Learn: How to Practice Mindfulness
Share: "Friday Five" Love List

Explore: Your Heart

How well do you know your heart?

Most days, I know I'm living my heart's true path. But I don't know where the path will lead. I don't have a Big Goal, a Dream Destination. The way I see it, my path right now is broad. It's crowded with informative signs—like those along a self-guided nature trail that describe the significance of a white pine or that explain the fire scars at the base of the trees.

As I continue to live my heart's true path, I expect the trail to narrow as my purpose comes into focus, as I begin to understand the signs without so much pondering and as I trust my heart and that my heart's path is true.

I have asked this of myself over and over, and you might be thinking to yourself: What if I'm lost and I don't know my heart's true path? What if I don't know my passion or my dreams?

What I've learned is that it's all okay. It's okay not to know your destination. The key is to orient your life toward your heart's true path. Here's how:

Explore your Heart

1. Go on a personal scavenger hunt. Figure out which activities and ventures bring joy to your heart. In a recent commencement speech, Robert Krulwich of NPR's RadioLab suggests to:

[Sort] your experiences into two piles: One for all the times you get a little bit high — and I'm speaking here about emotional highs — loving what you're doing. (Not loving what you're toking — that's a different thing.) So, one pile for all the experiences that thrilled you a little. And the other pile for all the things that didn't quite work. So a year or so from now, you'll have a more and more defined notion of where your pleasures are ... and aren't.

2. Create a heart map. List the ventures that bring joy to your heart. Group them into categories, making note of your top five heart ventures. I learned this tactic from Karen Walrond (read about her process here) and through her Path Finder course. This is what my basic heart map looks like:

Heart Map (6.20.2012)

3. Use your heart map every day. Your heart's joys direct you to your heart's true path. Make it a priority to do at least one of your top five heart ventures every single day. Gradually, you'll recognize which of your commitments are not charted on your heart map (and will never be). When the time is right, let go of those off-the-map commitments. And before you commit to something new, check your map: Does the new venture align with your heart map?

Exploring your heart takes time and requires you to pay attention and do a little homework. But the payoff is that your heart can help you draw the map to your passions and your true path. Will you join me in exploring? Share your thoughts and experiences here, on twitter or on the L+E+S community page on Facebook.