Do you ever wonder if you’re on the right track? Do you sometimes struggle to find meaning and purpose in your life? Have you ever thought, “Is this as good as it gets?”
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are not alone.
I recently lost two dear friends to suicide, and their tragic and untimely deaths shook me to my core. I not only had to deal with the pain of losing them, but I was also forced to take a deeper look at how I was choosing to live my life.
Like my friends who decided to end their lives, I, too, was placing so much importance on what other people thought, and getting most of my worth from the external world—my career, financial success, material possessions, appearance, validation from social media, you name it. I didn’t really know who I was on the inside. My identity was wrapped up in my job title, relationship status and what I looked like.
We all know if we want strong physical muscles, we need to move our bodies so we don’t get flabby. But what about our emotional muscles? How do we combat emotional flabbiness and stay spiritually fit and strong?
The answer for me was found by going within. By getting still, quiet, removing distractions, and becoming practiced at listening to my inner guide, higher Self, infinite intelligence, God, spirit, universe, whatever you want to call it, we all have a brilliant wisdom deep within us that has all the answers. We just have to learn how to hear it.
One of my favorite ways to do this is by going on a walking meditation. I live on the Hudson River, right across from Manhattan, and there is a beautiful track right there where I go for guidance. I don’t meet with a sage, teacher or coach, instead I take myself on a walk.
It doesn’t matter where you take your walk, but it’s inspiring to be surrounded by beauty and nature. You can listen to music, but I prefer to be earphone-free, and listen only to my inner guide and higher power.
While moving your body at a comfortable, not strenuous, pace, ask yourself this question: “If you take away money, what people think, other people being impressed by or validating you for doing something, geography and all other external circumstances, what do you really want to do?”
Let your heart, not your mind, answer. You should hear a response almost immediately. Don’t edit, judge or try to resist what comes up.
I asked myself this question recently at the track, and my answer blew me away. It was everything I tell myself and others I don’t want. For example, I pride myself on being a fiercely independent career woman with my own money, and (up until very recently) a huge part of my identity was being a single woman who is open to a life partner but doesn’t want to get married or have children. So when I asked myself this question, and my heart/inner wisdom answered immediately, “I want to be a wife and mother,” I began to weep.
This walking meditation exercise has opened me up to myself in such a profound way, and I know it can do the same for you. It proves that we often do things in life in the name of what we think we want, should do, what society deems as important and worthy, what others will think or are impressed by and so on.
I love this exercise because it’s fun, easy, free, can be done at any time, and once we get clear on our heart’s true desires, we can go back and meditate, asking for what inspired action steps to take. When we get quiet, go within, clear ourselves from distractions and ask for divine guidance, it is always available to us. Our inner GPS is like a computer file that cannot be deleted. We just have to choose to download it, and keep downloading it.