Today is February 14th – Valentine’s Day – a day in which many people share cards, flowers and sweet symbols of endearment.

So, it is symbolic for us to share a recent story of David’s “healing heart.”

Exactly one month ago, on January 14th, I (David) experienced a heart attack.  The day before, I had arrived at the University of Notre Dame looking forward to working with my dear friends and colleagues in debriefing The Leadership Circle Profiles for Executive MBA students during their week at the Stayer Center for Executive Education.

While I was experiencing unfamiliar chest pain, my friends went into swift action, calling campus paramedics and municipal EMTs who quickly whisked me to the local hospital.  The time from the first chest pains to the insertion of a coronary stent to restore blood flow in one of my arteries was about one hour.  1 hour!

I could not have been in a better place or at a better time (i.e. not on an airplane) to have a heart attack, for which I am eternally grateful.  It was the quickness of response and treatment that supported my healing heart’s recovery today.

But that was the furthest thing from my mind that morning.  Even as a committed Creator, I certainly felt like a Victim to the ache in my chest (my “Persecutor of pain”) and prayed for someone or something to Rescue me and make the discomfort go away.  As I was being worked on and cared for, I surrendered to the EMTs, medical staff and cardiologist and “let go and let God” to carry me through the process.

Donna arrived the next night and, together, we took it a Baby Step at time as we learned more about the details of the attack and were delighted to hear that my other arteries were clean and clear.  The cardiologist said the attack was significant, but he expected a full and sustainable recovery.

Since we were not initially allowed to fly, we left the hospital and stayed in a local hotel.  I continued to allow myself to acknowledge and feel my victimization and the realities I faced.  While I knew I would eventually shift back into the mode of being a Creator and choosing my response to the situation, I also knew it was important that I not deny or minimize my feelings of victimization.

The next week, my shift in focus from Victim to Creator began to emerge.  My heart attack and feelings of powerlessness were a reminder that we are not in control of life’s challenges.  We are, however, always at choice of how we respond.  I now have a new “inner sight” on how the TED* and 3 Vital Questions supported me on my journey and an even deeper appreciation for the gift of life.

While still evolving, my current “Outcome Focus” is on optimal health and deeper enjoyment of all facets of life, while continuing to be of service. As a friend said in an email, “David, you have yet more creating to do!”

An important part that may be hidden in the intention of Valentine’s Day is not only to give, but to also “open and allow” the receiving of those gifts.  In numerous ways over the past several weeks, my heart has been “broken open” as I have learned to receive the outpouring of loving prayers, healing energy and offers of support via emails, cards, texts and phone calls.

I have learned once again, as a Creator, that I can be so focused on the work at hand that it is all too easy to forget to enjoy the journey and the people we are privileged to call colleagues and friends – including you!

I am blessed, on this Valentine’s Day, to share my healing heart story.  Together we have much more creating to do!

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