THE BLOG
09/01/2015 12:24 pm ET Updated Sep 01, 2016

How Mindfulness Lets Us Listen to Our Hearts

If you were to have told me six months ago that I would start an Instagram account spreading love, originality and positive energy, I would have thought you were kidding.

In fact, a year ago was strictly bad energy for me. I was going through tough times at work, my startup had hit a brick wall, and it felt like every thought that entered my mind was accompanied by stress and worry. A mental stopwatch powered by anxiety woke me up each morning. I had lost my center of gravity.

I decided to take matters into my own hands by listening to my heart. I read a beautiful book called Wherever You Go, There You Are and taught myself mindfulness meditation, which I in turn prioritized. I don't want to say the rest is history, because it would be misleading to insinuate that meditation is a panacea for everyone's problems. But, time and time again, whenever life's inevitable roadblocks present itself, my mindfulness practice has been there to re-connect me with who I am. It always feels right. Here's how:

I REMEMBER TO LET GO

Before I ever started meditating, I had become so hyper-obsessed with the pursuit of being "successful" it was as if I was strangling life by the neck, demanding that it would answer my prayers for achievement immediately. Every decision felt momentous. The future mattered more than the present.

Then with meditation came the process of letting go. Forgiving myself. I decided to convert my ambition from the imposing force that guided my every day actions into friendly faithful reminders I selectively referred back to.

This concept of letting go is no different than in sport or dating. The tighter you grip a golf club, the more likely you are to shank. The more aggressively you pursue a love interest, the less likely they are to reciprocate. I would rather be an athlete who "makes it look easy" than one who makes the game more difficult for themselves.



I FIND RENWED MEANING

One of the beauties of meditation is that it helps create new pathways into the surface area of your heart for new modes of fulfillment to enter and make a home. Your definition of meaning does not have to take form as an imaginary to-do list of life goals defined by the typical conception of success.

Instead, allow yourself to derive fulfillment in the nooks and crannies of life that are fundamental to you. One of the first times I began meditating, I re-architected my value system to make sure I placed more value on my interpersonal relationships. As an extrovert, small hangouts with friends began feeling more significant and special. Recently, I decided to take off the month of August from drinking because I craved feeling sharper on the weekends. In reaching a new goal, I've developed an awakened sense of individuality I'm proud of.


I LISTEN MORE CLOSELY

The art of being mindful is the art of being present in the moment. Being conscious of what's unfolding right in front of you is the key ingredient in paying attention and listening. Too often we fail to listen to the sounds around us; be it from others or coming from within.

Prioritizing listening in my everyday life has made a lasting impact on me. The advice shared my way feels more inspiring; the stories I hear are more captivating; I get chills more often. Listening has also improved my memory. Albeit seemingly obvious, there is a direct correlation between close listening and remembering.

But truly listening to yourself is just as important as listening to others. When we slow down the world around us, we give ourselves the tempo we need to hear what our souls have to say. If we couple the patience it takes to listen to our hearts with the courage it takes to embrace change, that's how we allow ourselves to grow into the individuals we hope to become.


CLOSING THOUGHTS

Listen to your heart, be honest with yourself, have faith in who you are and develop the courage it takes to grow into who you hope to become. It's that easy.

Peace, Love, Strictly Good Energy.