Sharing Sisterhood Across the Globe

Sister to Sister is a place to renew for women of all cultures, faiths and races. Coretta Scott King said, "Women, if the soul of the Nation is to be saved, I believe we must become its soul." I would like to add "Earth" instead of "Nation." We need to widen the borders and challenge the world to become a better place. Join the conversation.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Heart Braining

Bringing the brain in compliance with the heart.
Sometimes people will tell me, "Use your head instead of your heart." Or, "That's your heart talking." What this seems to say is that you have to use one or the other when making decisions. If the decision has to do with your loved ones, maybe the heart. Still, tough love, as they say, requires the use of the brain. Too! Silly, isn't it?
     When making a decision recently, I poured my heart out into a letter that explained why I thought this and why I did that. I read the letter to two friends who basically told me, too wordy. Deal with the facts. Deal with the issues. Of the two friends, one said to me, "It's either nurture or negotiation," implying to me that I couldn't have both. I took both under advisement and revised the letter. But, I did something that was counter to what both had said. I used both my heart and my brain.
     I think that we associate the heart with a lack of wisdom. She foolishly lost her heart. We, therefore, associate the brain with a lack of compassion. He is so heartless. What happens, I believe, is that we've created a war where they doesn't need to be. We've made heart and brain waring factions. We've also made the brain the winner. In part because if you're using your head (i.e., brain), you won't get hurt. You won't suffer the pangs of sorry or bitterness.
     Using your heart--well, you might suffer. You lose your heart to another. Your heart gets in the way of thinking. I think that we've been made afraid to engage our hearts because we believe that those choices are fallible. We make poor judgments when our hearts are engaged. Today I disagree with all of these premises.
     I took the letter I was sending and reread it--first acknowledging that I truly cared about the person the letter was written to. I also acknowledged that I felt hurt and disillusioned and now I wanted--what? That was one of the first questions. What was I truly trying to say? I wanted to be valued? Is that heart or mind? Both, I think. I also wanted to still be a part of what was going on. I also acknowledged my fear; that I was afraid that I was going to have to let something else go for the sake of my pride and value. I read the letter and realizing all this, maybe not so subconsciously, I wanted recognition for what I had done, but more acknowledgment that she really didn't value me and if she didn't, then I was going to be hurt no matter what, but I would have gotten in a few licks of my own. The letter was full of recriminations (heart, no brain--in other words, not very smart) and facts (plenty of research to back up why I should be valued--brain, but no heart).
    I rewrote the letter. I let the person know that I understood my value-AND--hers. I acknowledged that the work was very important to me and then I asked for what I wanted. I didn't threatened, cajole or otherwise handicap this request with the brain versus heart rule. I used them together. I was heart braining. I brought my heart in ALLIANCE with my brain. I forced my brain to be in compliance with the heart that beats to love, care and cherish myself and another. Later, when we talked, I felt nothing but a sense of well-being. I didn't get everything I asked for, but I did feel honored and valued and was able to note that I gave the same in return. I'm hoping that in my learning this one lesson, that I strengthen my brain and heart muscles to compliment one another.
     Isn't it time we did a little heart braining?

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