A few years ago, I walked away from a 12-year career teaching black literature in the Ivy Leagues in order to follow my calling as an intuitive consultant and transformational teacher.
It’s been freeing and empowering to embody the truth of who I am and live my life authentically. Yet, my passions and purpose continue to change over time. Our purpose is an ongoing adventure — a journey, not a destination. It’s fluid, not fixed. We are like flowers sprouting new petals when we least expect it.
We have the capacity to create our own lives, yet this must happen in tandem with our inner intelligence. An inner compass forever points us toward the True North of who we are. Our job is to follow that unwavering needle rather than succumb to the social conditioning that prompts us to make choices that seem sensible, practical, and safe.
Here, I offer 12 steps you can take toward your most extraordinary and purpose-filled life. My heartfelt wish is that they will serve you on your path.
1. Do what you love and love what you do.
Pursue those endeavors that fuel your soul and make your spirit rise. Bring the energy of love (the most powerful force in the universe) into your activities, and see what miracles happen. Fifteen years ago, I was teaching at Harvard and raising a 2-year-old daughter on my own. What began as a research project on metaphysical matters quickly became a zealous interest in tarot cards, and soon enough I was honing my skills as an intuitive.
The sheer love of the metaphysical drove me to pursue it, though all the while a stern voice in my head said I “should” be reading literary criticism, not tarot cards. Had I heeded that voice and overrode the deep longings of my heart, my life would have unfolded very differently. Don't let anyone (not even yourself) tell you that it's impossible to structure your routine in such a way that you have time to engage in the activities you're passionate about. Life's too short not to do so.
2. Love yourself.
Love yourself enough to discover what you love, honor what you love, and commit to the specific pursuits that you love. Offer yourself a true quality of life, whatever that might be for you. Climb a mountain. Hike a trail. Play a musical instrument. Write a story. Offering yourself true quality of life is an oft-overlooked part of general self-care. We must identify what our souls need in order to thrive, and then offer that to ourselves.
3. Be authentic.
Your power lies in your authenticity, so remain true to who you are. Check in with yourself on levels of mind, body, heart, and soul. Be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling and about what’s going on in your inner landscape.
4. Be your best self.
Commit to being your best and acknowledge your truest truth and your greatest greatness. Know that, as wonderful as you already are, you are even more powerful, even more magnificent, even stronger, and even more capable than you realize.
5. Immerse yourself in your heart and soul.
Get out of your own head and live your life in service to the deeper wisdom that lies in your heart and soul. Never force your heart and soul to obey the narrow prescriptions concocted by your mind, for that creates oppression, limitation, stress, and strife.
6. Listen to your inner guidance.
Heed your inner guidance, and tune out the unhelpful opinions of others. Any time you are met by a naysayer — someone who attempts to dissuade you from what you were intending to do — reconnect with what’s in your heart and carry out your original plans instead of succumbing to self-doubt. Place greater importance on your own inner knowing than on any external feedback you might receive.
There is no better way to tap into your clarity, creativity, courage, confidence, and vision.
8. Cultivate an intimate relationship with yourself.
Get to know who you are and what you stand for. Be your own best friend. Discover what your most passionate interests, longings, and desires look like, and chase after them. If you’re not sure where to begin, simply start taking stock of your impulses as they come. We all have inner whispers suggesting, I’d like to do this, I’d enjoy trying that, I’d get a kick out of experiencing this other thing… We tend to ignore these communications that come from within, but they hold the capacity to enhance our lives so very much.
9. Put the past in the past.
Forgive yourself and others — let it all go. Heal your wounds by dumping out that reservoir of pain you've accumulated within.
10. Remove obstacles.
We place more obstacles in our own path than life ever could. We can get out of our own way by upgrading how we show up for life and relate to others. Turn to harmony instead of drama and understanding instead of judgment.
11. Connect to your creativity.
Creativity is powerful and life-affirming. We are all born with it, in some unique way. We are born to create, not to react, so take a stand for something and invent a new paradigm.
12. Have courage.
The grass actually is greener outside your comfort zone. Risk is mandatory — if nothing is ventured, nothing is gained. Life always presents a combination of both success and failure, so honor the intrinsic value of experience and measure your progress by how much you’ve learned, grown, and served others.
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