Like it seems to do with me, art is always imitating life.
Last night, while waiting for the T to whisk me from work to tap dance lessons, I saw a Boston University sign stating, “Because to Lead with Heart takes Guts.”
It led me to ponder over the process that leads one back to their heart. Noting BU was speaking of courage when they used the word “guts” I thought to myself, “Well, to embody courage means that you are standing in your truth.”
This is a process which I myself have been working through bit by bit. Creating a website has to be the penultimate moment of standing in one’s own truth for all the world to see. It’s raw, revealing, vulnerable as well as empowering, exciting, and exhilarating. It brought to my attention the many ways in which I have played my life down, which has never really suited anyone.
All these thoughts were swirling around in my head this morning while thinking about sitting down to have tea with everyone, and it all came together in this film clip.
This particular scene in The Wizard of Oz encapsulates it all. The Scarecrow wants brains, the Lion, courage, The Tin Man, a heart, and Dorothy just wants to go home. What does the Great and Powerful Oz do? He shows them that what they were seeking was already right there within them. They already possessed what they were pursuing. They just needed someone to point that out to them. Wow, now those are some deep thoughts, right?
So true for all of us who can get caught up with searching on the outside what is already truly right there on the inside.
The question is, how does one come to realize that they already possess what it is they are looking for? Perhaps there was an instance when someone plays the role of Wizard by pointing something out for someone, but unlike the powerful moment in this film, they were not ready to believe.
All this pondering brings me back to the sign from BU. Where do we find the guts to follow our heart? How does one even know what their own truth is? I have found, not unlike most people, that my own truth gets lost and jumbled up when I step into fear. Name the fear, I probably have struggled with it: fear of not being accepted, fear of not being enough, fear of failure. Weeding through all these false beliefs can be exhausting and overwhelming. Analysis-paralysis is what eventually occurs when going down that tricky rabbit hole.
What has helped is something that ad from BU spoke of….guts. Not just guts in the sense of courage, but guts in the sense of listening to my gut: my intuition. I have found that underneath all that paralysis I am actually a highly intuitive person. There are many ways of understanding this skill, something I am still cultivating and learning myself.
Suffice to say: it’s there.
The cool thing I learned about this “gut instinct” is that it’s biologically connected. To start, the ENS, or Enteric Nervous System, resides in the gut and is known as the “second brain.” It is far wiser than the one we overuse.
Next, the vagus nerve, a cranial nerve (and the longest nerve in the body), begins behind the eye, moves through the organs (including the heart), and ends in the gut. It’s job is to receive information from the outside and translate it to the inside, sending these signals to the ENS. This leads to the parasympathetic activating, which is responsible for the relaxation process. As such, the signals are coming from a very receptive and relaxed place in the body. This is why when receiving those subtle signals they are usually right on.
Conclusion? We all possess the ability to have keen insight—the key is connecting with the gut. Mind blown yet?
Cultivating a connection with the gut begins with an integration of self-care skills. Those first steps down the Yellow Brick Road to home can begin with simple things like eating foods that better nourish the body, spending time with people who are nurturing, or engaging in activity that sparks passion.
As we decrease the inflammation in the body and create a loving relationship with oneself the truth will begin to naturally rise to the surface. I can tell you from personal experience that when I am calmer, clearer and treating my body right I get messages about my truth all the time.
The second phase of the Yellow Brick Road journey is to practice walking in it, swimming in it, embracing it all, it being life. This takes practice. It took quite some time to ingrain the pattern to follow fear, so don’t expect change to happen overnight.
As I stated in my post, You and Me with Tea: Circle of Trust…Are You In or Are You Out?, we open up our circle of trust by first having a trusting and loving relationship with ourselves. When we love who we truly are, we have an easier time trusting that others in the world will love who we are, too. What flows from us is in direct connection with the relationship we have with ourselves.
For me, walking it is trusting that who I am not only is enough but is amazing just like all the rest of us are amazing. We all possess such interesting and unique qualities that are needed in the world.
When we embrace our own awesomeness we can easily see that others would embrace it, too.
So the question is, how will we embrace our awesomeness today? What we seek is already right here inside of us. What are steps that can be taken to stop playing small and show the world our awesomeness?
Just like Dorothy, we are all just trying to find our way home, where there is no place like it, and as the saying goes: Home is where the heart is.
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Assistant Editor: Andrea Charpentier/Editor: Bryonie Wise