"It is never too late to be what you might have been."
One of my strengths in this life is that I am a good student. I observe well, listen well, and take phenomenal notes. I love reading so I am an excellent researcher and can immerse myself in many topics of interest. And more than that, I do well when tested, because I generally can slog through the mass of materials presented and hone in on the salient points of interest.
And yet, I feel I would fail a test on love. It is a subject I should be well-versed in, and yet, I'm not sure I've ever really grasped the subject completely.
Is it too late for me to become a STUDENT of LOVE?
They say it's never too late, but I wonder if that's true when it comes to opening our hearts fully to the world around us. So many of us are shut-down, afraid of being hurt. Why were we taught to fear the world, and to protect our hearts, I wonder?
I also wonder why we, as humans, put so much energy into cultivating our minds and bodies, and yet extend so little thought to our own hearts. Why does our culture care more about what we are thinking or doing than it does what we are FEELING?
As I said, I have always been a good student. Perhaps too good. I spent a lot of time in my head, deep in thought, cultivating a cerebral and intellectual side. My brain has never been neglected. As I got older, like a lot of my peers, I began to see I was neglecting my body, and my body didn't like it one bit. It began to balk at certain things and repay me with aches and pain, and just a general slowing down. So, I began to see the importance of keeping my body as strong as my mind. I began to make time to eat right and exercise, and treat my body with as much respect as I wanted it to treat me.
Still I neglected my heart. I didn't take classes on love. There was no going to Boot Camp for the Heart or training for a Love 5K. I didn't wake up each morning and ask myself: What does my heart need today to feel strong, respected, and healthy?
But Now? That's the first thing I do every morning.
I am shifting my attitude. Putting my heart first. And it is helping me look not only at myself, but at those around me in a more loving way. Rather than see other people as obstacles to my own daily happiness, I ask myself, "What does this person need today to make them FEEL good?" And, if they don't (or won't) listen to their own hearts, then I step aside, and get out of the way. I can't let their unhappiness flow onto me.
Although I have always been an excellent student of the mind, I now am beginning to see less and less value in pursuing knowledge at the expense of all other aspects of myself. I want to continue to learn and grow...but I also want to become a student of life and love...and not just someone who collects and memorizes facts and figures. I no longer need to be the "smartest" person in the room. In fact, I'd rather be known as the woman who is deeply respected for her compassion, kindness, and love.
We live in a very busy, demanding world. I see so many parents around me who push their own kids or try to give them the very best of everything. They want their kids to be strong, smart, successful. And this means making sure their kids have the best teachers and access to as many activities as they can -- whether it be, sports, art, music, etc. But really, a lot of times, we are only teaching our kids how to be strong mentally and physically. And sometimes we push so hard, that we inadvertently teach them some very unhealthy and disturbing messages:
Follow your head, and not your heart.
Do what you think you should do, rather than what you feel you want to do.
However, I am beginning to think that the best way I can prepare my own children for life, is not to push all that other stuff quite so hard, or not at the expense of what is in their hearts. I need to not only become a student of love then, but also become a MENTOR of LOVE.
On the days when my own children feel frustrated, overwhelmed or confused about the best course of action, rather than try to solve their problems logically or practically, I need merely ask them to look into their own hearts and honor what is there.
I truly believe if we follow our hearts, we cannot fail. Sure, we might make mistakes. We might not get A's or ace every test before us. We might even have to step back and start all over again, and repeat a lesson or grade. We might risk looking foolish at times. We might not have all the answers at every given moment in time. But that's okay.
Because, if we follow our hearts...we truly cannot fail.