The Alignment of Heart and Head

Kindness has a broader reach than hatred, which trickles in the snow like blood, standing frozen, marring beauty, seeping into the deep, but going nowhere.

Kindness has a gentler bounce, a firmer foundation, a more profound penetration. It is like silk to hatred’s dirty rags. Kindness, once rendered, shows up again and again. Hatred leaves frayed edges. It jangles its chains, spewing fumes of funk and fantasy. It settles into exhausted minds, confuses, leads astray.

Sowing seeds of kindness or, as I like to put it, sprinkling fairy dust wherever we go, starts with a single ripple. It is a quieter motion than hatred’s tsunami wave. But it is more sustaining and sustainable. It rocks like a cradle, lulling us into a calming centeredness.

When my children were tiny tots, I would tell them the story of Mr. Heart and Mr. Head. Mr. Head was always wanting to have his way. He demanded chocolate for breakfast, never brushed his teeth and insisted that it was his way or the high way. Mr. Heart would gently ask Mr. Head if he thought it was a good idea to do those things. Mr. Head’sĀ standard response was always the same:

“I want what I want when I want it!”

Then Mr. Head would get or do what he wanted and his remorse was nearly immediate. Mr. Heart would then hug him and say, “And the lesson learned? Don’t eat chocolate for breakfast (or fill in the blank)!”

The stories were meant to acknowledge my children’s rather irrational desires while teaching them that better choices were available to them. Emotion-driven decision making can lead to disaster (and cavities!). But more importantly, an alignment between the heart and the head is important to lead a great life.

What I have witnessed over the past few months is a tsunami of emotion, which can be helpful when balanced with rational thought. It is my plea that we choose kindness over hatred, principles over populism. It means taking a stand for what we believe in, maintaining our standardsĀ and using our anger to make the world more just. Pretending that we are not angry is not kind. Being “nice” for the sake of a harmony that is not justified is not kind. It is false. Applying those emotions to create a better space for everyone, based on decisions that have a lasting, positive impact, is the right thing to do.

I think Mr. Heart – and eventually Mr. Head – would agree.

Breathe the fresh, slow air

Wendy Thomas of Simple Thrift said The Power of Slow is “like a breath of fresh air, reminding us that it is sometimes okay to just sit back and relax.”

So when I got the call that my daughter had a tooth ache (read: anticipating 2:45 pm dentist appointment to evaluate baby tooth situation as adult tooth overlaps it…), I knew I might have a monkey wrench hurling into my otherwise placid day.

Kids, if anything, teach us flexibility.

My kids have taught me the power of slow on top of that. I took a slow, deep breath, called the school secretary and said I’d be there no sooner than 11 am to pick her up. I then went about my morning as planned. Because my daughter only has school until 12:30 pm (whoever made up the German school system based it on the belief that all mothers have time as of, oh, noon, to take on their kids again), it was no big deal. That her last two classes were cancelled, too, landed her in a place of No Biggie. She literally missed nothing when I picked her up. And neither did I. Except for maybe the solace that comes with having the house to yourself.

Wendy Thomas’ loving statement of my book, The Power of Slow, being a refreshing bit of reprieve only strengthens my belief that life unfolds as it should, even when we’re having adult-sized tantrums that things are not running according to ‘plan’.

I’m breathing the fresh, slow air. Are you?