Years ago, I spent a few months living at the Himalayan Institute, a yoga retreat center in North East Pennsylvania.
One night, after dinner, my friend Stacey Galloway and I went for a walk in the surrounding forest.
We stopped after a while and sat down on a tree stump in the middle of the woods.
She turned to me and asked “What does your heart want?”
Time stopped at that moment.
The universe shrank, as if we were the only two people in the world and those woods in Pennsylvania were the only place that existed.
The question cut through any distance that may have existed between us as two separate individuals in two separate bodies.
No one had ever asked me that question before and I’m pretty sure no one has since.
I’d like to tell you want my answer was. I’d like to tell you exactly what I said to Stacey.
But over a decade has passed since that night in the woods and I honestly only have a fuzzy recollection of my answer.
The question, though, has stayed with me.
It stayed with me as I’ve gone through various career changes, trying to decide how I wanted to make a contribution to the world.
It stayed with me as traveled the world, trying to discover where I fit and where my home was.
It stayed with me as romantic relationships began and as they ended.
And most importantly, it stayed with me during one of the most embarrassing times of my life, as I tried to get myself unstuck and make a major life decision.
I can’t share with you what I told Stacey that evening. Instead I will tell you how I would answer that question if I were asked it right now.
What My Heart Wants
This is what my heart wants.
*My heart wants to love the whole world unconditionally.
*My heart wants to look at everyone and see the pure goodness that is within them.
*My heart wants to look past any superficial differences we might have, look past any judgements I might hold, and simply see the light within.
*My heart wants to open up, to be vulnerable, to share who I really am without any fear of shame or embarrassment.
*My heart wants to connect with other hearts, unafraid, sharing my truth and listening to the truth of other hearts.
*My heart wants to grieve for all the pain in the world, for all those who have been mistreated or exploited, for all those who are suffering due to hunger or poverty or war or any other terrible condition.
*My heart wants to live a life that matters, a life that has a positive impact on the world, a life in line with my deepest desires. And help other people do the same with their lives.
This is what my heart wants. This is the work of a lifetime, my work, my lifetime.
What Does Your Heart Want?
My friend gave me a wonderful gift that night in the NE woods of Pennsylvania.
And now I want to give you the same gift.
And so I will ask you the same thing that Stacey asked me:
What does your heart want?
If you don’t know the answer, if you’re not sure what your heart wants, then I suggest creating the space within yourself that you need to answer the question.
Ask it over and over and over again until you know the answer of what your heart wants.
And then risk deeply to open up to what your heart wants.
Risk deeply to change your life to give your heart what it wants.
Risk deeply to become the person that your heart wants you to become.
Risk deeply and step into the truth and greatness of your heart.