Who Are You Listening To?
At school they usually teach us this: Figure out where you are (I am in class 1), see what you need to do (I must learn to read), set a goal (Reading), decide how you are going to get there (I will practice my letters), and then take the appropriate actions until you get there (Learn my letters and look at words until it starts making sense). It’s pretty rational. You want to get to X, so you do Y and you’ll get there.
But then you get the kids who struggle to learn their letters or read. They try and try and it still doesn’t make sense. Or the goal isn’t so clear – the child is reading but why isn’t she getting good marks? Or the goal changes…
The traditional rational training is often useful but it really gives no tools whatsoever to deal with the situations where I try my best and fail. Or where I think that the goal is ‘right’ but when I get there it isn’t. Or when what I really want is not what I’m ‘supposed’ to want. Basically it doesn’t help me when I stray from the beaten path of ‘mainstream’ thinking.
Recently I realised, for the 9,097,653rd time, that the only way I can live my life in any kind of deeply satisfying way is if I let my heart guide me. This time though, I had a flash of what that might FEEL like. It was so weird. It’s not like I don’t listen to my heart – I do… a LOT. It was just that this time I sort of gave my head the space to step back entirely and let ONLY my heart say.
It was a combination of things that made this possible. First, someone suggested that my training as a psychologist disadvantages me in the feeling realm because I am trained to run feelings through my head. How’s that for a thought? Goggled my brain for a bit, it did. Then the second thing was that I had been exploring self-worth and how much this is connected to my honouring my feelings. The third thing was that I found out something I was really aiming for and had put a lot of energy into was not going to happen.
All of these things together led to me sitting down to process my painful news and saying to myself, “Well, if it’s not going to happen in the way I planned, how would I like it to happen – if at all? What would make my heart feel joyful?” And that’s when it happened. My happy heart took over and showed me how much off the beaten track it would like to go. I mean, it didn’t even acknowledge the beaten track! It was a non-factor.
My head went, “Whoooaaaa!” and I felt a crack appear in my foundation – the one that says, “You know what you want, you make a plan and work towards it, etc, etc, la la la, then other people approve and you are successful.”
My heart apparently doesn’t give two hoots if other people approve. My head hastens to disagree. My heart argues back, “What is the point of anything if I don’t do what feels joyful to me? Who am I living life for? What good will I do in the world if I am dishonest about who I am?” It’s hard to argue with that.
As I deal with the after-tremors of this inner earthquake that has occurred, I also think of my children and what I am teaching them. My child’s school project; “Ok love. Sit down, think what you want, plan for it then take action until it’s done in a way that others will approve.”
Aaaargh! I’m passing on the plague!
How about, “Dearheart, what is most important to you about this project? What would you like to portray? What will make your heart happiest while doing it and after? How can you get to that? What will make this project an experience of joy for you?”
As my friend said to me, it is becoming less and less bearable for me to live anything but honesty and authenticity.
I am going to take those words and apply them to myself. Right now. Then I’m going to give myself the gift of living out my answers as best I can.
Try it for yourself now too.
“What is most important to you about this project? What would you like to portray? What will make your heart happiest while doing it and after? How can you get to that? What will make this project an experience of joy for you?”