Connecting to yourself, finding your purpose, and living a heart guided life sounds amazing right? But where the heck do you start??
That’s how I felt when I realized I was so miserable because my heart was guiding me in a new direction. I was identifying what felt heavy and what was out of alignment, but I didn’t know how to change it. I felt like I needed a plan, that I needed to figure it all out before I could start. But that isn’t how this works.
Step #1 – Let go of the road map! You don’t need to know where each nudge of your heart is taking you. Have faith in the process and enjoy the journey
Following your heart is placing faith in something bigger than yourself. Be prepared…this will take you out of your comfort zone.
The thing is, your heart’s leading doesn’t come with a map or a plan. It gives you one piece of information at a time and your job is to move towards it. It’s then that you’re led to the next step. It’s kind of like a scavenger hunt but you will need to leave your safe place and learn to trust the process. Your higher power will take care of you when you follow this leading, but you do have to relinquish control and walk in faith. Do you have it in you? YES, you do!
For me this was difficult because I was a planner and somewhat of a control freak. Both things were designed by my brain to keep me “safe”. The problem is that life never goes as planned and the truth is we have zero control! I realized in the last year that the more I planned the more stressed I felt. So, I let the planning go and now I feel like I’m flowing with life so much more instead of trying to control it.
“Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand” – Proverbs 19:21
Step #2 – When your heart speaks write it down. Don’t assume you’ll remember it because if you’re anything like me it will be gone in 10 minutes! Pay attention and keep your brain out of it.
I learned to hear my heart as a child. The first time I heard my heart was at 5 years old when I was wandering around in the mountains by myself and I suddenly got a huge jolt through my body that told me to TURN AROUND NOW. There was no mistaking this feeling, it was as if my guardian angel or God himself stood right in front of me and gave me this warning and I had no choice but to obey it. I listened immediately, I turned around and I ran all the way home. I was pretty fearless when I was young and never worried about anything when I was out roaming. This warning didn’t come from any fear inside of me but from protection. I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was that moment when I learned to listen to my heart. I don’t know what was out there…a mountain lion, a bear, a rattlesnake…but I know with all my being that I was about to run into something deadly.
Now, thankfully, I don’t have as many drastic warnings coming from my heart like that one. The majority of the time the heart speaks softly. You will have an idea come to you or some kind of nudge towards something. They come quickly and you also lose them quickly if you don’t act on them. I write any ideas down immediately, send myself an email, or if I’m out on the trail I’ll use my voice recorder on my phone so that I can go back later to review what came to me and ponder it.
I can’t express how important this is. You have to be aware and be present because you can lose them as quickly as they come. Your brain will always make more noise than your heart so don’t allow it to talk you out of these feelings and don’t try to rationalize them. Some things will seem CRAZY…follow it anyway. Remember, your brain is designed to keep you safe based on information and past experiences, your heart is where your path comes from and it’s not based on safety but on trust and faith.
Step #3 – Knowing the difference between your brain and your heart.
The last step and the most important is learning to know the difference between your brain and your heart. Like I said earlier, your brain speaks a lot louder than your heart. We live in a chaotic time with tons of information being thrown at us, financial stress, heavy jobs, and long “to do” lists. Our brains are on overdrive 24/7.
Your brain panics, it causes you stress, it tries to “fix” everything, it imagines the worst, and it keeps you up at night. It puts you into fight or flight mode. Sound familiar?
On the other hand, your heart speaks quietly and calmly. Your heart is peaceful. It’s not chaotic or panicked. Your heart says “it’s going to be ok, I got you”.
The problem is that we have learned to listen to our brains. Because of that we stay in a constant state of stress, fear, and imagining the worst. I read recently that fear causes us to relinquish our control. Our society today is based on fear. Fear in the news, fear in advertising, and then there is “FOMO” (which is Fear Of Missing Out for those of you who don’t know). Most advertising these days works around FOMO. They want you to feel like if you don’t act now you won’t get in on this amazing thing and you’ll never EVER have the chance again! I see it every day.
I was a full on brain person for many years. I was stressed out, anxious, and exhausted. Torment is a good way to describe it. It’s amazing the stories our brains can concoct out of any situation. The brain will also tell you you’re not good enough and it will hold you back from amazing things.
I’ve been through the process of quieting my brain and shifting to my heart.
Here are two ways that I did it:
I started paying close attention to what felt good in my life and what felt heavy.
What feels heavy in your life? It could be certain relationships, it could be your job, it could be habits you have in your life. Start paying attention to those because that is your heart telling you that these things are not good for you and are not in alignment with you. How does your body feel when you do them? Tense? Sick? Stressed out? Or it could be smaller things like eating too much sugar, staying up too late and not getting enough sleep. Then look at the opposite of what’s heavy. What excites you? What makes you feel alive and passionate? Pay attention to those as well. We want more of what makes us feel alive and like we are contributing to the world and we want to move away from those things that are heavy and holding us back. Then take time each day to do one of those things (or more!) that excite you and make you feel alive. Doing this brings you closer and closer to your purpose.
I got quiet.
Throughout my life I’ve tried meditation and could never quite get the concept or understand what I was supposed to do. Probably because I’ve always had a hard time sitting still! Instead of meditation I call it “getting quiet” because I don’t focus on something so much as I just let myself “be”. Close your eyes, take some deep long breaths, and let whatever comes up float by like a cloud, you see it and you let it go by.
Training your brain is actually quite similar to how I train my dogs (no, I’m not comparing us to dogs!). When they do a behavior I don’t want them to do I redirect them into a behavior that I DO want them to do. They don’t get punished but instead are redirected to the right path. It’s the same with your brain. When negative fear based thoughts arrive, simply redirect them. Tell them it will be ok and that you are taken care of. Shift them to thinking about all the ways it could go RIGHT. Doing this regularly trains you to catch these fear based thoughts at their onslaught and redirect them to your heart. It’s not going to happen immediately and may be frustrating at first but it does come with practice so stick with it. I had a huge shift in the first couple weeks. If I can calm my over thinking brain, anyone can!
You can do it first thing in the morning, you can do it during the day, but the important thing is that you DO IT every day! I promise you will see results if you stick to it. All you have to do is sit still, breathe, and calm your mind.
Another way to get quiet and focused is by doing the things you love. The main place I’ve always heard my heart is when I’m in the mountains on a trail somewhere. That is when I connect to my heart and God the most because even though I’m moving, the chaos of life disappears when I’m in alignment with myself. I can’t tell you how many times I was stressed out and would say “I’m going to go hiking to figure this out”. Once I got on the trail, I’ve never once thought about the thing that was stressing me out because when I was in my happy place the stressful stuff didn’t matter. This is what happens when you do the things that light you up. You’re in alignment. You know in that moment it’s going to be ok. It’s then that your brain turns off and you’re completely in the moment.
What makes you feel calm? A walk in the evening with your dog? A hike in the woods? Painting? Music? Take the time to do those things and during that time to be in the moment. It’s also important that you spend this time solo. Don’t take a friend, the kids or the spouse with you…this is YOUR quiet time to connect. Simply take time to not be stressed and to enjoy yourself. If stressful thoughts start to pop up, replace them with positive thoughts and let them know you hear them but they can keep moving on. Remind yourself you are taken care of and that no matter what happens you will be ok. As you find calmness, you will start connecting to yourself. You’ll start to see clarity and your heart will start coming through.
I hope this message today helps you get started. If you run into roadblocks please leave a comment or you can contact me directly to ask a question. I’d love to hear your journey and changes that take place in your life because of this. I’d also love to hear if you find other ways that help you connect to yourself better. It helps us all when we share our journeys!
I hope you have an amazing heart connected day!
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