chips and dip made with grain

Have you ever wanted something and even though you knew that it wouldn’t be good for you, the desire to have it remained strong? No matter what you tried to get to take the place of the object of your desire, nothing could replace the thing that your heart wanted.

“When the Best is gone – I know that other things are not of consequence – The Heart wants what it wants – or else it does not care.”

Emily Dickinson
Letter to Mrs. Samuel Bowles, Early Summer, 1862

Last Thursday, November 13th, a member of my family almost died. As a Christian, I have been taught that when praying to God, I should say, “Thy will be done,” instead of selfish requests or demands of my own heart. That is a very hard thing to do and I failed miserably on the way to the hospital that night. My heart wanted what my heart wanted and the will of God did not matter to me at the time. Maybe someone you love very much has been at death’s door and you begged God to keep them alive. Well, that’s exactly how I felt. Even when I prayed I said, “I know I’m supposed to say ‘Thy will be done,’ but I don’t want her to die, so please let her live.”

The heart wants what the heart wants.

In May 2010 my own daughter’s life teetered between life and death. The whole experience was so traumatizing to me that I was thrown into the horrendous Hell of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Each minute after the horrible event became a constant struggle in physical, emotional and mental pain for me. No matter how much I wanted to immediately be healed and whole again, wishing and wanting did not make my PTSD go away. So many times I cried out in total helplessness and begged God to give me back my old self and old life.

The heart wants what the heart wants.

In September 2012 I was diagnosed with a grain allergy which means I can’t ever eat anything that has grain as an ingredient in it. Do you know how many products have grain in them? Corn syrup, for example, is a corn derivative used not only as a sweetener, but also as a preservative. Corn, of course, is in the grain family. Look on the labels of vegetables, fruit, cereals, candy, cake mixes, syrups, dressings, etc. and you will see that one of the ingredients is corn syrup. That one ingredient alone cancels out many foods that I used to eat often.

Corn syrup is just one ingredient that is off limits for someone with a grain allergy. Everything from wheat flour, white flour, cereal, granola, oatmeal, yogurt, deli meat, corn chips, juice, gum, ice cream, hand lotion, face creams to medicines and vitamins are among a few things that have to be completely abandoned forever or a grain free version/substitution has to be used instead. There are literally thousands of foods that I can no longer eat and things I can’t touch. Going grocery shopping was heartbreaking after I was first diagnosed and sometimes it still tugs at my emotional heartstrings. The aisles at the grocery store are teeming with thousands of foods that tempt and taunt me to eat them. There’s no denying it – Grains are delicious.

The heart wants what the heart wants.

grocery store empty aisle grain free food

Because there are so many variables, finding someone to intimately share your life with is no small task. You can read all the self-help books or listen to hundreds of other people share their relationship advice, but when cupid draws back his bow and the arrow of love hits you, there’s no denying that the intelligence of the brain disappears at least temporarily. The craving to be wanted and needed that most people feel are powerful emotions. So when you fall in love and begin floating on a cloud, there’s really not many experiences that can compare with the happiness you feel day in and day out.

However, as I’m sure you know, not all relationships last a lifetime and the pain of parting is often almost unbearable. Although the pain involved when ending a relationship is normal, the memories of the good times and love once shared with that person make the breakup so much harder. The brain knows the right decision, but when the heart is hurting, it doesn’t care what the brain thinks or knows.

The heart wants what the heart wants.

What happens when the heart doesn’t get what the heart wants?

Using the example above, my grain allergy did not disappear and there is nothing that can be done to make me not allergic to grain even though that is exactly what my heart wants. I am reminded everyday that I can’t eat grain and sometimes the temptation is thrown right in my face. For instance, I had to run into the grocery store today to grab a couple things. Before I ever got inside, there was a group selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts right outside the electronic doors. There must have been a hundred boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts jumping up and down on the table saying, “Sherry! Over here! Pick me! Buy me! Eat me!”

The boxes of doughnuts didn’t exactly speak to me, but it felt like they did because that is how great my desire is to eat doughnuts.

No one is keeping tabs on my food intake, so I could have easily purchased a box of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and pigged out in the car, but I didn’t do it. So I put the doughnuts out of my mind and I went to the next place on my list of “Things To Do” only to find that there were FREE doughnuts there. Did you catch what I just said?

FREE doughnuts.

FREE glazed doughnuts.

Glazed doughnuts are my favorite kind of doughnut.

I was strong and I didn’t eat any doughnuts there either, even though the craving was driving me nuts.

What are my options when it comes to eating food that has grain in them? Well, I can find or create a grain free version, right?


Does the grain free version taste the same as the grain version? No, but sometimes the grain free version is even better tasting and it is always better for my body. Even though my heart wants grain and often craves foods that are made with grain, staying strong and resisting those temptations has great rewards to my health. This is an issue of mind over matter and desire. If I keep my thoughts and self-talk under control, then my heart can’t runaway with unhealthy desires.

My brain knows the right choice even though…

The heart wants what the heart wants.

grocery store organic grain free food

The other example I mentioned where my heart did not get what it wanted was in the love relationship that ended.

I used to beat myself up all the time saying that I knew better than to get involved with the men that ended up breaking my heart, but if I had REALLY known better, would I have been involved with them?


I can say that now because I have come to realize that I did not understand what was really going on between my thoughts and my hearts desires. Until I went through intensive therapy to heal my PTSD, I did not truly grasp the effect that my childhood relationships had on my subconscious thoughts and choices. It took understanding the complicated dynamics of my mind and those important childhood relationships before I was able to forgive myself for choosing men who eventually broke my heart and to forgive them for doing it.

Falling in love isn’t really a conscious choice, however, you marry the people you date.

Let me say that once again for my daughter’s benefit.

Falling in love isn’t really a conscious choice, however, you marry the people you date.

If you date people that do not have the qualities you seek in a companion, but on some level you find them highly appealing and exciting, it is very likely that you’re going to eventually end up falling in love with one of those people. You might even marry the “wrong” person.


Because the heart wants what the heart wants and it will often completely ignore the brain.

So basically, if you date the “right” kind of person, you can avoid ever getting your heart broke, right?


You can totally understand the complexities of your childhood relationships, heal the wounds, gain skills to avoid repeating the same relationship mistakes, choose the “right” kind of people to date, and you can STILL end up with a broken heart because you can’t control the other person in the relationship. They have free will just like you do and if they make choices that are selfish without regard for your love, you can end up heartbroken. If you’ve married this person, you could even find yourself divorced AND heartbroken.

When that happens, many people replay the whole relationship in their head over and over again trying to figure out where it all went wrong. By keeping all those memories alive, the good times torment not only your head, but also your heart. When the other person is gone because they don’t want or cherish you anymore, good memories are painful. Actually, they are agonizing and your heart isn’t just broken, it is wrenched in pain.

The brain knows the other person doesn’t want you, but…

The heart wants what the heart wants.

felt heart red white embroidery buttons bows

Is there no end to this insanity of the heart?!

Maybe we should just stuff this heart in a box and bury it in the ocean!

Well, that’s how I have felt more than once in my life. Maybe you have been led by your heart too?

Several times in my life, my head has screamed, “Stop the relationship!” but I just kept it going with my heart wide open. The New York relationship just about killed me and it totally wrecked my life. My heart completely took over my head, so when the whole thing was over, I had enough regrets to fill the Grand Canyon. I loathed my stupidity and vulnerability. It took a long time, but last year I finally forgave myself and him for the whole fiasco.

I believe that life is an experience like school. I have the opportunity to learn everyday. In some classes I get an easy A, but I have to repeat other classes several times before I finally pass with an average grade of C. I can either cry and complain about the C or I can enjoy today while moving on to do my best in the next class. I am human, so I can’t be perfect in all my choices.

The brain needs to be a major part of relationship decisions while being ever mindful that…

The heart wants what the heart wants.

There’s also another aspect that I need to address.

Sometimes the “right” choice is not the most exciting choice.

Choosing grain free and not eating the doughnuts this morning was not the most exciting choice, but I knew I was making the best decision.

“Settling” often has a bad connotation associated with it. This morning I settled by eating a banana instead of a doughnut. Settling for a banana was not as exciting as eating a doughnut, but in the long run, my choice brought me the most happiness. Had I eaten the doughnut, I would have not only suffered today, there would have been repercussions for the next week or two. Doughnuts are the “bad boys” in my food choices. They tip the excitement scale while I eat them and my heart is surrounded by euphoria, but then the bad boys break my face all out, make my body swell, give me a headache, and make me so sick in my stomach that I feel worse than a pregnant woman with morning sickness.

I hope that eventually my heart wants the same kind of food that my brain says is good for it and has no desire for the bad boys that are made up of grain.

Where does that leave my romantic love interests?

Obviously I didn’t get to be this age and divorced twice without having my heart broken several times. Since my track record has left me single, I not only don’t trust my heart all that much, I don’t even trust my brain most of the time because I’m constantly going over my choices over and over again.

My last husband told me that I was too open, vulnerable and honest. I was confused for a long time because I could not fathom how a person could be too open, vulnerable and honest if they were trying to find a compatible companion!

Well, I’ve learned that he was right.

My open, vulnerable and honest nature sets me up to be used and walked on by not only love interests, but by anyone anywhere at anytime. People need boundaries and if you just lay yourself out there, the selfish nature of most people takes over and then they take advantage of you. The intended purpose of me being that open is to make the other person more comfortable so that it is easier to connect, but that level of openness is uncomfortable to most people so it has a reverse effect. Who would have ever guessed that would happen?

Not me.

Now I’m very leery in the dating-love category. I know that men do not get to my age without some baggage. How have they handled their baggage? Have they learned from it or have they tried to stuff it in a closet? Things are never really truly hidden and will eventually come out, so everyone needs to deal with their issues before they bring another person into their life and subject them to a whole litany of unpleasant surprises.

I have not met a man who has been as open, vulnerable and honest as I was with them even when we were a couple and I doubt I ever will. All my love relationships have taught me very disappointing, expensive, painful yet valuable lessons.

Hopefully, my brain won’t make another mistake and will see people and circumstances as they really are and demand that I be treated with respect, compassion and unselfish love. I’m just too old to play ridiculous relationship games with men that just want their ego stroked because they are non-committal players. I refuse to tolerate anyone blatantly using or hurting me again. I finally believe that I am one heck of a woman. I deserve to be loved, respected and cherished at all times because that is what I willingly reciprocate. The brain is going to have to be the boss going forward to make sure I get it right.

My heart, well, my heart won’t like the brain being in control, but the heart can’t be relied on to make good decisions anymore. Once my big, compassionate, semi-enabling, loving heart gets involved, it just stops listening to the brain and look where it has taken me. Do you remember why my heart and possibly your heart takes us to these places where we get hurt?

Yeah, you got it. Because…

The heart wants what the heart wants.

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