Following your heart. It’s the second invitation in the subtitle of my memoir.
How did “Following Your Heart,” earn its prominent place?
What’s so important about following our heart?
More important: Why is it so hard to do? What gets in the way?
One piece is, as we grow up and move through the ranks of formal education, we are trained
to put our heart’s desires by the wayside. Adults may support our excitement with art or music but discourage us to follow that passion professionally. The message is: “But you can’t do that.”
Practicality is real and not to be denied. It’s reasonable and helpful to make goals, plans, and work toward them. What I’m concerned with here, is, what’s moving the boat? Fear or love? Shoulds or listening to your own heart?
Following the heart is often seen as “reckless and irresponsible.”
Ouch. And yet, worth exploring.
I used to live my life doing the OPPOSITE of what my heart wanted.
As if living for others and those "shoulds,” had more credibility and wisdom than my own inclinations. I was in conflict with my life and myself for decades: I knew what I feIt and wanted, but I didn't have the courage to choose accordingly, until...
I left my marriage and home in the suburbs and returned to myself: to living my life in accordance with my values. I felt ignited, on track, happier.
While I had freed myself from the cage of a lifestyle that didn’t reflect my essence, I felt scared.
I needed support to keep moving forward, creating a life that reflected my sensibilities. I formed a Voluntary Simplicity Support Group, and over the eight years that we met, I learned a lot and gained confidence in creating my life as I felt drawn.
But life and circumstances evolve. My job at a publishing company grew until I had the privilege and responsibility to birth a regional magazine about health and wellness.
I loved the challenge and the project, but the 60-hour work weeks were detrimental to my health and wellness!
During that time, I had repeating visions of Latin America and felt literally pulled there.
Ultimately, I left my job and my near perfect life, and followed my heart to an indigenous village in Mexico–where I still live.
I remember the day I told my boss what I was going to do.
He looked at me with concerned and doubtful parental eyes and told me I’d never make it. How would I live? (e.g survive financially.) He offered that when I returned, asking for my job back, (as he seemed certain I would), I could have it, but I’d start at the bottom of the pay scale again. “I won’t return.” I replied. “I’ll make it.”
I left for Mexico and I stayed.
I have a life way beyond my wildest dreams, a life that fits and nourishes me. And it’s all because I listened to my heart.
Following your heart takes courage. You have to be willing to listen and follow its path into the unknown. And the unknown is scary. We prefer the known, most of us, because it gives us a sense of solidity and security.
But, if you're following a line that has no heart and true resonance for you, is that path a worthwhile choice?
In the end, we must ask ourselves: How do I want to live this precious life?
It’s a bold move, letting drop the early training we received that told us, “You can’t. You must,” and instead turn toward our own heart and knowing.
But guess what? The knowing that can be found in your heart comes from the mystery.
So, following your heart means surrendering, and the rest is about–as the subtitle of my book concludes–What Happens When You Jump.
Is following your heart scary for you? What times have you listened and been led in a new direction and been glad? When have you not listened and felt regret? What’s between you and surrendering to the unknown?
I look forward to your sharing and a conversation about this essential theme. I do read all comments and I will respond as quickly as I’m able.
Robin Rainbow Gate
I help people midlife and beyond to find their inner power, health and well being through slow living
Ready to live Your True Life?