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feelingthoughts: the word invented in a Colombian fishing village

There is a coastal community in Colombia, who consider themselves sentipensantes, beings that use both their brain and their heart.

(If you speak spanish, here's a video

They use the word sentipensamientos (feelingthoughts) to speak of things that are both felt and thought.

I am the opposite.

I have a giant head. When I was in university I refused to have my picture taken with my roommate because it was so grossly accentuated next to her small one. And this giant head was born in a culture that was far from knowing this idea of feelingthoughts. I have had to use words, and my large, cumbersome, brain, to point me back towards feelings.

slowly...slowly...slowly... I have tiptoed towards my anger, tears and laughter.

These fisherpeople believe that living from both head and heart is essential for change and life in general.

Change that comes only from the head is useless. Our giant brains are even finding evidence to support their lack of effectiveness.

It's the kind of change that:

  • come from reading a self-help book.

  • comes from going to the gym and talking to the trainer about exercise.

  • comes through administrative policies and executive decisions.

  • happens when a restaurant owner introduces an idea but has never worked the dishwasher.

  • happens when you go to the therapist and come to another clever analysis of why you do what you do.

It doesn't work. At least long term.

Our giant brains only manage to "white knuckle" us so far (a job generally designed for our hands but our brains have also taken this task on.)

I am fearful for the state of me, and social-change enthusiasts, and feminists, and political parties and countries and academia. And I tell myself I shouldn't be a nay-sayer, but I'm scared...

You train your brain to use the computer, your words to sound like self-help books, your passion to look like porn and your art to be politically correct.

These are all areas generally based in the head.

How do I use my giant big brain to point me back down to my little chicken heart?

How do we do this collectively till we start to connect back up.

This is neuroscience. This is called vertical integration (head and heart).

You could take a second and turn your attention to your body, literally.

There are at least 2 ways of doing this;

1. We stay in our head and consider the body intellectually. (This means we talk about heart and love and light and instinct and energy but we don't feel it. We have even intellectualized these felt concepts.)

2. We slow down and sink into the experience of being in our body. A bit like dropping our brain into our throat, heart, stomach...feet. And as we do this we slow down about 7 X.

This process of "seeing" our heart/body, repeated 5 000 times, gets our foot in the door (it can take less than a second). 10 000 times and it becomes an easy process, and 20 000 times and it becomes a way of being.

There are other processes, which, in theory, begin to connect mind and heart. Yoga, meditation, and exercise, can help. However, these practices can also be done with a complete disconnect and from a very cognitive place. In the same way we can be with a child either in a cognitive way, or in a way where we actually begin to tune into how they're feeling or what they're sensing.

Go try the thing where your big brain slows down. Try the thing where you actually listen to your heart or chest. Physically what is actually happening; is it tight or is it open? Soften the thoughts and analysis around it and actually feel into the physical sensations of your heart for a moment. Now repeat this, 20 000 times.

And here's to the fisherpeople.

Here's to the moments where we act on a united front, head and heart, at the same time saying the same thing.

Here's to getting out of our big brains and into our little chicken hearts.

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