Some of you know that my experiment for all of 2021 was to follow my bliss. I was suffering a really nasty case of writer's block, at least as far as my fiction went, and I thought the best way to navigate through it would be to do only what my heart most wanted to do, to the fullest extent I possibly could, for every single day of 2021.
My intent was to not just follow my heart, but to do it in absolute faith. That's where things seemed to get a little shaky. Turns out, I had a pretty deep belief that a lot of other things in my life could not possibly work unless I were doing things the way I'd always done them. And so they...um...didn't.
Things stopped working
Several things in life seemed to go terribly wrong. I realized my own hand in creating the troubles, even as I saw them unfolding all around me. It seemed difficult to stop the momentum. But then, because I had no choice, I looked for new and improved solutions in the problem areas. And when I looked for different solutions, lo and behold, there they were. Right where they'd been the whole time, showing me that my belief had been flawed. There were other ways to do things, I didn't have to do things the old way, after all.
Things leveled out after that and are heading back to good again. I hope.
Habits and Beliefs
When we've done things the same way for a long, long time, doing them in a different way is going to shake up everything in our lives, because it's all intricately connected. Deep down, we think life can only work if we do it the way we always have. This prevents us from following our heart's desire for something more. It prevents us from finding ways that work even better than the status quo. It prevents (temporarily) our expansion, the very purpose for which we came.
When we change one thing in our lives, all the other things have to shift into new positions to make the machinery work smoothly again. It's that shifting process that feels to us like pain, disruption, and difficulty. I feel like most of the big crisis points in my own life have been the times when I was growing the most. But those hard patches are sometimes just all the components of our experience shifting around, making room for new elements and incorporating them into the whole. Hard times are just our life's machinery making adjustments.
Last year brought multiple seismic shifts to my life and family. It's felt like a difficult and challenging year, and sometimes I thought that maybe my plan had brought it all on. Following my bliss had led nowhere good.
But now that things have shifted into their new positions and are running more smoothly again, and we're settling into the new normal of the moment, it occurs to me... that maybe this process IS the work.
Maybe following the heart is supposed to lead us straight into a full-on confrontation with our most self-limiting beliefs. The very beliefs that have kept us from following our heart on this subject up to now.
Only it doesn't just lead us TO those limitations, it forces us to smash right through them.
Following our bliss is, I believe, the most direct route to the heart's fondest desires. So what if it leads us through a dark forest on the way? That forest's trees are the beliefs at our core that have held us back for the longest. The ones that stand between where we are now, and where we want to be.
And if we follow our hearts wherever they lead, they will lead us straight into what we were afraid they would. And right out the other side of it, shattering that fear forever by proving it false and forcing us to find another way.
All the places my heart has led me throughout 2021, all the flawed beliefs it has forced me to confront and disprove and all the empowering new ideas with which I have replaced them, all the new changes in our lives--all of it---is working in harmony now. The machines have re-adjusted themselves, giving us room to grow further than we ever have before leaving our most stubborn self-limiting beliefs smashed to bits on the floor behind us.
Several new things have snapped into place for us, vast improvements in some areas, challenges we're still working through in others that will lead to vast improvements on the other side. We know where we're going.
One thing I know for sure, I believe more than I did before that following our hearts is the true path to fulfillment. I really do. So I will continue doing what I love, which includes storytelling once again. The block is gone. I am healthier and happier than ever, and exploring one new project after another, in whatever order they call to me. It feels like I'm accomplishing a lot, but all of it is fun. That's the key.
I told a friend the other day that I have a terrible work ethic, but a wonderful fun ethic.Fortunately, most of what I do feels like fun to me. I love storytelling and website creating and graphic designing and blogging and reading tarot cards for people.
I don't think I was enjoying my work like this in recent memory. I'm really glad to have found this place again. My creativity is once more on fire.
The Work in a Nutshell
Here's what I think it is:
Listen to our hearts and follow where they lead in absolute faith that this is the most direct route toward the life we desire.
When following our heart leads to difficulty, it's because we believed it would on some level. By finding a fresh solution to the trouble, we leave behind the old, flawed belief that was holding us back.
As we confront and defeat each self-limiting belief, we expand into the people we most want to be and into the lives we most want to live.
We have fun doing it, because we are doing only things our heart wants us to do! This is the work.
Tuning in the Heart
For those who feel they don't know what their heart desires, the first step is to tune it in. We do this by deciding to pay attention to how we feel. Really start to notice when your heart feels good and when it feels bad, and begin just leaning more toward things that make it feel good.
By focusing more on the things you most love in your life now, and by celebrating all that's working out and going well, and as little as possible on things you feel are going wrong, you adjust your energy to match the good. When you match the energy more good comes to you.
I always recommend daily meditation. 15 or 20 minutes with white noise to focus on, to distract your mind from its endless chatter. Counting breaths helps too.
But really the most important way to hear our hearts is to listen for them. As we turn our attention to our hearts, they will pour themselves out to us in the form of feelings. We must feel our feelings. They are our guidance.