There is a lot of advice out there that’s easier said than done. One of them is “Just follow your heart”. There’s so much wisdom in this simple suggestion, but it is far from easy to consistently follow our hearts in everyday life. There are so many distractions, so many should’s, expectations, obligations, fears, doubts, excuses and Can I really?’s.
For many years, the question for me wasn’t even “Can I follow this nudge of my heart or not?”. Just finding out what it was that I actually wanted seemed an impossibly confusing and anxiety-inducing task! As a teenager, I had a hard time finding out what career path I ‘should’ AND wanted to pursue – the two seemed impossible to align.
I decided to go to a school for speech therapy, since I wanted to do something meaningful, I liked working with language, sounds and music, and it seemed to be a safe, classic career route. After one stressful year I failed at the first practical exam, felt completely off and frustrated – and quit.
After this failed attempt of pursuing a ‘normal’ career I decided to follow my dream of becoming a professional musician, playing the drums for a living. I played in many bands, practiced every day and dreamed of tours and big stages. Since I liked playing music, it was only logical to become a musician, right? Wrong. Seeing how brutally competitive, often shallow and always business oriented the music industry is, I got burned out and turned off pretty quickly. I also realized that playing shows was mostly driven by my ego and my insecure needs to be seen, heard and admired. It was fun, but being in smoky bars until late at night and hanging out with mostly drunk people while trying to have small talk over incredibly loud music…just doesn’t really sound like a soul purpose to me. 😀
My third career attempt was to become a yoga teacher. Turned out it was a pretty lame one: As much as I love Yoga and continue my almost daily practice to this day, teaching Yoga just doesn’t feel right for me. I just don’t enjoy talking about anatomy and moving one’s body parts that much. This whole idea was driven by fear once again: I was starting to panic that I’d never find my path, and started grasping for the first idea that seemed logical. I liked yoga, so I should become a teacher (there’s that damn s-word again!).
It wasn’t until I found coaching and energy healing that I finally started to feel at home and fully in alignment.
So how do you know when your heart is pulling you to something greater and when it’s just your ego?
How do you know when your decisions are fully in alignment with your unique true path and when they’re based on fear rationalized by your intellect?
How do you know when to say “Yes” whole-heartedly – and when to say “No”, because you might actually get in an unsafe situation if you follow your intellect?
I’ve found three ways to help me determine what my heart desires:
1) It feels expansive vs contracting.
Think about the decision you are about to make, or the idea you are having. Do you feel expansive, larger than life and completely whole? Or does the thought of it make you feel small, with a knot in your stomach and a tiny little fearful heart? The first reaction is your guidance to a heart-centered approach.
2) Mind chatter vs Calmness
When your ego or intellect is in charge, you often get caught in a paralyzing endless mind chatter, where your thoughts run 100 miles an hour, keep repeating themselves, running in circles and leaving you anxious and drained at the same time. This mind-race can either make you rush into a situation that has a bad taste in the very moment you are making that decision, or it can leave you unable to make any decision at all.
Your heart speaks a different language: You feel centered, calm, focused and highly determined. You just KNOW what to do (or not to do), both long-term and the immediate next step.
3) Struggle vs Ease and Joy
When your decisions are not in alignment with your higher self and your divine path, things get really, really hard. Everything seems to be a struggle, and life seems to keep throwing one obstacle after the other at you. That’s because you’re on a path that leads away from you, not towards you, and the Universe is nice enough to let you know 😉
When in alignment, things come to you easily. You’re in the flow, inspired and highly productive. You wake up in the morning excited about the day ahead. Your daily activities fill you with joy and contentment. They make you smile!
And there you have it! I hope these three tips will help you find your true path, whether the question is if you should start something new and what that would be, or if you should continue as usual, make some adjustments or bring something to an end. This process can also be helpful when trying to decide what to wear today! 😛
Here’s to you and your higher self!
Love, Wisdom and Joy