The Heart Moves at the Speed of Agriculture

Change is the ponderous task of shifting mountains. Give it time. Be patient with yourself. And don’t skip the hard parts.

I think we’ve fooled ourselves into believing everything moves faster in our modern world. We can know within minutes when something occurs on the opposite side of the planet. We can get on a plane and be on another continent in hours. All the information our species has collected is dancing at our fingertips.

The last few years have included major heart wrenching changes in my life. To cope with it, I read books. I studied psychology and growth theories. I spoke to a psychologist and shared late nights with friends in person and over the internet. 

This question kept floating through my head. “I know all the things. How come my heart is still a wreck? How come I still feel like a hollowed out ship?”

Dr Nick Grant was on the board of directors at Wizard Academy for over a decade and served as its chairman multiple times. He’s also spent 40+ years practicing as a counselor and psychologist, an author of several books, an instructor at University of Texas, and a world renowned specialist in MBTI. He also teaches at Wizard Academy, and I’m lucky enough to consider him a friend. 

And he’s kind. Not just brilliant. Like if you mixed Bill Nye with Mr Rogers. 

I asked him this question. His answer surprised me. 

My question for Dr Grant was, “Why am I not changing at an emotional level at a pace that keeps up with my head knowledge and learning.” 

And he said, “Daniel. The brain moves at the speed of sensory data and information. But the human heart moves at the speed of agriculture.”

He went on to explain that we as humans are fundamentally tied into time and seasons and the base patterns of the universe. We can change access and speed of information, but psychologically we move at the speed of seasons and the pace of change in the earth itself. 

It takes a minimum of four full seasons for a truly dramatic and extreme change to find any sense of landing and stillness in your heart. Even then, it’s only if you’re paying attention all the time to every single moment that it’s speaking. 

A few weeks ago, I was in the vault and picked up a bottle I didn’t remember. There was a small squiggle of silver ink on the side, so I tilted it sideways to read it. It was the signature of a friend of mine that donated that bottle to the Whisky Vault. He passed away unexpectedly in November of last year. 

It’s been four months. I’ve cried and mourned him with friends. I’ve looked at old photos. I’ve read through our texts. It feels like a tender but healing wound now. The shock and surprise is being replaced with acceptance and fond memories. 

At least I thought it was.

That bottle cracked me like an egg. I discovered tears streaming down my face. At that moment I realized I still wasn’t ready. I’m not ready for him to never drink whisky with me again. I’m not ready for him to not answer his email or pick up the phone when I call. 

I’m not ready. My heart isn’t ready. 

I’m still moving at the speed of agriculture. I need these moments to truly mourn.

Don’t skip the hard parts.

Daniel Whittington – Chancellor