Hearts are made to soar. They are destined to fly. Do you know what I mean?
A few years ago, I saw woman in my cardiology practice (identity changed but a true story) who was caught in an incredible rut. Fear dominated her life. She was afraid to move past what she agreed was a limited emotional and physical existence. She had been divorced for over 15 years but refused to venture out into dating. She had the financial means to travel, but was afraid to venture out alone. She was in her early 50’s. Still in fairly good physical shape, but emotionally very old.
“Why haven’t you looked into dating? You seem very lonely, and I feel you are depressed,” I said to her as she sat in my office. “Why don’t you just throw your fears out the window and go on a vacation, some place that is wild and exciting, a place you have never been.”
I watched her as I said the words. A frown came to her face, I could see that even as she thought of it, she was rejecting the idea.
“Yes, I am depressed. I am lonely. But the idea of opening my heart again, and risking getting it crushed is more than I can bear,” she said. “And taking a trip by myself, no that’s something I just can’t do.”
She was in the office because she was having chest pain. Indeed, it seemed like a typical cardiac pain- dull, squeezing in the middle of the chest with exercise and activity. A stress test soon confirmed that she had a blockage of the front artery of her heart. A subsequent heart catheterization confirmed a serious blockage of the left anterior descending artery. She had a stent placed inside her blocked artery, and when I saw her a few weeks later she still looked depressed.
I made a bold move. I wrote her a prescription for a vacation. “You’ve been working for 10 years. Now you have a heart blockage. I’m wonder if this heart blockage couldn’t in some way be a metaphor for a blockage in the rest of your life. Perhaps you heart is blocked to life’s possibilities.
I handed her the perscriptions. It said, “3 Weeks Vacation in the Islands- No excuses allowed.” “Here I said, don’t come back till you’ve taken the medicine. She left the office that day, still depressed. I watched her walk out, shoulders drooping. I had no idea what was going to happen.
I didn’t see her for 2 years.
On a sunny spring day, she walked into my office. One look at her face told me she was a changed woman. Smiling largely, she gave me a big hug.
“Dr. Laman, that prescription you gave me was the best thing, I left your office that day, still depressed, but it made me think. Before my divorce I had been open, energetic, I lived life to the fullest. But you were right, my heart had become closed. It had lost its child like enthusiasm. I took that vacation. But I didn’t come back after 3 weeks. Life began to open for me. I took a whole year off. Having heart disease woke me up. I realized that if I didn’t break out of my limited existence, I might not make it.
I chose to live grandly. I’ve learned how to rock climb, scuba dive, and roller skate. I met a man and we’ve been dating for a year. I moved to the Southwest, something I always wanted to do. My last stress test was great. I have no chest pain. I feel fabulous.
I’m back visiting my mother, and I just wanted to drop by to tell you, thanks. It was the best prescription I’ve ever been given.”
So what I would suggest is that your heart is infinite. Within your heart is incredible healing power and a true inner compass. If we can learn to listen to our hearts, to break down the barriers of limitation- then the sky’s the limit.
I suggest that we all live grandly. Let our heart’s soar.