Follow Both Your Heart And Head

girl smiling by blue brick wall
📷: Leslie Jones

Use your head. Follow your heart.

We talk about our bodies and minds as if they’re two separate things, as if these parts of ourselves are not entangled, not aligned.

We speak to ourselves as if we need to proceed with caution, as if, for some reason, it is impossible to exist in a space where we are led by both our logic and emotions, by both our brains and the muscles beating in our chests.

My heart and my mind are inexplicably connected, and yet, I always feel like my body is three steps behind my thoughts. There is a single touch, and before the sensation can flood through my entire being, I am already calculating, already trying to understand the way and the why behind each current of electricity in my veins.

For me, everything begins with the heart, with the pitter-patter, with the laugh that echoes from somewhere deep within, unconsciously, as if my body knows love before I can even process its existence.

But then, the mind comes, flooding me with images, with words, with lines of poetry I can hear, even in the silence. And that’s how I’ve always known—the feeling, then replaced by the words writing themselves effortlessly in my head. Love.

To me, it has always been a combination. Never just my heart, just my head. So why do we tell people to follow one or the other, as if it’s not possible to be wrapped up in both?

Why do we overthink every sensation and emotion we’re feeling, instead of letting them come, and deciding later, what label we want the moment to have? Why is it that we’ve come to believe in the necessity of understanding what a moment is before we’re fully embracing it?

Why is it that I’ve found myself in a place where I’m caught between listening to the wildness in my soul, and being ‘smart’?

We’ve traded boldness for hesitancy, spirit for practicality, and passion for fear. Instead of jumping into connections and relationships, we stand back, analyzing, wondering, questioning, waiting.

But there is value, will always be value, in going with the gut feeling, with the unconscious beating, with the choice that is natural, even when the rest of the world says no.

There is always value in believing, in chasing what you know is right, even if you might find yourself broken in the end. There is always value in following you heart, but taking your head with you, too, just to make sure you’re thinking it through.

We tell people to choose one or the other—but what if we don’t have to make a choice? What if it’s just as much valuable to pay attention to your heart that is to be smart? What if you should jump, but then calculate your next step? Believe, but then take into account your circumstances? Trust, but also be careful? Be bold, but also aware?

Perhaps we’re not wrong when we tell people to be fearless in love, and yet, not wrong when we say the opposite either. Maybe there is something to be said for balance, for being both fast and slow, for believing and also accepting the feelings of fear as they come.

Perhaps the true beauty of love is not to know exactly how you should approach it, or what path to take, but stepping back and letting it unfold. Letting your heart speak as your mind takes a back seat. Or letting your mind run wild, while your heart holds on, waiting for the next move.

Perhaps the best thing we can do is to stop calculating—just love.
Just feel, think, step, inhale, exhale, love.