Tugs on my Heartstrings…Foundational Journeys


Yesterday, I blogged about being at home in Southern Louisiana and the lifestyle there. A childhood friend, Jean Ann, commented on my blog about her journey to move back home. She moved away and lived in Chicagoland for about 19 years. Funny thing is, we lived 30 minutes from each other for five of those years and didn’t even know it. It wasn’t until Facebook came along that I knew she was there, and I was already in Memphis. She had to work on a project for a month in Louisiana and fell in love with her homeland all over again. She’s now living back home thanks to an intuitive and loving husband who wanted to bring her dreams to life. She’s a lucky gal. Read her comment on this blog for the full story.

Home is tugging on my heartstrings, too. Now, Daddy, don’t get excited….I’ve got a good job here in Memphis. It’s just not that easy for me to pick up and move. And, if the truth be told, I don’t know if living there would be the thing for me. But, there’s something about that place and that way of life that tugs at my heartstrings. I love that feeling when something tugs at my heartstrings. So often it’s totally unexpected, and it shocks the heck out of me. I looked up the definition to see how it’s technically defined. According to www.thefreedictionary.com:

heart·string  (härtstrng)


1. heartstrings The deepest feelings or affections: a tug at the heartstrings.
2. One of the nerves or tendons formerly believed to brace and sustain the heart.

Real life heartstrings brace and sustain the heart. Heartstrings are foundational. I’ll be honest. I’ve been great about ignoring tugs on my heartstrings when they didn’t fit in with the grand scheme I had for my life. For the first 20 years of my life, I wanted to be a career gal. I worked my tail off. I totally ignored what tugged at my heartstrings when it took me away from my goals. It wasn’t until I attained my corporate manager title that I realized that there was nothing there for me. It was empty. The thrill of the chase fizzled, and I didn’t like what I’d caught. It sent me into one of the deepest depressions that I’d ever experienced.

I’ve learned to pay attention to my feelings, and I’ve learned that those tugs on my heartstrings mean something. They may not always mean what I think they do. But, that foundational pull means that something is touching me that I need to explore. And, it’s usually a surprise to me. It’s often a new girlfriend who in some way becomes really vulnerable, and I realize that we have something in common that we both need to explore together. It could be an experience or a lifestyle that we’ve both ignored for awhile. But, it pulls us together for a moment, a few months or a decade. There’s a man pulling on my heartstrings right now. It surprised the hell out of me because he’s nothing like I would have imagined for myself. But, the more we talk, the more my heartstrings have started to be pulled by the way he thinks, by a shared history, by something foundational that’s hard to explain and even harder to resist. I have no idea where it will lead or if it will lead anywhere, but it’s worth an exploration. I now know that certain projects pull at my heartstrings at work. Once in awhile. a project comes along that tugs at my heartstrings. I do my best work on those projects because I have no control over my energy and my enthusiasm for it. It takes over. Time flies, and I can’t stop thinking about it. It consumes me because in some way it touches me foundationally. Country music pulls at my heartstrings. I can’t explain it. I just sucks me in like nothing else. I just disappear.

Blogging surprised me. It’s one of those things that has pulled at my heartstrings. I didn’t expect it, or I would have started it a lot sooner. It tugs at me because it’s helping me make connections with people all over this world that have had similar experiences, and they have started to share intimately with me over the internet about who they are. I can’t tell you how it pulls at my heartstrings when someone reaches out to me and shares something they’ve never realized before. It tugs at my heartstrings, and I feel so humbled by the power of words.

I’ve only been doing this since August. I’ve been astounded at how much I’ve been able to explore what tugs at my heartstrings. It started out as a place to post my funny dating stories and write a little about recovery. But, it’s become something much more. I went to my college homecoming last fall, and I wrote a blog about my experience there. Because I wrote about my feelings in the moment, I realized how connected I was to that experience and the way we lived back then. I followed that tug on my heartstrings rather than just letting it go. And, the exploration helped me make connections with people and a place that I’d long since thought I’d forgotten. I hadn’t forgotten it at all. It was just sitting at the foundation of my heart, waiting for me to care enough to pay attention to that tug …that little pull ..that I’d so often ignored in my quest to build my life.

It reminds me of that saying about building castles in the sand. Why do we do that? We spend a lifetime building a castle that looks a certain way, but the pull of something more powerful, vast and unexplainable can wipe it away in an instant. I remember the pull of the ocean as a little girl. I remember standing in the waves as the undertow pulled on my legs. It was so mysterious to me that it had such power to knock me off my feet. My parents would tell us how easy it was to get pulled out and drown. They kept me in fear of it by recounting stories of people who drowned by being pulled out in the undertow. When I feel a tug on my heartstrings, it feels just like that undertow to me. Maybe my first instinct has always been that it’s dangerous to follow it, to let it pull me where it wants to take me. Maybe my pre-programmed instinct was wrong. Maybe there is something in that tug that I should let take me. Maybe I should allow myself to explore a place I’ve never been before even if it is dangerous ….unpredictable … unexplainable. Jean Ann did that. Kudos to you, girl…and your man … for following the tug – that wave of instinct. In the story of your life, it will have made all the difference.

4 thoughts on “Tugs on my Heartstrings…Foundational Journeys

  1. So often, when I read your posts, the saying “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey” comes to my mind. That must be in your DNA, it seems to me that you’re on your journey and you are smelling all the flowers along the way. I believe your heartstrings guide you more than you know, and for you, just knowing the undertow can be powerful and dangerous is merely good information to have….it won’t deter deter you.

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