My Head Versus My Heart – Contemplating Emotions

In the past months I have received advice to “get out of your head, Amalia, and live more from your heart”. After checking this against my own values and who I know myself to be, I agreed with the advice. Even the first sounds of it resonated with me because experiences in my life have been teaching me that it’s important to not forget my heart. In my teen years, I went the route of trusting my head (I will also refer to it here as the mind) and was very leery of my heart. To get to the point quicker, I didn’t trust my heart and thought that was the best route to go…to not trust myself, to not trust my heart, and to deny myself. Also twisted into this was the association of my emotions with my heart, thus my poor heart and emotions were labeled as a problem child, a sure way of getting hurt and failing in life. The result? I deprived and shut out my heart and fought against my emotions, rather than allowing them to work for me.

There is nothing like the romantic, love relationship of our life to help us see things about our self that are not fun or pretty to see, yet is so needed and so good for us. I recently got engaged and after a couple recent disagreements with my loving fiance (okay, we can call them what they were…full on fights), I am even more in love with him and my self than before. How I came out on the other side secure in that love, was by seeing what I can learn and change for my self. One of the powerful lessons I learned that I am writing about here, is about better understanding my emotions by getting to know them: what they look like, where they live in me, what they are telling me about myself, and how I can enjoy them in a way that serves me and others best.

I don’t know about you, but for most of my life so far I have pictured my emotions as living in my heart. After all, most of our world and my American society, relate the heart with love and we see love as an emotion. With that in mind, we also know anger, fear, hurt, joy, peace, and many other feelings as an emotion. When I looked up the definition of emotion, I felt I had to be a psychologist or scientist to understand the blend of words being words. It was a bit overwhelming and didn’t seem practical for my use. Heck, I even went so far as to start writing about the definition right here and now in this post. Then I erased it all because I realized, I’m not here to get technical about this; I’m here to write about this from the heart; from my heart.

Plain and simple, I know it’s important to listen to both my head and my heart. Balance is important to maintain in this. My emotions are wonderful aspects of me and it helps me to picture their home as my head, my mind. This doesn’t mean that they are not found in my heart as well. I picture it sort of like emotions visiting my heart from my mind. They’re a powerful link between all the different aspects of my physical and spiritual self, revealing themselves in feelings and interacting with thoughts.

So what does this all mean about getting out of my head so much and living from my heart more? For me, it’s in understanding my emotions and using my imagination to picture where they live and come from. This helps me to have the right picture and understanding of my heart and my mind as well. Rather than going to an extreme of choosing the mind or the heart, I hold the power to tell my mind or heart and emotions thank you in all circumstances. In cases like this, appreciation is key when it is followed through with direction. Some situations may look like this: I can thank my mind for it’s hard work in looking after me, but at this time, it can relax and allow my heart to lead.

Practices like this bring to light that what is in our minds and hearts is also important to be conscious of. Is there love in my heart? Love for myself and therefore love for others? Is there trust there in my heart? Is it fear that I am feeling and should I take make my choices and act out of that emotion? And remember, there is a difference between reacting from our emotions and expressing them with self-ownership.

I’m finding it very helpful for myself when I remember that emotions are to be appreciated, even thanked by me. Perhaps this is part of the process of choosing what role my emotions play in my actions. Whether they’re pleasant, positive emotions like love and peace, or if they’re hard, ugly emotions, like anger and fear, I can listen to them and give them their due time to be, before I then let it go and move on. Most importantly, I think that my emotions will always tell me the most about my self and another person’s emotions will tell them the most about their self. Emotions all hold the same power…the power that we give them.

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A Culture Where It DOES Hurt to Ask…

You know that phrase, it never hurts to ask? Well, I think it can be spot on and even more so, that it can be an indicator of a society and culture. I’m a big believer of not taking things personally (one of the Four Agreements) and when practicing and believing this truth in your life, then the phrase works in this situation and it doesn’t hurt to ask. Or to put it more clearly, it doesn’t have to hurt you to ask. Keep this in mind as you read on…

Have you ever asked a favor of someone or just asked for more information, perhaps more clarification regarding something? And then that someone just doesn’t respond back. I’m not talking about the situations where you have to break free of someone or an unhealthy relationship. I know there are times when it is best to not answer back. What I’m referring to is the basic favor or perhaps question that may even have to do with business and is not even along personal lines.

What is up with people just NOT responding and following up? With all the technology in the world that we have and how connected we are, it seems that our communication between each other has only gotten worse. People simply don’t respond back. And why is this? Are we too busy? Are we afraid of saying no? Do we not want to tell the truth? Are we taking things personally?

Well, I’m posing questions because I think for each person the answers will vary, depending on the unique situation that one may be in and how different we each are. So answers are not what you will find here. Yet, what you are reading is my personal opinion. Regarding this matter, I think it is rude and poor manners to absolutely ignore when something is asked of you. I have found this neglect and avoidance to be more common in the American culture. Personally and professionally, people think that to have no response is fine. And I think it’s not. I think it’s cowardly and lazy.

I take it upon myself and my own responsibility to not be hurt by it…that is in my control and I do not blame others for whether or not I take offense to their non-response. If someone does not respond to me, I know and believe that they are not trying to hurt me. Actually, they cannot hurt me, unless I allow them to by deciding to take it personally. The powerful thing about not taking things personally is that what someone does, in this case not responding to something asked, only says everything about that person, not about me.

So me being hurt by asking is not necessarily in the equation here (remember, I take responsibility for that on myself). What is hurt is our culture and society. The etiquette and integrity of our personal and professional relationships and such societal structures. From my own personal experience, it has shown me first-hand that American culture does not tend to share. We do not like to be asked for things or for that matter, to be asked anything. Perhaps we think we’re too busy, the proverbial response that is received to almost anything in American life. And I say we including myself, because 1) I’m American and do love my country and 2) I have lived that life before and been that way – too busy.

This year has taught me different though. And you know what? It’s worth having learned this: that now-a-days and throughout the world, it can hurt to ask. If I let it of course…and as imperfect as I am at this as well, I am excited to turn this observation into motivation to communicate more considerately and truthfully, getting back to people, even if it means having to say no to what they may be asking. There are many people who I am fortunate to know and work with who are considerate and brave in getting back to me. I appreciate and thank them greatly because they are the biggest inspiration of all regarding this conviction.

I want to be intentional about this concept because it’s the kind of person I want to be and the way I desire and hope for people to be with me. So here’s to the reality that it can hurt to ask. On what end of the asking will you be?

Am I A Storyteller or a Writer?

It dawned on me this morning that perhaps there is a difference between being a writer and being a storyteller. I realize, it also depends on a person’s perspective and I saw this question in my mind as a new lesson for me to learn. I don’t believe it is necessarily relevant or applicable to everyone.

But for me it made sense and it’s shedding some light Continue reading

What We Tell

Don’t tell me this is how it is.

Why must it be as you say it should be?

Don’t tell me, life must go like this.

What do you know of my life and how it should go?

Don’t tell me, this is happiness and success.

Maybe I don’t want your idea of happiness and success.

Don’t tell me I cannot imagine and to be responsible.

To have imagination is the first responsibility I have.

Don’t tell me to be like you and that you have the answers.

I see your life and I do not want it.

Tell me your own story and ask me about my own.

I like stories and I like to share of myself.

Tell me of the impossible in your life and your imagination.

I have dreams and hopes as well and this we have in common.

Tell me of love and how love is in your life.

I can tell you of love as well and in that way we can show love to each other.

Tell me of your happiness without imposing it on me.

I will tell of my own happiness if I have chosen happiness for me.

Tell me of who you are and how you live your life.

I will tell you who I am and we will revel in our differences.

Tell me of what you desire and have yet to learn.

I will tell you my questions and thoughts and we will marvel at our similarities.

Wine and Late Night Writing…

Wine wakes me up in the middle of the night. What I mean exactly is that when I drink a couple (okay, or maybe a few) glasses of wine, I find I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t really sleep. I feel fine…my mind simply races with thoughts and I feel wide awake. My conclusion is that it must be the sugars.

But why not put middle-of-the-night-awake-moments to use and write? This is how I find myself at the kitchen table at 4:34 AM in the morning. I’m in a small rural village of Extremadura, one of the regions of Spain that borders Portugal. My laptop is still on Denver time, which is now 8:36 PM in that part of the world. For a while now I’ve been wanting to spend more time in Europe, especially Spain since I have dual citizenship there. It’s been interesting to see what being gone from my “home-base” of Denver, Colorado does to your relationships. Although we have Facebook and email, Skype and smart-phones, I think that “out of sight, out of mind” is still what happens when one is gone from home. This makes sense to me and I know I do it as well, because after all…we all have pretty busy lives. I think back to earlier times when the internet didn’t exist and people wrote letters, read magazines and newspapers to learn about happenings in the world, and the post was delivered by men on horseback…what a different world and style of communication then.

In college I majored in Human Communications (and no, that does not mean there’s an “Animal Communications” major out there…at least that I know of). Communication between people has always fascinated me. Whether its verbal, written, musical, or physical, I think that humans are always telling each other and themselves things. This can be through their direct words and efforts made and indirectly through their actions and behaviors. Sometimes we’re aware of what we’re communicating and sometimes we’re not. Add to this another person’s perception and how they interpret what you’re communicating…ah, yes…you can see now how deep this can go. This is where late night writing gets into trouble 🙂

All this to say, my ramblings seem to convey, at least in my mind they do, that the wine is the one communicating through me tonight (or in the case of Spanish time, this morning). It feels good to ramble in writing and to even make these somewhat random thoughts public. That is certainly one way that communication has changed drastically over the times…we have such public exposure and outlet for our thoughts and words. So if you find yourself ever awake at odd hours of the early morning or simply contemplating the things of life at any time of the day or night, be encouraged that you are not alone and you can share it…if you would like to. Here’s to communicating with ourselves and others!

Pros and Cons of Social Media

Over the past month I’ve been meeting a lot of new wonderful people throughout Italy and Switzerland and what I am finding to be the most common topic in discussion is social media. Not just social media though in the way that Americans think of Social Media, but more specifically how social media is affecting our societies and the way that we communicate and have relationships. People are looking pretty deeply into these matters and I’m glad to see that.

My experience with social media is a bit different and more full-time than others – I do it for work and have always been more interested in how it makes a good business for me rather than going overboard on it in the personal sense. On the personal side it never interested me as much, but I used it and do so more now. Overall, you could probably say that I am an average or medium user in my personal life. The professional life is where it comes into major play and that is because I work for myself as a consultant and manager of social media marketing for businesses. Why? Because I’m fascinated by the combination of marketing and understanding people who it involves. And it enables me to work from literally anywhere in the world, as long as I have an internet connection of course, which now-a-days is amazingly in most places.

Throughout Europe, people refer to this kind of work and service as Internet Marketing. Makes sense. Even among those of my generation (which, to give away my age, is currently at the age of late 20’s into mid-30’s), the consensus I am hearing from people is that on the personal and social side it is having negative affect and is harming our societies. I tend to agree and am seeing in different countries and cultures that concerns about people having good communication skills is being impacted by our obsession with social media. Rather than being able to sit and enjoy silence or simply be still, people are constantly on a device, texting or emailing, but hardly calling anymore and speaking voice to voice. Or for that matter, we are seeing more and more how people will be together at any number of occasions such as a show or even a date, and rather than talking to each other, they’re each on their phones messaging, checking into Facebook about who they’re with and where they are…what about simply being fully present and enjoying where you are and who you’re with?

Now I take part in these things as well, yet am recognizing and wanting to call out for myself that I want to maintain a balance and make sure that I’m keeping my interactions more human than media-based. Perhaps along with social media we should keep in mind social humanity too? There’s a lot of play on words that we could use to keep the reminder in front of us that our societies should be aware and careful and protect and practice true social interaction that is completely based on the most authentic and powerful ways of interacting within society…and those are interactions that are verbal and face-to-face. Let’s not lose the significance of body language, tone of voice, and so many other things that are simply not possible through social media.

I am liking the awareness and concerns that Europeans seem to be having about this and contribute their insight to their culture that is steeped in much older history and cultures that are also geographically closer. There’s endless factors that we could analyze, but I hope I am getting my point across without using even more words. Besides, I would love to hear your thoughts…preferably verbally or face-to-face of course. So give a call or come visit! Skype ID: amalia.maloney