Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to remember the earliest whisperings of our heart? All the things our hearts told our childhood selves that we had the boldness and bravery to follow through on IMMEDIATELY?
“Come on…you can walk! Do it! Or wait, Yes! RUN!”
“I really need you to eat this dirt so you can learn the meaning of ‘Yucky!’!”
“It’s ok. Just cry. And don’t worry if anyone tells you you shouldn’t.”
I’m certainly not saying that we all lack bravery and boldness now — in fact, I think it is the everyday acts of bravery, small or large, that are the most inspiring to us all. But we have all seen it as we’ve ‘grown up’ — the ways in which, over time, we become conditioned to be more cautious in our approach, to listen to the voices around us rather than the quiet voice inside. Experience has shown me that choices with far less reason behind them than you would expect (and a healthy amount of buzzing excitement) are typically on the path you are meant to follow, to bring you closer to that elusive P word…Purpose.
I can think, off the top of my head, of 4 things that I have done that were called into question and ended up being undeniably the most powerful choice for my own growth and evolution as a human being:
To travel to Morocco (‘It’s so far! It could be dangerous and they harass women there! It’s expensive!’)
To take a yoga training in Bali (‘It’s even further away! And it’s even MORE expensive to get there!’)
To subsequently [I hear it happens a lot after people do yoga trainings in Bali 😉] leave a job surrounded by people I considered a ‘second family’ in pursuit of a change (‘So do you have another job lined up?’)
Then there was the 4th thing. A choice that, in order to explain the ways this moment changed all areas of my life — creating beautiful, criss-crossing webs of connection — would take an entire novel. (Or at least a novella.)
11 years ago today, I had a life-altering talk with my now-husband who was, at that time, my not-yet-boyfriend. We were sitting in a field on campus eating falafel and iced tea. He had asked me out on a date and my 20-year-old heart (which was admittedly, at the time, a bit hung up on another fantastic fellow) clearly explained his viewpoint on my ‘heart mess.’
He spoke so calmly and warmly, looking straight into my eyes. Cliche or not, I could truly see the depths of his beautiful soul. I’m sure he didn’t know at that time how his words would change both of our lives, but they did.”I can’t tell you what to do…The only thing you need to do is follow your heart. Wherever you follow your heart to, I know that’s where you’ll be happy. And as long as you’re happy, then I will be happy too.”
In that moment, the fog completely cleared. My heart spoke more loudly, and with more certainty, than I think it ever has:
“Him. It’s Him.”
Even greater than that, his words highlighted for me a scattered trail of synchronistic breadcrumbs. I had been told in acting class that week that when I performed, it unmistakably came from my heart. I had received an e-mail from my high school boyfriend about how I had always made decisions with my heart…and here was this wonderful guy, telling me to follow my heart and to be happy in doing so. It was in this moment that it started to become evident to me that my life was meant to be lived from that place. All the years before that in school, I thought it was about filling your head with knowledge, and trying hard to get good grades. Suddenly, I was being shown my greatest asset. Since then, my heart has not let me forget that it’s there. I am telling you this story today because my heart literally yanked me off my yoga mat, drew me here and begged me to put words to my feelings.
This moment eleven years ago continues to remind me of what the path of Purpose should feel like — a stirring in your heart that cannot be ignored…a quiet nod of ‘Yes’… a gentle nudge…a summoning of courage to take the leap…
It may not always be the easiest path, or the most practical, or one that everyone will understand. As far as I have seen, though, it is the most meaningful, beautiful, exciting path of all.
What does your heart say? Where will it take you today?