I wish making sounds was a valid response to the “How are you question”! GRRSAAAHH, MEEEWH, YAAAAY! The expected “I am good!” so rarely encompasses anything I feel. If pure vocalization of emotion was a socially acceptable reaction, I would produce a series of grunts, low and high tones, an odd composition of disharmonious tones at any given moment.
Even when I try to comply with social conventions and answer with words, I am notoriously bad at it. It is in my long-winded answers I often myself realize how I truly feel in particular moment or about a given topic. This often leaves me wondering how do we really know what we feel? Is it in the rational analysis of the cacophony of words that stream out of my mouth that I “discover” my true feelings. Is it the observation of my emotions when answering that makes me realize the underlying sensation. Do I create the feeling by the analysis or is it something independent?
Then there are those rare moments, when you just feel. This Tuesday, I experienced one of those moments of purity. Incidentally it was a Valentine’s Day, when the odds are that I as a single person may not be at a peak of happiness. Yet, there I was sliding on frozen lake in my high heels I wore that day. Venturing on ice was definitely not the most rational decision, which I uselessly tried to counterbalance with outstretched hands. Needless to say, I landed flat on my back. Yet,with the sun shining into my face was giggling. Looking around at the ice, my giggle turned into laughter. Imprinted in the ice, was a pattern of a neuron immediately reminding me of my pondering – is it the brain or heart that discovers/creates emotions.
This was only a first of several serendipitous moments that afternoon. I was engulfed by my enjoyment of the moment, by my ice fascination, not only the patterns but how it allows me to see a familiar lake from a new perspective. As I stood there, recalling the many moments and memories I have created by this lake, I heard a loud “Hey I know you!” from a passing by ice-skater. What a coincidence! A guy I met a day before in a climbing gym was passing by.
While this did not turn out to be spontaneous Valentine romance, that afternoon definitely felt movie-like. However, not because of the chance encounter but because of the purity of the moment, the purity of my happiness, the lack of analyzing.
Upon my return home, another serendipity hit me in the face. A quote, “How do you know you love somebody” was starring at me from my email subject lines. The question seemed very fitting, especially on Valentine day, and the article on Brainpickings resonated deeply with me and way more eloquently and philosophically discusses the emotions-heart-brain issue that was lingering in my head.
While I have no clear answers to the philosophical dilemma, my afternoon of happy high-heels ice sliding definitely agreed with the Proust’s quote that “Knowledge of the heart must come from the heart – from and in its pains and longings, its emotional responses“. On Tuesday, my heart was purely happy, as well as it can be entirely crushed on other occasions.I am glad, that I did not let the lack of the ice-skates and my rationality take away the YAAAAY from my heart that day.