“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of…we know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart.”—Blaise Pascal
As I walked Miles one cold Sunday afternoon recently at our favorite park, I was pondering my career and life. This is nothing new as the hamster wheel of what to do next spins constantly in my brain. I was feeling chipper and relaxed as I meandered with my big black dog. The sun popped out which is always so welcome in winter. The timing was cosmic, however.
I paused as we crossed the bridge to the main entrance to admire the view when I spied the heart-shaped rock in the middle of the stream. I’d made this trip dozens of times, but never before had I seen this gem peaceful amid the flowing waters. As I studied the scene, I noticed mini rapids flowing toward the heart positioned smack in the middle of the stream. Then I saw that the water surrounding the rock and beyond was calm, serene. The long bend of the stream was an elegant and subtle twist with the beauty found only in winter grays and browns of slumbering trees and tall grasses.
It occurred to me that this scene is a metaphor for my own journey. I’ve come through a rocky period in the D’Ag family in 2018. Death, job transitions, legal battles, bodily conditions out of control. It wasn’t all rough water—there were weddings and family celebrations aplenty. Freedom to explore my interior landscape and where I want to go next in the land of earning money, and just plain joy in the journey time.
What seemed suddenly revealed to me was the wisdom nature’s heart talisman offered. I often repeated to my sons they will never go wrong if they let their heart lead them to their happiness. Once you accept that simple, inescapable fact, you hit smooth waters. There is adventure waiting if you follow your heart as it points the way to your greatest path of joy.
Hearts are my talisman, says wise son Alexander. It’s true. They show up everywhere. Walking with Miles one winter’s day, I discovered three red hearts painted on the trees as we tromped through snowy woods enjoying this happy surprise. As I contemplated auditioning for Listen To Your Mother 2015 to tell the boys’ teen age coming out story before a live audience, magically one February morning, twin hearts appeared in the road before our driveway. There were no obvious tire tracks in the snow, just these twin conjoined hearts! Boy if that wasn’t a clear sign, nothing was. So I wrote the story, read for the group and I was in the show.
❤️ When I was a needlework designer, I created an homage to my dad with a beautiful heart sampler stitched with the verse, “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face.” That piece hangs in my bedroom reminding me daily that choosing joy is the most important life lesson I am always learning.
❤️ T and I always gather rocks in the Cape on our annual beach vacation walk each summer. Can’t tell you how many heart talismans I’ve collected, but I keep one each year on my desk to remind me of the lovely, shared husband moments. This touchstone for what truly matters is important when work responsibilities seem to eclipse the present joy.
❤️ My BFF Cindy gave me a heart-shaped worry stone many years ago with a note to hold it, centering my thoughts by rubbing its cool sheen when monkey brain tries to get the best of me. That treasure ALWAYS stays on my desk, home or workplace, to remind me of this beautiful woman who knows my soul.
It makes perfect sense that my fascination with the Wizard of Oz is centered on the teachings of our most secret hearts. Tin Man offers wisdom that even though hearts can be broken, it’s worth it to take the risk. Dorothy learns her heart’s desire is her own backyard as Glinda confirms she always had the power to control her destiny, by following her heart.
What does this heart want?
To tell authentic stories that resonate. Whether my own, or others that have a life lesson artfully tucked inside. That connect with people who are like-minded as they embrace their challenges with courage and pluck, facing into the headwind and coming out the victor of self after all.
How fortunate that I paused that afternoon to ponder the Minebank Run heart talisman. My reminder from the Universe to settle down; I always come through the rapids mostly intact, and center myself as I choose the next bend in my story.