The Heart’s Choices; the Mind’s Battles

At various times in our lives, we all face really big decisions. How do we make them? Do we create elaborate lists of pros and cons? Do we flip a coin, draw a name out of a hat, or pick a number between 1 and 10? Maybe we consult with experts, or if we’re inclined, consult astrology or a psychic. There is always that moment of reckoning though when we must either choose A or B or accept the consequences of our indecision.

In my last post, which was actually quite a while ago, I wrote about the confusion that Stuart and I, a newlywed international couple, had entered regarding “where to land”: France or the US. We had, a couple of months ago, decided upon France, and then Stuart proposed that perhaps it would be easier for him to come here instead. We started to re-think.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though perhaps a bit taxing on energy reserves. It’s what the mind does. It’s function is to reason, to keep us “safe”, to foresee and solve the problem. So, in that, it was just doing its job and doing it with the usual fervor. The mind is not a terrible thing, though there are those who would make it out to be; it is a miraculous and necessary thing to take action in the world. That said, when not tempered by the heart, it can wreak havoc on all that remains “essential and invisible to the eye” as St. Exupery put it. A list of pros and cons in a fickle mind can go on and on. The debate inside can outlast infinity…if we let it.

I started to wonder whether Stuart really wanted to come here, to the US,  instead of me going there, to France. Of course, I still really wanted to go to France (God help me). But neither one of us would ever want to deprive the other of opportunity, so we had stymied, unable to make a decision, each of us waiting for the other to proclaim his or her heart. That made me start to doubt my own decision about France too. My mind began to reel: If Stuart has doubts, maybe the US is better. Maybe he is genuinely tired of the red tape over there. Maybe I am being selfish and need to detach from what I think I want.

The older I get, the more convinced I am that how I’m thinking not only colors my world, it becomes my reality. If I’m in a sour place, the entire world turns sour. If I’m feeling open and receptive to what is, beauty reveals itself in everything. If I allow my mind to take over this decision–any decision really–I will be handing the reigns over to an insane thing as moveable as the clouds in the sky, incapable of really “seeing”. And to quote Exupery once more, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.”

Stuart is visiting the states right now, and we have since reaffirmed our decision to settle in France, and yes, that’s the final answer. The heart is back in charge. We are proceeding with plans to get me over there as soon as possible…one step at a time.

What’s one of the most difficult decisions you’ve ever had to make? How did you make it? Did it turn out the way you expected?

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