More than a Feelin'
Written by
Cyndi Briggs
August 2010
Written by
Cyndi Briggs
August 2010
Today, I present to you: Pop Culture Wisdom. I've been house hunting this weekend (more on that later) and I'm staying at my cousin's condo during the search. This weekend she's out of town, so I took advantage of her big empty living room last night, watching reruns of "Glee" and dancing wildly to "Don't Stop Believin'" in my pajamas. Man, it's easy to work up a sweat to that song. Listening to those kids belt out retro Steve Perry, I noticed one important thing in Steve's lyrics that resonated closely with my house hunting experience: feelings. Steve (and the Glee 20-somethings) sings -

Don't stop believin', Hold onto that feeling....

Steve Perry and boys implore us to hold on to the feeling of our dreams, our hopes, or wishes. Not logic, not reason, not thought. He doesn't sing, "Hold onto that well-reasoned plan," or "Hold on to that carefully constructed list of 'have to have's'". No.


OK, so let's be clear: applying logic to life is a good thing. We need logic and reason in order to create a form in which to function. Architects use logic. And thank heaven. We'd all be living in shapeless piles of bricks if not. And having a well-thought out plan for life's major decisions is a sign of maturity.

But when it comes right down to it, we will toss our lists into the bonfire of emotion if our feelings tell us to.

A few months ago, I was watching House Hunters on HGTV, the show where potential home-buyers are shown three houses and have to choose the one that fits them best (oh, the suspense!).

The featured couple was selecting a vacation home somewhere in the Caribbean. They arrived at the first house armed with clipboards onto which they'd painstakingly crafted a complicated rubric for evaluating the potential "rightness" of each house.

I'll just take a moment here to pause and say, "Whaaaaa?"

Anyhoo, this couple toured three homes. They filled out their rubrics. They compared their results. And they chose a house. In the post-selection interview, they discussed their highly-logical system and how well it had worked for them. But, in the end (and here's the kicker) they admitted, "We ultimately picked the house that just felt right. We knew immediately..."

Logic gets us to the destination, but it is our emotions that ultimately walk us through the door.

I tell you this today because emotions get a bum rap in Western civilization. Though attention to feelings has enjoyed a bit of a revival in recent years, we remain a society where the ability to reason and apply logic is revered over trusting our guts.

But logic doesn't make the heart sing. Logic doesn't flood the soul with color. Logic can't make us fall in love with a person, or our lives, or a dog we see at the animal shelter. Logic doesn't compel us to commit great acts of compassion. It doesn't drive us into the burning building to rescue the small child.

Yesterday, after weeks of frustrated looking, I finally found my new home here in Winston-Salem. It does, indeed, have most of the features I listed on my initial list of "have to haves" - pet friendly, near downtown, nice patio with flowers, hardwood floors, great price, etc.

But it also has several drawbacks; a window unit air conditioner, a "retro" kitchen (read: avocado appliances), no fenced in yard space for my dog, a coin-operated laundry for the building instead of my own washer and dryer.

But my new apartment in a hundred-year old house simply sang to me. The light was exactly right. The 12' ceilings make the space feel like an airy loft. I could easily picture myself writing in the huge bay window. There's an unnecessary hallway along one side of the place that serves no purpose but is totally enchanting. And the original mail box remains, a small square door with a bell for the mail carrier to ring. Darling.

I loved it the minute I walked into the "retro" kitchen. Immediately. I just knew.

So this is what I encourage you to do today: put away your lists. Let go of your schedule as much as possible. If you're trying to make a decision, stop thinking and start feeling.

Listen, I know you've thought things out - you're a tech-savvy person who likes reading blogs, for Pete's sake. You're no dummy.

But I am also willing to wager that you (like me) tend to over-think things a bit.

Today, in whatever decision you're working out, give your brain an hour or so off, get very quiet, and let your feelings weigh in on the problem. Remind yourself you don't have to act right now, or become impulsive... just allow this new information to filter into your system so you can make the most informed decision possible.

Emotions are sophisticated intelligence and they long to be heard. Hear them. Listen. Now.

And now, why don't you get yourself to some dancing:


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