Writing by Heart

For years I have prayed to know the difference between intuition and impulse, between knowing and feeling. I wanted to learn how to discern when my heart is speaking versus when my emotions and mind are speaking. My jump from the waterfall brought me into a closer, more intense examination of that question. I started this blog with the intention of exploring how to access the wisdom of the heart. I thought I would be writing mostly about fear, about how I didn't listen to the voice of caution atop the waterfall because I judged it as fear. I did start writing that story, detailing my relationship with fear, and my process of learning to discern when fear is well-founded and when it’s not. Through writing, I started recognizing that there are voices inside me that I don't want to hear, quiet little voices that I tend to ignore if I don’t like what they’re saying. I began to understand a bit about how to distinguish between the voice of fear and that of caution, between the voice of courage and that of bravado, between the voice of my heart and that of my ego. But the understanding came in dribs and drabs, so I rewrote the article dozens and dozens of times. Each time I thought it was almost ready for publication, something inside me wouldn't quite say yes. Each time I heard the hesitation, I would reluctantly stop and let the manuscript sit for a while. Then I would sit down and start writing again. I would scrape and edit and reimagine and sweat and cry and toss and turn until eventually the part that seemed unclear became clearer. Then I would start to hit “send,” and once again the voice inside would say “Stop,” and I’d begin another round of painful self-examination and rewriting. “Stop” was not what I wanted to hear – I had planned to post every week, and I wanted every week’s post to be a finished piece of art. Without realizing it, I’d made that a “should.”

This morning I stopped again just before hitting “send,” and I heard a quiet little voice tell me to put the “should” aside, to make it okay if I posted nothing. So I sat down and wrote about the process of stopping. I wrote that perhaps the article wasn’t finished because I still don't know all I need to know about those conflicting voices inside my head. Then I wrote that I may never know, but that one of the beauties of a blog is that it’s a reflection of the moment. It’s a log, not a monument. It’s not likely to ever be a “finished piece of art.”

Suddenly I realized that my prayer is being answered. I am actually paying attention to the voice I thought I didn’t want to hear, the one that is saying “Stop.” Each time I’ve cooperated with it, my article has improved, but more importantly, my understanding of the meaning of the article has improved. Through writing and rewriting, I am learning to recognize and cooperate with the voice of my heart, the voice that urges the courage to not do, as well as the courage to do. In the process of writing the article, I had learned that a “should” almost certainly does not come from my heart. It is my ego that wants to move ahead - faster, further, get it done! My heart says “Stop, dear one. Look more deeply. Listen inwardly.” Stop, Look and Listen. Good advice from the heart.

So I stopped and set the article aside for a few hours. I looked at it again and saw just how the lessons of the heart were showing up in the process of my writing. I listened to my heart telling me how it all fits together it my life. I hit “Send.”

The article will run in Huffington Post later this week, and I’ll post it here when it does.

Thank you, Heart. It’s been a lovely conversation.