Part of every single one of my jobs has been communication. I’m “communicating” on the telephone, in emails, and continuously talking to people. You would think that communication comes easy for me. Wrong. Well, obviously talking about what’s happening in the papers, or what’s going on with the next conference I’m producing is easy, but when it comes to the real stuff, when it hits close to this place we call the heart, then I can never get the words out. It’s OK to say to you girls, “I miss you” and “love you” but it usually takes a traumatic event for me to say these things to a man, where it then just rushes out without prior warning. Other things I find difficult to say are “don’t go” and “please come back”. I really don’t know why.
This got me to thinking about the things we are brought up with. How many of you have heard your parents say “use your brain”? I’d think the majority of you. However, have you heard them say “use your heart”? Not likely. This is our society. A society made of the brain and the ego. Everything is about thinking and how other people perceive us, and to achieve this, we change colours like a chameleon to suit the crowds we are in. Sometimes we do this so much that at the end of the day, we don’t know who we are, or where we want to be or who we want to be with.
Watching children is refreshing and I think we can learn a lot from them. For one thing, they know how to play, and for another, they know how to feel. When they are upset they cry and when they are happy, they laugh. Of course, this only happens until the parents start labeling emotions for them. Sadness is a bad emotion, and happiness is a good emotion. What happens when the labeling starts? We start to categorise things. Obviously we want the good stuff i.e happiness, and we avoid the bad stuff such as sadness. We turn to drugs and alcohol to avoid these “bad” feelings. We run when we see death, and we hold on so tightly to our mortality.
Sadly enough. No matter how long you delay growing up, or settling down, or any such thing, no matter how long you chase excitement, or how many times you change your stripes to be “in”, time does not stop. You’re not prolonging your mortality and you’re not delaying your death or the deaths of the people close to you. And here is one question, why is death bad? It is sad, yes, but why is it bad? Why is sadness bad? It is a feeling, and so is anger. Feelings are just there, and some are uncomfortable, but I think it only becomes “bad” when we repress it, and it builds up like water in a dam, then one day, it just bursts open and drowns not only ourselves but the people we care about.
You have a brain, yes. It helps you think and deliberate, but you also have a heart. Yogic belief is that although there is the brain, the heart is your connection to your spirit. When you feel, you feed this spirit, but feel with compassion and kindness to yourself, and you will be compassionate and kind to others. When Sadness comes, tell her “I acknowledge your presence”. Then cry if you must, and let her out. Don’t smother her. The brain sometimes, when it works together with the ego, has a way of confusing you. It tells you that love is weakness, and compassion is pointless. It tells you that you need to seek excitement, and it tells you that you need attention. It tells you that what strangers think of you is what matters more even if somewhere along the way you hurt someone who was there before these strangers knew of your existence. It tells you that it is fine to let someone you care about walk away as long as your pride is in tact. It keeps you thinking so much of the past or wondering so much about the future that you don’t notice the now. So many things it’s telling you, that at the end of the day, you don’t know what it was trying to say in the first place.
So, here I am, saying to you what your parents probably forgot to say to you – USE YOUR HEART. If your heart still loves him, then love him. If you miss him so much sometimes it makes you cry, then cry. I spent 10 years denying and smothering feelings towards my father. I let anger take over, and I let pride take over. My brain said my life was better without him. Was it ? No. Was I happy? No. But you know what, when I could silence my brain from talking about all the things he did, my heart still knew that it loves him. I might not call him every time I miss him now, but I allow myself to miss him, and I do the same for other people who have hurt me and I still care about. It is how it is. It’s not bad, and it’s not good, and I’m not being stupid or being smart. You’re not being stupid or silly or soft if you do the same either. It just is, and I just am, and you just are.