That one insight gave me access to an embodied patience with people, myself, with life, that I had never known, that no one ever taught me.
That insight was borne of a freshly opened heart.
Granted, my patience remains a work in progress for my brain and my balls still constantly seek to assert their authority.
But my heart is no longer a slave to my brain or my balls. I can move powerfully towards my true heart’s desire – whether that be a woman or a trip to the tropics – with patience enough to allow Life its surprise curveballs. Curveballs are half the fun, anyway.
That’s another way you can recognize a man of heart; he makes most things fun …
2) He laughs easily, authentically.
I didn’t really know laughter until I was well into my 30s. Oh, I laughed plenty before then. But I took myself and life so seriously that my laughter was shallow and intellectual. Only I didn’t know that until the wisdom in my heart started showing me the wild beauty in all things.
Rainer Maria Rilke wrote, “If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for the Creator, there is no poverty.”
My intellect has always been predisposed to lie to me by telling me things are worse than they really are. My brain usually says I’ve got to work harder, be better, and do more just to survive, never mind thrive. It says the same about you. And my balls, well, they’re never satisfied for long.
It’s hard to fully let go and surrender to laughter when I believe I’m still not yet good enough … or that you aren’t … or that life isn’t.
My heart, on the other hand, is perfectly content to enjoy this moment. It can find the innocence in almost any situation, and it can laugh effortlessly at the crazy divine comedy that is life. The heart doesn’t laugh in shallow arrogance through a facade of “I’m better and smarter than you.”
A man connected to heart knows we’re all made of the same stuff underneath the surface gloss. The laughter that erupts from that place is profound, divine. It’s like the sound of love tickling itself.
3) He’s kind to the world.
A man connected to his heart is kind to everyone. That doesn’t mean he likes everyone. It doesn’t mean he tolerates everyone. He might even put someone in jail if they prove to threaten the world he envisions. But he can always see the innocence that leads to ignorant, even awful behavior.
A man connected to heart can hold compassion for the worst, even as he locks the cell door.
I saw this in my relationships with women who acted in destructive ways because they did not know how to effectively communicate their pain to me. Stuck in my head, I judged and fought them for their immature behavior while ignoring the pain at their core.
With an open heart, I’m more able to stay kind with an intimate partner acting out her pain.
And yes, like most things, it’s work in progress.
4) He’s fully present.
I hear this all the time from women, that their men don’t seem to be present with them.
What does that even mean?
Being fully present is a full-body sport: it requires the full participation of the head, the heart, AND the balls. When a man lives in his head or his balls alone, his partner won’t feel him present. One way that reveals itself is through the quality of his listening.
When I was trapped in the brain-ball matrix, I would only listen to a girlfriend with the singular intent of evaluating to respond. I wanted to keep our thoughts in agreement because that’s the only place I figured peace of mind and sex could happen. My attempt to intellectualize every argument, however, mostly created chaos.
When a man connected to the heart listens, he listens with his entire body (which includes his brain and his balls). He doesn’t just listen for a way into the outcome he wants. He listens with his whole body for the deeper message beneath the words.
He listens at the level of heart, where the real truth often resides.
His partner can feel this, his presence, when he breathes deeply and listens with his whole body.