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  • Pat­rina M. Clark, SPHR, HCS, RACC
    Speaker | Trainer | Con­sul­tant | Coach
01 Aug

Can You Feel It?

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It had been more than two years since the divorce with very lit­tle con­tact since then. The split had been ami­ca­ble and civil, and there did not appear to be any latent hos­til­ity or regret. At the same time, both had con­structed sto­ries about the rela­tion­ship that allowed them to move for­ward with their lives in a “pos­i­tive” way. It’s human nature to want to ratio­nal­ize and jus­tify … but that is where the ego lies, where head brain analy­sis allows us to con­struct the sto­ries that we believe best serve us.

Grad­u­ally over the last sev­eral months as I’ve become more com­mit­ted to heart based liv­ing, I’ve grown rather bored with my own sto­ries. I was cer­tainly no longer inter­ested in “the story” for each of my rela­tion­ships. I wanted to con­tem­plate the heart lessons from the rela­tion­ships – con­nect with the emo­tional and evo­lu­tion­ary lessons from these impor­tant life events.

So, as I sat at lunch talk­ing to my best friend yes­ter­day about life and love, it occurred to me that I had not yet truly made peace with the demise of what had been to date the most sig­nif­i­cant love rela­tion­ship of my life. The story I’d con­structed to neatly encap­su­late the rela­tion­ship went some­thing like this:

They were seem­ingly per­fect for one another in every way – attrac­tive, intel­li­gent, active, and artic­u­late African Amer­i­can cou­ple, each well-​respected and well-​regarded in their respec­tive pro­fes­sions – com­ing together to make things hap­pen and live the good life. Exter­nal pres­sures ate away at the con­nec­tion until there was lit­tle left other than apa­thy and resent­ment. They mutu­ally decided it would be bet­ter to peace­fully part ways – after all, it was not the first mar­riage or divorce for either of them and life was too short to spend it unhappy.

It was a com­mon story – per­haps all too com­mon in our soci­ety. But, in want­ing to bet­ter under­stand the heart lessons, I wrote a new story:

A won­der­ful man won­drously loved her. Sure, he had his lit­tle idio­syn­crasies just like every­one else. He was a gen­tle­man – hon­or­able, respon­si­ble, pro­tec­tive and lov­ing. A won­der­ful woman won­drously loved him. She, too, had her funny ways – per­haps, chief among them was her over-​reliance on the word “fine” when things were any­thing but fine. They served won­der­ful pur­poses in one another’s lives, and growth occurred for them both. While she couldn’t speak to the ways he had grown, she was much clearer about the ways in which she had grown.

She would take the fol­low­ing life lessons with her as she moved more con­fi­dently in the direc­tion of her dreams:

- Allow myself to be vul­ner­a­ble in your rela­tion­ship. It’s the only way to deeply con­nect.

- Allow myself to be sur­prised

– no mat­ter how con­fi­dent you are that you already know the out­come. It’s the only way to see things anew.

- Expect great things. That which we feed grows, so bet­ter to expect won­der­ful, mar­velous out­comes than dis­as­trous out­comes. You’ll be able to deal with tragedy should it strike … no need to spend pre­cious moments wor­ry­ing.

- Com­mu­ni­cate from the heart – no mat­ter what. We too often get lost in the sto­ries in our heads and some­how make them our real­ity. They are only sto­ries that we’ve con­structed

– and, we are free to rewrite them or write new ones any­time we choose.

While it is pos­si­ble to “think” our way to more joy­ful liv­ing in a sit­u­a­tion or for a period of time, to sus­tain joy­ful liv­ing, we must feel it in our hearts and our souls. And, the more we prac­tice heart-​based liv­ing, the bet­ter we become at it … and the bet­ter our lives become and the lives of those we touch.

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