Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Follow Your Heart to Happiness

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.  What you'll discover will be wonderful.  What you'll discover is yourself. -Alan Alda

Self-doubt is probably the number one thing that I've struggled with in my own life.  Doubting myself, because of fear, has kept me from taking risks, living my truth, trying new things and being ME.  It wasn't until I started observing my negative thought patterns that I really saw big transformation and felt that both of my wings opened more fully, allowing me to fly higher than ever before.

Practicing the art of self-study and reflection has allowed me to change how I think, what I say and the actions I take in my life.  Recognizing that I was keeping myself small because of my fear of the unknown, and definitely my fear of failing, I practice now daily to live aligned with my true, authentic way of being.  The key word here is practice

If you find that self-doubt keeps you from taking risks, living your truth, trying new things and being YOU, then yeah, we're not alone!  There is no room for doubt in a healthy, open heart.  Now is the time to remember how to reconnect to your intuition, because that is where your inner wisdom and courage lives.  Letting go of doubt will allow you to feel more connected to the flow of your life.
Do you ever have a gut feeling or a hunch about something?  Do you ever hear a voice in your head and then discount it?  Do you ever have a re-occurring thought you might consider to be a sign, and yet ignore what it's trying to tell you?  Do you ever have a feeling in your heart, but don't know how to listen to it?  We all have done that from time to time.  Many times, that voice we hear is our intuition, and we must relearn how to listen and trust it again.  

Your intuition is a gift.  It is an incredible teacher.  It is your inner wisdom, and it is there to help guide you in life.  So often we are taught to discount those "inner voices" that we hear.  The more we discount them, ignore them and stuff them, the more disconnected we become.

How do you relearn to trust it again?
Here are some of the techniques that have worked for me.  Experiment and find what works best for you.  It is in the "direct experience" and the practice of self-study, that will help you relearn how to deeply connect, become more aware of, and TRUST your intuition. 

1) Stillness:  Slow down.  Stop doing so much.  Find space in your life for rest and renewal. Even 5-minutes-a-day of quiet space and stillness will help you feel more centered.  Feeling peaceful and centered will help you hear what your heart is saying.  Examples of stillness are things like; connecting to your breath, laying in a yoga pose, listening to a guided meditation, writing in your journal, painting, taking a bath, going on a walk in nature, saying "no" to activities and things that fill up your time, knitting...anything that helps to quiet your mind.

2) A Beginner's Mind:  Stay open, remember what it's like to be a child and to see and experience things for the very first time.  Try new things, ask questions, and practice saying, "I don't know."  The ability to stay curious will give your inner voice a place to go.  When we close off and act like we know the answers, that voice gets trapped, nowhere to go and no way for you to hear it!  Keeping open about the "process" of things, rather than looking ahead to the final outcome, will help you cultivate present-moment awareness.  Living in the present moment will help you hear that inner voice more clearly.
3) Spontaneous Play and Creating:  Allowing yourself a regular practice of play and creating, without rules and less "right" ways, will help you release judgment, negativity and doubt.  Let go of being so serious. Laugh more. Dance more. Have more fun.  Keep playing. Keep creating.

4) Take risks:  You've heard it before, but do something that scares you, every day.  Seriously.  When you do things out of your normal routine and step out of what feels comfortable, you'll spontaneously stumble upon new things.  Go places you've never been before.  You'll be surprised at what you find!  The more healthy risk you take, the more you learn, the more practice you get and you'll build your confidence to try more.  Taking risk gives you strength and helps you trust the inner wisdom that's guiding you to take the risk in the first place!
5) Compassion:  Give yourself a break. Practice being kind to yourself (and to others), with the thoughts you think, the things you say and the actions you do.  

6)  Eliminate:  Negativity & Clutter  As we've talked about, observing what you think is a great first step in eliminating negative thoughts.  Also, become more aware of other negative toxins in your life.  These toxins include negative words, negative images (the news, movies, TV...), negative people, junk food etc.  Feed your soul with things that are positive and nourishing.  Another BIG change in my life happened when I limited my time around negative people and things.  Notice what a bummer it is to be around someone who complains and talks about other people.  Limit your time around negative people and continue to be a source of positivity.  The less you join in with others who judge people, the less you will judge yourself.

Along these same lines, let go of the things that clutter your mind, body and spirit.  Let go of more.  Let go of even more.  This will create space where your intuition can flourish.  (Many of you know that reducing clutter to create space for what matters most in life is my personal quest for 2010.  If you'd like to join me, visit HERE to learn more.)

7) Gratitude:  There is so much to be grateful for in your life.  Focus on the things you are most grateful for, every day, and good things will happen.  Check out the Go Gratitude Experiment.  You can sign up to receive daily gratitude reminders.  I have participated in this and LOVE it.

Today I'm grateful for Manon.  Thank you for this award, sweet friend.

And, Anne, I am grateful for you and appreciate this kind award!

Your Personal Reflection:  Let your heart lead the way and reawaken your happiness, from the inside out.  (Registration for my spring e-course opens this Thursday.)


  1. Thank you for this inspiration. I have been trying to do so much of this over the years to get where I am today. It is a long ole journey struggling with the 'shadow' self I guess. But trying to make it a fun, experimental journey and sharing with others has been key, as has been following my heart (doing art) and using my intuition at key moments.

    Glad to be part of the list now :)

    Thank you,


  2. I love you Shannon, I am always so impressed of how we live things and thoughts simultaneously. Today, and mostly everyday, I am grateful for you... xxx

  3. Hi Shannon,
    Thank you for such a great post! I especially have to work on elimination and risk! These are areas that I need to grow in. I might check out your link for the uncluttering of areas in my life. I have also had to make some tough choices about who to surround myself with to promote healthy energy! Being conscious of all of these areas are really helping me and my sanity!

  4. I love this post, and I have bookmarked it to refer back to whenever I need a little reminder. As always Shannon, you are so inspiring. Thank you for sharing

  5. Lovely and inspiring...what a lift this morning.
    I really like your blog...it's very real.
    I'll be back,have great Wednesday.

  6. So true, so inspiring, so good to read! I know why I gave you this blog award...So glad to know you! Thanks for this generous text!

  7. I am so happy I could be a source of inspiration. It's nice to find others who are so passionate about following their hearts. I appreciate each of you for taking the time to leave your awesome comments. You all inspire me in so many ways!

  8. What a wonderful post! It was just the reminder I needed this morning. We truly are our own worst enemies aren't we? Thank you for sharing.

  9. Hi Shannon - I've finally had time tosit and read your post. I found it very interesting - especially the bit about avoiding negative people - I think you are right, the attitude of others impacts on our wellbeing. I included a little update on my decluttering in Friday's post -progress is being made! Love, Anne

  10. You are an endless source for great ideas and encouragement. I know that self doubt all too well, and there is so much I put off. I claim it's lack of time, but I suspect it's something much more sinister. You have such a free spirit and energy. It's infectious!


Thanks for sharing!