Have you ever found yourself in an unexpected place, where everything seems unpredictable? A place where virtually anything could happen next?
It could best be described as the most spontaneous, amazing, fearful, wonderful and challenging place your feet and your heart could ever find themselves; well I am there, right smack bang in the middle of it. Just the other day I penned the following words; “Sometimes too many choices are just too many!” (A Nisey’original)
I eagerly reach ahead to grasp the future, yet my heart holds on tightly to the memories the years have made, but hope pulls me closer and commands me to lift up my head with earnest expectation and anticipation. I can sincerely say that I am finding these days the strangest and scariest I have yet to walk through. I rarely live life with no map before me, or at least an idea of what may unfold but lately the temptation to lock my heart away is overwhelming at times ~ to live from a place where it is safe, pain-free, careful and predictable (and boring, well at least to me) is as real as the chair I am sitting on right now…. but I cannot ignore the deep desire in me to do something crazy and unpredictable.
I always thought I would have my life’s direction figured out by now, a road map to potential happiness with all the boxes checked along the way. But life has not worked out like that and I am learning lessons in hard places, yet finding unexpected joy in the crazy unforeseeable changes life brings. I guess we all go through seasons where it seems fearful and yet wonderfully adventurous. One of my favourite things to do is head off on a road trip, to wherever the road goes. Having been on some amazing road trips in Ireland, America, New Zealand, Australia, and various places from Belgium to the Ukraine, I know the thrill of these shared adventures. The sense of spontaneous decisions and the thrill of seeing where we end up tickles me pink! I love living life like that. And yet bravely and courageously my heart is saying, “Seize the adventure again Denise!”…. and so I must listen to my heart and let my passion and creativity lead me to where I really want to be. And to the ‘me’ I really want to be. Scary isn’t it?
During these past months (plus some), I have been tempted to abort the mission my heart longs for, to turn around and settle for less than I know is genuine, thrilling and passionate. I have toyed with the idea of giving up on the picture I had of the future, and settling for a less challenging route. At first I felt peace, calmness and collected repose. It is easy to feel peace when you are no longer challenging your fears or advancing into new territory in your life. Yes you feel peace at first, when all resistance fades away into living a life more ordinary, but not for long for soon that unsettled feeling of boredom will raise itself to the forefront of your heart and you know you cannot turn your back on what you need to do and really want.
So, what are you sacrificing? What dream are you abandoning and trying to live without? Maybe it is time to pick it up again? I am choosing to do it differently now. To take hold of the strength that I know God gives me daily, to speak to my dreams and my hopes, my talents and my skills to come alive again! Do you need to do the same? You may think that it is easier to ignore the longings of your heart, to run away from the deepest places of your soul, but it isn’t. May I gently and lovingly tell you that you will turn into a person who is bored silly with life. Joy will drain from you and all you dreamed of will be sacrificed for a false sense of security that you will grow to resent. Trust me, I know.
So…..right now…..think quietly ~ What is it you really long to do with your life? What is on your bucket list? What wakes you up and puts a smile on your face no matter what the weather is like? What is it that you do that makes you sigh deeply with the realisation that this is what you were born to accomplish? You know it and you feel it, you live, breathe and think about it every waking or ‘should-be’ sleeping moment. You have tried to banish it away like a vapour, thinking it is easier to live without it, but you are not living abundantly by hiding it away and ignoring it. Take some time to write it down, remember it again, realise it is possibly the thing that will rescue you from a place of unfulfilled living. Inside each of us there’s a Superman T-shirt or brave hero longing to be revealed.
Can you hear it? A whispering excitement beginning like a soft drum in your chest…. a beat that wants to sound loudly to you that there are new things to call forth from you. It is time, the clock ticks, and it waits for no one. I want to see you, the real you, shining forth in all your great yet humble talent for the world to see.
Come on…come alive! It may feel like you are stepping out onto nothing, not knowing really where you are going, but you will find it easier after you take the first step. I am beside you, cheering you on (and myself). Take my hand if you need to. Look for others in your life who have stopped living from their heart, encourage them to speak tenderly again to their dreams and listen to the deepest longing within them.
Today I was reminded of quite a special conversation that took place a little over a year ago, but has been revisited in my thoughts at various times. The memory has been awakened by the emotion I see daily in the current 2012 Olympic Games being held now in London.
Let me take you back to that special occasion .. .. .. I packed my bags and hit the road. My arms were ready for hugs, my heart was eager for slobbery kisses and smiling faces. In my bag were goodies and treats for two little boys and a little pink princess. Soon I was there, and hugs and cuddles commenced eagerly. Eskimo kisses were exchanged and laughter filled our hearts and the room. I was on a sleepover with my nephews and niece, oh and their parents, who I had told to go on a date as I would babysit for them. Soon it was just me and the three musketeers, all in our pyjamas on the couch watching a movie. My eldest nephew, a courageous 7 year old then, turned to me as he noticed my black & pink heart pyjamas. He giggled and said, “Nisey, you always have heart things, why?” I snuggled him closer and explained to all three of them how important the heart is. They were giggling with laughter as I explained how the heart inside us keeps us alive by pumping blood around our body, but that it is also with the heart that we are able to love, and without a heart we would feel nothing. As they followed my lead they placed their little hands on the spot where their hearts were beating and their eyes opened wider as they understood what I was saying.
So then the challenge came…my eldest nephew turned to me saying, “Nisey, do you think you can find a heart every day and take a photo of it with your phone?” ~ I accepted his challenge, and we agreed that for a year, I would find a ‘heart’; and so the “Hearts 365 Project” began! The heart project has finished now, but in all of our lives the work of living with courage from our heart, still continues! It was an amazing project, and one that many people all over the world became involved in, joining in the fun of finding hearts. A heart revolution you might say! There will be more about that project at a later date ✿♥‿♥✿
.. .. .. As I watch the Olympics I am left in awe at the sense of teamwork and commitment I see between the various countries and their teams. On the night of the Opening Ceremony they each walked with pride behind their country flag and joined together in courage and preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games. Surely each of us felt our hearts beating loudly with anticipation and excitement? I know mine did as our dear friend Katie Taylor proudly led Team Ireland♣ with the Irish flag in her strong boxing arm! Go Katie!♣
“Semper Fidelis”, (a motto I love), resounds loudly from their hearts as they challenge their physical capabilities for the next two weeks. But no matter what medals are won or lost, they are together under the umbrella of “Always Faithful”, and even those who fail to make the cut or win their medal are still on the team, and will not be disowned in terms of their flag colours and team membership. We have much to learn about this in our own evaluation of the way we do life together day to day. Semper Fidelis is Latin for “Always Faithful” or “Always Loyal”, as the motto of the United States Marine Corps (and often shortened to Semper Fi in Marine contexts), Semper Fidelis has served as a slogan for many families and entities, in many countries, dated to have been started no later than the 16th century. Newly married couples have even had it engraved on the inside of their wedding rings, as a beautiful sign of their commitment and loyalty for the rest of their lives ~ beautiful! Semper Fidelis goes beyond teamwork ~ it is a brotherhood that can always be counted on. This became the Marine Corps motto in 1883 and it guides Marines to remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps and to their country, no matter what.
So to live as a committed person is to walk with a code of personal integrity, and they say that it is honour that guides those who do the right thing when no one is looking. It is not only a duty, but also a distinction, and one that sets you apart from those who easily compromise their values and ethics. It is true, that when you meet someone you can trust, your heart feels safe and refreshed, that although they are not perfect and may fail, you still know that at their core there is a code of honour and truth that they strive to live by. What is found in one’s beliefs is exhibited through one’s actions; When our truest principles are tested, it’s courage that prevents us from crumbling. It isn’t about ignoring fear, but being stronger than fear. Courage starts in the heart, and it is also the guardian of all the other values that we hold fast to. It is there when times are toughest, when difficult decisions have to be made.
A Nisey Note ~~> May God’s love reach in and heal where disappointments and emptiness war for our hearts! May His love stir our hearts again to live from a place of abandoned adventure. When the heart hurts it is tempting to kill it, to not feel from it, to hide it away where nothing can hurt it again; to pretend what we treasured was less than the beautiful gift we knew it to be. But from our heart is where God wants our life to live; from our deepest part comes our deepest impact on this world, from our heart our worship sings! Don’t kill your heart, for it is the place where real intimacy and life must spring from. Semper Fidelis “Always Faithful”…. must be the anthem of our hearts and the motto of our lives.
The amazing cyclist, Lance Armstrong uses the great slogan LIVESTRONG ~ so keep in mind no matter what you are battling, you can live Always Faithful ~ Forever Strong!