The path between the head and the heart

The longest journey you will ever take is the 18 inches from your head to your heart. -Andrew Bennett

I remember hearing a version of this quote when I first began recovery work. I was so stuck in my head back then. Banging around in my brain all the time.

I was taught not to feel growing up. Emotions weren’t okay, there was no support for them. It was a very lonely place.

I took that learning well into my adult years, cutting myself off from my emotions. Robot-like with no way of processing feelings.

When I was finally told to feel in recovery it was like a dam breaking. Spontaneous boughts of tears. I had to process it all: the pain, sadness, anger and shame of my life thus far. No easy or small task.

It was a process. It still is. I had to go through weeks of anger and sadness, dredging everything up and exposing it to the light so the emotions could burn off.

I’m a better person now for all of it.

Even now as I continue my recovery journey and do talk therapy, spontaneous bursts of emotion come up. I had a rough week last week, teary and sad for most of it.

Instead of repressing my emotions, I now allow and honor them. Better out than in.

The path between the head and the heart may be a long one but it is the most valuable of them all.

 

 

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Shinrin-yoku

In the next few posts I’ll be exploring some cultural concepts that are new to me and I’m guessing most of you.

Shinrin-Yoku is a Japanese term that means “forest bathing”.

The idea being that spending time in the forest and natural areas is good preventative medicine since it lowers stress.

Having grown up in the Gatineau Hills, I can sincerely say I’m a huge fan of shinrin-yoku. The forest is the place I go to get grounded and centered and come back to myself.

I’ve healed many a sad, broken heart in the forest.

I guess I can be called a tree hugger. Nothing grounds me quite like hugging a tree.

If you haven’t done it before, give it a try. You’ll feel the difference instantly.

Get out and enjoy some shinrin-yoku, your heart will thank you for it.