My mind is very analytical; I am sure a lot of you can relate to this.
I have a very academic background and spent years studying at school and universities. When making decisions, I needed information, facts and figures so that I could weigh up all the pros and cons. The chances of making the ‘wrong' decision, or what I perceived to be ‘wrong' were lessened using this approach. I made my decisions from my head. Decisions were logical, thought based and well considered. Not only was this exhausting, but more importantly, I realised it didn't always end up with me making the best decision.
What I have learnt over the years, however, is that we need to make decisions with our hearts.
I'm not talking about emotions; this is different. I'm talking about making heart-based decisions, where we fully connect with ourselves and our soul. After all, our soul knows what is best for us and tries to steer us in the right direction; it's just we don't always listen, or know how to. So when we finally surrender to this, get out of our heads and into our hearts, our life flows much easier. It's like we are getting out of our way.
I know this to be true because I have experienced this within my life. Six years ago my husband and I made the decision to leave our whole life behind in the UK. We moved to Melbourne, Australia, with our 3-year-old son, because it felt in our hearts like the right decision. Logically this didn't make any sense. We had previously only spent four days in Melbourne; we knew no-one, and we had no jobs. At the time, it was the height of the global financial crisis. Therefore, we would have struggled to go back to the UK should things not have worked out as planned. People thought we were crazy! After all, we were also leaving good careers, a beautiful home and were surrounded by loving family and friends. Yes, we had been through some difficult times and had dealt with many years of grief, but we weren't running away from this. We just believed life could be even better than it had previously been.
We were willing to listen to our hearts, follow our intuition, take a risk and try.
From the moment we arrived, Melbourne felt like home. Our life flowed; life unfolded the way it was supposed to. It felt easy; things just worked out. Most of my life hadn't been like that. So when I experienced life could be this way, I knew what I had been missing. I also knew I couldn't go back to this old way of being. I promised myself I would remember how this felt so that I could embrace my future in a new way.
So how do we get out of our heads and learn to make heart-based decisions?
There are numerous ways, but I want to share with you what works best for me; meditation and immersing myself in nature. My clients know how much I value and advocate meditation because it has fundamentally changed my life and theirs. Meditation is about giving our minds a much-needed break from the monkey chatter and same repetitive thoughts. It is not about sitting for hours in an uncomfortable position, trying to clear our minds. Meditation helps us to recognise the silence that already exists in between our thoughts. The more we meditate, even just for two minutes every day, the longer the gap between our thoughts becomes. When we meditate on a regular basis, the better placed we are to hear our inner voice and wisdom that comes from our heart.
We learn how to feel our decisions and understand what is best for us.
Nature also helps with decision making. Nature enables us to connect with ourselves and what we need. It is important to remember that what we want and what we need is often not the same thing. Over the years, I have felt uncomfortable with uncertainty, which is ironic given nothing is certain! At times, I have also been impatient with myself and life. I have found it difficult making decisions when I don't have all the information available and when that final piece of the jigsaw puzzle is missing. So in those moments when I can't work out why life is turning out the way it is, or am finding it hard to make an important decision, I embrace nature.
Nature helps us get out of our heads and into our hearts.
It enables us to feel the peace that exists around us and within us. This peace has always been there; we have just been too busy to notice it. Walking barefoot on the beach, grass or in the sea, feeling the sand and cold water between my toes, are some of my favourite things to do. I become truly present in each moment; I am mindful. Mindfulness is about recognising that the present moment is all there is. Dwelling on the past and worrying about the future is a waste of time. The past is just that and the future is yet to come. Walking through a forest or watching the sunset are also powerful ways to connect with ourselves on a deeper level. For those of you that don't have access to nature every day, try dancing or swimming, immersing yourself in water, taking a bath or shower.
So when we are brave enough to let go of head-based decisions, trust and embrace heart-based decisions and what feels right, our life flows much easier. Once we have taken that leap of faith, we realise life doesn't feel so hard. And when we connect with ourselves and make decisions from our hearts, we often find that we didn't even need that missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle to make the decision in the first place.