“Your heart will tell you things that your head never will, it’s important to listen.”
This was the last quote I put in my book, 365 Days of Optimism, and I’ve enjoyed the dialogue it has produced. I think it has drawn more comments from readers than any other quote I’ve posted and comments allow me to look at things from different angles. My quotes come from my own life experience and philosophy which I hope is always growing and not afraid to confront new ideas. I have a true appreciation for the way other people think and enjoy running their thoughts up against my own.
As I was working on this blog, I picked up a new book that I was drawn to because of a post from @theangrytherapist, called To Love and Be Loved, by Sam Keen and within the first few pages my philosophy was pinging with his thoughts.
“But probe beneath the secular surface and you will find a spiritual intuition alive and well - but shy.”
My heart is so intimately tied to my faith that this quote resonated with me. Spiritual intuition - such good words to describe the wisdom that lies in our hearts, and for so long I was afraid to listen to mine. I’ve discovered that it is where the truth of my own self worth lies, and listening to my heart has revived my belief in myself, challenged me to look honestly at my life and my patterns, and take responsibility for my choices.
I get it, being completely led by your heart, without the rational mind, can sound reckless. Freedom comes with a lot of power though, and human beings make mistakes. We don’t get a free pass from their consequences and have to learn how to move through and grow from our mistakes. But if given the choice to live a buttoned up dutiful life that doesn’t take in the quality of our free spirit, or live freely and learn from our mistakes, I choose the latter. I wouldn’t trade freedom for the myth of perfection any day of the week.
In my mind, we can still be successful, make a positive impact on our world, and follow our hearts if we rely on two other things that ultimately keep our head in the game too:
A set of core values that are cemented firmly in our hearts, but that are so embedded our brains we automatically believe them to be true.
The desire to keep perfecting the craft of living - even though we will never get there, the pursuit will lead to better days.
These two rules take me out of a purely pleasure seeking state, which is what I believe can be the real danger in following just your heart. As we grow, we have a choice as to how we wrestle with the big self-actualizing stories of our lives, and we have to be brave enough to figure out why we are who we are, and to confront the why’s and how’s of what leads us everyday. If we don’t our pain will follow us and manifest in the form of things like addiction and anxiety that hurt us and those around us and never allow for our best life.
For me, that’s where the heart comes in. As a historically timid rule follower with a traditional set of values, I’ve found that my heart will tell me the truth, while my head tends to conform to what is going on around me. While I need to use both, it takes more courage for me to listen to my heart. It’s the battle of being an original, allowing myself to be different, and being brave enough to stand on my own two feet when it looks different than everything around me, that has given me the most trouble in finding my real truth. It’s about finding that worthiness and knowing that it isn’t tied to conforming. When we don’t feel worthy, we don’t ask for what’s best for ourselves out of this life. Even with good habits and hard work, our spirit gets ignored. When I ignore my spirit, anxiety rises up in me like a scared cat with the fur standing straight up on her back. For more on that feeling, read here, I really enjoyed this article.
For a long time I thought I could muscle through anything, but when I started listening to my intuition, that’s when I learned how to flow. The heart is a muscle, and I have been open to a lot of training for mine over the years, both spiritually and physically, and am thankful for all that I have learned. I will keep training everyday and I look forward to a more free and compassionate life because I have learned to listen, in some of the scariest and most challenging times, and know that the truth in my heart is what has brought me through.