This week I had an echocardiogram. It had been a few years since the last one, which had happened in my final month of chemo. My onc and I decided that perhaps it was time to take a little look and see how it was faring post chemo and radiation.
Unlike the other two times, this time I got to watch the procedure. The equipment was shiny new and the tech was really friendly, answering my questions about what I was seeing. Watching the valves open and close, seeing the chambers, and one section that almost looked like lips sending a kiss as it opened and closed.
As I watched, a sudden swell of love and gratitude for this amazing organ came over me. My eyes teared and I thought about how much my heart had been through- not only the cancer treatment but the ups and downs of life. And yet here it is, laboring on, day in and day out, doing it’s best to keep me alive.
I have written about the power of cellular meditation, which you can check out by clicking on the link. But as I lay there, I decided to meditate with and for my heart. Through this device I could sense my heart in a new way. It was the most relaxing screening procedures I have ever had, which was a lovely change of pace.
This experience reminded me of Metta Meditation, or Loving Kindness meditation. At the heart of this type of meditation is kindness, benevolence and goodwill. Thus practicing this type of meditation has been shown to boost empathy and compassion towards self and others. Who couldn’t use a little more of that?
If you are curious about this style of meditation, here are the basic instructions for trying it, thanks to the Live and Dare website.
One sits down in a meditation position, with closed eyes, and generates in his mind and heart feelings of kindness and benevolence. Start by developing loving-kindness towards yourself, then progressively towards others and all beings. Usually this progression is advised:
- a good friend
- a “neutral” person
- a difficult person
- all four of the above equally
- and then gradually the entire universe
I realize that living from the heart is not always easy, especially when life has not been kind to us. Yet when we take steps to deeply care for ourselves, living from the heart is a powerful place to be.
– Stephanie McLeod-Estevez, LCPC, is an art therapist and breast cancer survivor, and a former oncology counselor at the Dempsey Center. She began Creative Transformations to help others who are healing from a life threatening illness or injury. Through Creative Transformations, she works with people in person and online to offer cancer coaching, an Art as Therapy program, workshops, and this weekly blog. Check out the individual packages. Sign up today so you never miss a blog and find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.