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Is the Heart Blind?

September 11, 2009


I wrote this yesterday when I was feeling just a bit frustrated. Glad to say that the writing itself helped and that today…I have faith. 

When can you trust your heart? “Never!” is a good answer when I’m faced with uncertainty and doubt about my decisions. When everything looks like it’s going to hell faster than the speed of light, I want to turn my back on everything I believed with gusto 24 hours before. 

When I say “heart,” I don’t necessarily mean “heart” as in “Achy Breaky Heart” or “Total Eclipse of the Heart” or “Be still my beating heart”——-the romantic heart our culture lauds and vilifies at the same time. As deep as the emotion is when we refer to this heart, many times it is still–emotion. 

I’m talking about something deeper. Heart as a deeper love and knowledge–in touch with all that surrounds us and our deepest desires. Able to navigate and coordinate these as effortlessly as floating down the river in an inner tube on a bright sunny day with a beer. In a gentle current. No rocks. In the heart’s world, all that we need arrives beside us as we float (like that blue cooler filled with the next round of beer). And usually just in time. “Synchronicity” is the popular word for the results of the heart’s navigation and coordination. 

And I’ve experienced plenty of it. All of which I forget immediately when it looks like things are not working out the way I want in the situation of the moment. In those moments, I lose contact with my heart and toss myself into the sky dive of fear, without a parachute. Because–Goddammit!–the heart can’t be trusted after all. I free fall for a good few minutes (okay–days), always anticipating the splat! any second. The never-ending loom of doom. 

 Doom may make a cameo appearance, but Splat! never comes. I keep going…for one more moment. Then the next…and the next. Until I realize that in these moments I’m not free falling after all. It was all simulation. My feet are firmly on the ground.


That’s a victory. 

Which I conveniently forget. Like now, when I’m staring a couple of dreams in the face that seem eternally elusive. Impossible. At some point you just want to give up. Let it go. 

I’ve tried. Too many times to count. 

And I’ve failed repeatedly because something inside of me seems to be even more stubborn than my will. In its quiet, persistent way it never veers off course in its desire for these dreams. Ever. (I try to talk it out of it. Then gag it with fear when talk doesn’t work. I don’t recommend it–the desire will show up twice as powerful in your dreams at night.) 

Some say the heart gives true North. On good days I subscribe to this wholeheartedly. On bad–I think it’s blinder than Stevie Wonder and not half as good a musician. Maybe it’s not completely blind. Maybe it’s an eternal dreamer with a really bad sense of direction in the world of reality. 

And yet, really–what else do I have? It’s the deepest and most stubborn knowing I possess. To negate it feels like negating myself. Or like negating a physical law, like gravity. Yet…there are times I have to wonder if it’s just flat out wrong. 

For now, I’m trying to keep my feet on the ground and take one step at a time. Thinking more about the next step than the 5000th. My heart remains the compass in regard to my dreams. Maybe on the way to their fulfillment it just wants to make sure I don’t miss all the great sights along the way. 



4 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    September 11, 2009 7:43 pm

    from Laura @ Author Amok
    Melissa, you have to read “Heart on the Unemployment Line” by Diane Lockward. Jama Rattigan has it in her Poetry Friday post today.

    • September 13, 2009 8:26 pm

      Re: from Laura @ Author Amok
      Wow, Laura. I went and read it. Liked how it played on all those cliches-and I love the title. I need to give a couple more reads. Thanks for telling me about it!!

  2. Anonymous permalink
    October 6, 2009 2:07 pm

    your work
    I found u on twitter. Your work is interesting and deep. So true in many ways.
    I am an author with a new book coming out Dec 9.
    It was a monnumental effort at 733 pgs, 298,000 words.
    I am an artist as well and inked out 8 posters on the storyline. Its been great fun. I enjoyed your poetic images.
    All the best.
    Captain Jack III ( on twitter, and myspace)

    • October 6, 2009 4:38 pm

      Re: your work
      Thank you. I’m encouraged! Wow–what work you’ve done. I’ll get there one day. 🙂 Would love to hear more about the book. I like how you also created posters having to do with the storyline. I’m finding that the current visual poem series I’m doing is more related to my dissertation and a story I’m writing than I thought! A different way to think/process things. Thanks for your comment!!

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