I received a facebook message not too long ago from a friend which read: "Hi Fiona. How are you? Looks like you're a flourishing on FB :)" I thanked her for her kind message. What she didn't know was that I had been derailed that morning and feeling emotional after an angry attack from a person I had once considered a friend. I replied in appreciation of her support.
She went on to assure and encourage me: "Your happy inspiring time is shining through. I love your work, you are amazing and an inspiration. Shine on."
Well, that was truly confirmation that my word of the year had been an inspired choice, as you will see in the synchronicity that follows in the secrets I have to share!
Many years of listening to my inner and outer critics' voices had forced my inner child and true heart's desires into hiding. It felt wrong to have desires at all, my head full of shoulds and shouldn'ts, feeling powerless and paralysed.
As a teenager and young adult I felt intensely cynical, distrustful and lonely. I lacked any real purpose and direction. If someone had suggested I followed my heart back then, I'd have had to breakthrough the barbed wire fence I had encased it in. Not an easy feat!
I experienced betrayal, confusion, pain and despair. I found it hard to open up or trust others, especially those closest to me. Although I did have good friends who I hid most of my dark feelings from, I didn't feel safe to share these with them, I craved for and felt safer in my own company.
I have been blessed to have had various encounters in my life over the years. Encounters with people and events I now perceive to be my soul guides and angels, that planted seeds of self-worth and encouragement in my heart. Gradually the layers of protection around my heart started to melt away.
More and more I have been guided to listen to my heart and nurture these fragile seeds to take root and grow, to give them love, attention, and light to flourish, to bear fruit and spread these seeds of love to the hearts of others.
For me, the practical business & languages degree I had originally signed up for out of 'should' grated against my heart's pull. Back then, I felt that money and job security was the enemy of wisdom and a life of freedom and adventure. "How will you get a job with a degree in Philosophy!", my critics would say, but my heart's calling was so strong, I ignored them and did it anyway.
As a idealistic young lady, I took the word Philosophy literally, Philo, ancient greek for 'Love of' & Sophos, meaning 'Wisdom'. Love of Wisdom - what learning could surpass that! My romantic notion of Philosophy was short lived.
My course was based firmly on western ancient and modern philosophy, rational mental analysis, logic and science. Although a interesting dive into the history and method of modern day thinking, there was not even a nod to asian philosophies, world cultures and religions, which I would become increasingly drawn to.
The only female philosopher we studied explored heavy themes such as violence against women. Could women philosophers have anything to say other than defend themselves against their male oppressors, I wondered?
Today, however, I have no regrets. My heart's calling helped guide me to where I ultimately needed to go. Perhaps to the detriment of my university studies but to the flourishing of my heart, I had valuable time to discover the wisdom teachings of symbolism, mythology, world cultures, traditional herbal medicine, tarot and astrology through my extracurricular personal explorations. I overcame my aversion to the colour pink and painted my bedroom the colour of love.
During this time, I met my first buddhist teacher and learned to meditate, start to develop a mind of love, effort and concentration, to allow thoughts to come and go without strong attachment or judgment. He happened to have trained in philosophy and psychology in his pre-buddhist days, so was able to teach me in a language I understood. I discovered a very different experience of love and wisdom than I had encountered in my academic learning.
My mind shifted and my heart softened. My rigid beliefs became more relaxed. As a lifelong devout atheist, I learned loving-kindness, compassion for others, and a tolerance to religious and spiritual expression that has transformed my outlook completely.
Since then I have continued to experience a heart opening that blesses and supports my journey through life, especially when I nurture it with love and attention. I've discovered that the best way to move forward is to notice when I am overcome by mental chatter, and distracted by voices in my head that are not my own. Then I create the space to drop into my heart, my spiritual guide, and listen to what she has to say.
Habits of lifetimes can be hard to break. I'm still on a eternal but now more conscious journey of returning back to my heart. I now know that when I do, I can trust wholeheartedly that I'm on the right path. Every encounter and obstacle become part of my spiritual development and empowered life journey.
If I had not allowed myself to listen to those early heart whispers and dared to follow them, my story could have been quite different. I would not be where I am today, having travelled to so many parts of the world to learn and work, becoming a herbalist and holistic health practitioner, on a life adventure married to my soul mate. I've met so many inspiring fellow travellers on the way, and supported by an incredible network of friends and mentors who encourage me to live my highest potential.
My life has been an amazing dream, a journey of awakening, growth and development. I'm so grateful for every part of it. Out of the tragedy, trauma and challenges that is an inevitable part of life, like yin & yang, cycles of transformation continue to occur giving way to incredibly magical celebrations, beauty, serendipity, and synchronicity.
Do you listen to and nurture your heart often? Do you have examples of times you have followed your heart whole-heartedly?
Go back there in your mind for a moment... What did you do? How were you feeling? What was the outcome? Is this how you are feeling now?
If not, what do you need to do to realign with your heart's purpose to recreate those same feelings? Who or what do you need to bring into your life to help you move forward and bring you back on track?
Remember that you can tune into and fully trust your heart of love and wisdom anytime to ask for and receive guidance. Following your pure heart never fails.