5 Ways to Live From Our Heart
One thing that has shown up in my life lately that has gotten my attention in a not so comfortable way, as it usually does, is that I have not been living from my heart. I haven’t been trusting my own intuition and inner wisdom. I have taken on the challenge of writing a book. This is my Mt. Everest to climb so to speak as my business and life coach, Kimberly Dawson pointed out to me. My big hairy audacious goals usually revolve around physical feats. I am finding this one to be considerably more challenging than an epic bike ride or climbing a 14'er. This challenge is getting right to the core of my self-doubt and chronic people pleasing behavior.
I finished the first draft of my book, which was quite an accomplishment in and of itself. But now I am starting over. I came to the realization that I didn’t write the first draft from my heart. I wrote it in a people pleasing way that didn’t honor my own inner wisdom and my own truth. I didn’t blaze my own trail so to speak. But that’s OK.
I have already learned a great deal about myself in the process. The first draft was a warm-up. It was my practice round getting ready for the real deal. As much as I want this book writing process to be easy, it isn’t. I thought I would sit down for a few weeks, knock out the book and get it published. But anything worthwhile is never easy. The bottom line is this book is for me and my spiritual growth. If one person’s life is transformed by my sharing my story, then that is just icing on the cake.
On this journey of writing this book I am learning what it means to live from my heart. There are five key takeaways from this experience so far and my life is already being transformed from this challenge. I am still in basecamp getting ready for the ascent up to Mt. Everest, but I need to do some acclimatizing for my heart first so it is strong enough to handle the limited oxygen at high altitude.
1. Follow Our Own Inner Wisdom
I love to read, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos and take educational courses. One of my principle strengths is learning. I would have been a professional student if I could have, but it doesn’t pay very well. Of course there is nothing wrong with learning from others, I wouldn’t be where I am today without mentors and all of the knowledge I have accumulated over the years from all the books I have read. After all, leaders are readers.
But at some point we have to set all of that aside and tap into our own inner wisdom. One of the biggest struggles I have faced in sharing my story is believing that my story is relevant. When I think that way it really translates into the thinking that if my story isn’t relevant then I am not relevant. I don’t have any crazy story to tell. I am just a preacher’s kid from North Dakota. That’s my way of keeping myself small and staying in my comfort zone.
I have had to shift my attitude with the deep inner belief that I am relevant as we all are. We all have a story to tell and we can learn from each other. One of the authors I greatly respect is John Eldredge. His book, Wild at Heart, had such a profound impact on my life. It helped me to recognize that being a good Christian man wasn’t about going to church. It was about having a personal relationship with God and taking healthy risks that honor and glorify God.
My struggle is thinking that I am not as good as John Eldredge. I have had a history of putting people up on a pedestal. I admire and respect John in many ways, but I have to get over this feeling that I am not relevant and that I could never write a book that has the impact that John has had on so many Christian men’s lives. That is a battle that goes on in my head every day.
The mind shift that I have had to make for writing this second draft of my book is telling myself that I am relevant. That I have an immense amount of inner wisdom that I am being called to share through my experiences over the years. In my mind, I am telling myself that I am a great writer who transform’s men’s lives by expressing my inner wisdom through the written word. That is my shift from I am not relevant to I am relevant. When we follow our own wisdom that is when we are living from our heart.
2. Speaking Our Own Truth
In the process of writing this book, I have taken a hard look at what my own truth is. Going deep inside of ourselves isn’t easy. It can bring up a lot of demons. I have had to face many of them already. Finding our truth and then sharing it with the world can be really scary. The fear of being judged is always in the back of my mind. But that isn’t serving me or anyone else for that matter.
If I don’t discover my own truth and share it with others then I am not doing what I am being called to do. If we all kept our stories to ourselves we would never learn from one another. We all have the freedom to express ourselves. One way I love to share my thoughts and feelings is through the written word. At times it can be really challenging and it also can be very rewarding. It’s a form of therapy for me.
I have been attached for some time because of my upbringing that I am a conservative Christian. I am finding I am anything but that. That identity is being blown up as I seek my inner truth. It’s uncomfortable to let go of an old identity and discover who we are at our core and then express that truth. But it’s my truth and not everyone needs to understand it. Finding our inner truth is a journey of a lifetime. It takes time of stillness, solitude and inner guidance and then we are able to express ourselves by speaking our own truth.
3. Let Go of People Pleasing
Sometimes I hold back on speaking my truth because I don’t like to rock the boat. That is one of the biggest battles I have faced over the course of my life. The need to people please and be liked runs deep into the core of my being. I wrote the entire first draft of the book from a people pleasing perspective. It kept me from expressing my truth because I wanted everyone to like me. That keeps me safe. Saying something that is controversial even if it is my truth keeps me from living from my heart.
What I am learning on this journey is that people pleasing and the need to be liked keeps us from the freedom to be who we are. It keeps us mired in the status quo of life out of the fear of saying something that may offend someone. Nothing will change in the world if we are afraid to express ourselves in a courageously vulnerable way. I have historically swept my feelings and shown up the way I thought people wanted me to be out of the need to be liked. The writing of this book is a way for me to overcome that. The only way I can do that is to let go of that old brain pattern of people pleasing.
4. Do What Makes Us Happy
Living from our heart means doing what makes us happy. We all deserve to be happy in our lifetime. For many years I have carried a heaviness in my heart, not feeling like I deserve to be happy. I have taken on the responsibility of other people’s pain. I have had to work hard to overcome this feeling of sadness. Living a life of joy is a choice we all get to make.
I have been working hard to understand this part of myself and to heal any wounds that are keeping me from living a life of joy. I want to create from a place of joy and happiness. I hope to bring an energy of healing that transforms people’s lives. That means I have to continue to work on myself on a daily basis so I can bring the healing energy of Jesus to the world.
5. Detach From Outcomes
It’s easy to get caught up in wanting things to turn out a certain way. Of course I want the book I am writing to be a New York Times bestseller. I want it to transform millions of men’s lives and make some residual income from the book. Those are all wonderful things that are ultimately out of my control.
Living from our heart means being detached from outcomes. I think that is the hardest thing for many of us to do. That means letting go of control and completely surrendering to what God wants. Detaching from outcomes is a work in progress for me. I am learning to accept everything that has happened in my life to bring me to this point and live with gratitude for all of the life lessons I have learned along the way.
When we detach from outcomes it allows us to be fully present in the moment doing our best work with intentionality. When we get too caught up in the outcome it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on us. It keeps us from living from our heart.
What I can focus on is following my inner wisdom, speaking my truth, letting go of people pleasing and doing what makes me happy. The outcome is up to God and having complete peace with whatever that is. It’s complete surrender and trusting the process.
Living from our heart is a pursuit of a lifetime. It’s a journey of spiritual growth and radical inner freedom. One that I am willing to take and see where it leads. It’s the road less traveled, but I would rather take the narrow path for the sake of spiritual growth then the predictable path of safety and security. It’s an adventure of a lifetime.
Spiritual Warrior Coach
Founder and Creator of Barbells & Brothers