In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal?
What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.
I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.
Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing. Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch. Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence.
I read this article when it was first published in 2014 and was obsessed (still am obsessed) with the idea of being able to greet others with the phrase “How’s your heart?”. As someone who finds small talk painful, I’m usually at a loss for words in conversations unless the conversation meanders into the softly tread terrain of emotions, into places of vulnerability and compassion, places normally labelled as over-share or too-much-information.
I struggle incessantly with social anxiety. I never know when to interject in a conversation. I never know if what I have to say is worthwhile. I think too much before I speak and then by the time I’ve formed something I find acceptable to share, the conversation topic has changed. They say social anxiety stems from perfectionism. I’m trying to get to know this inner-critic of mine and hopefully come to a truce.
I’ve recently found like people who love to talk intimately! I’ve actually been able to put those lovely words to use! How’s your heart? Where do you hurt? How can we heal together? And for once it doesn’t feel corny or out of place. For this, the immensity of my gratitude is immeasurable. I hope that this blog will be a safe space to strike up those conversations that gauge the temperature of our hearts, find growth and openness in our minds, nurture acceptance of our bodies, and brew remedies for our souls.
How is your heart?