Heart. Head. We have both of them for a reason. It is easy for me to forget that the two are connected at their roots. I tend to use my head for calculations, logical conclusions, reading and writing. My brain goes all day long - consuming most of my energy and time. I engage my heart from time to time throughout the day, reacting to emotional prompts from friends, news items, my daughters, opening it slowly and gingerly as I sit in meditation.
Occasionally I am reminded that ideally, the two pieces of myself ought to work in concert. They are not mutually exclusive, my head and my heart. I am at my most genuine when they exchange energy and ideas freely. For most of my life I listened to stories about my father and believed every one. I was afraid to confront him with these tales that painted him as a selfish, narcissistic macho man for a multitude of reasons: loyalty to my mother, fear of his anger, confusion about where I fit into his life....
As I began building a relationship with my father over the last decade, adult to adult, secure in my independence, I resolved to put aside his past deeds and begin fresh. We respect each other's individuality, have discovered a way to talk frankly about our beliefs and support each other emotionally. I love him deeply and know that he feels the same way about me. Regardless of this newfound friendship, I still believed every story I was ever told about his despicable deeds during my childhood.
As we spoke over the phone yesterday he talked about something we had never discussed before. His perspective came as a shock. He never once got defensive or dismissive as I talked to him about my feelings. He was genuine in his sadness and regret as well as supportive of my need to obtain closure. I spent the evening mulling over the possibility that I had shortchanged myself for years. By not letting my heart communicate with my head I denied myself the potential to ask a different kind of question about the person I knew as my father. I took the words at face value and never asked my heart to weigh in. I don't know if it would have made a difference when I was a child. I do know that from now on my heart's perspective will be worth a lot more. As I assimilated the new information into my brain it felt right. The disconnect between what I had been told and the person I know my father to be became a little less like the Grand Canyon. I've gotta start putting these two entities in the same room together more often. Head. Heart. I've got them both for a reason.