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    The Science (Sort Of) of Self Expression

           Human evolution experts have hypothesized that a key element to human development has been our ability to express ourselves artistically. As far as we can tell, Homo Sapiens were the first hominids to create cave drawings. These drawings are the first graphic examples of artistic and literary self expression. Anthropologists determined that this ability to create art has not only been critical in the development of human culture and society, but in the development of the individual. In other words, if we want to keep growing and developing, we need to express ourselves.
           That’s great news. Because it underscores what I’ve been serving up here on MuscleHeart. There is some science behind all of this feeling based self expression stuff. There is indeed a bedrock of reason, research and data underneath how important it is to express yourself. And I’ll be exploring more of that in future posts.
           If we are disconnected from our feelings, our ability to express ourselves becomes severely limited. I know this very well, because I have been there, more than once. How and why we disconnect from our feelings is a fascinating subject, both scientifically and emotionally.
           Feelings can be frightening. Especially for people who spend lots of time in their heads, which is to say, most of us. Feelings are powerful, and they sometimes move us against what our head is telling us. What we feel and what we think are sometimes in opposition. Our heads and our hearts don’t communicate well unless we cultivate and nurture and develop a relationship between the two. One way to look at them is like two very different people who both want the same thing but, because they are so different, are having a very hard time communicating and understanding one another. We all know what that’s like.
           Our heads and our hearts both operate from different places, but ultimately, beneath all the smoke and mirrors, they want the same thing; they want us to be happy and fulfilled. They both want love. Yes, even the head. But the head believes it and it alone knows how to get it, and wants to be in control of getting it. The head, and by head I mean the mind, believes that it can figure everything out, and that it doesn’t need the heart.
           The heart isn’t crazy about the mind either. The heart finds the mind terribly condescending, self righteous, and just a big fucking know it all. Which in some ways it is. The head and the heart miss the essence of each other. They both miss the benefits and strengths each one brings to the proverbial table. And unless we make a conscious effort to build a relationship between the two, they don’t get along very well. And that leads us to pain and suffering.
           I am by no means an expert at getting my head and my heart to communicate. Sometimes I do it, and sometimes I down right suck at it. But I’m aware of the value of this relationship, and I practice getting it to work. And one of the ways I get the two to work together is through self expression. Because to be fully expressive, the heart and mind must work together. They have to communicate. To attempt self expression without engaging the mind means no action is taken. To self express without your heart results in a pretty uninspired, vapid endeavor.
           From what I wear to what I write, my self expression comes from my head and heart working together in presenting myself to the world. The total is greater than the sum of the parts if both are dancing with each other and not trying to go solo, which is each one’s preference. There are plenty of times when I wish I did not have a heart to cloud my thinking. There are plenty of times when the power of my emotions makes communication between head and heart difficult, because the stronger and louder my heart screams, the stronger and louder my head yells to be heard. It can literally become a shouting match inside of me. And I’m an intelligent, very deep thinker who also has a huge heart and feels very deeply. So it’s like Clash of The Fucking Titans.
           When that happens, I have to take a step back. I need to hear both, and to do that, they can’t be screaming. I want the intensity of what they have to say without the volume. And sometimes I don’t know how to get that.
           But I’m working on it.


    ©2012 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart, and Red F Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

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