The Paradox of Inner Wisdom

Kylie and I made a short video for you about inner wisdom; why it’s important and what we want you to know about it. Listen in below.

And it got me thinking. What I said in this video is truth. 

Following your heart doesn’t have to be scary. It doesn’t have to shake up your whole life.

The most beautiful thing about your inner wisdom is that it’s always there, waiting for you. You can travel toward it at your own speed. You can take one tiny step at a time as you move closer to the heart of who you are, building your courage and strength as you walk.

You can follow your heart in the most basic of ways, when pouring a mug of tea and breathing the steam, reaching out to hold the hand of a friend, smiling as you tip your face toward the sun. These tiny actions are crucial. You can work in partnership with your heart, honoring your precious life exactly as it is, while claiming a truer expression of yourself.  

But if I am to be completely honest with you (and with myself), and I do intend to be, there is more to this truth. 

Here is the necessary counterpoint, the cause of the fundamental disconnect from our hearts:

You believe that your heart is dangerous

You have been taught to follow instructions and a linear path. You have been encouraged to be practical, to trust logic and reason. You’ve been looking for the right answer from the moment of your very first homework assignment. You’ve been taught to accept absolutes because they are easy, because they allow you to avoid the uncomfortable truth that life is built in shades of grey. Your heart contains what is quite possibly the one thing that will never be quantified, and therefore it is not to be trusted.

You’ve been taught to fear your heart. 

And this is also true. Your heart IS dangerous. Your heart is flat out terrifying, because it asserts that you are so much more powerful than you have believed. 

That life is so much more than you have been taught to accept. 

That real love is bigger than you can possibly imagine (big enough, even, to include your own sweet self). 

Your heart makes a stand for discomfort, extremes, and edges (Remember first love?) Your heart calls for inclusion, even and maybe especially of the unfamiliar. Your heart discards reason and measures and shuns absolutes. 

And we have been taught that this, all of this, is dangerous. And so we close the door to our hearts, for a moment or a year or a lifetime, we lock it closed with our fear. Our hearts are dangerous. To the status quo, when it is unsatisfactory. To blind hatred, where ever it shows itself. To deceit and manipulation. The heart cannot accept reason and logic when it is used to justify exclusion, separation, and terror in it’s many forms.

Our fullest life requires that we develop our ability to live with emotions that threaten to break us apart. Our brains, for all their millions of neurons and synapses and infinitesimal functions, for all their physiological wonder, are perhaps too detailed to hold space for mystery; our mind cannot rectify beauty and pain that occupy the same territory. For that, we need our hearts.    

Your heart is both haven and crucible. It is BOTH. A paradox that only it can hold.


This post is part of a series on connecting with your inner wisdom, all the many ways that it shows up, and how we learn to actually use it. On June 20th, in Seattle, Washington, my dear friend Kylie Bellard and I are gathering with a group of kind and curious folks to share our most cherished practices for drawing on our inner wisdom. Are you interested in building a more conscious relationship with your own inner well? We would love to have you join us.

Find all the details and register to save your spot, right here. 

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