries of the heart in three previous posts, Heart Matters: Secrets of the Heart in Culture and LifeWhat is the Leading Cause of Death in the WorldThe Amazing Benefits of the Miracle Molecule. I’ll try not to repeat what was covered before, (but there may be some overlap), in relation to heart centred living.

I’m only just getting round to reflecting on last year, and deciding what my priorities, goals and intentions are for this year and beyond. In a way, I feel like I lost a lot of time through the pandemic, and I feel a quiet determination, an indefatigable spark to live my life on my terms without fear.

It takes courage to be your authentic self under rigid societal norms, stereotyped expectations and dogma. But if you listen to your heart it will always guide you in the right direction.

“Follow your heart. Your heart is the right guide in everything big.”

Khalil Gibran

I am currently ensconced in the upheaval of renovating two bedrooms at the same time, which began shortly after the New Year, (seduced perhaps, by the temporary euphoria of saying good bye to 2021, as well as by the needs of my daughters).

The physical and mental exhaustion caused by lugging furniture, clearing, decluttering, organising and the chaos that comes with such work of clearing entire rooms of everything (which has to be dispersed into the remaining living space for sorting), has been somewhat stressful. But I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel: a smoother domestic life for myself and my family, which I fervently hope will translate into increased harmony, productivity and greater joy all-round.

I find chaos deeply unsettling. Maybe it’s a metaphor for life at the moment. My mind, body and soul somehow seem to tune in to and reflect my immediate surroundings, so visualising a calmer future is a must for me! But through chaos comes order. Eventually…

No wonder completing my tax return felt more aggravating than usual!

Evolving from one state to a higher state often feels like an arduous undertaking, but worth the work even so.

I intended to write this post in January, but didn’t, as I had my urgent home renovation hat on; however it seems more fitting for February, which is designated in many countries as Heart Month.

Heart Month focuses on heart health and all matters relating to the heart. February was probably chosen because the 14th February is Valentine’s Day!

The heart has a mind of its own – literally

Anyone who has ever been in love knows that the heart does not always obey the head! This point was beautifully elucidated by Blaise Pascale:

“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of… We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart.”

It turns out there is a scientific basis for Pascale’s erudite observation, which I’ll go into more detail on later in the post.

The heart is the first organ to develop in a growing fetus; and in our normal day to day lives it beats around 100,000 times per day, pumping 2,000 gallons of blood around 60,000 miles of arteries, veins, capillaries and blood vessels.

But being a vessel of miraculous circulation may not be its only purpose. Our ancestors regarded the human heart as the centre of thought, emotion, memory and personality – the true master organ of the body.

The heart is mentioned 830 times in the Bible, and features in 59 of the 66 books.

Proverbs: “Counsel in the heart of a man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.”

Similarly, the native Omaha people of North America have a tradition: “Ask questions from your heart and you will be answered from the heart.”

The Lotus Sutra of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition teaches of the “hidden treasure of the heart”, which is described in scripture as being “as vast as the universe itself, which dispels any feelings of powerlessness.”

Decisions based on the heart’s wisdom will never be wrong for you.

A little brain in the heart

In 1991 an incredible discovery was published in the journal Neurocardiology by a team of scientists lead by Dr Armour from the University of Montreal; studying the close relationship between the brain and the heart. In the process of their research it was discovered that the human heart contains around 40,000 specialised neurons (sensory neurites), which form a communication network within the heart, operating independently of the brain. A little brain in the heart.

“The ‘heart brain’ is an intricate network of nerves, neurotransmitters, proteins, and support cells similar to those found in the brain proper.”

Dr. Andrew Armour

The heart’s brain converts the language of the body – emotions – into the electrical language of the nervous system so that its messages make sense to the brain. Scientists are also investigating the heart’s brain role in other physical and mental functions such as:

  • Direct communication with sensory neurites in other organs of the body
  • The heart-based wisdom known as heart intelligence
  • Intentional states of deep intuition
  • Intentional precognitive abilities
  • The mechanism of self-healing
  • The awakening of super learning abilities and more.

The heart’s brain can think, learn and remember, sensing inner and outer worlds by itself, and when in harmony with our cranial brain provide a benefit of a single potent neural network shared by two separate organs.

The Coptic Christian saint, Macarius said of the heart:

“The heart itself is but a little vessel, and yet there are dragons, and there are lions, and there are venomous beasts, and all the treasures of wickedness; and there are rough uneven ways, there chasms; there likewise is God, there the angel, there the life and the Kingdom, there light and the apostles, there the heavenly cities, there the treasures, there are all things.”

How, I wonder, could he have possibly known, that the ‘all things’ category would include the ability of the heart to remember life events – even when the heart is no longer in the body of the person who experienced the events?!

Memories of the heart

I vaguely remember seeing a fictional film many moons ago (the title eludes me), where a person has a heart transplant and starts to have visions of the deceased person who’s heart they have been given. It seemed way out there. But truth really can be stranger than fiction…

Since the very first heart transplant in 1967, there are now thousands of heart transplant operations performed every year. Over time a curious phenomena began to occur, a side effect that was labelled memory transference. It seems that if the heart is alive the memories remain. Emotional memories are so deeply ingrained in the heart’s memory they can be experienced by a donor.

An incredible case was documented in the book The Heart’s Code, of which a section is dedicated to true life accounts of heart recipients. The case of an eight year old girl is particularly heart-rending. The young girl began having vivid and frightening dreams, nightmares, in which she was being chased, attacked and killed. Although the transplant was technically a success, the psychological impact of these nightmares became increasingly distressing.

The young girl was subsequently referred to a psychiatrist. She described a terrible event and images with such clarity, detail and consistency that the psychiatrist became convinced she was relaying actual memories. The question was from whose memory?

Eventually the authorities were contacted, an investigation conducted, and so it came to light that the young girl was remembering an unsolved murder from her own town. She was able to share the specific details of where, when and how the murder was carried out, remembering the words spoken during the attack, and was even able to say the name of the murderer. Tragically, the victim had been a 10 year old girl.  Based on the details she was able to give the police, a man that fit the circumstances and description was arrested and put on trial. He was subsequently convicted of the assault and murder of the girl whose heart had been donated to the eight year old girl.

A fascinating documentary on this subject and the little brain in the heart:

The discovery of the ‘little brain in the heart’ has the potential to reveal a vast array of possibilities. These examples show me that the power of the heart is not to be underestimated.

Asking the heart for guidance

Typically we tend to use our brain, our reasoning capacities and logic when we are faced with choices and decisions. We mull thoughts over, examining the pros and cons, using the filters of past experience, our perceptions which are all bound to our sense of self-worth. Our minds tend to justify the answers we arrive at using circular reasoning, a way of thinking that supports a conclusion by restating it.

Sometimes a choice can be baffling through reason alone, and despite the advanced technology available to most people, the heart may just prove the most sophisticated technology we could have at our disposal. The heart can bypass mental filters and prejudice.

What if our heart intelligence knows instantly what’s true for us in the moment? What if we have the opportunity to access a deeper wisdom that transcends the bias of the mind?

We ignore our heart’s wisdom at our peril.

Would you agree that when you meet a person for the very first time you instantly form an impression of their character, and have a feeling whether you might like them or not before you have even exchanged a single word?

Our human instinct is the need to know if we are safe and if we can trust that person. This applies to friendship, business, love, romance and intimacy.

The speed at which this impression is formed is not the result of brain activity alone. As well as the ‘heart brain’, I also believe that our ‘gut brain’ has a role to play, giving us those all important ‘gut feelings’.

“At the center of this ability (INTUITION) is the human heart, which encompasses a degree of intelligence whose sophistication and vastness we are continuing to understand and explore. We now know this intelligence may cultivated to our advantage in many ways.”

Institute of HeartMath

Throughout the last two years of the Covi-19 pandemic, political and societal volatility and the increasingly frequent and disturbing climate events experienced, we have been collectively battered; physically, mentally and emotionally. We are living in extreme times.

Developing resilience

In addition to solving the manmade circumstances that have contributed to the challenging situations we are facing on an individual and collective scale, it is clear that developing resilience and embracing change in a healthy way will help us emerge into greater equilibrium and make better choices, thereby reducing the stress created in our lives.

The Stockholm Resilience Centre describes resilience as the capacity to “continually change and adapt yet remain within critical thresholds.”

A great lecture on the science of resilience:

Heart-Brain Coherence

Personal resilience can be thought of as the combined force of the emotional, physical and psychological “batteries” that power us through life’s challenges, and expanded resilience is the juice that keeps our batteries continually charged. Life is so intense for may of us, we can’t afford to have low batteries…

Heart rate variability (HRV) is one way to measure the resilience of our heart. In summary, the greater the variability between beats, the greater the resilience we have in facing life’s stresses and the changes going on in our world.

I have been using a technique to create Heart-Brain Coherence, and for difficult choices I have also been asking my heart.

So although my focus will naturally be on my goals, using my heart as an unfailing barometer in my progress and for life in general is my underlying theme this year.

The ‘weighing of the heart

From the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead came the ritual weighing of the heart against the feather of Maat , the goddess of Truth and Justice. In Egyptian religion the heart was considered to contain all of the good and bad deeds of a person’s life, and was needed for judgment in the afterlife. To me, this is a great metaphor for life, as well as the afterlife. If you live with a heavy heart your life scales will be unbalanced. Living according to the wisdom of the heart keeps our scales in balance and harmony.

Wearing the world like a loose garment.

We will always face challenges, to a lesser or greater degree. Globally, as a species, we are going through profound changes, and our actions will determine the course of our evolution.

I have been guilty of allowing myself to become mired in anger, frustration, hopelessness and overwhelm with the current state of the world, and in particular with the appalling behaviour of our politicians. I’ve realised it’s perfectly natural to feel this way, (when I see things I cherish being systematically destroyed), as long as I work through it and release it in a healthy way, and not become attached to these particularly strong negative emotions. The Heart-Brain Coherence technique and letting go helps me to do that, as it allows a certain detachment from events that are out of my control.

Jesus’s advice to “wear the world like a loose garment” makes total sense in this context. Reframing the content of what is happening into a wider context enables me to transcend the pain of the events. I realise that enough people will feel the same as me, and at some point political and social change will come as a result of experiencing what doesn’t serve us.

Until the next time, from my heart to yours, in love, gratitude and wisdom…

He who binds to himself a joy

Does the winged life destroy:

But he who kisses the joy as it flies

Lives in eternity’s sun rise.

William Blake

Heart Matters: The Amazing Benefits of The ‘Miracle Molecule’

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ~ Hippocrates

Welcome to the third and final installment of my ‘Heart Matters’ posts. I’d like to start by asking you two questions:

Is it a priority for you to protect yourself from age and lifestyle related disease?

Would you like to age slowly and be able to keep fit and healthy, with plenty of energy and optimal vitality to live your life to the full, regardless of how old you are?


If the answer is yes, then it’s crucial to pay attention to your cardio vascular system. Your cardiovascular system delivers vital oxygen and nutrients via your blood throughout sixty thousand miles of blood vessel network to nearly 100 trillion cells that make up the human body.

In my second post on Heart Matters I covered some sobering statistics about cardio vascular disease. To summarize: the WHO cite cardio vascular disease as the leading cause of mortality, responsible for more than 50% of deaths in the western world – killing more people than cancer, diabetes and prescription drugs combined.

1998 Nobel Prize for Medicine

Dr. Louis Ignarro, distinguished Professor of Pharmacology at UCLA School of Medicine is a co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Medicine. He spent over two decades researching cardio vascular health, which lead to the discovery that Nitric Oxide (NO) is the master signalling molecule of the cardio vascular system.

The wide-ranging health benefits of Nitric Oxide was such a ground-breaking and important discovery that scientists dubbed it THE MIRACLE MOLECULE.

It is the human body that is the real miracle however, and when it has enough of the right potent nutrition it can begin to regain balance and achieve optimum health.


Nitric Oxide

Nitric Oxide is a gas that is produced naturally by the body, in the single cell that lines the entire inside of our blood vessels, known as the ENDOTHELIUM. It is also produced in the thyroid. Up until our twenties our bodies produce 100% of Nitric Oxide (NO), but every decade thereafter this production slows significantly, causing a hardening and thickening of the arteries and build-up of fatty material – plaque.


Left unchecked this can lead to heart-attack, stroke, vascular dementia and other illness. Smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise and a genetic predisposition can accelerate the degeneration of cardio vascular health. In fact, low levels of Nitric Oxide can cause every disease known to man.

Despite our advancements in medicine, modern healthcare and availability of drugs, the world is sicker than it’s ever been. This would indicate that big pharma and drugs are not the answer.


So how do you bring your body back into balance if it’s not operating like a well-oiled machine?

Ancient wisdom holds the answer!


The answer lies in our daily habits and in preventative measures. I’m going to share with you some of Dr. Louis Ignarro’s findings from his book, NO More Heart Disease – How Nitric Oxide Can Prevent – Even Reverse – Heart Disease and Strokes.

Essentially Nitric Oxide relaxes and enlarges blood vessels (vasodilation), heals the endothelium, normalises blood pressure, prevents blood clots that trigger strokes and heart attacks and protects against the accumulation of vascular plaque.

The 1998 Nobel Prize discovery also led to the first practical application of his research, the development of Viagra. Since then further science-led innovation has produced natural, plant based supplements that have a positive impact on the entire body.

NO to the Rescue

Specifically, here is why sufficient levels of NO are so important in preventing arteriosclerosis. If the endothelial cells on the inner surface of your blood vessels are damaged in any way, other types of cells in the blood, monocytes and leukocytes, can storm through the vessel wall, accumulate, and imbed themselves in the smooth layer muscle. The invasion complete, these cells release chemicals called inflammatory mediators that trigger inflammation in the smooth muscle, setting the atherosclerotic process of plaque formation into motion and resulting in blocked blood flow.

Once plaque forms in the arteries, it is much more difficult to undo the damage than to prevent it in the first place.  

~ Dr. Louis J. Ignarro

Why should you care about your Nitric Oxide levels?

  • Nitric Oxide (NO) is the body’s own wonder drug.
  • NO is one of the most significant molecules in the body.
  • NO influences the functioning of virtually every human organ, from the heart to the lungs to the stomach.
  • Adequate levels of NO may play a role in preventing and supporting conditions such as diabetes, alzheimer’s disease, erectile dysfunction (ED), rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, menopause symptoms, obesity, kidney disease, migraine headaches, infections, inflammatory disease such as Crohn’s Disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis and ulcers.

In my humble opinion this discovery by Dr. Louis Ignarro and his colleagues should go down in history as one of the greatest discoveries ever made in the field of medicine.

You may be wondering, how do I increase my intake of NO?

Dietary Supplementation with L-Arginine and L-Citrulline

When taken in enough quantities the amino acids L-Arginine and L-Citrulline form long-lasting levels of NO in the body. These can of course be found in different types of food: fish such as salmon and oysters, watermelon, almonds, dark chocolate, peanuts, soy and red meat (in moderation). Due to over farming and the use of chemicals our soils have been depleted of nutrients so it’s tough to get enough NO from diet alone.

Other types of food that contribute to a healthy heart and cardio vascular system are phytonutrients, foods rich in antioxidants, foods rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, heart-healthy fats and 400 to 800 mcgs per day of folic acid.

In his book Dr. Ignarro also shares case studies highlighting the importance of regular exercise for the cardio vascular system and indeed, overall health.

Dr. Louis Ignarro talks about his research into Nitric Oxide and disease prevention:

A short pdf document about Nitric Oxideno_manual_en

I strongly recommend you get his book on Amazon if you want more in depth information on this subject as I am not a doctor. However, I am passionate about well-being and helping others achieve Elite Health.

According to Dr. Ignarro we each need between 5-20 grams per day of NO depending on the state of our health. Because L-Arginine and L-Citrulline can be taken in large quantities with no side effects or toxicity, this means that supplementation is safe.

A completely natural, plant based solution: ProArgi-9+

I’d like to share my personal story with you.  I’ve been supplementing for just a few months with high quality, targeted nutraceuticals, (one of which is ProArgi-9+), and my health has reached a level I never thought possible in my late forties.


In the first few weeks I experienced some detoxification symptoms, I could feel something was happening. I was thirsty and began to drink more water during this period. I found my usually healthy appetite was diminished and my energy levels began to soar.

After about three weeks the brain fog I didn’t know I had cleared (like a morning mist), and was replaced with a feeling of mental clarity. At the time I started taking the supplements I was suffering with mild depression – I was exhausted all the time (it’s tough working full-time with three children at home as well as all the domestic chores and extra-curricular activities that entails), but since then my mood has been massively elevated, even on bad days. I frequently work 12-18 hour days, something I haven’t been able to do since my twenties. The quality of my sleep (even though I don’t get enough), is much better also. With so many projects on the go and energetic children to take care of this has been a god send.

I also noticed the soreness in my knees reduced and has now completely gone, and the quality of my hair has been transformed. It’s fuller and more vibrant, hair loss has been dramatically reduced and even the number of grey hairs has reduced with new, darker re-growth. My skin improved, my eyesight improved and my muscle tone improved.

I lost almost a stone in weight and other health issues I had no longer bother me.

I can now complete my Zumba classes without feeling like I’m going to have a heart attack and keep up with women half my age. The chronic muscle stiffness that would plague me for days afterwards as I walked around like a plank has virtually disappeared.

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect these kinds of results when I first started taking ProArgi-9+ and the V3 system.

What a gift!


To think it’s one that I could have passed over sends shivers down my spine. My mother has an even more inspiring story. It has reduced her life-threateningly high blood pressure into the normal range so that she has been able to discontinue her medications. It has enabled her to continue flying and teaching people how to fly gliders, one of her passions in life.

If you have high blood pressure:

I’m eternally grateful to my business partner, Kim Bradley for introducing me to this scientifically validated product and Synergy Worldwide, the ethical, Forbes 100 nutritional company that produces it.  Synergy is the only nutritional company to be classified by Forbes as one of America’s most trustworthy companies.

I love working with Kim and she was recently recognised with a well deserved award for her caring and competent leadership by Synergy at their European Summit last week in Vienna.


No other natural supplement except for ProArgi-9+  appears in the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) in the USA, where it is listed as the ‘highest quality L-Arginine supplement in the world’.

Clinical studies also prove that ProArgi-9+ reduces LDL oxidised cholesteral which is a precursor to heart disease. pa9_synergyadvantage2

It has had a profound effect on my life – giving me back my zest for life, my high energy levels, my self-confidence and renewed passion for all the things that I want to do and achieve with my life.


I’m on a mission to educate everyone I care about, so they can experience similar health benefits in their own lives.

By the end of November I will have my new website linked to my blog under the heading Elite Health.

Well-being is an ever evolving continuum between disease and optimal health. Most people are somewhere in the middle of the scale, but if you’d like to move further towards the health end it means taking control of factors like diet, lifestyle and efficacious supplementation.

It’s probably fair to say that many of us spend more money on maintaining our cars, on entertainment, alcohol and posh cups of coffee than we do investing in our long term health.

Even professional athletes can see the value in improved sporting performance with quicker recovery times. And unlike the unfortunate and misguided Maria Sharapova, who took the banned substance Meldonium and was subsequently suspended from playing tennis, these nutraceuticals are all food based and approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

I’m happy to offer that same gift to you – and give you more information about the science behind these nutraceuticals and how they can change your life for the better. I can communicate with you by email, Skype, over the phone, or via Gotomeeting.

If you’d like to know more, do get in touch with me via Twitter (@Ginsterbabe) or on my blog contact page and we can start a potentially life-changing conversation!

“As a nation we spend close to a 100 billion dollars a year fighting heart disease. As baby boomers reach retirement age that figure is going to double in the next 20 years. Yet we spend less than 2 billion dollars a year in preventing heart disease. Simple nutritional supplements and lifestyle modifications would be the most cost effective way of preventing heart disease. Focusing our attention on lifestyle changes we believe is the best way to prevent heart disease not only in the adult population but especially among our children.”

~ Dr. Siva Arunasalam (Internal Medicine, Invasive and Non-Invasive Cardiology) Director High Desert Heart Institute, USA.

Heart Matters: What is the Leading Cause of Death in the World?

“The greatest wealth is health.” ~ Virgil

Welcome to the second installment of my Heart Matters trilogy of posts!

And to answer the question posed in the title – cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), are the culprit when it comes to global mortality. I’ll be looking a little closer at the issues we face in battling this silent killer.

American Heart Disease-infographic

Our health is something we generally take for granted right up until the point we lose it – for whatever reason. I’ve been guilty of this myself. In my youth I was extremely fit and healthy, there was no reason to think that would ever change.

However, modern living should carry a government health warning!

It’s time to take responsibility for our health. Someone dies from a cardiovascular illness EVERY 42 SECONDS IN THE USA.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease kills more people than cancer, diabetes and prescription drugs combined.

Recent figures from UCLA indicate that more people are dying of obesity than starvation for the first time in human history.

Heart Matters - hamberger and fries

There are a myriad of reasons why this is the case, here are the main causes:

  • Hereditary factors
  • Poor diet
  • Smoking & drinking
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Stress
  • Pollution

If heart disease runs in your family the chances are your genes are pre-disposed towards some type of cardiovascular illness. There’s not much you can do about that.

Or is there?

That was certainly the case for my mum, who sadly lost her mother and father to heart disease. For as long as I can remember my mum has always struggled with high blood pressure. Late last year she was hospitalised as her blood pressure reached a dangerous level, 210 over 105. She was already taking two lots of medication which didn’t seem to reduce her hypertension and produced unpleasant side-effects to boot. To say I was worried was an understatement. I was petrified.

Heart and stethoscope - cardiology and medicine icons

I’m ecstatic to report that my mother now has a normal average blood pressure of 125/70, her heart palpitations have vanished and she is off all her medications. She looks and feels 10 years younger and the best part is she has achieved this all through natural means. I’ll be going into a lot more detail about how she took control of her health in the next post.

Lifestyle, stress levels and exercise are all activities that we can influence and have a choice over.  Eating too much processed foods, smoking and sitting at a desk, doing a job we don’t enjoy could be accelerating our body clock, causing premature ageing and cellular degeneration, potentially taking years off our lifespan.


In our industrialised age it’s difficult to escape the toxins in our environment. Urban areas tend to be worse, but with car emissions and factories polluting the skies, coupled with the devastation of large tracts of rainforest (effectively weakening the lungs of the Earth) a man-made disaster is in the making.

Heart Matters - pollution

The question is not: are you toxic?

The question is: how toxic are you?

Toxicity in our soil, air, water and food can cause auto-immune problems, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and lung cancer to name a few. Effects of Pollution.

In addition to all of the above, your heart, lungs and blood vessels are working extremely hard to ensure the optimum amount of oxygen and nutrients reach every cell and organ in your body. It has its work cut out, because your circulatory network (including the ultra-fine capillaries) is about 100,000 miles in length and would wrap around the world at least three and half times!

Circulatory System

Circulatory System

The human body requires a vast network of blood vessels to support every organ and cell effectively. Every invention known to man cannot compare with the complexity and regenerating power of the human body.

Wherever blood flows in your body there is a blood vessel to carry it. Age and lifestyle related problems cause plaque to form in our arteries, restricting the flow of blood, known as atherosclerosis.

Arteries - Cardiovascular-Disease

This is not easy viewing, but everyone should understand what happens during a heart attack:

Even conditions such as vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are caused by plaque in the brain and a lack of oxygen to the brain due to a stroke, which in turn is caused by blood clots blocking hard, narrow plaque filled arteries in the brain.

Again and again so many health concerns can be traced to the condition of your circulatory system. Don’t even get me started on diabetes.

Heart Facts

  • Your heart is the hardest working muscle in your body
  • Your heart beats approximately 100,000 times per day, 35 million times per year
  • The muscles of your heart work twice as hard as the leg muscles of a sprinter
  • During an average lifespan the human heart will beat 2.5 billion times
  • Every 24 hours your heart pumps approximately 1800 gallons of blood
  • During the average lifetime the heart pumps about 1 million barrels of blood
  • The average adult heart is about the size of two clenched fists
  • On average women’s hearts beat slightly faster than men’s hearts
  • The heart of an embryo begins beating around four weeks after conception
  • The heart pumps blood to 75 trillion cells, except the corneas, which do receive a blood supply.
  • The heart has its own electrical impulse and can continue to beat even when separated from the body as long as it has an adequate supply of oxygen
  • Blood is actually a tissue

Some of us spend more money on putting fuel into our cars than we do fuelling our bodies with the right nutrition and lifestyle that will support it enough for us to have a long, healthy life.

As I said in my first Heart Matters post, a loving, happy heart reduces stress and is a key factor in longevity.

I’ll leave you with food for thought until I return with part 3, which I promise will be much more uplifting!

Heart Matters: Secrets of the Heart in Culture and Life

My heartfelt thanks go to French mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal, for elucidating such profound observations about the human heart.

Blaise Pascal2

He provides the perfect context for the subject matter of this first, in-depth exploration of the human heart in my ‘Heart Matters’ blog trilogy.

In this first post I wanted to explore the fundamental questions about the function of the heart in our everyday lives as well as looking specifically at heart health challenges and well-being in later posts.

Mysteries of the Human Heart

Is the heart merely a muscle, a complex pump that powers blood, oxygen and nutrients around our body, or does it actually have a mind of its own, as Blaise Pascal suggests it does? Is it the seat of our emotions and the source of love? Perhaps it serves in both capacities?

David Malone explores the human heart, juxtaposing the modern scientific view of the heart as a mere pump, versus its long history as a symbol of love and the centre of innate wisdom and human character:

The heart has been written about in every age and culture. It is the subject of poetry, prose, stories and parables. For the romantics it is an ‘organ of fire’.

“When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.” ~ Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)

The immense use of the word ‘heart’ in language reveals our long-held obsession with its mysteries. Here are more than a few references to the heart, covering the whole spectrum of human emotion:

Heartfelt, heartbroken, heartache, bleeding heart, heartless, purple heart, kind hearted, soft hearted, cold hearted, black heart, heartless, heartthrob, heartbeat, sweetheart, weak hearted, big hearted, disheartened, heartily, hearty, heart of the matter, open hearted, half hearted, down hearted, free hearted, lion heart, heart centred, heart burn, a heart of stone, sickness of the heart, bless your heart, a change of heart, absence makes the heart grow fonder, after my own heart, be still my heart, eat one’s heart out, by heart, cry heart out, follow heart, faint of heart, give someone heart-failure,  heart of gold, have a heart-to-heart, follow your heart, heart in the right place, heart in mouth, heart sinks,  heavy hearted, heart skips a beat, heart flutter, home is where the heart is, heart’s not in it, with all one’s heart, young at heart, with a light heart, set heart on, take to heart, steal heart, out of the goodness of heart, pour heart out, to one’s heart’s content, lose heart, have heart in mouth, let heart rule head, in one’s heart of hearts, wear heart on sleeve, close to one’s heart, win heart, have a heart!

Perhaps to describe a person as heartless is the worst insult you could level at them, it implies that the very essence of what makes a human being is absent…

heart-quotes-and-sayings - Evander Holyfield

Shakespeare’s references to the heart:

The very instant I saw you, did My heart fly to your service.  (The Tempest, Ferdinand to Miranda) ~ You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant (Midsummer Night’s Dream, Helena to Demetrius) ~ My five wits, nor my five senses, can Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee. (Sonnet 141, 9-10) Tell me thou lov’st elsewhere; but in my sight, Dear heart, forbear to glance thine eye aside (Sonnet 139, 5-6) ~ JAQUES What stature is she of? ORLANDO Just as high as my heart (As You Like It) ~ A heart to love, and in that heart Courage, to make love’s known (Macbeth, Macbeth to Macduff) ~ Tell me where is fancy bred, Or in the heart, or in the head? (Merchant of Venice, song) ~ What infinite heart’s ease Must kings neglect that private men enjoy! (Henry V) ~ My old heart is cracked, it’s cracked (King Lear, Gloucester to Regan) ~ If thou ever didst hold me in thy heart, Absent thee from felicity a while, And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain To tell my story. (Hamlet, Hamlet to Horatio) ~ Go to your bosom; Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know…  (Measure for Measure, Isabella)

Shakespeare as you’ve never heard him before! I think the Bard would dig this jazzy interpretation:

Definitions of heart

  1. A hollow, muscular organ, which, by contracting rhythmically, keeps up the circulation of the blood.
  2. The seat of the affections or sensibilities, collectively or separately, as love, hate, joy, grief, courage, and the like; rarely, the seat of the understanding or will; — usually in a good sense, when no epithet is expressed; the better or lovelier part of our nature; the spring of all our actions and purposes; the seat of moral life and character; the moral affections and character itself; the individual disposition and character; as, a good, tender, loving, bad, hard, or selfish heart.
  3. The nearest the middle or centre; the part most hidden and within; the inmost or most essential part of any body or system; the source of life and motion in any organization; the chief or vital portion; the centre of activity, or of energetic or efficient action; as, the heart of a country, of a tree, etc.
  4. Courage; courageous purpose; spirit.
  5. Vigorous and efficient activity; power of fertile production; condition of the soil, whether good or bad.
  6. That which resembles a heart in shape; especially, a roundish or oval figure or object having an obtuse point at one end, and at the other a corresponding indentation, – used as a symbol or representative of the heart.
  7. One of a series of playing cards, distinguished by the figure or figures of a heart; as, hearts are trumps.
  8. Vital part; secret meaning; real intention.
  9. A term of affectionate or kindly and familiar address.
  10. t. To give heart to; to hearten; to encourage; to inspirit.
  11. i. To form a compact centre or heart; as, a hearting cabbage.

All emotion emanates from the heart. It is the first organ that develops in a growing foetus, even before the brain.

“It is in the heart that the values lie. I wish I could make him understand that a loving heart is riches, and riches enough, and that without it intellect is poverty.” ~ Mark Twain

It makes sense to me that emotional intelligence comes from the heart and intellectual intelligence comes from the mind. The two are separate yet cannot exist without the other, the yin and yang of our physical existence. It seems that our creator trapped us in a biological duality of heart and mind, where our challenge lies in finding balance within the dichotomy of reason and passion.

It is a question pondered by greater poets than me.

Heart and Mind

SAID the Lion to the Lioness – ‘When you are amber dust, –

No more a raging fire like the heat of the Sun

(No liking but all lust) –

Remember still the flowering of the amber blood and bone,

The rippling of bright muscles like a sea,

Remember the rose-prickles of bright paws


Though we shall mate no more

Till the fire of that sun the heart and the moon-cold bone are one.’


Said the Skeleton lying upon the sands of Time –

‘The great gold planet that is the mourning heat of the Sun

Is greater than all gold, more powerful

Than the tawny body of a Lion that fire consumes

Like all that grows or leaps…so is the heart


More powerful than all dust. Once I was Hercules

Or Samson, strong as the pillars of the seas:

But the flames of the heart consumed me, and the mind

Is but a foolish wind.’


Said the Sun to the Moon – ‘When you are but a lonely white crone,

And I, a dead King in my golden armour somewhere in a dark wood,

Remember only this of our hopeless love

That never till Time is done

Will the fire of the heart and the fire of the mind be one.’

~ Edith Sitwell (1944)

The heart and its mysteries will always be at the root of popular culture. I don’t recall Elton John singing, “Don’t go breaking my brain.” It doesn’t sound right and it doesn’t feel right…

breakup quotes5jpg

“If my heart could do my thinking, and my head begin to feel, I would look upon the world anew, and know what’s truly real.” ~ Van Morrison

So how do we attain the ideal marriage between the heart and mind? That state of alignment and inner peace, which promotes optimal health and a feeling of good will to all man, of spiritual connection?

“It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Aristotle - Educating-the-mind-without-educating-the-heart-is-no-education-at-all.

Increasing one’s intellect is sometimes an arduous task, and for some of us, there’s only so far our grey matter will take us (thanks genes). I’m all for constant learning. I’m a learning junkie. But the heart’s capacity to love knows no limits and is not dependent on knowledge.

The Heart — an organ of truth and emotion

It turns out that living a heart centred life isn’t a sound bite of new-age mumbo jumbo, it’s based on hard science. Positive emotions and living in alignment with our strengths, virtues, passions and purpose creates coherence with the mind. Scientists have discovered that the heart has its own neurons which communicate with the brain more than the brain communicates with the heart. It’s a symbiotic relationship.




“I think… if it is true that

there are as many minds as there

are heads, then there are as many

kinds of love as there are hearts.” ~ Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)

History of the heart

The ancient Egyptians recognised that the heart represents truth. The heart knows when we are in love, it gives us that ecstatic yet unsettling fluttering sensation which is beyond our control. The swelling and warmth we feel when we think of those we love. Whether we are being true to ourselves, or being less than truthful, it beats steadily or erratically accordingly. We may be able to fool others, but we can’t fool our heart.


“Alas! there is no instinct like the heart…” ~ Lord Byron

That’s why many organisations use Polygraph tests when questioning suspects and witnesses, so they can measure potential physiological changes that take place during questioning. The lie detector tests measure pulse, blood pressure, respiration and skin conductivity, all of which are controlled by the heart and cardio vascular system.

“The heart is the perfection of the whole organism. Therefore the principles of the power of perception and the soul’s ability to nourish itself must lie in the heart.” ~ Aristotle

Could it be that the voice of conscience we hear in our head actually has its Head Office located in our heart?

Heart quote

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

It has been discovered that the heart emits its own powerful electro-magnetic field, and that our hearts are linked energetically to those we love regardless of distance. Science tells us that we are all connected at the quantum level.

Mysteries of the Heart:

The Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence: A path to personal, social and global coherence:

An interesting and enlightening TED Talk from Howard Martin, one of the original leaders who helped Doc Childre found the HeartMath Institute. I think he eloquently answers my questions!

When he talks about how human heart energy interacts and affects the planet’s ionosphere; it’s quite fitting that an anagram of HEART is EARTH.

To bear malice is ultimately affecting us more adversely than the person or thing we are scornful of. A Happy heart is a healthy heart.

Daisy shaped heart

Until the next time, from the bottom of my heart!

“It is our heart working in tandem with our brain that allows us to feel for others … It is ultimately what makes us human… Compassion is the heart’s gift to the rational mind.” ~ David Malone