You know those days where you have a goal to buy yourself a new pair of sandals for the summer (the soles of last year’s flap and talk to you when you walk), but somehow you find yourself staring at your reflection in the GAP change room wearing the blue and white striped jumpsuit that looked so very cute on the hanger yet has you bearing a scary close resemblance to a grandfather in his pyjamas? Ya, those days.
It’s on those days when I realize, again, how easy it is to drift from my intentions. To be distracted by the world. To ignore my heart.
Mark Twain once described a man who died and met Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. Knowing that Saint Peter was a very wise, and knowledgeable person the man asked a question that he had wondered about throughout his life. He said, “Saint Peter, I have been interested in military history for many years. Who was the greatest general of all time?” Saint Peter quickly responded, “Oh that’s a simple question. It’s the man right over there.” “You must be mistaken,” responded the man, now very perplexed. “I knew that man on earth, and he was just a common laborer.” “That’s right my friend,” assured Saint Peter. “He would have been the greatest general of all time, if he had been a general.”
How easy it is to let our talents go unused, our interests ignored. There are so many distractions pulling us in every direction. Inside of us and outside. I spent 5 years in University with my head in books, barely coming up for air. I was so focused on solving for “x” and “y”, and achieving that perfect GPA, that I forgot to listen to my heart. There was beauty and life and love just outside my window, waiting for me to wake up and notice. But I didn’t look up.
I’ve spent the past year trying to become more in tune with myself. I’ve realized there is a strong current of intuition flowing inside me, but it runs quiet. If I don’t take the time to listen, my needs, desires, entire dreams and goals, will flow by unnoticed. It is easy for me to coast on the surface of my life, wondering why I am feeling jealous of others, why I keep yelling at my kids. When I take the time to journal, to spend time in solitude, I become more aware of this current that is fully alive within me. I’m trying to make more time for these things. Because if I don’t, my choices will be dictated by something else. If I don’t listen to my heart, I’ll listen to someone else’s. If I don’t stand firm, I’ll be washed away in the ocean of “others”.
My eyes are open now, and I want to keep them that way. I want to pay attention to the current in me that hears truth. I want to listen to her rhythm, feel her beat. I want to make my heart stronger. I think nurturing your soul is as important as your body. What might energize one person could drain another. I’m learning that the best diet for me consists of solo walks in nature, good books, a pen and my journal. A glass of wine with a close friend.
A strong heart can withstand the pressures of life. She can speak up when she needs to be heard. When quiet is needed she can be still.
Like many things in life, I will get out what I put in. When I started practicing yoga I held my breath a lot, I tensed the places I was supposed to soften, I wasn’t aware when my mind drifted to the negative. Now, with time, I am getting better at these things. I have come a long way. What if I were this intentional with my soul? I wonder what my faith would like a few years from now. I wonder how strong my heart would be, how easy it would be to ignore other voices and only listen to the One.
I don’t want to look back on life and regret the if I had been…
I want to put in the work. Dive below the surface. Uncover truth. Find joy. Stand firm.
That’s my kind of life.