The Heart & Head Tango

Messiness, uncertainty and wonder permeate every inclusion journey. Steppingstones of possibilities abound, but exploration requires heart and head teamwork. That’s the tricky part. My heart always craves better, while my head suggests settling for less. Lowering expectations and dismissing possibilities is routinely on the table. Social conditioning is a powerful hurdle to overcome.

I remind myself that thinking things through isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. The intellect, society’s entrenched arbitrator of success, is not inclusion’s champion. Confident and rational by nature, the intellect is informed by existing knowledge and societal norms—a low bar. Passion and daring are absent. If lucky, the heart steps up to fill the void. The heart grounds with vision, passion, balance, perspective and courage.

Think about inclusion as a tango. One partner leads and the other follows. When actively pursuing inclusion, the heart is best qualified to lead and the head follow. Fulfilling their ideal roles, the partners work together and find balance. At least that’s how it works in theory. As ever parent knows, practice is not so easy.

Parental hearts cherish dreams and possibilities of everyday lives. But there’s a fault line—shaky confidence. Truth be told, hopeful hearts are also painfully aware of the inherent risks for our vulnerable loved ones. Gut-wrenching worry breeds hesitation. But ready or not, life happens fast and indecision can be paralysing.

Without clarity of conviction, the head assumes the lead and the heart reluctantly yields. The heart is quick to question its wisdom, while the rational head confidently cites facts, logic and limitations. Potential role changes are always a possibility and it’s never too late to shake it up. Which whispers loudest in your ear…heart or head? Let the tango begin.

Susan Dunnigan

July 2022