Regardless of who you are right now, I can say with 100 per cent certainty that at one point you were a baby.
And regardless of the circumstances surrounding your arrival onto this planet and those first all-important months and years of your life, you were at that point in time fluent in a language that today you probably don't even remember -- the language of the heart.
And as you grew through your early months and years, being the adorable little sponge that you were, you learnt a new and very different language. This new language was the one that the people around you, the people that you depended upon for your very survival (your parents, older siblings, other family members, teachers, people in positions of authority), were fluent in: the language of the mind.
It didn't take long for this new language to become the only one that the still young you knew how to speak. After all, everyone around you was fluent in it, and they were your role models and you wanted to be just like them!
And as you journeyed through your life, even if you were briefly reminded of that old language (of the heart) when you first fell in love, or when your own children were babies, or even if it showed up randomly in life's moments and you were completely enchanted by it, the "sensible, responsible, practical grown-up you" quickly dismissed that old language, and reverted back to speaking the language everyone else did -- the language of the mind -- and you made certain that your kids did too.
Simply put, the language of the mind is Fear, and the language of the heart is Love.
It is said that, fundamentally, we human beings operate from only two places: Fear and Love. But there's more: fear and love cannot co-exist at the same time, in the same moment, or in the same space.
If one is present, there is no space for the other to be. In other words, if you are operating from a place of love, your fear is neutralized and simply melts away. And if you are operating from a place of fear, which is essentially worry, anxiety and anger amongst other things, love is swiftly kicked to the curb completely.
Stop and think about it for a moment.
Think about your life, your day, your interactions with your co-workers, your boss, your spouse, your clients, your kids.
Think about your interaction with the person at the check-out counter at the grocery store, or the person who cut you off in traffic, or how you feel about the state of your bank account, your job etc. etc.
What is your go-to emotion? Is it worry and anxiety that leaves your stomach in knots? Or is it ease, trust, hope, and a sense of optimism and possibility that brings you calm, clarity and peace even in the face of difficult circumstances?
If you answered "worry, anxiety and fear", here's the thing: it's not your fault.
Given the level of chaos, uncertainty and upheaval in our world today and in most people around us, and whether we are aware or conscious of it, for most of us our modus operandi in work, life and everything in-between is somewhere along the spectrum of fear.
At one end of the spectrum it's fear, and at the other end, it's full-on, debilitating FEAR.
Sadly, more people function this way than not, and doing so just keeps it going around and around and around, circulating like that nasty flu bug making the rounds at the office or at home that never really disappears.
So is it any wonder that today mental health issues, not just in adults but also children, are at the crisis levels that they are.
This is not anecdotal, here are some important findings from CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health).
Did you know that mental illness is a leading cause of disability in Canada?
Did you know that in any given year, one in five Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem?
Did you know that in Ontario alone, the disease burden of mental illness and addiction is 1.5 times higher than all cancers put together, and more than seven times all of the infectious diseases?
And if you're wondering about your kids, did you know that 70 per cent of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence? Or, that young people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to experience mental illness and/or substance use disorders than any other age group?
I'm sharing these findings not to scare the bejeebers out of you, but to wake you up to what might be going on in your own life and your own world, and to assure you that it doesn't have to be this way.
Granted, sometimes mental illnesses can be attributed to serious chemical imbalances where medical and pharmaceutical intervention is absolutely necessary and the best course of action and remedy. However, in many cases mental illness is situational and brought about by not only the extreme and unrelenting worry and anxiety caused by external forces in life, work etc., but essentially by our "inner forces", specifically, this language of the mind that most of us have been taught and expected to speak for not just years, but for decades.
I am not the first person in the history of the world to write about the fact that fear, worry, anxiety is created in our mind. And if you look at the findings above, our supposedly brilliant minds are quite literally killing us.
And with this anxious, constantly worrying, angry warrior Fear being as consistently created, fuelled and as firmly entrenched as it is in your mind and your life, chances are that there is absolutely no place for the gentle, trusting being that is Love to exist, let alone to be cultivated and thrive.
More often than not, the only path back to Love and the language of the heart is through a moment of significant breakdown, or hitting rock bottom.
Think about it. Do you know someone (or have experienced it personally) who had an emotional breakdown (caused by any number of catastrophic events including job loss, divorce, physical illness, stress/burnout, death of a loved one etc) or hit rock bottom...and eventually had a life-affirming breakthrough that positively changed their whole life?
There's no reason to despair. That breakdown was/is your spiritual alarm clock going off and sounding louder than it ever has in order to save you from you, and from all that is not working in your life and your current way of being and doing.
That noisy spiritual alarm clock sometimes feels like you're being hit with a blunt object (because all those many gentle nudges leading up to that moment clearly didn't work to wake you up!), and its real purpose is to lead you back to your true centre, your inner truth, your true self.
And the gateway is that language you once knew so well, the language of the heart, the one that you came into this world being fluent in, and along the way forgot.
It's only through re-learning this language of the heart that you can once again find not just sustainable "happiness", but also a sense of true peace and calm, while also reclaiming and genuinely owning joy, ease, resilience, trust and laughter.... and a new-found ability to neutralize that FEAR, worry and anxiety, whenever and wherever it strikes, so that you can bounce back from a place of powerful heart-centred strength and resilience in response to the chaos and havoc that fear absolutely loves to create and perpetuate in your life.
You know what I'm talking about, don't you?!
Remember, you were once fluent in this language of the heart. It was your go-to. It was how you authentically communicated and interacted with your world and those in it. It was how you got your deepest needs met. It was your natural way of being and doing until, that is, those around you taught you a very different language with which to cope with and navigate through your life, the language of the mind. It wasn't good or bad, it's just what was. Yet, it dismissed and minimized how truly beautiful, natural and essential your original language - the language of the heart - was (and is!!) to your life, your health, your emotional happiness and your overall wellbeing.