The voices were jumbled at first. I was unknowingly immersed in thoughts tumbling in the dryer of my mind. My mind-machine has the ability to cause thoughts to dry out, then form into solid, piercing weapons. Perhaps the thoughts became caustic to get my attention, or they’re just outright mean.
The tumble was running something like this: Your early signs of illness are well developed: the knee in constant pain, the carpel tunnel syndrome, the bloated stomach, hypoglycemic crashes. Your nails are brittle and ridged, an indicator of what’s happening with your bones. You know you’re headed for osteoporosis. This confirms it. You should have made a warming soup today but you insisted on a cold salad. You won’t be able to gain control. You’re getting sicker. And get going with your will and life insurance! There are calls to make, action to take. By the way, what are you going to write? You don’t know how to write. You’ve got nothing to say. Ha! You’re a spiritual teacher, my ass. You’ll never get through the quagmire of blogging. More importantly, who cares what you say? You’re an arrogant fool.
I tossed in bed. This mind-tumbler had been on some time when the final knife emerged and stabbed me: “Who the hell do you think you are?” My inner critic made me sob like a baby. I mean really sob—because my drive to write is so strong. But deep inside, I agreed with the point behind the question: Don’t write. You’re nobody.
Why do I have to write? I should just stop all the hard work to write and to share my spiritual journey, just be simple and raise Meena. Why do I call myself a spiritual teacher, when I’m a student still learning? What do I have to share? Why am I so insistent on writing? I sobbed even harder.
Go to the Heart for Clarity and Purpose
As my sobs slowed to whimpers, I suddenly thought, My heart, my heart, go to my heart. I put my hand over my heart and began breathing into it. I stopped the unresolved thoughts that demanded a change of course in my life–or were just harassing me. Within seconds I didn’t feel the need to cry and I asked my heart to speak to me. As new messages came, I felt them truer than the confusing assault I’d just experienced.
You write to learn. You can teach; you have learned much. Your spiritual teacher instructed you to teach. You have had the desire to speak for the past decade. The grandbaby comes first, but when you find time, write. The internal, insatiable push to write should not be denied. The outcome is no concern of yours. Just make the offering to others freely, lovingly. You know how to balance your mind and body and you will have the energy and knowledge to do it now. Making a call about a life insurance policy is not difficult.
But why do I need to write? I asked my heart again, confused from reading bloggers advice about promoting blogs, making money. Trust yourself, my heart said.
Self-Doubt: Checks and Balances toward Unconditional Acceptance of Myself
I have thought long about my motivations to write many times. I went through my checklist again:
- 1. I’m writing to share what I have learned.
- 2. I’m writing to be of service and empower others.
- 3. I’m writing to give voice to Bhakti and clarify misconceptions about it.
- 4. I’m not writing to make money.
- 5. I’m not writing to become famous.
Check, check, check, check, check. All this remains true at the core of my being. This is good—self doubt. It drives me to re-examine my motivations, realign my intentions. My anxiety began settling, the connection to my core self strengthening. My purpose coming back into focus.
Hearing the Heart
I decided to visualize myself sitting in my heart—to become even nearer to the clear messages, my intuition, my Self. My hand was still on my chest, I was calmly breathing into my heart. One Upanishad says that there are two birds seated in the tree of the heart. One observes the smaller one who is experiencing the world. The observer is God. His whispers are our intuition. I felt a trust in myself and God growing yet again.
By going with presence into the heart, the whispers become louder. Answers clearer. I’ve duplicated the experience thousands of times over the years. Yet each time I’m surprised I meet with clarity and calm because the mind-machine can be so frantic, convincing, consuming, and powerful.
My midnight anxiety had gone from a 10 to 0. My mind flashed on the upcoming trip to New York City this Thursday. Anxiety pitched to a 5. I signed up months ago for the seminar, “Speak, Write & Promote. Building a Multimedia Platform that Brings Your Message to the World.” When I bought my ticket I thought my blog would be further along. I thought I was prepared to publish my memoir. But all my attempts are still in their infancy. I’m more in process than having arrived at something or somewhere. What in the world am I doing?
Trust Yourself, God, and Love
Then I recalled the man who spoke on NPR yesterday. He left his 25-year curator job at the Smithsonian Institution to become an English teacher at a high school in Vermont. At 53 he went back to school to get the degrees necessary. He trusted his heart had called him. He’s happier. Fulfilled.
I relaxed again, thinking, I’m going to enjoy being an adult with other adults for two days (instead of role-playing a monkey or a tiger in a fake voice with Meena), meet new people—interesting people, and learn. Who cares what happens beyond that?
12:30am. The experience of the past half hour moved me. I wanted to write it down. No, I said. It’s time to sleep. Slowing your pace is important for your health. You’ll remember what you need to say in the morning. Trust.
See, you do learn, my heart reassured me. My breath was slow and easy. I turned over to go asleep. Almost as soon as I did a byline for Little Ways of Being™ came to me. For months, I’ve been trying to think up a short line that would succinctly clue readers into the purpose and direction of Little Ways of Being™.
“Awakening to a Heart-Centered Life.”
I wrote down the line in the dark, feeling it was a gift from my heart connection. I like it, I said, and fell asleep.