I don't trust myself. Specifically, I don't trust my mind. If my mind tells me what to do, I am suspicious of its motive.
But I have learned to trust and believe in my heart. My heart is the only voice of authority that has my best interests, well, at heart.
My heart is the like the quiet person at the party. It doesn’t have to work the room; it doesn’t have to tell stories to show how cool it is. In fact, it doesn’t care what anybody thinks of it. It is quietly content. And patient.
“Hey, why not get up at 6am and write for four hours this morning?” whispers my heart.
“Why should I? I’m so tired, and my bed feels so good, so I’d rather sleep,” says my mind.
“Ok then, sleep,” says my heart.
My heart never argues. That’s how I know it is my heart speaking.
Following and arguing with my mind feels bad, listening and following my heart feels good. I am at peace. Aligned. Balanced.
So my 2012 New Year’s Resolution is to Live Life According to My Heart and I’ve pondered and developed 10 Guiding Principles, in no particular order, to assist me:
1. Go Slow.
This is another way to say ‘live in the present’. Going Slow helps me feel and sit with negative emotions before reacting angrily to an email, eating when not hungry or worrying about the future. I also capture endless opportunities for gratitude of the present moment. Go Slow is the first step to all the other principles.
2. Say Yes.
My mind is quick to say “no” when my heart speaks of an idea or a thought. If I #1 Go Slow, I then hear my heart so I can easily, Say Yes. And Say Yes is according to my heart -- if my mind screams “say yes”, it usually means to do the opposite.
3. Live with an Open Heart.
Living with an open heart is about being kind, to others and myself. This is easier for rescued animals and more challenging towards grumpy people! But I’ve found that there is always a behind-the-scenes, a back story, of what appears on the surface. And #7 Be Joy makes their angry tone of voice disappear and allows me to ask them about their day -- making #4 Connect Daily happen.
4. Connect Daily.
We are each connected in some way. I can create daily connections by getting together with family or friends, saying hello to fellow runners in Stanley Park, laughing with a cashier at the grocery store, waving to a driver that I’ve let into my lane or volunteering. #1 Go Slow, #3 Live with an Open Heart and #7 Be Joy make connections meaningful.
5. Ask for What I Want.
And by that, I mean what my heart wants. This may be asking for what I want from the server at a restaurant, from a loved one or from the submissions department of a magazine. Or, I may simply ask the universe. And if I #1 Go Slow, it is easier to Ask for What I Want, because I truly know.
6. Do It Now.
Fear and anxiety increase with time. Do It Now invites me to take action, even a tiny baby step, before my mind argues a counterpoint. It may be “clean out the closet” which then allows more room for creative or peaceful thoughts in my head. Or “write and mail an article to a magazine” or "book that trip to Ireland". All of which are connected to #8 Let Go and Trust.
7. Be Joy.
When I am full of joy, I present my best self to the world. The world is more joyful in return then too. And I am more accepting of roadblocks in #10 Wherever I am is Where I Am Supposed to Be.
8. Let go and Trust.
My mind wants to control me and everything else. But since I cannot control anything beyond my own thoughts and actions, life is easier, and more peaceful, if I Let Go and Trust that it will all work out. It always does.
9. Eat Real Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants (from Michael Pollan)
In descriptive terms, I’ve been a meat-eater, vegetarian and currently, vegan, but I've never identified with a strict title. In general, I've never been concerned about weight except gaining 35 pounds in the stressful final year of a relationship break-down. During the next two years, the weight disappeared on its own, because the weight was irrelevant. No guilt, worry or dieting allows more, #7 Be Joy. And #1 Go Slow, #5 Ask for What You Want and more #7 Be Joy allows weight to become a non-issue.
And the one Guiding Principle that is connected to all others, especially, #8 Let Go and Trust, and which makes my resolution fool-proof:
10. Where Ever I Am, Is Exactly Where I’m Supposed to Be.
I do not usually understand when roadblocks or alternate paths appear in my “planned” route, but I am always grateful for the detours, after-the-fact.
And I don't expect any of these to be easy. But at the very least, the conflict they will produce as I put them into practice should make good fodder for future stories.
Happy New Year!
© 2011 Michelle Sevigny. www.michellesevigny.com. Reprint permission granted with full copyright and link intact.