One of the smartest things I have ever learned was to listen to my heart for a sense of direction.  When I learned to meditate, I started asking my heart what it wanted, instead of my mind. The practice was difficult at first. I was so use to thinking of my body as something that had to constantly achieve results that I had forgotten my heart.

The image of loving my body by using my heart started to become a vision for me. One of the first tools I was taught was meditation. Now there is a misconception about meditation. Somewhere down the line the original message got misunderstood. Meditation is not about quieting your mind. It’s about listening. When I first began to meditate, I had all these misconceptions and judgments about it. “I’m thinking too much; I am doing it wrong. I can’t sit for more than 5 mins. I have stuff to do!” These thoughts were just bullshit. I had and have nothing better to do than listen to my heart and my higher power. When my thoughts get busy, and they do, I don’t judge them. I listen to what they are trying to teach me or guide me towards.

Listening is about learning something, finding guidance, not about” thinking something up.” When I try to ” think something up or not thinking at all”, meditation becomes something I must stretch to achieve. (Have you noticed I have an achievement addiction.) I had to be willing to surrender control, for the sake of allowing myself to be free to listen to my heart.

One of the best ways to listen to your heart is by placing your hand over this precious organ. I know it sounds cheesy, but the rhythm of its beats will reconnect you. Most of the time, we are so caught up in what’s going on in our heads that we forget about our emotional and spiritual selves. That can cause our minds to take control and take us off track. If this is something that is new to you, place your hand over your heart and ask, “What does my heart want and what can I do to help you attain this insight.”

The heart will come up with a truthful insight. Sometimes the honesty is so pure that it may seem silly at first. When I began this process, my heart want to play. Like a child it wanted to paint, cuddle with my dogs, listen to The Red-Hot Chili Peppers. This wasn’t what I expected. My brain wanted answers and results just like what I had trained my body to do for decades. Really!  How was painting going to teach me to love my body? But I took direction and started to play.  I’d paint, listen to music, dance around like a little girl, roll on the ground with my dogs. After time, I started to feel a shift. I wasn’t as concerned with my body image because I was playing with myself. (No, that is not what you thought I meant.) I was enjoying my new self-image.

When my mind would give me direction, “to only eat this or work out this amount of time.” I’d get quiet and ask my heart ” what it wanted to do.” Trust me it never answered back with, ” I only want kale today.” Now I am no doctor or therapist, but I believe the reason my heart want to play around and be a child was because when I was child I trained myself that I was only successful if I was achieving and maintaining results. This disconnect never allowed me to be organically silly or loving. If I was acting silly or loving unfortunately it was again to achieve something or get something from someone. It was a huge insight to see how self-absorbed I was in the past.

As time passed and my listening skills grew, my passion for life has taken a huge turn. When my mind gets obsessed on body image or food, I lean into the tools I have been taught. Listening not only to my heart but others’ hearts has taught me to lighten up. Amazingly, the solution always pops out. This tool encourages me to tap into my True Self, not the self that was full of fear and negative thoughts. Meditation and listening are powerful ways to regain self-awareness and confidence. Take a moment each day to place your hand over your heart, listen to its lovely rhythm your Higher Power has created just for you. Ask your heart honest questions. What do you want to do today? What are you afraid of and why? How can I love you today? What does it mean to be healthy? Trust me, by tapping into your power and organic beauty, the answers that your heart will give you will be the beginning of a self-loving journey. My heart wants to play and has a passion for life today that I am proud of. The pride and love I have experienced is far more for filling than anything else I have ever tried to achieve.