Messages from the heart.

My heart has an extra beat in it sometimes. Not always, but rather frequently, and I can feel it. It’s not a flutter or a skipped beat or a concern. It is simply an extra “thumpity” in the middle of a regular “thump-thump.” It’s rather like when a needle of an old record player used to catch on a scratch in a recording, and a note repeated itself – unexpectedly, out of rhythm, but still a part of the overall melody. I notice it. It draws me into itself. And I think perhaps that’s why it does it. I suspect the heart wants to be noticed.

I know for a fact that in the final days when my mother was dying, my father’s own heart stopped beating. Medical science revived him and forced him to live another three years. It was a life alone in sadness, because no one had listened to his heart.

So I am rather intrigued with and attentive to the message wanting to be expressed from mine.

According to recent, ongoing scientific studies, the heart has its own brain. The energy from the heart-brain can actually be measured and recorded. And it is many, many times more powerful than the energy put out by the brain in the head. We can, quite profoundly, communicate with our hearts – to each other, to animals, to plants, to all living things; to God and the earth and the universe.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the strongest of the expressions that can be measured from the heart is that of appreciation. Not love, not joy, not loneliness, not even hatred.

Appreciation. I suspect that is significant.

Appreciation seems to be the enabler of all other emotions and connections. Without it, love would be rather empty, friendship would be a bit lopsided, gratitude would simply be impossible, sympathy would be sadly shallow, even animosity would be without basis, and forgiveness would be barren.

To achieve appreciation, I believe we first have to really see each other; we need to be vulnerable, and empathetic to all living creatures, and open to all the brilliant possibilities of life.

Appreciation would appear to be the fulcrum of it all. And, apparently the heart already knows that – and knocks it out of the park on the energy scale. Just imagine the potential if both the head brain and the heart brain got together on this one.

Quoting writer Mignon McLaughlin: “The head never rules the heart, but just becomes its partner in crime.” It would seem both my head and my heart partnered up shortly after Christmas this year and went to the Aiken County Animal Shelter (FOTAS), where we met a big, old, smelly, black-and-brown, underweight, desperately tired, mixed-breed, boy dog – with a heart that radiated pure appreciation; a dog who is now named Quincy.

In reality, Quincy’s heart is physically compromised; it is heartworm positive, undergoing treatment. And yet, in expression, Quincy’s heart doesn’t seem to be affected a whit. His heart energy is strong and unfailing in its appreciation – for kind hands and a soft bed, plentiful food and no more fear, companionship in place of rejection, peace that’s filled with possibilities.

As I write this, Quincy has now snuggled and hugged me into the far corner of the couch. Tuppence the cat has stretched herself out across the top of us both. Our three hearts seem to be in sync. Together in mutual appreciation. Together, in tempo, in tune.

I am beginning to suspect that perhaps the extra beat in my heart was put there simply to hear and join in this music, this song of appreciation from the heart – scratches and skipped notes and all.