My heart beats louder in a forest than it does in a city.
The tap, tap, tapping of my laptop keys is louder here than it is at my office just a couple blocks away. The lamp is brighter here from my bed than it is by the couch across the room. The screen of my laptop is clearer with my glasses on than it is when I take them off.
I’ve come to find when the environment changes, insecurities rise.
These changes are physical, but the changes in my heart are less easily discerned. I’ve learned to quiet my heart for long enough to find I wasn’t quieting it at all; I was melting beneath a shade of emotion I didn’t understand how to process. My mind has ruled my heart far too often to let my feelings go far.
I’m watching that change now.
Let’s look at it this way. If I get a paper cut on my left hand and use my left hand less, I forget about the paper cut. That is, until I run it across the paper again. Then it’s just as raw, just as painful; the same sting as it was when I first cut it. If I follow this pattern enough times, I begin to believe that each time I pick up a piece of paper with my left hand, I’m going to get cut. Then, one of two things happen: I pick up the paper enough times for the pain to stop hurting the way it once did; or, I stop picking up the paper entirely.
If I pick up the paper enough times for the pain to stop, I eventually share enough blood over everything around me to realize something is wrong. If I stop picking up the paper entirely, the bleeding stops, and I stop interacting with the pain.
Usually, we have to bleed enough to realize there was a problem in the first place – which is why we stop picking it up entirely.
There came a time I had gotten enough paper cuts to stop picking up the paper. And the less I thought about the paper, the more often I could think like a healed person would. The worries I had when I had the cut were put to rest; but the mind is malleable, and the heart is not. I can convince my mind of anything. Give it enough reason to believe the right answer, and it will. My heart, on the other hand, is resolute.
I was thinking my way around the paper cut. I lived in a space of “don’t” – don’t touch, don’t move, don’t go near that paper. And me, shutting down my feelings to let my thoughts rule, didn’t want to hear what my heart had to say about the situation.
That is, until I had to pick up that paper again. I didn’t have a choice this time.
I came back around to realize that it wasn’t the paper that was causing the pain, it was the way I was picking it up. Maybe I had to step away to realize it. But maybe, if I would have stayed for long enough, I could have seen that it was the way my hand moved toward the paper – toward the situation, toward the decision, toward the pain — not the paper, the situation, the decision itself.
The paper has been the time I was hurting in relationships and took a year off of dating; it’s been the days at work I feel enough stress to not know where to begin; it’s the 8k I’m running on Sunday that I haven’t trained for (again). Something hurts there, and I don’t want to address the pain. But I have to pick the piece of paper up again. I might not pick it up the right way the first time. I might get another paper cut. But I have to keep trying.
I healed my mind by walking away, but now I heal my heart by walking back in.
Because healing isn’t a thought. It’s a feeling.
And as I walk back into these paper cut situations, I’m learning to hold the paper differently. I’m learning to not back away as quickly. I’m learning to feel again, and heal again.
My heart beats louder in a forest than it does in a city. I had to take the time away, take the break, take the moment away to think it through. I had to come back around. It’s not perfect; in fact, maybe it’s the messiest it’s ever been. But I swear, if I’ve ever found grace, it’s now.
My heart had to speak up, it had to be in a space where my mind could no longer be louder.
And I tell myself, time and time again: If it’s not good, it’s not finished.