Heart over mind


“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

Alice Walker


As I write to the stings of Zoë Keating – I walk the beach. It’s where my best ideas flow. I compose in my mind. Take out my phone so the words don’t float out to sea.

I’m pondering yet once more how to stay optimistic. The singularity of people who like me but not my work has not been lost to me. I ask others who can do both – they remind me how quantum a jump my thoughts need. Another tells me the greatest gift I gave them was self-validation. I marvel once more what it means to have a whole soul. What liberation is possible for you.

Lately, I’ve begun to realise many people don’t listen when I speak. They aren’t hearing my voice as they’re too busy projecting their own insecurities. Many of those who get me often ask – why do you stay in Ireland? Partly because I realise I couldn’t create in perfection. I need the gap between me and my environment to churn. The ideas flow in the isolation. The roots needing to be formed to jump the hurdles of change.

But in the last two weeks, I’ve started to see I stay for the possibility too. The hope. I stay for the heart. It’s what I missed most when I lived away. As many conversations have ragged in these weeks it’s all too easy to focus on the squares of the chessboard. When the real debate is between the lights and dark. The heart and mind.

In music, we show our connection to the body, the heart and the nature held so dearly. I often say ‘As Gaeilge’ was never meant to be learnt. But spoken. Lived. As a deeply lyrical language. Hidden in those soft tones is the heart of us. The best of our hearts. The possibility. The connection it’s all too easy for us to lose.

And yet, my folk’s record collection is prominently Black – was this where they sought their answers? As I do in books? I never stopped to consider before as I absorbed the messages that this was usual for insular white Ireland. They searched for imported records from a land they’ve never yet set foot on.

Maybe if we all just communed in music the world would be more balanced? Maybe the job of the writer is to remember to connect to the heart in the same way. To not allow the mind to take over. This is what Black writers manage so eloquently for me. I was excited to read Leopold Senghor’s thoughts through James Baldwin;

“It was the esthetic which attracted me, the idea that the work of art expresses, contains and is itself a part of that energy which is life.”

And I’m left to ponder does any of our mainstream we reward so avidly even come close to achieving such a feat?

Naoisé 14th June 2020