Isn't it lovely when you feel something deep and hard to explain, and then pick up a book only to find the author has already captured that very thing and put it on paper?
I love this excerpt from Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Everyday we have so many choices. Will we eat this or that...work on that or this? If life is a smorgasbord, are you choosing with your eyes or with your heart?
"One of the most important discriminations we can make is the difference between the things that beckon to us and things that call from our souls.
This is how it works: imagine a smorgasbord laid out with whipped cream and salmon and bagels and roast beef, and fruit salad, and green enchiladas and rice and curry and yogurt and many, many things for table after table after table. Imagine that you survey it all and that you see certain things that appeal to you. You remark to yourself, "Oh! I would really like to have one of those, and one of that, and some of this other thing."
Some women and men make all their life decisions in this way. There is around and about us a constant beckoning world, one which insinuates itself into our lives, arousing and creating appetite where there was little or none before. In this sort of choice, we choose a thing because it just happened to be beneath our noses at that moment in time. It is not necessarily what we want, but it is interesting, and the longer we gaze at it, the more compelling it becomes.
When we are connected to the instinctual self, to the soul of the feminine which is natural and wild, then instead of looking over whatever happens to be on display, we say to ourselves, "What am I hungry for?" Without looking at anything outwardly, we venture inward, and ask, "What do I long for? What do I wish for now?"
Is that on the smorgasbord? Maybe yes and maybe no. In most cases, probably not. We will have to quest for it a little bit--sometimes for a considerable time. But in the end we shall find it, and be glad we took soundings about our deeper longings."
How might we reflect on what we're hungry for, before our eyes catch a glimpse of the table?
How might we shift our days to look inward first, before we let anyone pull us out?
It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.
When I walk past a grandpa wearing sky-high pants over a big round belly, I can't help but smile. It's ridiculous and funny and so cute it hurts. I want to know everything about this grandpa. What are his favorite cookies from the cookie jar? Who does he love most in life? What was he like as a child?
I know underneath those high pants and that big belly, there's a beating heart hanging on to emotions and stories and people. I want to know everything about the heart that makes him human.
As a researcher, teacher, and writer, connecting with others on a deeper level is integral to all the work that I do. When I notice the quirks, curiosities, and absurdities in the people around me, I feel a little human-to-human love. We are all flawed and vulnerable.
A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.
Connecting at the Heart
The further I dive into getting to know people through my work, the more I realize how truly interconnected the heart is in business. Robert Greene captures this concept so beautifully in his book, Mastery.
In the book, Greene studies the greats--everyone from Leonardo da Vinci to modern day masters like artist Teresita Fernandez--and breaks down the role of the heart on the road to becoming a master in a field. He simplifies the journey into three distinct phases: apprenticeship, creative-active, and mastery.
The mastery phase is where the magic happens.
In the third phase, we have access to the heart of life--to human nature and natural phenomena. That is why the artwork of Masters touches us to the core; the artist has captured something of the essence of reality. That is why the brilliant scientist can uncover a new law of physics, and the investor or entrepreneur can hit upon something no one else has imagined.
I built Humans at Heart to explore the existential question: how do we access the heart of life?
I don't know the answer quite yet, but I'm jumping into phase two to learn more. If you are ridiculous, lovable, and at all interested in the role of the heart in life and business, I'd love for you to join me on this journey!