Do you sometimes wake up in the middle of the night from your subconscious “speaking” to you with great intensity?

I do on rare occasions, and the clarity with which certain sentences or words come up usually leave me astonished.

I know that the hours around 3 and 4 am are famous for such thing, and some may say: “forget anything that comes up during that time of night”. Well, my experience is different. I remember how I woke up one night in 2012 when my subconscious almost yelled at me: “Life is now!” I realised I wanted to live and enjoy the moment, and needed that nightly impulse to go and terminate my job at the law firm, which simply hadn’t nourished my soul.

Recently, I woke up from the word “perseverance”. I clearly knew in that moment that it was about keeping at it, following through, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. I had noticed that I tend to be all into something, with a big effort and lots of energy, but then that bubble bursts and I lose interest or at least the energy dissipates, so I go and look for the next thing. I realise it is in those situations that it is worthwhile “persevering”, following through.

But how do I choose in which part of my life to persevere? I have been following through a few things in the past, amongst others my legal education culminating in my doctoral thesis, which was a lengthy process. From that experience, I notice some fear to follow through with something that only nourishes my ego and my mind, but not my heart and my soul. I find this to be the shadow or dark side of “perseverance”: enduring or bearing a situation that does not serve me or is not in tune with my heart.

So how do I distinguish one from the other? Ideally, I would have learned from early childhood that it was OK to follow my heart. I truly believe we all have a very accurate internal intuitive “compass” to start with. I know for myself, and have seen it in the culture I grew up in, that we lose track of that compass due to a big emphasis on rationality and the mind. The mind is a brilliant tool, but it needs to be wired in tune with the heart to unfold our true potential. And that is something that I am only just learning now. It is all about opening my heart more.

Meditation or yoga, time in nature, or training spaces for your emotional body are some possibilities for opening our hearts. Thanks to my sisters I just came across James R. Doty’s book “Into the Magic Shop”, which offers an inspiring story and techniques to open your heart and quiet your mind.

How do you decide where to persevere in following your heart?

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