“If you want to know where your heart is, look where your mind goes when it wanders.”
I read this little quote recently – not sure where but somewhere in blogland – and it has stuck with me, really, really stuck with me. To the point that when I find my mind wandering I jump immediately into trying to determine where my mind is going or has gone. Not a good thing for me, why you may ask, well because I must have the answers, I must know where my mind wanders to in order to truly identify where my heart is – I simply must know it all. But in the process of “must knowing” the wandering immediately ceases and frustration sets in.
This need to know resides in the recesses of my sometimes extremely muddled brain and has dug in deep, solidifying its position after years of repetition and expectation but I think I am beginning to understand its origin and why it is so strong.
My childhood was a jumble of unknowns and uncertainties. My home was never a place of safety or comfort but rather a place of judgment and unattainable expectations especially for me, the firstborn. My parents, while I attest that they did the best they could, were never consistent in any area of my upbringing. Love, while not intended, was conditional, based upon my performance and the image I portrayed – everything from me was a direct reflection of the two of them and every fault or imperfection that I exhibited was in turn their imperfection and perceived (in their eyes) inability to raise a proper, God-fearing child. I still hear my father’s voice barreling down from the pulpit (he was the preacher, you know) mid-service, telling me to “behave” and stop giggling ... the heat of embarrassment on my cheeks and in my belly is something I can still feel today. And it wasn’t just my parents, my father’s congregants followed his lead, I would often be the only child from a group, chastised for dirtying my dress or running in the church’s halls by any follower that happened upon us.
In order to meet these impossible expectations I decided I would try to know everything before it was going to happen because if I knew what was coming I could figure out how I was supposed to act and what I was supposed to do and say and those proper actions would somehow result in an abundant outpouring of love from my parents. Oh the foolish hopes of a child. (You can just imagine their shock and agony when I came out as a lesbian and a left-winged one at that!)
The need to have everything in place prior to something – anything – happening continues to rear its ugly head and push itself in the middle of every attempt I make at being at peace with myself and where I am at this time in my life. The immediate desire to know where my mind is wandering to is a manifestation of this need and not easily ignored.
It’s a difficult place to be but at least I am starting to honestly see what I do, often sub-consciously, to hamper my growth and in turn I can begin the process of understanding or at least acknowledging the reasons behind those actions in hopes of moving forward.
Maybe in the seeing I will find the freedom to let go, change and accept (only moving mountains here).