When my heart started calling I did not know where or how to answer the call.
She has been calling me for a long time. Almost thirty years.
Many things kept me from answering the call.
First, I did not know it was my heart. The call came in many forms—all were pretty uncomfortable physically and emotionally.
It was not a sweet, gentle call.
It was a ball of painful longing, sadness, contraction and loneliness surrounded by a thick layer of shame.
I kept looking for where the call was coming from but I simply could not find it. I grew up with intellectual people; people ruled by the mind, not the heart.
So when the heart came calling, I did not have the tools to guide me to it.
However, I did know how to use my mind. And my mind did what it knows how to do best; it started fixing the “problem” of my ball of angst. Thirty years of attempted fixes—extreme exercise, diet changes, controlling my environment. But nothing worked.
This was because I did not listen close enough to determine where the call was coming from. I was only looking at the problem.
It has been a crazy, lonely, unpredictable, wild journey. There was so much shame to get through; that feeling of being unworthy and unlovable and useless to anyone.
Sometimes it takes a situation getting really bad to be able to listen. Sometimes we are simply not strong enough to listen. Sometimes we have the support all around us but we simply cannot see it. Sometimes we need different support than what we have. Sometimes we do not know how to ask for help. This is how it has been for me.
Finally, I found the proper tools, slowed down, and listened. Meditation, yoga, being quiet, listening, having a partner that was willing to take the risk to push and ask the difficult questions, prayer, and pure faith are what guided me back to my heart.
It was not until very recently that I discovered that this ball of angst was a message from my heart.
It was saying, “I am here if you are willing to be very still and listen. Come closer and I will show you which way to go if you will let me. I am here for you. You are okay. It is okay.”
It lets me know that if I do not listen, I am not being true to myself. If I do not listen, I am living other people’s version of what they think my life should look like.
The more I listen to my heart, the less I judge myself by others standards.
This is a risk. It challenges relationships with people close to you.
I know that I have challenged some fundamental core beliefs of friends, family, and acquaintances in my life. That is the risk that I am willing to take.
In the beginning, I noticed that those closest to me were much more comfortable by my unfulfilled, predictable, inauthentic life than challenge their core beliefs. But as time has gone by, the people that know and love me have challenged themselves to understand me and as a result, to accept the free odd bird that I am.