Thursday, December 10, 2009

Acting by Heart

In my last post, I sang the praises of self-care and the beauty that emanates from holding one's Self in high regard. And, I described in that post my belief that true honor of one's Self involves not only hearing the whispers of the inner voice, but acting on them.

This past Thanksgiving, as has been my M.O. in years past, I allowed my sense of obligation, my over-active sense of responsibility to override the wisdom of the voice-beneath-the-voice. I felt pressured by the need I saw at work and offered my services to go above and beyond even knowing all the while it wasn't my best choice.

And I got sick.

Two weeks later, mostly recovered, I am able to give this experience some broader perspective. Reflecting on the immediate consequences of my actions, it is clear to me that this is how my body, my soul knows to get my attention. It worked. Getting sick stopped me dead in my tracks and I knew beyond a doubt that I was being told to slow down. Further still, that I am not in charge -- no amount of mind-over-matter would keep me immune from the realities of ignoring what I know. If I'm not going to take care of myself by choice, my circumstances will see to it that I do so out of necessity. What is the saying about the size of the 2-by-4 being equal to the level of our own stubbornness?

The ego likes to play this game with us to get us to go against what we know. "Oh, just this once won't hurt. It doesn't really apply to me. I can ignore it just a little bit longer. I'm tougher than that. It doesn't really matter." Whatever our triggers are, our ego knows and will use them to get us to listen to the lies it tells us rather than act on what we know to be our truth.

I like to think that most of us want to uncover the truth of who we are, why we're here, to make sense and meaning of our lives. But we look outside of ourselves, to others, to the jobs we do, the ways we busy ourselves in the world for the answers to the mystery that is our existence, that is our life on this earth. When all the while, everything we need to know, the guide to where we need to go, what we need to do (or not do) to live our most authentic life, is within us. Every moment. Every day.

I am continually amazed at this. How when I stop to consider our part in things, our part in the miracle that is this life, it occurs to me that all we're being asked to do is trust. To trust what we know in our hearts to be true enough to act on it. The first time.

I can't help but wonder, what could our lives look like then?//