Friday, 10 April 2015

Day Four

Rule 4
“Intellect and love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but love dissolves all tangles and risks everything. Intellect is always cautious and advices, ‘Beware too much ecstasy’, whereas love says, ‘Oh, never mind! Take the plunge!’ Intellect does not easily break down, whereas love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are hidden among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.”

It's hard to push intellect aside for me. We pride ourselves on intellect, learning, and clear thought. I always admire people with high intellect, so it can never be a bad thing in my mind. So where do we draw the line? 

I don't think it's about shunning intellect, but rather being able to listen to our hearts to know the right thing to do. How many times have I, after a disagreement, looked at my husband and thought, "I could just hug him, I could say something nice right now..."? My heart knows that it's the right thing to do, the nice thing to do, but then my head and my nafs come on strong and say, "What if he pushes you away? Don't give in first. That means you're weak." Oh yes, it's all too familiar. I can tell you with certainty, though, that every time I've listened to my heart, it has worked wonders. It broke down walls of miscommunication, swept away hurt feelings, and acted as a balm. 

Please note that I am talking about disagreements or misunderstandings between two good but imperfect people and there is no foul play. That said, use your judgment in your own case. If someone is lying to you, cheating on you, abusing you, or playing you for a fool, let your intellect kick in and walk away. As Liz Lemon would say, "Deal-breaker!" Move on, your heart will thank you for it. 

I love the line in this rule, "A broken heart hides treasures." A heart that has been broken has been stretched, torn, pulled, taken to its outer limits and survived. It lacks arrogance, it is accepting, it does not judge. To be hurt and come out with a heart that isn't cold and stiff is a true gift. It takes risks, it knows it has been hurt and lived, and though it would rather not go through that again, it is strong. You are not used goods, and don't let anyone make you feel that way. 

The more I think about these rules, the more I see how beautiful a child's heart is. They won't think twice, even if you just scolded them, they will come and hug you. They will give presents, love letters, cards, and so on without a second thought. It's disarming and wonderful. Similarly, I don't hold back in apologizing to my children if I feel I have behaved badly (well, most of the time, sometimes it takes me a few minutes). 

This is a big deal for me because, as my husband will testify, I am terrible at apologizing. In my mind, I try my best to always do the right thing, which can make me quite sanctimonious and unapologetic. When I make a mistake, I feel it's a genuine mistake or that I've been pushed to act a certain way, and I find it very difficult to suck it up and just say, "Sorry". If there's one thing time teaches you, it's that there's no shame in making mistakes as long as you own up to them, don't repeat them, genuinely feel sorry...and express that! We are imperfect, we hurt people and it's unfortunate. Big up and make amends. 

The recent death of a very dear friend led to me making up with two people I had argued with over work (why? Over what? Can you guess? Yeeeees, nafs, that treacherous, ill-willed knave! So, so stupid and pointless in retrospect!). She would have been so happy had I swallowed my pride and made amends, and if I could go back in time and do it while she was alive, believe me, I wouldn't hesitate for one second. A few years ago, I hurt someone deeply due to misinformed assumptions. With some time and more information, I felt terrible and knew I'd acted like a jerk, but I was too scared to apologize, certain they would tell me to pi** off and rightly so. So when that person reached out to me first with a conciliatory message, I was truly humbled. I was knocked straight off my feet, no joke. It takes a BIG heart to reach out like that, and I will always be grateful for the chance to say sorry. 

It's corny, but there's truth to the line, "When you assume, you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'". (Yah, ok, I like corny humor, sue me.)

Moral of the story? For starters, don't be a jerk. Don't hurt others knowingly. If you do end up doing it even accidentally, a-pol-o-gize and vow not to do it again. Right now, ask yourself: is there someone you want to make amends with, someone you really miss? Message them now. For all you know, they are thinking of doing the same but are scared of taking the first step. Don't wait till it's too late. What's the worst that can happen? They won't respond nicely or at all. At least you'll know you kicked your own nafs in the butt, opened up your heart, and tried your best. Sounds like the path to freedom to me!

So, I had yoga again today, but I still felt t-i-r-e-d the whole day. My body really has a will of its own. What did that article say, that your gut has a "brain"? Oh, my gut has a brain alright - a stubborn little blighter. The brain that says, "gimmay cookies!" So while my head was saying, "so much to do", the brain in my gut was saying, "nap time!" They say when you start yoga, while you're unblocking years of stagnant muscles and energy (and YES, you can definitely feel it in certain exercises!), you can actually feel worse before you feel better. Like with the rules of love, with yoga you are working through layers of blockages: physical, emotional and, finally, spiritual. (Interesting similarity!) There is a suggestion I read that when you initially start yoga, also do something that keeps your endorphins up to complement until you really get all your yoga flows in order, but do NOT give up. The proof is in the pudding when I saw the two elderly ladies in my class (they've been doing this a while) do pose after pose, headstands and so on. My teacher assured me, "Soon you'll be doing headstands, too, don't worry." Ha. Ahahaha. Ahahahahahahaha!