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Listening to the Heart


Listening to the Heart

Listening to the Heart
Guest post by Nicole Felts

It is not a unique sensation I am experiencing, feeling lost and overwhelmed by what are seemingly major decisions in my life. What am I doing, now and with the rest of my life? Certainly it is with the utmost urgency that I decide in this very moment what I must do with the rest of my life. Do I attend graduate school? Do I whimsically stay in Atlanta to pursue a dream that will probably never come true? But why will it never come true? Surely I could be an actress, although I have no formal training and zero experience…

Something happens in my mind as all these jumbled thoughts tumble out of my brain and onto this screen. I reflect upon the first rhetorical question I posed to myself and I begin to step out of my own body. I see the question floating and I am observing it years from now, with a soft, knowing smile. The version of me that is 5, maybe 10 years older, gently reminds the me of today that these urgent and anxiety-filled questions need not be so destructive to my mental wellbeing. I recognize that if I were using meditation and mindful practices in more moments like these, then perhaps I wouldn’t go through a thousand questions before reaching this point of reflectiveness and understanding. I will find these answers; they are deep inside me already, waiting to be found.

It is at this point that I commit to myself I will write more of these anxieties down, should they continue to rise, in order to afford myself the opportunity of stepping back and viewing it from a more Zen perspective. A perspective that instills in me if only I meditate on these ideas, I might find more of the answers I am truly seeking. Perhaps instead of, ‘what career could I choose that makes the most money,’ I could be meditating and contemplating what my deep-down truth, what my heart, is trying to tell me about myself and my life. I am sure many people experience the same uneasiness when ignoring their truths, when living entirely separate from their true selves.

I like to take every opportunity I get to tell people about what I call my “deep-down truths.” This is the feeling for me that is located deep in the chest cavity and tells me how I truly feel about something on the most instinctual level. I like to observe and listen to these truths, in hopes that if I live in harmony with them I might feel more at peace. It is my impression that it’s very much of the Western mindset to not entrust one’s own intuition. To not trust or believe in the energies of people around us, or the very energies we feel within ourselves. I am very aware that when I speak of these feelings, I might get odd glances if I broach this topic with the wrong crowd. I don’t care. It is important to me to start this conversation, especially with people who are extremely skeptical. “Trust one’s own heart? What even is that?” people with a Western mindset might say. It may be that these deep-down truths aren’t tangible to others; they aren’t backed by data or explicit logic all the time. But they shouldn’t be ignored; the heart chakra and these deep-down truths should never be pushed aside. It is when we find ourselves insecure and detached from our true selves that we know we have been trudging through life with no regard for these instinctual indicators within ourselves.

It was in that moment when I was scrambling to find an easy answer to the hard, almost intangible question of ‘What am I doing with my life?’ that I knew I needed to fall back upon meditation and mindful practices to once again become more in touch with my deep-down truths. The more we practice, the stronger this trust within ourselves becomes. The more we find we are happy with our decisions and with our choices. I hope you listen to your own heart, your own deep-down truths, however they exist. If you don’t know what in the world I’m talking about, I hope you put forth the effort to begin to learn.

Nicole Felts
Guest Blogger
New Leaf Meditation

Nicole Felts has a bachelor’s of science in biology and let a successful career in January 2016 pursue acting. The pursuit of that dream lead her to Atlanta, Georgia. When she isn’t acting she loves reading, horseback riding, cooking, and socializing with boyfriend. Occasionally I horseback ride. I lift weights a few days a week. Nicole says, “Throughout the day I reflect on what my mindfulness can do to benefit myself and those around me.” 


If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It


If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It

I recently went through the process of creating a dream board. If you have never done this, I highly recommend it. Here is the short version of the process:

  1. Go through all of your magazines. Clip pictures, phrases, and words that strike a chord with you. Don't glue anything. Just make a big ol' pile of images and words that strike your fancy.

  2. On a large canvas or poster board. Start laying out the clippings. You might find that you want to lay them out in themes. Maybe you want one corner to be health and another corner to be career. It might be that the images want to flow all over the board. You might feel the need to fold the board and turn the board into a book. Start getting rid of the clippings that no longer feel right. Be creative and let the process move you.

  3. Glue the images into their places. You can write on the board or paint on it too. This is your dream board. Be as creative and free with it s you want.

  4. Leave space in the center of the board for a picture of yourself looking happy or radiant or for a quote/mantra that moves and motivates your spirit.

  5. Hang your dream board in a place where you will see it often.

This process is such a cool experience. You will literally feel the positivity flowing through you, and you will learn through much through the process.

Here's what I learned through the creation of my dream/vision board:

I am good at being creative.

I am good at making connections to people and building relationships.

I am hugely grateful for . . .
* Family ~ They love me unconditionally.
* Children ~ They let me be the nurturer that I was born to be.
* Friends ~ They hold me up and support me.
* Life ~ I learn something amazing every day.
* Health ~ I can fight more than I ever thought possible.

Three words that describe me . . .

Optimistic Smile Positive

I am proud of raising my kids on my own and buying my very own house!

I want to write!

I love drawing, painting, creating, writing.

I love hiking.

I love doing learning activities with my grandson.

I love going to concerts.

I love getting dressed up and being girly.

The thing I want most in life is PEACE.

This is my peace . . .

- ALL my kids around the house.
- Friends spending time together.
- My home with a beautiful yard and a comfortable interior.
- Feeling secure at work.
- Loving myself and who I am.
- Being creative.
- Spending time in nature.
- Being in the moment.

After all that profound thought, I was pretty worn out, but I kept going. I thought about who I really am and what I a capable of. Life lessons: I'm not me . . . I'm whoever I want to be at this moment. You're not tired . . . there's always a little bit more energy for play. Never give in to the exhaustion. Laughter really is the best medicine, and my spirit was filled again today with happiness.

I love my life!

See? Cancer isn't the end of the world. Whatever struggle you are going through at this moment is not the end of the world. The Earth keeps spinning on its axis. We keep moving forward and breathing. We keep living and laughing. And every day is a new opportunity to do it better.

Marla Ernest
New Leaf Meditation Project Guest Blogger

Marla Ernest is a breast cancer survivor, mother, grandmother, and educator.  When she isn't writing for her blog, she is making art and jewelry specializing in healing stones. Marla is an English as a Second Language learning facilitator and holds a Masters degree in Education with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction.  Her goal is to help others heal their physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies through humor, honesty, and the gifts of our earth.