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Real Change Comes From The Heart

October 19, 2022

It is often said that the longest distance in the world is from the head to the heart, and I have found this to be true. Knowing something intellectually and knowing something on a deeper heart level is entirely different, and the results that these two types of knowing produce differ as well.

At many times in my life, I have known something about myself on an intellectual level, and yet I was completely incapable of changing it. Take my alcoholism, for instance. For many years before I finally got sober, I was acutely aware that it was a problem in my life, but yet I hadn’t fully accepted that fact wholeheartedly. I would look at it as some brain puzzle that needed to be conquered and solved, and so I never really got anywhere with it. I would spin my wheels attempting to temper my drinking or quit using my mind, and every time it lead me right back to the bottle, hitting it harder than I had before.

This was maddening to me for a time. I knew that I needed to stop drinking to be a good mother to my children. I knew that if I didn’t, I would continue to further alienate my family from me, and I knew that if I couldn’t, it would mean disastrous things for me, and yet I was completely unable to stop. I just couldn’t figure it out until the day finally came when I realized that part of my problem was that I was trying to figure it out. I didn’t know that true change came from the heart and not the head, and so in order for change to occur, my heart had to be broken open in a sense, the walls had to come down, and acceptance had to be reached.

When I speak of the heart, I don’t necessarily mean the organ that rests protected by my ribs, but I mean that intangible feeling that resonates from the chest, telling me when I am lonely or giving me warmth when I am at peace. Getting there is difficult because it isn’t as easy as thinking. It requires something else, and its guiding voice can be missed in the swirling chatter that is my mind.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, for myself and many other addicts and alcoholics, achieving the change necessary to overcome addiction is usually the result of pain. That broken open heart I referred to occurred when I was finally left empty with no more answers. All my best efforts had been exhausted, and in that exhaustion, I finally gave up. Once I gave up, I was able to get out of my head and into my heart, fully conceding to the understanding that I was an alcoholic who needed help. From this point, I was then able to hear with a different set of ears and see with a different set of eyes, which allowed me to trust something besides my own thinking and, in time, created change.

I have found that there is a similar process for everything in my life that needs changing. It usually doesn’t require the amount of pain that occurred for me to get sober, but some sort of discomfort almost always precedes the process of getting out of my head and into my heart.

To be honest, this sometimes annoys me. I mean, why can’t I just change the things that I want to by thinking about them really hard? It would be nice, wouldn’t it, but for better or worse, it is not the way that things work.

For the most part, I have found that the majority of the problems and things that need changing in my life were created by my mind in the first place. They didn’t exist, and then at some point my mind decided to initiate them and boom a problem was born. This I believe, is the reason why real change comes from the heart and not the head, because as the saying goes, the same mind that created the problem cannot also solve it.

By admitting that with my own mind, I am unable to come up with a solution or effect the change I want, I am essentially stating that I do not know, and in my not knowing, I allow for the possibility of a different mental construct to take place. When this occurs, change follows because I am no longer held down by a certain set of beliefs or attempting to enact the change from within my already broken system of operation. This allows the voice emanating from my heart to reach me, and from this place, I am then able to enact the necessary change.

Change is not something that comes easily. If it did, it wouldn’t even be necessary for me to write this. I would just wake up in the morning, rationally view the things in my life that need changing, and then go out and do it, but that is not the way that it works. Change is a process that occurs over time, sometimes with a few steps forward followed by what seems like a few steps back. Along the way, I may get lost, but once I have moved from my head into my heart, change will always follow.