Listen to Your Heart

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Captain's Blog: Stardate 123118.3

I laid on my left side. The cotton hospital gown fell open and chilly blue goo was dripping down my chest. A few feet away I watched with fascination as the valves of my heart popped open and closed with a regular pattern of “floop-floop.” They were like tiny little pinball flippers. Depending on the setting, blue and red lights flashed within the components of my heart indicating the direction of blood flow. To me, this was like watching electricity dance. I was mesmerized. 

The woman conducting my echocardiogram joked that the specialists often have to fight each other to look at a heart so young. She told me it was beautiful, which I found oddly flattering despite it simply being a view of a healthy heart. This echo and EKG were preventative measures to establish a baseline, assuage any fears my hypochondria have cooked up in 2018,  and give us all some peace of mind. Being adopted, I have no real medical history to know about heart disease or any other pre-dispositions.

Along the way this morning, I met several other characters, including a receptionist with an incredible bass voice, a mother of two college kids, a doctor working on call for the new years, and wishes for a less stressful 2019 for all involved. 

As I look back on the year I find myself trying to listen to my heart. Where have I been? Where am I going? Where are we all headed? Will my loved ones be okay? What’s next?

This has been a volatile year for the nation and the world, but also for me personally. There were milestone birthdays, major life changes, new jobs, old friends, amazing progress and tragic losses. It is a year that in many ways is ending on a note of uncertainty.

There is a storm today that is dumping rain on nearly half the country. Out our window, I can barely see the buildings across the street. The lake itself has vanished. From a certain vantage point, the living room window is nothing but a blank slate. Much like the coming year. 

Like many, I have goals, plans, and strategies to be more productive, successful, and happy in the coming year. If I have to pick a single “resolution” however, it is to practice mindfulness whenever possible. Be present in the moment. The future will come whether we want it to or not. Change is the only true constant in life. Rather than worrying what’s to come next, I hope I can spend more time taking a moment to breathe. I want to release the thoughts that are constantly pecking away at me, causing stress and anxiety and doubt.

My new year’s resolution is to take time every day to pause, breathe, and just listen to my heart.