I’m on a sabbatical of sorts. I’ve taken this year to experiment and explore. I’m open to discovering the possibilities unfolding in what I’d consider to be the third phase of my life. Staying conscious through these changes requires me to practice all that I preach.
I’m not too worried because I know what to do. My driving intention has less to do with figuring out my life’s work, and more to do with nurturing divine discernment. And I have found a method that helps me clear enough space to hear those quiet messages and take each next connected step on the path.
Choosing with the heart rather than the mind
There’s a very cool concept in Taoist theory about the origin of the mind. It states the mind does not originate in the brain. Instead, the brain acts as something like an echo chamber for the voice of the heart, which is the true home of the mind.
The brain is essential in the thought process, of course. But the origin of the best guidance information is not happening up in your noggin. Now before you roll your eyes at my hippie-dippiness, this ancient concept is backed up by research science.
Take for example the discovery by the groundbreaking neurochemist researcher, and pioneer in mind-body science Candace Pert, Ph.D. who said it so well,
The brain is a receiver, not a source.
So where is the source? Interestingly, research by HeartMath Institute has shown the actual heart organ is an intelligence center that can be tapped into not only to sense but to transmit signals. How I interpret those signals is influenced by how quiet and clear a channel I create with my behavior.
My goal is to turn down my brain chatter enough to pick up what signals the heart is sending it. And that requires a little skill and space to feel and recognize. So I begin by clearing my external clutter to invite internal clarity.
What does decluttering have to do with choosing a new path?
I’m a fan of the Konmari Method. If you’re not familiar with the work of Marie Kondo and her famous book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, this is a process of de-cluttering belongings designed not only to release unnecessary stuff but to appreciate what really matters to you.
Unlike many people who tried it, I actually keep up with the process and really enjoy it as a way of being. More importantly than the perk of a clean closet, I have a sure-fire way to declutter my mind and hear inner guidance too.
The roots of this go back to the ancient art of placement, Feng Shui, where de-cluttering is always part of the process of creating an environment conducive to a bountiful life. Clearing physical space for fresh energy to flow is a beautiful thing. This also affects the person in the environment to feel a sense of space to allow for a change in perspective.
So before I make big decisions, I begin with a clearing process in my environment to create good flow and to trigger my ability to discern from a clear perspective.
Joy is the heart’s telltale emotion
In my initial Konmari deep-dive, I put every piece of clothing I owned in a pile. I set up a chair where I would sit to take time with each item, one at a time, to sense if it brought me joy.
This joy-finding ability got better and better as I went. It was a mental learning curve since it’s not intellectual; which is the point. I allowed myself to get out of my head and into my heart. Doing this practice helped me recognize the subtle difference between sensing a clear yes or no.
After that, I began to feel that joy-resonance in other areas of my life and in more circumstances. How revealing to discover what I connect with and what I don’t.
So now when I’m faced with a need to consciously pivot something in my business or deciding where to place my attention and time, I always go back to the Konmari Method.
Simplicity is the goal of solopreneurship
As solopreneurs, we get to choose what we offer and how to deliver it. And because of that, it’s not just punching a clock and letting someone else make the big decisions for us. Our business is a living thing we caretake.
As a community of heart-centered service professionals, we have this special need for staying super-clear on what’s deeply right for us. If there is a joy-resonance it will inevitably come through the work and message.
Filling it with intellectual clutter can hinder the effectiveness of our message and leave us and our clients confused or overwhelmed. That’s not the goal.
As I walk thru this time of experiment in my life and business, I clear a little space to breathe and center before making decisions. When I do that I’m not only eliminating visual clutter, this practice keeps me listening to the signal of joy coming from my heart that pushes me in the best direction.