House of the soul for some, headquarters of the passions for others or source of intuition. The heart has always been attributed more poetic functions than pragmatic, as if we refused to assume that it is a simple “machine” that pumps blood.
The ancient Romans and Greeks were convinced that we thought, felt and remembered with the heart, not with the brain. That is why many words we use today, such as concord, discord or cordiality come from the latin root “cordis”, which means heart.
For Hindus, the heart was linked to emotions such as compassion and love, but also to our balance and well-being. For the artist and illustrator Corinna Luyken, the heart is everywhere assuming its most ethereal function. It is found in plants and stars, also in shadows and spots, because we see everything with the heart, when it passes through the sieve of our experiences.
Her book “My Heart,” is a true ode to emotions. To each and every one of them. The positive and the negative. Those that make us feel good and those that bother us. Therefore, her tender illustrations become an invitation to embark on a journey of inner rediscovery, taking the opportunity to convey an important message: our heart feels, but we can decide.
“My heart”: An emotionally intelligent book
Through a delicate grayscale with bright touches of yellow, Luyken displays an enormous emotional wealth that will allow children to develop their Emotional Intelligence and adults to regain the link with the heart.
In fact, in an interview, Luyken explained that she used gray because this color is about intermediates, things that are not white or black. Gray encloses all those subtle but important differences.
The contrast between gray and yellow highlights precisely those antagonistic emotions, so it is a book that is not only for reading, but also enjoying and understanding visually.
“My heart is a window, My heart is a slide”, say the first verses presenting emotions like that sieve – necessary and inescapable – through which we see the world.
“My heart may be closed, or wide open”, Luyken continues, referring to those periods in which we feel unable to love and those in which love fills everything, starting from the idea that if we are capable of recognizing our emotional highs and lows it will be easier for us to manage them.
“Some days it is cloudy and heavy because of the rain”, reminds us of those dark periods in which everything is going uphill. But then something magical can happen, even small. A meeting … A gesture … A surprise … We just have to be willing to notice it.
“Some days it is small, but small can grow, grow and grow”, reminds us of the need to cultivate what we want and value every gesture of love, however tiny it may seem.
“There are days when it is broken, but what is broken can be repaired”, this resilience message tells us that emotional wounds can heal and do not have to become an excuse to build walls that don’t allow us to feel again.
“My heart is a shadow, a light and a guide. Closed or open … I can decide”, are the final words of his book with which she encourages us to practice emotional self-management, live fully and, of course, empower ourselves. There is no better gift for a child.