Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The heart is no fool and the gut is its loaded gun

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We face What We Don't Know with all sorts of weapons, whether designed for battle or negotiation. With grit, with grace. Through grief and grins. Through anger and exhaustion and whiskey and more whiskey. But through all of it - even despite and because of it - there we are, left with certain truths. With our bodies we feel truths so unimpeachably true that they make our bones shimmer in their light and make our cells swim in circles. Those currents of truth are as strong and subtle as electricity, and they can drown us as easily as the ocean's if we fight them. And so we best know these truths with our bodies rather than knowing them in our heads, the way we can lose ourselves in thought on a long walk and still trust our feet to find the way home. Our brains are small, and our minds are bigger, but our hearts are doubly so. We can trick our brains into believing something just because we WANT to believe it, but the heart is no fool and the gut is its loaded gun. The deep-pitted flutters down there are itches on the trigger, so pay attention to them. Epiphany does not always come with klaxon bells and intuition is quieter still.

I think the truth we seek is really clarity robed in spiritual light. For some of us, maybe it is simply self-resolution in a fancy hat. It seems so deliciously mysterious and desireable when we think of it as alien or separate from ourselves, because if we have anything to do with it, then it must be lesser. We think it is soiled if it is already inherently marked by the fingerprints of the very person reaching for it (if we're fucked up, it must be too). But I don't think that's the case. Instead, I think our truths are long buried beneath muscle and memory, safely tucked away from harm as we corrode our more obvious parts with the daily acids of worry and doubt and restless ambivalence manifest in mental anxiety.

It can, of course, relieve some of this anxiety to analyze and overanalyze and make lists of pros and cons. Plans and theories often help us see a little further down the path of What If when we aren't ready to trust our feet to lead us past uncertainty. But just as often, these plans and lists only tell us what we already knew and felt, revealed in a tangible denouement of ink or type. I'm finally learning to do as we're so often told: Trust your instinct. Go with your gut. Maybe I'm finally old enough to listen to the flutters and young enough to have time to follow their guidance. I will make up my mind but let my body have final say whether the choice is right or wrong. Our small brains are useful tools for mapping unilluminated terrain, but our bodies are the compass that has ultimately been pointing us North all along. 

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