Minds and heads and hearts, oh my....................
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen the quotes, the memes, the messages that go a little like:
‘Never let your heart rule your head.’
‘Don’t let your emotions get the better of you.’
‘Think before you act.’
Some cultures (particularly Western cultures), live in a ‘top down’ society. We prize and value the mind. Intellect, academia, efficiency, effectiveness – that’s brilliance, right? We’re considered strong if we can ‘control ourselves’. Something hurts you? Don’t show it. Head down, crack on, don’t let it ‘get to you.’ Such behaviours and ways of being are frequently revered, celebrated even. How strong! What power! What resilience! What courage!
Indeed, our beautiful human minds are things to be marvelled at. The stunning, complexity of that mass between our ears is certainly awe inspiring, to say the very least. Learning, questioning, curiosity about what’s in our heads and how our minds work, can lead us to richer understandings. Greater insights into actions, behaviours, attitudes and ways of being are vital in progression and development of the human condition.
But, is that it? Is that all that defines us? What about ‘the heart’, our emotions, feeling bodies, souls and spirits? What about those?
In cultures that prize ‘the head’, expressions of deep feelings (any feelings) can feel awkward, uncomfortable, embarrassing, frowned upon and discouraged. We live within these cultural norms and form our lives around them. How could we do anything else when that is all we know? Sensitivities viewed as weaknesses, not being ‘in control’, inciting the greatest shame. These ‘lesser prized’ parts of us become ‘lesser known’ parts of us, as we move through our worlds. But, all is good, right? We’re in control. We have our minds and that’s the most important thing.
Until it isn’t. Until this whole world inside of us won’t be quietened anymore. Perhaps there’s a loss of someone close? Maybe there’s increased stress, financial burdens, family issues, identity crises, disharmony in our lives. And then, there it is………….. this lesser-known world, no longer lying dormant somewhere deep down. Now, it’s surging upwards (sometimes at an alarming rate). ARGH! What’s all this? What’s wrong with me? What on earth is happening? I don’t want to talk about it because I don’t know how to (no one’s ever shown me). And, I know, on some level, that this isn’t the ‘done thing’. I’ll be thought of as weak, unable, less than. It’s all just too much.
Newsflash…………………. You’ve spent an entire lifetime in a ‘top down’ world, absorbing messages of ‘those parts’ of you as taboo, unwanted, something to be repressed, shut down, avoided at all costs. If I wandered into a university maths department and was informed that I was the lecturer for the day, I’d have a similar reaction – arggghhhhh! I don’t know this, I’m way out of my depth, with no idea what to do, or how to get through it.
Please know that you are a human being. You were born with unique intricacies and sensitivities that make you who you are. Denying these, living separately from your own truth, your real depth, your unique nature (whatever that is) can lead to deep psychological, emotional and spiritual ‘ill at ease’. You’re acting in one way (the way you’re supposed to), but it doesn’t feel quite right. Something’s off, disconnected, not aligned.
There’s nothing ‘wrong with you’, when lesser-known aspects of yourself arise. You’re just meeting stuff that's been in the dark for a long, looooooonnnng time. It can be terrifying, sickening, earth shattering to even consider these, let alone try to navigate through them. They’re here for a reason. They just want some airtime; to be seen, known, and held………….. maybe even included. Isn’t that what we all want on some level? Isn’t that what we all need?
So, my friends, in this ‘top down’ world, when the deeper stuff arises, know that it can be met with grace, with tenderness, with curiosity. Amidst the fear and the confusion, we can find connection, alignment and harmony. Shining a light on the dark is always illuminating.
I’ll meet you there…………………………… this heart stuffs not too shabby.