Working from the Heart

Queen of Hearts Valentine Card photo

Valentines Day, a holiday dedicated to love, is my favorite holiday.  It doesn’t have the pressure of the December holidays and the expectations of New Years Day.  According to Bay Area spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran, everyone is capable of love.  He says:

In a sense, it comes down to attention. When we are pre-occupied with ourselves – our thoughts, our desires, our preferences – we cannot help becoming insensitive to others’ needs. We can pay attention only to so much, and all our attention rests on ourselves. When we turn away from ourselves, even if only a little, we begin to see what is really best for those we love. Eknath Easwaran (retrieved from Nader’s December 6, 2011 blog,

That’s why I like lunching with residents of the Bayside Park Elder Community.  I become immersed in their stories and forget about myself (Am I good enough? Could I do more? Learn faster?  Navigate through life more effectively?).  Seeing another’s face light up gives me so much pleasure.

Thirty-seven years ago I sent out a handmade card to all my relatives.  I was in love and had just become engaged to my life companion. Easwaran says:

…a man and woman brought into union are not adversaries. They are meant to complete each other, not to compete. Their union should dissolve separate boundaries – what is bad for one can never be good for the other.

When we had fights over who works more, earns more, plays more, cooks more, cares more, cares too much, I learned that competing does not work. We learned to both listen to our inner wisdom and flow with each other’s journey.    Whether there are crumbs on the table or a weed in the garden does not bother me.

Talking with my 92-year young mother on the phone for a few minutes every evening,  seeing my adult children thrive, being there for them when they are challenged, dancing through life’s ups and downs with my soul mate, dreaming and creating with others – these are what makes life meaningful for me.

Every day that I spend in AgeSong at Bayside Park I am in love – listening to my lunch companion talk about selling gloves in the City of Paris, celebrating women’s wisdom with Miriam Chaya, who chose this name to acknowledge her inner wisdom, hearing mother-daughter stories, meeting the gentleman who used to listen to Benny Goodman’s high-school band and the other gentleman whose favorite book is Two Years Before the Mast, learning about the value of family support groups,  riding up and down elevators with the caring care partners who are always on a caring mission.

The name “Valentine” came from valens (worthy, strong, powerful).  In his book Working from the Heart, William Ryan talks about “expanding our awareness of the myriad ways in which our hearts can facilitate healing” (p. 11) so that clients can benefit from a synthesis of our minds and our hearts.

I believe that we all – our clients, our loved ones, and ourselves – can benefit by working and living from the heart.

Dr. Sally Gelardin
AgeSong Journalist and Queen of Hearts


AgeSong Senior at Bayside Park | 1440 40th Street, Emeryville, California 94608 | 510-594-8800 | License # 015601452

AgeSong at Bayside Park Services: Senior CareSenior LivingSenior Residential Care Home, andBoard & Care Facility including: High Needs Assisted Living • Alzheimer’s Disease Services •Secure Dementia Care • Memory Care • Behavioral Health Care • Emotional Care • Hospice Care •Respite Care • Clinical Non-Ambulatory Care • Geriatric Care • Disabled Care • Programs that Address Difficult and Challenging Behavior

AgeSong Retirement Communities: Locations throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco and the East Bay: San Francisco-Hayes Valley • San Francisco-Laguna Grove • Oakland-Lake Merritt • Oakland-Lakeside Park • Emeryville-Bayside Park • Castro Valley-OakCreek

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