“What does your heart long for?”
It’s a question I remember to ask myself from time to time. I have to get very still to hear the answers, and I often have to journal for some time before those answers arrive. But it’s a question that keeps me on track in my life. I tend to trust my head more than my heart, generally making choices that are sensible and rational. But when I neglect my heart in my decision making, I get into trouble.
The first time somebody asked me what my heart wanted was nearly ten years ago. At that time, my ex-husband and I were engaged in an ongoing discussion about whether or not to have a third child. It was a conversation that kept coming up, but every time we talked about having another baby, we’d end up with a long list of reasons why we shouldn’t: we had two healthy, happy children already; we both had careers that needed attention; and neither of us particularly liked the baby stage. All sensible reasons. But when a personal coach asked me what my heart truly longed for, I knew it was another child.
And that’s a decision I’ve never regretted.
Over the years, this question has kept me on course in my life. “What does your heart long for at this point?” I’ll ask myself,and sometimes the answers surprise me. I need an adventure, I’ll realize. I haven’t had an adventure in such a long time.
Or, I’m longing for solitude; I want some time just to write and reflect, and to get centered. Or, I’m needing some down time with my children, time when we’re not rushing from one activity to the next. Or I need a night just to laugh with my girlfriends.
It is only in matters of the heart that I tend to trust heart over head. My ex-husband was a “head” decision. He was intelligent, hard working, attractive, successful, funny… everything a man should be. Except he didn’t sweep me away. I thought that those other qualities, long term, would matter more. I was wrong.
And so I’ve listened much more carefully since then to my heart. My heart has led me into two delicious and healing relationships, relationships that have been very, very good for me. But though I regret neither, those relationships were, ultimately, unsustainable. So while I’m listening to my heart, I’m seeing that heart without head can get me into trouble too. And so now I’m learning to listen to head and to heart, to hear both, to integrate my heart knowing and my head knowing, finding a place somewhere in the middle, somewhere close, I hope to wisdom.