Your heart doesn't want you to play it safe. It doesn't approach life with rational logic. Your heart wants to move boldly into the unknown. It wants you to have the most amazing, awe-inspiring, enlivening life possible, and that means doing things that totally freak you out sometimes. Things that excite, thrill and empower you. And helping you find the support you need in order to do them.
I never really paid much attention to my heart until I woke up one day and realized I was totally miserable. I'd done everything I thought I was supposed to do — I held a stable job in New York City, I paid my taxes … but I was unsatisfied with life, overeating all the time, drinking too much, unhappily single, exhausted, in debt, and totally hating my body.
I knew something needed to change, but I was scared. I thought that if I actually unleashed my true desires all hell would break loose. The stability of my life would crumble. But the pangs of intense longing that burst through my chest continued to intensify, every time I imagined running free through the desert, dancing in the jungle, swimming naked in the ocean, sleeping under the stars, falling in love in a faraway land … My rational mind couldn't wrap itself around these dreams: How will I make money? What about health insurance? Will my friends and family think I've totally lost it?
As I began to heal my relationship with food and became more in tune with my body and its messages, I realized I'd keep turning to food until I satisfied my deep longing for excitement, romance and adventure. I'd keep spending money on things I didn't need. And I'd keep living a life that was safe, but not truly satisfying, until I let go and followed my heart.
When I fully surrendered to my heart, my life completely transformed. I summoned support from friends, family, coaches and teachers, to help me find the courage I needed. Yes, the foundation that had served as my stable base did fall away, but I learned to build an even better one.
My relationship with food and spending is healed, and I feel amazing in my body. I'm now traveling the world, and my life is filled with romance, adventure and fun. I absolutely adore my work as a coach, empowering women and helping them heal their relationships to food and their bodies. My life is so much better than I could ever have imagined, and I attribute all of it to following my heart.
Here are some helpful tools to help you find out what your heart is really saying and how to follow it:
1. Wake it up.
Start by noticing what your heart actually feels like. My favorite way to reconnect with my heart is by practicing gratitude.
Try being thankful for something in your life right now and notice how your heart feels. You may feel a widening, expanding or uplifting feeling in your chest. It may be subtle at first, but with practice, your heart will become loud and clear.
2. Give it a voice.
Your arms are an extension of your heart, and writing in a free-flowing, stream-of-consciousness way can help you get in touch with what your heart wants you to know. Sit for a minute before you put your pen to paper, take a few deep breaths and focus on your heart. Then, without thinking, allow the words to flow from your heart to the paper with any messages your heart wants you to know.
3. Let it decide.
Try this when you need to make a choice in your life and you're ready to let your heart decide.
Start by identifying two options: Place a hand on your heart, bring to mind the first option, and notice how your heart responds. Does it contract and feel hard, small and tight? Or, does it feel wide, expansive and warm? Then try it with the second option. The wider your heart feels, the more it's guiding you in the direction of your highest good.
4. Find the courage to follow it.
Once you know what your heart wants for you, it can take tremendous courage to act on it. The word "courage" actually comes from the Latin word "cor," meaning heart.
Sometimes what your heart truly wants for you can seem insane to your mind, so this is when calling on the support of friends, family and coaches can be tremendously helpful. Surround yourself with people who can support you in breaking free from fear and limiting beliefs that hold you back.
Learn how to trust in your heart and remind yourself that listening to it will lead you to a better life than you could possibly imagine, even if what your heart's telling you seems crazy.
Sometimes crazy is just what you need.