Letter From Publisher

My mom died from a beautiful broken heart. Doctors speculate she had rheumatic fever as a child, although no one in her family remembers an illness, and this caused damage to her heart valves that went undetected for decades. No one could have guessed her heart was in jeopardy. She was slender, in good shape, ate a healthy diet and seemed well overall. In 1998 when she was just 50, she went in for a routine doctor’s appointment after weeks of feeling tired and sluggish. The physician’s assistant took her blood pressure, and nothing registered. He took it again. Nothing. He got a new cuff. Nothing. He brought in two other assistants, same resultand then two doctors. Nothing. They must have taken her blood pressure 20 times, and she just didn’t have one. Her body had compensated for her heart for so long that she was able to function while her heart slowly deteriorated. Needless to say, she was in trouble and required emergency open heart surgery which resulted in the replacement of two destroyed heart valves and the addition of a pacemaker. Quite the routine appointment!

Mom lived another 18 years following her life-saving surgery, which I am beyond thankful for. And while her physical heart may have been broken, her metaphorical heart is the strongest and most beautiful I’ve known—precisely because of the heartbreak it endured. She lost her father to alcoholism at a young age, lived in an orphanage for a short time when she was four, had a difficult relationship with her mother, her stepfather died in a car accident, and her older brother died in the Vietnam war. She also gave a baby up for adoption when she was 19, was married and divorced twice and struggled emotionally and financially as a single mom of three.

When I was around nine years old, she decided that she needed to change. And change she did. She asked for help and started counseling, which she continued for 20 years. She also finished her bachelor’s degree and then got her master’s in library science and became a kick-ass librarian—her dream job. She was always a woman of great intelligence, integrity, grace, dignity, love, humor, beauty and heart—but she didn’t know this about herself until she started investigating, healing and believing it was so. Her journey of growth in 68 years was monumental, and if you couldn’t tell, is something I am extremely proud of and inspired by.

February’s issue of Natural Awakenings centers around the heart. The emotional brain of our bodies. HeartMath research tells us that “In the new field of neurocardiology, scientists have discovered that the heart possesses its own intrinsic nervous system—a network of nerves so functionally sophisticated as to earn the description of a ‘heart brain.’ Containing over 40,000 neurons, this “little brain” gives the heart the ability to independently sense, process information, make decisions, and even to demonstrate a type of learning and memory. In essence, it appears that the heart is truly an intelligent system.” Agreed.

In addition to matters of the heart, this month’s issue includes a new feature I’m developing called Publisher’s Pick where I try out an advertiser’s product or service to see how I do, and this month’s focus is self-care and the work of Emily Elizabeth Clinical Skincare. Check out my before and after shots on page xx! You will also find several compelling news briefs on all the amazing happenings in our holistic community as well as local testimonials on Chazael Pain Relief Lotion and Viveve therapy for women. Finally, don’t miss our Natural Pet article highlighting the benefits of essential oils for your furry family members!

Here’s to February! May the cracks in your heart allow the light to shine through today and always.

Love, Amber