There is a dance that gets played out in the ballroom of me every day.
There is a wager that is slapped down daily in the off-track betting kiosk that is me.
There is a sword tip-into-the-soiled-dirt battle cry that gets carried out by the winds of my inner climate.
Heart on one side, Mind the other.
The odd couple, Felix and Oscar. Tom and Dick Smothers. Caesar and Brutus. Holmes and Moriarty.
Often enough, they are in check. They play nicely. They bow to one another before any sort of friendly spar. They tap out when tired. They wrestle on the soft grass and not on the firm, hard concrete. They tussle with a smile, like siblings in a jumpy castle. Usually.
But there are times when they get cross and wrangle with bravado. There are times when the big guns come out and it’s not about crying Uncle, but about crying, period. Rough and tumble. Sticks and stones. Crushing shots. Rabbit punches. Fists of fury. A two-step beat down waltz.
And at the risk of taking sides, I have to say one thing – Mind is a bully.
Sorry Heart. I know that hurts, as much of you was bred to hurt, in some ways. You hurt for a long time, my pet. I know, because I was there. I felt it in my chest as much as the pain bruised my spirit and battered my soul. I felt it when you felt it. We were in ICU together, it seemed at times. You – broken and spent, but not ever giving up. Ever. That’s your strength, isn’t it? Perseverance. Looking up and never down. Limping and fading, you never see defeat…just a new chance to get up.
Mind, what can I say? You know things, you help me during the day, you make spectacular thoughts and bizarre dreams and you get as excited as a pup seeing a leash and ball and you never seem to rest. You are the watchdog and the lifter of lofty ideals and solver of crosswords and the orator of skill. You please as much as you can.
But the lines gets too deep, Mind, sometimes. Ego emboldens you, it courses through the very fabric and fibre of you and it brings out the darker side. It’s the brass knuckles that finally takes down Heart in the last round. It brutalizes Heart. It terrorizes. It demands and insists. It plays large in the pool of small and light. It takes you outside of you. I don’t recognize you when you’re like that, and yet, that’s part of what was bred for you too, wasn’t it?
My mind has always been in the driver’s seat. Heart the mindful, polite, but beleaguered passenger. Mind always threatened to pull body over and give Heart a thrashing for daring to give directions now and then. Mind told Heart that without Mind, Heart was useless. Mind told Heart that Mind ruled. Sure, Mind let Heart win a few times, to keep the peace. To make nice, but Mind was the alpha. Top canine. Purina® endorsement worthy.
That is how my life was ruled for so very long. Mind taking us on wild road trips. Through scraggly brush and minefield-laden roads. Through ego-laden flights of fancy. Through depression-sodden mud trails. And drinks. Lots and lots of drinks. Drinks to suppress Heart’s wishes. Drinks to drown out Heart’s desires. Drinks to shut Mind from Mind’s own whistling and humming in the dark. Drinks to remind Mind that Mind was in charge. Drinks to numb out both Heart…and Mind.
Mind hated when Heart spoke up. When Heart had enough and wailed on Mind. Mind especially hated Heart when Heart finally found an ally in Something Greater and wrestled drinks out of Mind’s hands. When Heart finally held sway and broke free from the shackles of Mind’s sweet pillow talk and teethy barks.
Mind started to mind his p’s and q’s. Proclamations and questions. Power and Quests.
Heart quenched the thirst of Mind’s ravaging fires through cool waters and quiet contemplation. Heart opened Mind to new experiences. Heart reached out to others who in turn reached out to even more. Heart serenaded Mind into stillness. Mind in turn brought justice to Heart. Mind in turn learned about the things Heart felt deeply about. Mind in turn handed the wheel over during stop overs.
Heart knows what is best for Heart and Mind. Mind knows what is best for Mind only. And Mind doesn’t know that yet. Not sure if Mind will ever understand that. So in the battle of Heart and Mind, Mind may overpower, but Heart eventually rules. Like in Bridge, Heart needs to trump. And during this drink-free Heart ruling era, Mind has been tamed a bit. Peace has nested into my spirit and built a home. A home it never had.
I bring this up because lately these days, Mind has been licking at the edges of Heart’s kingdom. Mind has been talking to ego again and they have a plan, a notion, a sort of Tom Sawyer-eque escapade in Mind. Nothing nefarious or dangerous. Just plans. I don’t even know what they are. Heart has been quiet. Heart has been mourning something I don’t know what, but it’s been in the recesses of it’s space and finding a place to sit. And that has been throwing me off. I am hoping Heart comes back with something. Hoping that Heart opens up to Mind and me and brings us the treasures that it always brings forth. Because as much as Heart was bred to feel hurt, it was also created to nourish and enrich. That’s what it likes to do. And I need it as much as anyone else.
Mind hurts me and others. Heart heals. Mind hurts heart. Heart heals.
See how that works?
The bully is the one who ends up being soothed. The once dominant hand is quieted by the warm energy of Heart. Something Greater has taught Heart to overcome.
And this is about overcoming, isn’t it?
This whole dance we do in our lives, between us and others, between our spirit and those surrounding us, between the two ears…it’s about overcoming with love and peace.
Not an easy lesson. Some days I get the beat down.
And then other days I get up.
I hope to get up soon.