Intellectual Intercourse: The Battle Between the Heart & the Brain

“Your heart is a weapon the size of your fist. Keep fighting. Keep loving.” 

We as human beings harbor an internal battlefield. We have two (sometimes three) organs in our body that are vying for our attention and submission. Sometimes we let the heart take the lead, making decisions based on overwhelming passion. Other times we listen to our brains, carefully considering consequence. In either instance, the entirety of the individual is held accountable for the sum of its parts.

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In case you are part the population of those who greet me with furrowed brows when I say that I watch the Bachelor (…and play in a fantasy league…), let me give you a brief recap. Each season, contestants have two months to find out if they could potentially be set up with the love of their life. On the outside looking in, it seems laughable. Can you really fall in love in two short months, where your attention is being split amongst many? Isn’t that a lot of pressure?

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When it came down to the final two last night, it was a battle of Heart vs. Brain. Bryan, the heart, gave Rachel the passionate confidence that he was ready to be her husband. Peter, the brain, was in love enough to speak the honest truth: that he wasn’t ready to speak for forever. Rachel, wanting a ring at the end of this thing, was not happy with that response. This was the first time that a Bachelorette didn’t have to make the ultimate decision, it was made for her.

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There are bouts of time when you’re acting with your brain, yet speak from your heart. Peter told Rachel, if she wants to rush into a proposal, she can go find someone to have a mediocre life with. Her and Peter broke up, and she accepted a proposal from Bryan. Although this break up was fueled by the brain, it was more emotional than the proposal, which was led by a passionately pumping heart.

Rachel and Bryan’s relationship will never be mediocre. The love is certainly there, but there takes much more to know if a relationship will stand the test of time. How much of a relationship can we physically process in just two months?

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Who knows what circumstances would have let Peter let his heart take the reins? Maybe what they say is true, that the brain is the most outstanding organ, that works for 24 hours, 365 days, right from birth until you fall in love. That’s when the heart starts pumping, and never looks back. When this happens, you better hope you’ve prepared well enough, back in the day when your brain was in the driver’s seat.

As someone who leads with their brain, I feel you Peter. But, we can’t let our hearts get rusty. If you don’t use it you lose it, and us mindful decision makers are in danger of missing out of those free-falling emotions associated with leading with your heart. Life is a balance, and if the give isn’t equal to the take, then maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.

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Love Your Enemy & You Won’t Have Any

Nothing makes something more intolerable than hatred. Whether it is a person, place or thing; hatred makes the heart heavy, mind cloudy, and soul discouraged. 

The Dalai Lama has told us, “in the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.” Examples of this have been slapping me in the face lately.

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Let’s take, for example, wintertime. Me and the winter have not been on good terms. There is nothing that I love more than being outside in the sun, and I have always blamed winter for stealing that from me. The bitterness of the cold wind has been matched by the bitterness of my attitude walking through it. I have been as salty as what’s used to melt the snow on the road.

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The fact of the matter is; hating the winter isn’t going to make it go away. The sun still shines in wintertime. While I always considered snow to be an inconvenience, I started to look for the beauty in it. Aesthetically, it could be actually be quite pleasing. I began using shoveling as an activity that allowed me to get some fresh air, rather than a tedious chore. Winter will never be my favorite season, however, I’ve learned to appreciate it’s fleeting presence rather than loathe it… and I am a happier person for it.

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Another relationship that started out rocky… feelings towards working out. Does anyone really enjoy sweating, moving, grunting, lifting, squatting, jumping, running or any combination of the aforementioned? How does anyone find the motivation to dedicate time to put themselves through something so uncomfortable…. and do it daily?!

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The key, once again, is learning to love it. While you may never skip to the gym saying to yourself, “I just LOVE burpees!”, you will grow to love the feeling of success in your endeavors. Embrace the burn by recognizing what it all represents: strength, growth, determination, and surpassing the boundaries you have previously set for yourself. True motivation can only come from within. Once you can cultivate this for yourself, you are capable of anything!

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“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.“

The bottom line: you are the one in control of your own perspective, so why not have a positive one? 

While it can be difficult to find an enticing aspect of something you dislike, isn’t it even more difficult to harbor hatred in your heart? In looking for silver linings, the raincloud seems to disappear. Things become less foggy, and you are able to better navigate along the path of your life.

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