To follow your heart’s desires, you first have to know what they are.
This can be hard for many people.
Today I share some practices and questions (as well as pitfalls to watch for) to help you walk your heart path.
Open the Door
To discover our heart’s desires, we have to develop the ability to hear and trust our hearts. We need to quiet our anxious minds, tune out the distractions of daily life, silence the clamoring voices of others.
We have to make sacred space to listen to the longings, the callings, the singing of our hearts and souls. To open the door to believe in ourselves and our dreams. Begin to know ourselves deeply, trust ourselves. And trust life.
None of that comes easily for most of us.
Many of us have been taught to deny our hearts, our longings and feelings. We are encouraged to listen to our heads, to society and other people’s needs above our own heart wisdom and knowing.
I have been struggling with this lately, as the compulsion of the computer and busyness grabs me. And my fear wants to keep me from getting quiet or doing anything that doesn’t look directly like work.
Taking a walk, journaling, prayer and meditation, being in nature, dream journeying, guided meditations and/or guided inquiry can all help us to go within.
Some of these are part of my morning routine, but I’m finding I need more of them now to guide me through these tumultuous times.
Whether you are seeking guidance through a challenging transition, wanting more fulfillment, joy or connection, or to discover your life path, I encourage you to make time for practices that help you listen to your heart.
Some Questions to Help You Uncover Your Heart’s Desires
If you are unsure what your heart’s dreams are, try asking yourself one or more of the questions below. Choose the ones you are drawn to and/or the ones you are afraid of.
Be patient with the answers. Ask more than once. Ask on different days.
Write the answers in your journal.
I encourage you to use the practice of freewriting for this. Give yourself a time frame, perhaps 10 minutes per question. Keep the pen moving, allow any and all responses to come, even if they don’t make sense or seem untrue. Write whatever comes without pausing to think or edit.
Or ask the questions with a trusted friend, asking each other back and forth, repeating the same question over and over, allowing any and all answers. This is a powerful, deep practice.
See which answers have the most resonance and power for you, the most emotion. Let yourself be surprised. None of this is carved in stone. Take it lightly.
- What is my heart’s deepest desire?
- What’s missing or lacking in my life?
- What would make my heart sing to be, do or have?
- What do I secretly long to be, do or have?
- Wouldn’t it be nice/fabulous/amazing if _________?
- If I truly let myself dream, I would ________________.
What Gets In the Way of Dreaming
Often we don’t know what our dreams are because we have been discouraged from dreaming long ago. We were discouraged by our parents or other adults when we were young, by life circumstances or others close to us.
We have been ridiculed for our dreams, told to get our heads out of the clouds and our feet on the ground. We were told our dreams are impossible, absurd, unrealistic. Or that we should be content with what we’ve got. Or that we can’t have what we want.
We may have been crushed by disappointments in the past and don’t want to get our hopes up again. We’ve been hurt or scared by humiliations, by trials and tribulations.
We want to play safe. That’s understandable.
Building Your Dreaming Muscles
One way to deal with this is to start by dreaming small, yet still connected to your heart.
Choose something small that you really desire, that lights you up.
Commit to that dream. To plant a garden or take a day-long solo retreat or read a book a month or start learning kung fu.
As you allow yourself to desire and dream and to go for your dreams, you create small successes in your life. In this way, you build your dreaming muscles. You’ll develop courage, connection with your heart, and confidence.
Then you can begin to hear and follow larger dreams.
Identify the Dream Killers
There are many ways we stop ourselves from dreaming, from hearing the desires of our hearts.
In my work helping others to live their dreams and helping myself to live mine, I have discovered five dream killers that often stop us from hearing, believing and living our dreams.
My students have found these to be illuminating, helping them to open the doors to new dreaming.
I’ve made a beautiful, little e-book of these that includes some encouragement, guidance and inspiration to find and follow your dreams. It is my gift to you.
Click here to download Five Tragically Common Ways We Kill Our Dreams.