I’ve had four aha moments in my life – four events that brought an alignment of head, heart, and gut. I’ve used those rare moments to guide my life since.
Some conclusions I’ve reached with my head. They make sense even if my heart is not in them. “Don’t treat yourself with so many baked goods” is an example of a conclusion that my head has reached but my heart is not in. To this day I eat too many scones and muffins.
Other conclusions I’ve made with my gut. “Don’t trust that person.” I don’t have a real reason for it – it’s just a gut feeling. Sometimes these gut feelings prove right and other times they don’t. Sometimes my gut feelings seem like intuition and other times they seem to me like they were just superstition.
And some conclusions have been emotional, arrived at by the heart. “I can totally see myself getting rich by signing up 3 new clients each week!” Or, “I am going to get fit by running 5 miles each day!” And as with the decisions made by the head or gut, the decisions made by a heart alone have a mixed track record.
What I’ve found is that there are few times in life when the head, heart, and gut all align, like planets in an astrologer’s forecast. When reason, emotion, and instinct all converge on a decision, it’s a conclusion that I trust with my life. And I have.
The first three moments were both personal and, I’m embarrassed to say it, probably fairly generic. These were moments when reason, emotion, and instinct conspired to tell me that this was a direction to move in my life. My religion, my wife, and my children all hit me with this force. The fourth moment of brilliant clarity, of conviction, has to do with my work, my calling.
About 15 years ago, I saw a pattern that I’ve worked to research, develop, articulate, and translate into action ever since. I am 46 now and I suspect that I’ll merely be getting it started when I stop working at the age of 96. My head tells me that this next great transformation is going to occur and that the pattern of past revolutions predicts the future. My gut tells me that social change is overdue and imminent. My heart tells me that this offers the most exciting opportunity ever afforded a generation and to be an advocate and guide to this transformation promises more excitement than one person has the right to expect. A similar alignment can occur in romance.
When a romantic impulse or insight excites your head, heart, and gut, you have as clear a signal as the universe provides. Honestly do this check for a romantic partner. Does your head, coldly analyzing the facts and situation, feel that this person makes sense as a partner? Do you see reasons why you two wouldn’t be compatible? Does your heart fill with excitement, with emotion, when you are with this person or thinking about him / her? Finally, does your gut send any warning signals or do you feel a great deal of ineffable comfort and sense of belonging with this person? And for a romantic interest you should probably include a fourth organ as well when talking about the alignment of head, heart, and gut.
For a great deal of life, it is enough to have the vote of head, heart, or gut. You don’t need alignment of all three to go try a new restaurant or pick a vacation spot or even move a task up on your to do list. But for the truly defining choices in life, you should patiently wait for just this kind of alignment.
For me, these rare moments of clarity have been enough. If I stay true to them on the dark and confusing days, I can still find my way.