Yesterday, I did a post on being happy all the time. In that post, I shared that a large part of my recovery was about starting to live my life according to my heart’s desire – what I truly wanted to do – and more importantly, how I wanted to BE.
Any time we go against how we truly want to be or what we truly want to do (your heart’s desire), our lives start to go out of alignment. This can create imbalance, that at first might manifest as unhappiness and insecurity – and over time, if we truly stray from our heart’s desires, we can create addiction.
Your Heart’s Desire
What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve with positive mental attitude.The first thing I want to explore is our heart’s desires and what that means. If you think of yourself fully as a human being, you can imagine that your mind plays a huge role in your life. It shapes how you learn, how you see the world and how you relate to others. Your body is also important because it shapes your physical capabilities and your physical health. What we often don’t realize is that both mind and body play a critical role in how we FEEL. You can feel good or bad based on thoughts you think, beliefs you have or emotions you feel. You can feel good or bad based on the state of your health, things you put into your body (food, drink, drugs) or the amount of rest you get.
At the same time, because the brain in our head is linked to the brain in our gut, how we feel is also determined by the mind-body connection. If you put something into your mind that doesn’t align with what is truly right for YOU, it can affect body mind and body. Similarly, if you put something into your body that doesn’t align with what is right for you, it can affect your mind.
Life Example – What I Put Into My Mind
I’ll share a couple of examples in my own life. When I was in my corporate job, I had thoughts and beliefs that I had to play a role to be successful and accepted. Because of this, I chose friends, did activities and focused on things that were out of alignment with what I truly wanted. In fact, I really didn’t think about what I wanted at all, because I had already decided that the thoughts and beliefs I had about success were true. This created a sense of discomfort, fear and insecurity in my life – which added up to being unhappy. Being unhappy and fearful kept me working long hours, trying to please for approval and lacking sleep due to overwork and anxiety. Lack of sleep and the stress that resulted from constant fear adversely impacted my body. It’s not that I was unhealthy on the surface – I looked like the picture of health. Instead, it was little things – foggy thinking, depression, cold hands and feet, cravings, constant mind chatter, etc.
Life Example – What I Put Into My Body
Now let’s take a look at it the other way around – things I put into my body. Each time I had a glass of wine or some sugar, I felt like it went straight up to my head on the first sip or bite. I could almost feel the change, but I had not yet learned to listen to my body, so I ignored it. Eating sugar in any form often led to wanting more – although sometimes I was lucky and could control my desire for more – most of the time I just wanted more. Cravings would set off a heroin-like need to eat and I’d feel defective for not being able to control myself. I also noticed more mind chatter, fear and anxiety. Over time, this cycle of cravings and giving in and feeling bad and resolving to be better seemed to only end up in depression, feeling worse physically and finally, an eating disorder.
I’m not sure how to break down whether my mind or my body contributed most to having an eating disorder. If I were to guess, I’d say that it is both equally – because it doesn’t matter where imbalance starts. Once it starts, it can affect you on all levels. Once mind and body are effected, it is hard for your spirit to be free. This is when you feel locked inside and stuck. This is when it feels like you cannot find your way out. That is how I felt.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t start to heal one thing first – it just means that all need to be looked at in your healing, in order to really let your spirit soar. To really break free. And while it may seem like such hard work, it is in fact the most worthwhile thing we could all do. This is why many have said that addictions can serve as awakeners – it’s not that we live in a dark place of recovery once we heal – it’s that we live in the light of joy, of bliss. Full healing goes beyond living a normal life and can lead to happiness we might not have reached without the addiction that awakened us.
What is it that is awakening in us? Our true essence – that is the root of our heart’s desire. In yesterday’s post, I invited you to really listen to your heart and your body. Depending on how long it’s been since you’ve done this, it could take a little time before you really start to hear what’s deep inside of you. I remember not being able to hear or feel anything when my coach first asked me to do this. I felt numb – and in fact, I was – having an eating disorder was helping to maintain the numbness.
The Only Way Out of Pain is Through It
At first, all I could feel was the abdominal pain that had become chronic in my life – that seemed to cover up all other feelings, along with the numbness from bulimia. After practicing this listening, I started to become aware of a feeling in the pit of my abdomen. It didn’t feel the same as the chronic pain – instead, it was an empty-feeling terror. And it was about my job. I realized that from the morning when I woke up to do my exercise, to my commute into work, I had this feeling of terror, fear, dis-ease in my abdomen. By the time I got to work, I was less aware of these feelings, but I can imagine that they only served to make my chronic digestive pain worse.
I had more to clean upOnce I realized that it was my job, I felt a bit scared – what else was I going to do? How would I pay my bills? What was going to happen to me? Could I just keep going on in my job? For awhile, I did just keep going on in my job. I started to clean up the rest of my life, which made it better, although that low level of fear was still there – telling me I had more to clean up.
Leaving my job was the best thing I ever could have done. I didn’t just leave though, I made many plans to change my life around so that I could pay my bills and support myself in following my heart’s desire. I even worked with my husband so that both of us could make these changes. While it seemed insurmountable at first, it was actually just a series of steps, like anything else in life. Everything worked out beautifully – and if it can for me, it can for you too!
The Steps To Living Your Heart’s Desire
Power of Mind
- Write your vision of how you choose to be, how you choose to feel and who I choose to have in your life. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do at first, so I just wrote about the kinds of things I really loved to do. The key is to pretend money is no object and think really big – not worrying about the how’s. Focusing on my vision allowed me to retrain my brain – breaking the limiting thoughts and beliefs that were holding me back.
- Read your vision everyday – each morning and night, sometimes 3 times per day. Repetition is a great way to create a new habit. Even if I wasn’t sure I believed it fully, I kept an open mind – I was open to believing it. I figured I’d just see what happened.
- Pay attention to your thoughts – I caught myself in limiting beliefs and replaced them with positive affirmations.
- Get still each day through meditation, yoga or some form of quietness that allows you to really listen to your body and heart.
- Look for the proof of your vision coming true – pay attention to the things that happen in your life, the people that come into your life, everything you come into contact with – even your thoughts. Express gratitude for each thing that looks like proof that your vision was getting closer.
These are all things you can do in your life. They may seem simple – and they are! You may wonder, like I did, whether they really work. Try them and find out! These steps are not new – they have been used by countless people who have achieved their dreams.
- Once you realize what your vision is – and subsequently realize what you want to do, write it down. If it is different – or even the opposite – of what you are currently doing, see how that makes you feel. If you are uncomfortable, congratulations! Moving out of your comfort zone means you are about to do something big – where you will learn more than ever before! I invite you to create a perspective of excitement about that so that fear is not the only thing you feel. We have often been taught to fear the unknown, which causes many of us to try to “control the outcome” of everything we do. Yet this keeps us locked up inside and playing small. Going after your heart’s desires is BIG and while it’s scary, it can also be very exciting!
- Get support – find a mastermind group (a group that gets together to support one another in achieving big things), a coach, a supportive friend or loved one who you can talk to about your goals. When you have a dream, sometimes it feels much bigger than you feel – and it might be! That’s okay, because when you join with one or a few others who support you in your goals – who really listen and give feedback on your limiting beliefs, your spirit grows as big as your dreams! It’s amazing what can happen when you do this – you start to move toward your true essence and your true potential.
- Write down your goals – everything in life can be achieved with support, a plan and a series of steps. Write down your goals and make a plan for how to achieve them. Create action steps and ask for help when you aren’t sure what to do next. If you remember reading mythology – the hero always has helpers and never could have been successful on his or her own. Mentors, a coach, people who are already doing what you want to do – there are many options for people who can support you in accomplishing the goals you create – or even helping to clarify your goals.
- Be creative – if you aren’t sure how to achieve your dreams or what steps to take, be creative. Sometimes, we think we can’t do something because we won’t make enough money – could that just be a thought? When I entered the coaching field, I was told that new coaches only make $10,000 per year and have to have alternative careers to pay their bills. There were two things I did – one was my husband and I sold our big house and most of our possessions and moved to a beautiful rural area that was more affordable. We pared down all of our expenses so that I could take my time building my business. The other thing I did was choose to have a different reality – I knew I could find multiple streams of income to support me in growing my business. I never realized how many ways there were to make money, nor did I realize how little I really needed – opening your mind to different ways of thinking can really open new doors for living your dreams. Now we live this beautiful life in the mountains – and my business grew beyond my expectations in my first year of business. All of this happened by my focus on what I really wanted to do, rather than on what I thought I “should” do. It also helped that I had a coach, who challenged me to continue thinking big.
- Work the plan – take the steps you’ve written down – put everything on a calendar and work your to do’s. If it gets overwhelming, just look at one step at a time – and call your support people to help build your spirits back up. We all need encouragement regularly when we are trying to do something big.
- Suspend Disbelief – Stay open to your success every step of the way. Go back to the Power of Mind list and keep training your brain to work for you, rather than against you.
- Pay Attention to Finances – If what you want to do requires leaving your job, do an inventory of your savings, debt and expenses. What would it take to support yourself in your new line of work? If you aren’t sure, this is a great place to use your support people. Come up with a plan for how you can make this work for you financially. If you notice that you do have the financial plan to make it work, ask yourself whether you trust this plan. Are you fearful? I remember feeling scared for a long time before and after leaving my job – and yet, my husband and I did all the right planning and lowering of expenses to make it work. I realized I had issues with my feelings of safety and security and working on these with my coach allowed me to get beyond them. Getting beyond them went a long way in developing overall trust in my life.
- Celebrate – come up with ways to celebrate each challenge you overcome, each step you take and each goal you reach. We often forget to celebrate, especially when it’s just for ourselves. You deserve to celebrate each shift you make and each action you take – think of some really nice things you can do for yourself. It could be a day off, a bubble bath, a new inspirational book, a massage – anything that makes you feel wonderful.
I was terrified when I decided to leave my job – every step, from telling my boss I was resigning to starting my own business was scary. For awhile, my life felt like it was in chaos – because as I left my job, I was coming to terms with living life from my own voice, rather than my habit of listening to others. Over time, it got easier and over time, I healed. I didn’t just start a business, I reinvented myself from a corporate person playing a role to a business owner living her true essence.
The pain and chaos and fear? It’s all worth it. If I were to describe it now, I’d say it felt like a right of passage or a hero’s journey. We are all capable of hero’s journeys and we all have unique skills that align with our dreams. The question is, when do you begin?
You CAN Live Your Dreams! Recovery IS Possible!
You can use these steps for any goal – whether it’s for your recovery or to go after your dreams. I’ve gotten many e-mails from people asking me if recovery is possible – or if living your dreams are possible – and my answer is a resounding YES! If I can do it, so can you. And many before us have done the same. Try some of the steps and see what you think. At some point in the process, you may truly embrace one of my favorite quotes:
What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve with positive mental attitude. — W. Clement Stone
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