Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Head, heart, gut...

How I feel and think about things are often two very different places. I'm sure that this can give out mixed messages, but I am human like that.

My heart tells me one thing, my head tells me another and somewhere in between I usually reach a compromise neither satisfying my heart or my head in the process.

I pretend I like to look at the evidence; you know, that cold light of day stuff, the stuff that can be measured and proven as absolute fact empirically, statistically and mathematically with graphs and spreadsheets and percentages and a calculator, when really I’m looking for magic and stardust and a leap of faith.

The problem with following your head is that it is often so bloody dull. Of course I know that more than a couple of drinks is very bad for me but it’s much more fun getting drunk. Likewise, cake isn’t the healthiest food in the world but who wants to live on celery?

On the other side of the coin – the side opposite to the head which we should call tails but for this purpose we will call heart – following your heart can lead you into all sorts of a mess and often it’s only your head that can get you out of it. It’s like a ball of wool that you’ve tangled in a fit of heartfelt excitement only to find that you have to use your head to untangle it. Untangling is dull, boring, and takes time, but the alternative is to leave the mess and I really don’t like doing that.

I’ve followed my heart into a tangled mess so often that I’m surprised I’ve pretty much managed to come out of it with most of my wool still intact. Of course all that untangling has rubbed off some of the magic and in many ways I’m a lesser person for it. Listening to your head means you don’t take many risks and risks – I am led to believe – have to be taken sometimes. You have to follow your heart.

I know people who make decisions with their heads and others with their hearts. But my preferred way of determining things isn’t with either, it’s with my gut. In my case my gut is a heart/head moderator which follows some logic but also allows for the contingency of a little magic along the way. By following my gut and continually reassessing and readjusting the heart/head balance I have managed to survive without too many complete disasters. I don’t want my food to be nourishing but flavourless, I don’t want a house that is practical but uncomfortable, I don’t want a car that is economical but slow, I don’t want a partner who I love madly but can’t live with. I want a balance and my gut provides this.

As I get older I see the dangers of following both your head or your heart without reference to your gut. Sometimes even if the figures add up you know it isn’t going to work. Other times even though you desperately feel you are doing the right thing the opposite is true. These days I’ll take my gut every time – it’s rarely wrong.

Of course there is another way. It’s called the groin, but with that I’ll leave you alone for today.

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