Listen to your heart

I wish I’d known then what I know now. Hindsight is often 20/20.

If you could go back to offer advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Last month, I attended The Butterfly Effect, an annual event hosted by Central Okanagan Hospice Association. This event provides rich opportunity to pause, remember, and celebrate loved ones who have died.

While booths and activities were offered to enrich the experience, it was The Letter, a song by local musician Norm Strauss, that gave me the greatest pause for reflection.

“If I could write myself a letter and send it back in time, I’d tell the younger me that it’s all gonna work out fine.“

It doesn’t all work out fine for everyone. Many die with their songs unsung.

As I contemplated those I’d come to remember, I wondered if they were deeply satisfied with their lives. As they exited life, were they pleased, did they enjoy their time on the planet?  Or, did they leave this world with regrets, wishing they’d lived life differently?

What about me? What advice would my future-self offer me today?

One day quickly slips into the next. Today is frequently similar to yesterday. Our lives become routine, often following the pack in expectation we’re doing the ‘right thing’; what we’re supposed to be doing.

So many people are just trying to survive, to fit in, and be successful. Success isn’t measured by our bank accounts, but in our happiness.

For many years, I lived life by accident. I spent my days doing to what I thought I was supposed to be doing as a successful, contributing member of society. I lived life on autopilot, unaware there could be a different way.

I was busy, but I wasn’t fulfilled.

It wasn’t until more recent years that I’ve learned to pause and check in with the wisdom of my heart.

  • What do I want to be doing?
  • What fills me up?
  • What’s my gift to life?
  • What am I here to offer the world?

When we remain hypnotized by expectation, not taking time to check in with ourselves, we miss cues offered by the deep knower within.

Recently, a friend reflected how many people put off living their dreams until retirement. Many postpone travel, enjoyment, and following passions until retirement, only to die soon after, never following their heart’s call.

People often make a living without ever really having a life, ignoring the callings from their heart.

A line from The Letter says,

‘any fool can follow his dreams. Following your heart is a much deeper, more profound journey and takes a lifetime to understand.”

Following the lead of Norm’s song, I’ve taken pause again, to examine my life.

Am I living life on my terms, or have I fallen into living life based on routines and expectations?  It’s so easy to fall into comfortable patterns, but is that really living? What’s the calling of my heart?

If I knew this was the last year I had to live, would I be spending precious time and life-energy on the things that concern me today?

What advice would my future-self have to offer me today?

I’ve lived a life uncommon, and I’m glad. My life doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else, but it has to make sense to me.

I’ve learned that living life based on supposed expectations and external demands is not fulfilling. Doing things the way they’re done by everyone else may allow me to fit in, but it’s not what’s true for me.

It doesn’t feed my soul.

Each of us is unique. We each have our own songs to sing and our own purpose to fulfill, as only we can. No one else does life exactly like you do.

There’s richness in listening to our hearts, waking up to our own unique gifts, abilities, and passions, and offering these to the world as our legacy.

What advice does your future-self have to offer you today? Listen to your heart, send yourself a letter, and then respond.

What would you love to do?


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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

Corinne, a registered nurse with a master’s degree in Health Science, is a staff minister with the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, and a hospice volunteer. She is an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan, and is currently teaching smartUBC, a unique Mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. She is an invited speaker and presenter.

From diverse experience and knowledge, personally and professionally, Corinne has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people to gain a new perspective, awaken, and to recognize that we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts or to life; we are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 41 years, and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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