If you look up the antonym to logic you’ll come across a list of words that likely no one would choose to be defined by. Absurdity, asininity, foolishness, idiocy, ineptitude. However I’ve just recently discovered my decision making process wouldn’t fit into the definition of logic yet the opposite doesn’t feel true of me either. I’m definitely impulsive; I’m making decisions based on what I know at the time, I’m leaning in from a place inside me that knows about right now and it’s not always based in logic. What’s missing in the list is heart magic.
I think this topic is layered, decisions can be based on so many factors. As I think about my own family’s current situation of moving, I see more evidence of how fearful we are of making the wrong choice. We are soon to be out of our current home and yet haven’t found a new one, I understand clearly how troubling this might sound – a family with three young kids not having a foolproof plan in place, are we nuts?! That could be further examined, but I do know that we are so much less in control than we think. And that the outcome of one scenario actually doesn’t have bearing over another. Am I losing you? Let me try to expand.
In 2017 we thought we found a dream property. As part of the work Steve has done as a builder, we’ve bought and sold many houses over the years and though I understand how big of a purchase this is and how cautious many people want to be when doing this, we are likely much more cavalier about it. This property we found had massive potential and we dove in, but we found out after our purchase it also had a lot of red tape around it. Developing it into what we dreamed was taking more capital and more energy than we anticipated. We rented it out for awhile which ended poorly and in time sold the property, taking a pretty big financial loss on the whole thing. It was frustrating, indeed. To see so clearly the possibility for this property and not bring it to fruition was hard. Yet for some reason, it just wasn’t part of the plan for us.
We pivoted. I was angry to feel like we hadn’t gained anything from that purchase but at the same time knew that I couldn’t limit a gain to financial alone. We learned a lot from the experience, and understood better what we actually wanted. Measuring finances is easy, but what is the ledger we use for lessons learned, clarity gained, wisdom procured?
This same logic, which I guess may actually seem like the absence of logic altogether, is how we ended up purchasing a giant RV that costs a tidy mortgage-sized payment each month, though it’s now sat idle for nearly a year. My decisions are made primarily from my heart, not my brain, which brings heaps of magic, adventure, fun, growth and joy as well as worry, financial loss, uncertainty and middle-of-the-night panic. But I also recognize that the latter, those feelings of despair, are when I overly engage my brain into the quotient. If I stay in my heart space then I focus on the goodness.
Currently we’re scheduled to move on from our house in the next few weeks, and we don’t know where we’re going next which could look entirely irresponsible. Without the convenience of a timeline, as everything in the standard world is loosey goosey, we can’t hold tight to what once felt secure. Our plan hatched in the winter of heading to Costa Rica for a year now doesn’t seem quite as feasible, so we’re back to the drawing board. I feel like I’m between worlds; I’m watching the passing of days, packing up, getting rid of things, preparing to leave this home, and yet totally unsure where I’m going next. Logically I need to be planning out my steps, but none of the normal things seem to be in place. And I can tell I’m relying too heavily on my brain to figure this out because I’m waking up with headaches, feeling panicked in the night, feeling frozen when I try to do the next task. It feels like a squeeze.
There is a fragility to life right now, it’s always been there but it’s more apparent now. So we’re being asked, forthrightly, what do you want? Who are you? How do you make your life all that you wanted it to be? What’s your legacy? The fabric of life is much more flexible than we once thought, our illusion of control was never any more than it is now. So knowing that, how do we now expand into the life we always wanted. Or do we stay safe – stay in the place of caution, live by the warning, goodness knows the overt programming right now is really trying to hammer that aspect home.
My mom, dear soul, reading this right now (hi!), is worried. She wants me to consider the choices I’ve made in the past, like buying the heritage home that went completely awry, and think about if buying a dilapidated farm in the middle of nowhere is actually a smart idea right now (we think it might be). In the middle of a pandemic. With three small kids at home. And going on no sleep. With only one primary income (mine) that isn’t totally enough to cover all of our bills. Am I of sound mind to make such a decision? Especially given previous decisions?
This is logical thinking. Most people reading this are wide-eyed nodding their head along with my mom right now, yes woman, these are wise questions to ask. And they are, and yet when I reviewed the thoughtful questions she was asking me I noticed how little concern I felt about them. To me, looking to compare what has happened to what could happen is how our linear brain wants to make sense of things but it leaves little, if any, room for the magic.
I think a lot of people hate when I talk about that part, the ethereal, formless magic. It can’t be defined, it can’t be pinned down, so it feels like it can’t be depended upon either. But for anyone who has risked it all to go after a dream, you know that little can actually be depended upon, that again is living in the illusion that we have control. It’s based on us always toeing the line, always progressing by societal standards. It’s essentially living according to someone else’s version of what life is meant to be, but have you considered what you want life to be?
My friend Kendra and I have talked ad nauseam about this, having been soul sisters for over 20 years. Our secret heart, our deep down, we would say, this is the part that just knows. That’s heart magic. It’s having the ability to see far beyond your current circumstance OR maybe more accurately, it’s not being able to see past it but live in the space of deep trust that everything is working out better than you could have even planned. That feels like being held, that feels like life surging through you. It feels like truth. And magic.
What if it doesn’t go right – what is ‘right’, what does that look like? You make a mistake, your kids are unhappy, it feels like too much turmoil, it’s hard, you go broke. You lose everything. What would everything even be? Do you see how very tied to preconceived limits we have become? I’m not measuring my life by your version of success, I’m not sure why we ever expected it to be that way.
There are many big leaps I’ve taken that, had I stopped to be logical, to consider the cost (it almost always comes down to money doesn’t it? Curious) I would maybe think again;
-travelling solo at age 20 to Thailand to meet a friend during the SARS pandemic and just as Bush declares the war on terror, invading Iraq -I backpack with girlfriends through Australia for 6 months, buy a car that I can hardly drive, spend all my money on cheap wine and barhopping, start and quit two crappy jobs and end up without any money to fly home (thankfully my then boyfriend Steve bails me out) -Steve and I pack up our Land Rover Discovery and head west 6 months after we get married – nowhere to live, no jobs, no money -several months later we head back home, sporadically buy a puppy from a random guy walking through a mall, we know nothing about her or what to do with her -we buy a house and renovate it, we have no renovation skills, we learn -in that time I start a job then find a new one, start that job then decide I want to go back to school…in Toronto -I move to Toronto, Steve and our dog, Lola, stay in Kingston – I have no job in that time so spend as little as possible on groceries so that I can still manage weekly sibling hangouts at our favourite bar, The Lab -I quit school after one year, feeling I’ve learned enough, we move to TO for a few months, get bored, go to Costa Rica for two months
. . .
That covers an 8 years span, I could go on but you get the gist and likely could tell similar stories from your own life. There was much uncertainty in all of those circumstances and yet there was so much gained — travel experience, learning who I am, brushing up on my dance moves and tolerance for terrible wine, skilling up, deepening friendships, meeting the most precious dog. To that ledger of gains, what I can add to the plus side far outweighs the negative.
Back to now. In our heat wave last week, Gracie steps into her new inflatable pool at 7:30am. Pretending to surf on her boogie board she notices the label on it. “Momma why does everything have a warning on it?” And so we start our day talking about a topic that is sorely missing du jour; personal responsibility. Why does the boogie board need to tell her that she could fall and injure herself? Why does the plastic bag need to remind us not to give it to a baby or put it over our heads? Why does a takeaway coffee have to tell us its contents are hot? Because we are so engrained with this notion of passing off our responsibility to someone else. I burnt myself because they made the coffee too hot, it was their fault. My child choked on a LEGO piece because they make them too small.
This is how we outsource our responsibility, and this is how we can easily slip into the fear space when facing the big choices in our lives. Do we buy the dump in the South of France to renovate and turn into an Airbnb? Or do we keep working at the job that isn’t doing much for our joie de vivre but affords a stable life? How we make these decisions is informed by the world around us, and it’s one that is desperate to keep us safe, warnings and caution signs are everywhere. Now more than ever we feel that, every hashtag, every billboard, every possible space you look is telling you that staying home is what is safe. Our aversion to risk has just hit a new limit, perhaps that’s why this next move feels even more heavy.
My wise friend Laura recently reminded me that in all situations we have two choices, there is fear or there is love. I’m looking at some pretty exciting and adventurous times ahead and as I make the decisions needed to take the next steps, I’m keeping the fear, the what if’s, the uncertainty and the unknown tempered by the love. That’s how I access heart magic, that’s how I can readily choose what feels right for the time being and release the heaviness if it doesn’t go the way I planned. Choices are unending and they’re only available in that very moment, so if it’s something we can’t revisit then it’s something we mustn’t regret. It allows me to land in that sweet spot of neutrality, “I’m going to try this but if it doesn’t pan out, then I’ll try the next right thing as it comes.”
When have you listened to heart magic and what has it done for you??