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Sahara Damore and 'Heart is Hot' Celebrate Life's Connections

Sahara Damore and 'Heart is Hot' Celebrate Life's Connections

Sahara Damore is founder of Heart is Hot, a concept and a symbol based on the pay-it-forward idea and rooted in Damore's connection and caring for other people. Heart is Hot begins with hand-crafted glass hearts and continues through the journey each heart makes from person to person, from place to place.

Heart - the vital center and source of one's being, emotions and sensibilities. The repository of one's deepest and sincerest feelings and beliefs. Love. Affection. Courage.

The dictionary has dozens of definitions of "heart" but they share a common, positive, feel good meaning... and that's important to Sahara Damore.

Damore is founder of Heart is Hot, a concept and a symbol based on the pay-it-forward idea and rooted in Damore's connection and caring for other people.

Heart is Hot begins with hand-crafted glass hearts and continues through the journey each heart makes from person to person, from place to place. The hearts are crafted from 100% recycled glass and then engraved with a unique number and a representation of the geometric Flower of Life symbol, showing the connection of life and spirit of all beings.

People give the hearts for many reasons... celebrating love, comforting loss, providing encouragement... but love is the basis for the gifts. Heart recipients are encouraged to share the heart's journey on the Heart is Hot website. "My intention with the hearts was for people to 'pass them forward' when they felt complete with them; continuing the literal and symbolic chain of connection that we each share," Damore says.

Heart number one was given to Damore's partner, filmmaker Anne Renton (Love is Love). Renton gave that heart to a friend whose father was facing some medical challenges. There are now more than 1,700 hearts around the world.

The idea for Heart is Hot was born in 2005 in San Francisco when Damore saw a man sitting on a bench crying. "I noticed him and was extremely impacted by the sight. Feeling raw and open from the end of my own six-year relationship, I was in a transformative place... As I passed the man, my first instinct was to buy him flowers. I certainly did not want to intrude upon his space, but felt an overwhelming desire to extend myself."

When she couldn't find anywhere to buy flowers, she drove back to where she had seen the man and saw him walking down the street.

"I knew the moment had passed...I really wish I would have had something in that moment to give him -- to share with him -- without intruding. The first (and only) image that came to mind was this little, red glass heart from my home... I wished I had that heart with me to give him. Then I thought, I wish I had a bag of hearts to carry around and pass out to people when I felt impacted by them in any moment. Then came, 'Oh, what a hot idea!'" 

Heart is Hot was born.

The glass hearts were not just a random design. "I researched glass and glass hearts and who was making glass hearts and I was very interested in recycled glass. I knew I wanted to keep the company as green as possible ... that meant a lot to me to make a more environmentally friendly product." She found a recycled glass factory in the Pacific Northwest.

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"Each heart comes from a mold and is individually done by hand," she explains. "The glass factory I work with only uses recycled glass. They emit no toxins into the air while heating the glass to melt it.  I had no idea until I started this project that glass could be toxic to work with and the fumes emitted were not favorable to the environment.

"The glass comes from around the world," Damore continues. "Some of it is stained glass that is turned into almost a powder and sprinkled into the mold. Because of this, there will always be slight variations in the exact size and color patterns of the hearts. This is my favorite part because we each are sprinkled a bit differently on this earth, which makes the planet so interesting!"

Size and feel were also important. "I wanted it to fit in the palm of a hand. Something that you could actually hold... They are smooth on one side, rough on the other and we know that we all have both of those sides... I liked the roughness."

The heart colors - layers of red, orange and yellow - are the first three colors of the seven Chakra system levels starting from the bottom of the body up, representing centers of spiritual energy in the human body according to yoga philosophy. "The colors are just inspirational... I saw those colors from the beginning ... to me it was like a symbol of creating foundation of product."

 "It's quite a process! But a lovely and heartfelt one at that," Damore adds. 

Anyone can go online to read the heart stories attached to each glass piece. Cindy of British Columbia received heart 524 during a difficult bout with cancer, then re-gifted it to her good friend Janice who donated a kidney to her brother. Number 377 went to the bedside of a boy in a coma and number 6 has traveled 7,491 miles. Number 622 has made 10 moves though a California meditation group. Heart number 1551 started in Florida, moved to California, then Chicago and is now in Roatan, Honduras.

Damore is touched daily by the effect the heart gifts have had. "Paying love forward to another has offered people a chance to step outside themselves for a moment and focus their attention on giving... Often the act can give one a sense of peace and doing something meaningful in the world. I spent a lot of time developing this from my heart and wanting to put a lot of symbolism in it for myself and for people who might enjoy the different parts of the symbolism."

 "The man I saw on the street will never know how he impacted my life," Damore says, "and how he changed me forever. I find that extremely powerful and an act of the universe that completely humbles me." 

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Edie Stull