I never know exactly when it will come.
Maybe the first session. Maybe the eighth.
Perhaps spit out like a rushing river, right when we begin, or whispered hesitantly, lured out after every other, more comfortable concern has been addressed.
I know, though, that it will always come.
The question. The frenzied concern of the inner critic:
Isn’t it selfish to follow my heart?
Isn’t it horrifying that I dare to dream, when so many are ill and suffering and fighting to survive?
I pause, because of course, this is one of my deepest fears, too. It’s one of the questions I’ve wrestled with most since becoming a life coach five years ago.
I help people make their dreams real.
People who, just like me, have many different privileges. People who are worried about exploiting those privileges to the detriment of others.
And this is my answer:
I believe that when we are living a life that’s aligned with our heart’s desires, we’re bringing our best possible self to the world.
If we try to live our lives for other people out of a sense of obligation, guilt, or duty, we’re robbing the world of our best selves.
Instead, we’re adding our resentment, anger, and discontentment to the cosmic milieu. And I don’t believe that can possibly be good for the world at large.
I believe that when we feel full to overflowing, we have more to give.
I believe that distancing ourselves from our hearts and shrinking down to make others larger helps no one.
I don’t have evidence that this is true. But I feel it. My heart says it is so.
So when my clients ask me if I think it’s selfish to follow their heart, I tell them I do not.
Not, at least, in the traditional way we think of selfishness (as bad, bad, bad). I think that it helps the world when you know yourself and know what you desire.
I think the world would be missing out if it didn’t get to experience you at your very most fulfilled, doing what you feel meant to do.
If they hadn’t followed their hearts, we wouldn’t have Mary Oliver, or bell hooks, or Mr. Rogers.
The world would’ve missed out on Laverne Cox, Dolly Parton, and Cesar Millan.
And I don’t want to live in a world without those people and their contributions.
I want to live in a world where you look within, and you listen to your heart, and you shine because of it.
And the world shimmers back at you.
. . .
This post is part of a series on connecting with your inner wisdom, all the many ways that it shows up, and how we learn to actually use it.
On June 20th, in Seattle, Washington, my dear friend Mel Hunt and I are gathering with a group of kind and curious folks to share our most cherished practices for drawing on our inner wisdom. Join us and connect with the wisdom of your heart.