I ran across a metaphor for how we think emotionally and rationally, and my thoughts turned to gardening, as they always do.
In summary, our emotional thinking, when our instincts kick in, is like an elephant. Our rational thinking, which applies reason and thinks about the long-term, is like a little rider on top of that elephant trying to keep control of it.
Now picture when you go to a garden center and see a plant you love from a distance. The elephant in you awakens, rears up on her hind legs, trumpets loudly and goes thundering toward that plant. Pity the casual shopper standing in your elephant's way, your emotional self, as you run instinctively in the direction of the plant, looking neither left nor right, until you finally grasp that plant in your trunk and bellow out "mine, all mine".
Then picture that rider on the elephant, who has been clinging on for dear life until the elephant finally has the plant in her grasp. Now the rider gets her turn and regains control of the elephant. She starts to ask questions. Where are you going to plant that? Is it worth all the grocery money to have that plant? Do you really need it to be complete as a gardener?
Oh, that elephant rider can be such a downer. She is so practical. She is so logical. Sometimes she lets the elephant buy the plant. Other times she calmly convinces the elephant to put the plant down, apologize to all the people she stampeded past and pick out a more practical alternative.
But sometimes the elephant doesn't listen to the rider. She won't let go of the plant. She loves the plant and it is going home with her regardless of what the rider does or says.
|Elephants look calm, but watch out if they want something.|
After all, all practical and logical does not always a surprising, fun garden make. Though at times, the rider has had to fix what the elephant did, or deal with it after the fact. I swear it was the elephant who bought 1,100 crocus corms to plant this fall, ignoring the rider trying to control her, calm her down, convince her to settle for a more practical number. All the elephant could think of was how the crocuses would look blooming in the lawn in the spring. I'm glad, though that the elephant, the emotional one, got her way. The rider, the rational one, cleaned up the mess and figured out a way to plant all 1,100 crocuses in an afternoon. Both the elephant and the rider now look forward to spring.
Watch out for your elephant and other elephants the next time you go to a garden center or tour a garden. You know who they are, how to spot them. And for goodness sake, stay out of the way if two elephants stampede toward the same plant. Or at least hope that there are experienced riders on board who can come to a nice comprise on who actually gets that plant.