Sometimes we spend far too much time analyzing every aspect of our lives. Since the day we are born milestones for our lives are predetermined. Take your first steps by age one, tell stories by age four, think about the future by age 13, have a degree by age 22, have children before 30, retire by 60. Our lives are on a timeline and often times we do what is expected of us.
Our human nature tells us to remain in routine and often times by doing so we neglect the best parts of ourselves. Stepping out of our comfort zone builds up new skills and allows parts of ourselves to heal that we didn’t even know needed healing.
The truth is we live in a world where possibilities are endless; we don’t have to follow the time line; we can follow our hearts. I have discovered that when I follow my heart, it has guided me to what I really needed. There was always one clear answer for me, when I slowed down and allowed myself to listen. I have yet to feel regret or doubt when I acted on the choices from my heart. There was a consistent sense of acting in alignment with my true self.
The fundamental basis for functioning in a heartfelt way is mindfulness. Mindfulness means “Sinking down” below the turbulent surface of our thoughts, projections, fears, and perceptions that all clamor for my attention. It means having a still center from which we can be aware of the quieter, subtler signals in the body and emotions which can be our greatest source of information. We become non-judgmental and separate our thoughts and emotional reactions. we discover that our heart and body can safely and fearlessly guide us.
Mindfulness is the practice of letting go. Letting go of attachments to desires, fears; expectations of self, others, and the future; Attachments of what others may think and feel about us. When we can mindfully make decisions from a connected place and let go of the stress, indecision, and doubt that is rooted in fear; Fear of the unknown.
Mindfulness is essential in that it trains us to detach from the narrative of fear-based thoughts. By being mindful and accepting the emotion and feeling as is, we teach ourselves to be “feeling the fear and doing it anyway,” trusting this and letting the process guide you.
With mindfulness-based decision making, we develop an incredible sense of freedom to authentically move through the world. As the Buddhist teachings read, it helps to cultivate courageous “self-acceptance” and a “fearless heart.”
The more we open up and follow our heart the greater the opportunities. Deep in us we have the greatest meanings, we gain a different type of knowledge; One that is spontaneous and unconcerned with outcomes, we just have to be mindful to see it. What we concern ourselves with is our internal experiences that can carry us to new levels of self-discovery.
After all, isn’t self-actualization what we are after or is that just Maslow?
Article by Jessica Lamar, Psy.D.
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