Getting the Heart and Mind Right

By Troy Headrick

Hi, everyone.  I’ve been away for a couple of weeks.  I’ve certainly missed being here, but I needed time off to decompress and recharge.

Speaking of decompressing and recharging, I wonder if people, living during earlier periods of history, felt as hurried and harried as those of us living in this twenty-first century feel.  That’s an interesting question perhaps best left to the historians.

I like to see myself as a project.  I’m always an early draft, a rough sketch.  For me, it’s more about process than product.

If I ever think of myself as being “finished,” then what is left to do?    

Right now, I’m working on helping myself get past a sticking point.  In July of 2015, I came back to the United States after living in northeast Africa for seven years.  Prior to that stint abroad, I had lived in various locales in Asia and Europe.

Since returning to the US, I haven’t traveled overseas.  This fact gets me back to the sticking point I mentioned early.  Lately, it seems, I’ve been feeling like I’m stuck here.  My jet-setting, adventurous years look like they’re behind me, at least for the moment, and this makes me feel a little sad.

When I get down, I remember that a person can travel while never leaving home, and that the feeling of adventure and wonder, the one I recall from my past, can be recreated when I remind myself that I’m on a spiritual sojourn.   Even though I’m no longer currently spending my time in interesting, far-flung spots, there are all sorts of new developments in my life and that these are taking me to many never-before-seen way stations on my journey.  Without each stop, the trip would lack context and coherence.

Wondrous things can be found “out there,” in the world, but they can also be found by turning inward, by facing each day with the heart of a traveler, the heart that stands open and ready to touch and be touched.   

It’s about getting the heart and mind right.  And that is my newest project.

Troy Headrick’s personal blog can be found here.

39 thoughts on “Getting the Heart and Mind Right

  1. Such beautiful insight you have portrayed here! Journeys, even physical ones, require preparedness of the mind. I believe that you are well prepared for whatever is next and will prosper in spirit from your perceptions.

    1. Hi. That feeling of wonder and adventure is just that–a feeling–and thus resides in the person who is experiencing it. It’s not completely determined by the external world; it’s more about how we respond to those interactions with the world. If we are open to being amazed by things, then amazement will happen. Thanks for the comment.

      1. Thank you! The same thing is true for all sorts of feelings. For example, bad things that happen to us aren’t the cause of anger. A person could have all sorts of responses to negative experiences. Anger is merely one kind of REACTION. A person could have a non-response to a bad experience. This would be the typical stoical response. We give up control when we allow an angry response. This is the lesson of Buddhism and the Stoics (among others).

      2. Hi Troy, words that ring true! There is so much life in how we react to things. It’s so powerful that it can change the human experience. Simply seeing things in a new light is life-changing. How powerful is that?!

  2. We live in the mind whether we know it or not. Sounds like a smart project to undertake Troy. Wishing you well on your new endeavours 🙏

    1. It’s less about those experiences we have and more about how we respond to those experiences. A person can be surrounded by all sorts of stimuli but still be bored to death. Or, with the right frame of mind, a person can be amazed by the “ordinary.” Thanks, AP2!

      1. Reminds me of Nelson Mandela who managed to gain enlightenment while sitting in a jail cell. And this Bob Marley quote: “None but ourselves can free our minds from mental slavery.”

      2. Those who have the world taken from them create a “world.” I’ve often wondered about how I would do if were put in prison. I think I’d do pretty well. The potential for violence and danger would worry me, but living in a confined space wouldn’t. I’d just spend my time writing, doing art, and reading. I’ve seen many interviews with guys who’ve spent time in prison. Many of them don’t know themselves until they find themselves “confined.”

      3. I’m with you. Give me books and a pen to express myself with and I’ll make the most of it. I think many people have undergone the process of finding themselves this past year. Hopefully the world will benefit from that in the longer term.

      4. Yes, give me the tools I need to engage in creative pursuits and I’ll be just fine. My hope is that many have learned to slow down and to be inward looking permanently as a result of this experience. I hope many also see that we are all interconnected as a result. Because we share common vulnerabilities, we have to look out for one another. We either all survive and thrive together or none of us will.

  3. Sounds highly familiar to me. I haven’t been writing for a while and as much as I’d like to write more, I still feel like I’m missing something, early in my journey and still searching.

    1. It sounds like you’re being mindful and paying attention to those advisory feelings that are going on inside of you. Can you verbalize what you think that missing piece might be? Actually speaking it might really help? Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Thank you, Donna-Luisa. Now’s the time to look inward since so much of the world is either sick or trying to keep from getting sick. Thank you so much for commenting.

  4. I’ve been stuck in this one place for over a decade so far. I don’t like where I am, but like you, it doesn’t stop me from traveling mentally to where I’d rather be. It seems that many people haven’t learned this way of escaping or, maybe, they’re expecting someone else to take care of the problem for them. Then, again, maybe they’re just ignorant. I often ponder on the question of why people have decided to stay so shallow. I have yet to come up with a satisfactory answer.

    1. Hi, G. J. Jolly. You sound like a wise person. Do you blog? If so, why not post a link here so we can check out your writing? Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    1. Absolutely agree, Richard! Travel literally forces us to move beyond our comfort zone. It requires us to confront the person we are in an unfamiliar context. I often tell others that I didn’t understand my home country until I left it. We only understand places by having the opportunity to compare and contrast them to other places. Thanks so much your comment.

  5. Troy, my traveling days are behind me, but I explore the inner world, and every day I learn more about people, places, and events in the universe.

    When the coronavirus is gone, I may do a bit of traveling. Maybe you should go on another grand adventure while you are young enough to enjoy it! <3 Take care.

    1. Hi, Cheryl. I’m an international person, so traveling is a part of who I am, which means I’ll likely leave the US (with my Egyptian wife) for good to retire in the not-so-distant future. Once everyone gets vaccinated, we’ll likely travel in this hemisphere. Ironically, I have never been to South America even though it’s nearby. I’m thinking Ecuador and/or Mexico would be nice trips. Have you had a chance to get your vaccine?

      1. Congrats, Cheryl. Now, if we can get those anti-vaccination folks to participate, we’ll eventually find ourselves in a good place. I’m liking that Biden is also beginning to help other countries find vaccines. We’re all in this together.

  6. If you happen travel physically, do write about it here. This way we’ll get to see the world from your eyes 🙂 I love to travel, I’ve never forgotten the feeling I had when I went to Istanbul. I wish to visit Turkey again if I had a chance, it stirs a strange sort of longing within when I see old architecture. Every structure that man has raised on this earth tells a story, bygone times and civilization cause the mind to look deeper and think harder.

  7. Oh how that project is one I embark on every day of every week. Some days I travel further than others, intentionally spending time thinking about my current mindset and what my heart is set on. Others I rest, to recover from the days in which I have uncovered more than I bargained for!

    Another things, that many New Zealanders find, is the beauty of the place we live. I have found many hidden gems very near to where I live, and even had a beautiful park I was able to walk in while in lockdown.

    I pray you find what you need in terms of physical and spiritual sojourn, to keep the spark of the process that is life going strong!

  8. I doubt if we have a monopoly on feeling harried and rushed. Anne of Cleeves was rushed into marriage with Henry VIII. Peasants would have scrambled to work on their own small garden beds after hours working for the lord of the lands. Hundreds of examples. But I think our generations have made a god out of busy-ness, exhaustion, and too much to do.

  9. I’ve always been wondering why most people are trying to “finish” themselves as soon as they can to become a finished product… It’s always a work in progress. Moving and moving forward is what really matters.

  10. Sometimes the shortest journey to your own backyard can be more inspirational and rewarding than the longest journey.

    Wherever you go near it far have fun and create happy memories.

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