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  • Writer's pictureElisa Juarez

A Hearty Life

August 20, 2023

This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of my dad’s passing, and I have been reflecting on a word that came to me last week: “hearty”. To me, it means full of heart, love, joy, and enthusiasm. Substantial. Among Miriam-Webster’s definitions are the following: “characterized by unqualified enthusiasm; enthusiastically or exuberantly joyful; exhibiting vigorous good health.” All these describe my dad and the life he lived. I will always remember his hearty laugh, his generous hugs, and his youthful spirit. I’ve set an intention to express that heartiness in my own life.

Our neighbor, Lou, is another wonderful example of heartiness. She is a vibrant 90-year-old widow who grew up on a farm in Louisiana. She is an avid gardener and still drives, goes to the gym, and attends church on Sundays. She is generous, kind, and filled with good humor. Her spirit and her life are hearty, and she inspires us daily.

The past several years have been hard on every level, personally and globally. The weight of the world can diminish our enthusiasm and impact our health and well-being. Perhaps more than ever we need to connect to our heart-center and live from that source of energy, joy, and vitality. When we start there and open ourselves to heartiness, we will see it reflected around us. We will attract people, experiences, and circumstances that uplift us and increase our joy. We will naturally give more freely, laugh more often, and relax more easily. In this way, we find rest and renewal for our weary souls. We also bring light and healing into the world.

I often come back to the 4 intentions I learned from Deepak Chopra: * Joyful, energetic body * Quiet, alert mind * Compassionate, loving heart * Lightness of being

I speak them aloud and hold them in my awareness, realizing these are aspects of a hearty, healthy, vibrant life. No matter what is going on around me, I can choose to focus on, practice, and demonstrate these qualities, and they will radiate outward. I believe we were designed to live this way - wholehearted, energetic, and joyful.

Setting intentions is a first step, then we can choose actions and activities that support them. Find what enlivens you, brings you peace and joy, soothes your spirit. For me, that includes music, nature, writing, and time with family and friends. As we gathered around my dad in his last week, we sang. At his memorial, we sang. The music brought comfort and joy. It connected us to each other, to him, and to the Spirit of God that holds us all.

In closing, I share these words from a dear friend of my dad, Nick Piedascalzi, in response to the news of my dad’s passing. He and my dad shared a hearty, lifelong friendship.

While I am saddened, I am grateful for the innumerable gifts of grace which he shared with us and all who came into his orbit – especially his expansive capacity to love life and people and his redeeming and healing sense of humor and his boisterous laugh. He was, what we say in Italian, un bell’uomo - a beautiful man. Handsome in visage and beautiful in spirit …In his new life he continues to praise God with his infectious laughter.

A hearty life is an expression of the Love that created and sustains us. It is substantial, significant, expansive, and irresistible. What a gift!

Love & Laughter,


Elisa J. Juarez

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