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Drawing a picture of your diagnosis

27 Jan

 

Part of my latest mandala (a work in progress)

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters    January 27, 2019

The late Madeleine Shields was a gifted artist and teacher here on the west coast of Canada. But more importantly to me, she was MY teacher. Her artistic expression of choice was the mandala, a Sanskrit word for “circle”. The mandala practice of Madeleine Shields was not what you might see in adult colouring books or on painted rocks at craft fairs. Hers was based on an ancient spiritual and meditative practice that she compared to “painting a mirror”. I can sometimes still hear her distinctive voice in my ear asking pointedly, “Did you do it well, or did you do it fast?”

A recent study supports what Madeleine had already figured out 20 years before her death, that art can intuitively reflect our deepest emotions in a surprisingly accurate fashion – and that’s especially true when we become patients. Continue reading

Failure to inspire

20 Jan

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters    January 20, 2019

Blogging sometimes feels like a cross between therapy (writing about what I’m obsessing over at any given moment) and planning a classroom lecture (getting my own thoughts in order about very specific subjects). 

But if you’ve been here before, you already know that one of my favourite parts of noodling away on this blog is the interactive response from my readers. This is always a two-way street. Your comments make me laugh, they make me cry, they almost always make me want to respond. My favourite kind of reader comment: “I thought I was the only one who felt this way. . . “

But what some of you may not know is that sometimes, readers can also make me feel tired and cranky.    Continue reading

New Year’s resolutions for those who hate resolutions

6 Jan

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters     January 6, 2018

Well, we’re a week into the New Year by now. For some of us, that’s almost enough time to notice small cracks beginning to appear in the boldly announced resolutions made in the midst of all those Christmas excess guilt pangs. When I was one of the run leaders at our local Y Marathon Clinic during the last century, we’d often hear such resolutions from our first-timers at this time of year, something like “This is the year I’m finally going to quit smoking, lose 20 pounds and run a marathon.”

“Honey,” I would say to them gently: “Pick one!”  Continue reading

The 2018 Heart Sisters blog posts you liked best

30 Dec

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters     December 30, 2018

This year, a “Best Of” list with a twist. Usually my behind-the-scenes WordPress stats page tracks total views so far for each article I write. That kind of all-time list, however, simply favours the oldest articles, most of which have the advantage of attracting readers over and over, year after year ever since I launched Heart Sisters back in 2009. So this year, here are your Top 10 most-read of the dozens of articles I wrote in 2018: Continue reading

What to get the heart patient who has (almost) everything. . .

9 Dec

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters     December 9, 2018

Oh, sure, you can do last-minute Christmas shopping for another scented candle, or a lovely piece of pottery that might end up on the yard sale table together some day. Or you can decide to shop for a truly useful gift for any women in your life who have been diagnosed with heart disease. Here’s why, in my admittedly biased view, that gift should be A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017) – along with some simple and painless ways for you to make that happen in time for Santa’s arrival: Continue reading