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You've Gotta Have Heart

heart and stethoscopeYou've gotta have heart,
Miles and miles of heart.
When the odds are saying you'll never win
That's when the grin should start,
First you've gotta have heart.

( 1950's song lyrics)

Let's get to the heart of the matter: In all things you do in life, you've gotta have heart, and having a big heart is definitely the coolest way to experience creation. And in relation to creation, you will excel if you put your heart into every single thing you do. But be careful of becoming so sensitive that you wind up wearing your heart on your sleeve. Also remember that a kind-hearted person does not break someone else's heart. Speaking of love, be ever true because your cheatin' heart will tell on you. Most important of all, practice compassion so your heart doesn't become like a stone. I Love NY. How many more heart-focused expressions can you think of?

The nuances and usage of the word 'heart' are but one aspect of the total picture. The graphic depiction of the heart is one of humankind's most evocative symbols. Rising provocatively in opposite directions from a deep cavern in its upper mid-point, it smoothly curves into two, sensuously-rounded upper lobes, then recklessly plunges inward and downward until climaxing in an emotionally satisfying lobular bottom. The heart graphic is full of so much positive symbolism it never fails to make us smile on some level of awareness. Sex, romance, courage, strength, intimacy…. The heart symbol communicates the magical power of the individual person or entity to rise above the odds and shine. The symbol is almost never trite, no matter how it is used. It's not surprising why the heart graphic is employed by the advertising industry with such frequency.

With its life-sustaining power, the heart has been veiled in a cloak of metaphysical mystery throughout the ages. The heart was first depicted as a small, red shape that was drawn on the wall of a cave in Spain more than 12,000 years ago. Shamans of various cultures would pluck the still beating hearts from animals (and others) and use it in magic, rituals and medicine. Modern technology has given a new slant to much of the mystery, but there remains an atmosphere of reverence, fascination and curiosity when talking about the heart. It is the symbol we use to describe that whole range of human experience for which there are no other words. But there are a lot of really neat "gee-whiz" things about the physiological heart, too.

The Muscle is a miracle. From the moment it begins beating until the moment it stops, the human heart works tirelessly. It beats 100,000 times a day; that's 35 million times a year. In an average lifetime, the heart beats more than two and a half billion times, without ever pausing to rest. The heart pumps about 1 million barrels of blood during an average lifetime -- that's enough to fill more than 3 super tankers.

If you squeezed a tennis ball as hard as you could, you'd be using about the same amount of force your heart uses to pump blood throughout the body. Even during their very short rests, the muscles of the heart work about twice as hard as the leg muscles of a runner.

Location. Now, at this moment, put your hand on your heart. Aha! Like most people, you probably placed your hand on the left side of your chest. The heart is actually located almost in the center of the chest, between the lungs. It's tipped slightly so that a part of it sticks out and taps against the left side of the chest, which is what makes it seem as though it is located there.

Size. The adult's heart is about the size of both of your fists. The child's heart is about the size of one their fists.

The heartbeat. The beating that you hear through a stethoscope is described by physicians as being lub-DUB. These two sounds are made by the four main heart valves opening and closing. The valves close and open in pairs. When a heart is not functioning within normal parameters, there may be extra beats or sounds between the beats.

The Italians have a musical notation not found in any other language: 'tempo giusto 'the right tempo.' It means a steady, normal heat, between 66 and 76 on the metronome. Tempo giusto is the appropriate heat of the human heart.

Blood vessels. The largest artery in the body, the aorta, is just about the diameter of a garden hose. If you lie very still on your back, you may be able to detect its pulsations in your solar plexus area. Capillaries, on the other hand, are so small that it takes ten of them to equal the thickness of a human hair.

Your body contains about 6 quarts of blood, which circulates through the body three times per minute. In a single day, the blood will travel about 12,000 miles. That's about two round-trips from New York to San Francisco, the distance across the US from coast to coast.

You can prove that you are alive! You can feel your pulse by placing two fingers at pulse points on the side of your neck or wrists. The pulse beat you feel is the beating of the heart causing the blood to stop and start as it moves through your arteries. A child's resting pulse might range from 90 to 120 beats per minute. An adult's pulse ranges an average of 72 beats per minute, and lower for athletes.

Your heart is designed to last a lifetime, but you have to do your bit to help ensure it stays in good working order. Everyone knows that exercising, not smoking, eating a healthy diet and staying slim promote good heart health. But you've also got to have the right attitude. Best to follow the advice given in an old Frank Sinatra song,

Fairy tales can come true
It can happen to you
If you're young at heart…

For it's hard you will find
To be narrow of mind
If you're young at heart…

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