My heart was ready to explode. The top of my head was balancing on the red rocks, with my arms forming a triangle of tense support around it. My heart didn’t like this. It also didn’t like that I kept going despite its frantic efforts to get me to stop. I was attempting to straighten my back, tighten my core, and walk my legs forward before raising them into a headstand. With every movement, my heart pounded more intensely against my chest, and it did everything in its power to drown out the voice of reason coming from my mind. How could the mind not see that tumbling off a cliff was a perfectly good reason to feel afraid?
My mind, on the other hand, knew better, although it was also afraid. The difference was that my mind remembered I had counted the steps before venturing upside down and that I had found a safe spot that was several feet away from the edge. It did its best to console my heart. The two of them had a quick chat, during which my mind told my heart that if it calmed down a bit, they could work together to help me breathe through every step, and that if they trusted each other, there would be no harm done.
I closed my eyes, took several deep breaths, and slowly managed to raise my legs into the desired headstand. The wind started blowing pretty steadily, and it took all of the concentration and focus I could muster to not topple over and, instead, keep my legs straight and find my balance. Once I did, the adrenaline hit, and it was an incredible rush. There I was, staring upside down at the amazing expanse of the Grand Canyon, my view of the Earth completely flipped. I felt like I was infinite, one with the sky. It sounds corny to say it now, but in that moment, you really do feel all of the feelings.
There was an important lesson for me to learn that day, one that goes beyond the typical “you can do anything when you put your mind to it,” because truth be told, you won’t be able to achieve happiness or go anywhere worth going with just your mind, as powerful as it may be.
How often do we forget and tend to underplay the importance of our hearts? We are taught that hearts are emotional and, therefore, untrustworthy, but that is a sad and very disrespectful lie. We are creatures with a unique duality, that of feeling and of reason. Both are important in their own right, and each may need to take the lead at certain stages of our lives more than the other, but whenever able, we should consult with mind and heart and strive for alignment.
Overcoming fears is one of the most difficult tasks we undertake in every phase of life. If we consciously choose and make the effort to understand the emotional aspect of our fears and then confront them with reason, we will be much better equipped to disarm them. And if you’re like me and you strive to constantly step outside of your comfort zone in order to grow, mature, learn, and change, achieving an alignment of mind and heart will greatly benefit our journeys.
Don’t you feel off when you have your mind and your heart pointing in different directions? Listen carefully to both of them, help them make peace with each other, and in turn you will find your balance.
Photo by: Ginevra Figg / Grand Canyon South Rim, Arizona, USA