This world — that we created and inherited — tells us that everything we need, even love, is outside of ourselves.

We have learned to not only seek knowledge and love outside ourselves, but we have also been conditioned to trust others before truly trusting our hearts. It is not surprising since we have learned from a very early age to live from our minds when our opportunity is to listen to the whispers of our hearts and integrate them with a healthy mindset. 

The new age gurus will tell you that this is a time to move from your mind to your heart, but the truth is that the journey we are on right now is learning to listen to our heart and become healthy — mind, body and soul.  

#1 Becoming Aware of Traps and Seductions 

We have been conditioned to think that someone outside ourselves has our answers or holds our power. So many of us want to belong and be part of something bigger than ourselves. I’ve heard people say that they would be able to know right away if they were being recruited into a cult or someone’s scheme. But often, those of us who believe we are too smart to get sucked in are enticed by promises of self-improvement and a supportive community. In fact, over two-thirds of cult members are brought in by a family member or a friend who is deemed trustworthy. 

When someone offers a front row seat to the secrets of the universe, anyone seeking answers can be tempted. And the seduction of being loved and cared for is what most are seeking. Anyone who has been in an abusive relationship has come into contact with an insidious liar and their trickster energy — someone pretending to be the exact opposite of their truth. Once you can clearly see the manipulation and deceit that is happening, you can start addressing the wounds and going to the root cause of your seduction. It takes a lot of compassion, self-reflection, and curiosity to heal ourselves. 

Until we become aware of our seductions, the same type of people or experiences or bosses will come into our path. The first step is understanding and becoming aware of what and who can hook you into their story. And question everything from not just our mind, but your deep inner knowing. Listening deeply and questioning are key to unraveling and rewilding yourself. No one has your answers. 

#2 Doing Our Work

Inner work involves healthy doses of undoing and unraveling. Flow is key as we tap into the intelligence of nature. We can choose to fight the wave and let it hit us with thousands of ripples of pain, or we can teach ourselves to ride the wave by Trusting the Currents. Each one of us has screwed up along the way and trusted people who were toxic to our well-being. It doesn’t mean that we must stay in our own prison when our opportunity is to learn and grow at our own pace.

The best revenge is no revenge; the best revenge is living well by learning to understand that our energy and attention are our most valuable assets, and how we invest and use them is up to us. It takes forgiveness of ourselves and courage to find our own path in our own way. Otherwise, we simply relive our history over and over with reruns and sequels of the same story.

Rumi, the thirteenth-century Persian poet, reminds us that “everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in our heart.” You choose whether you’re facing opportunities or challenges. You can create peace within yourself or you can war with yourself and those around you. When you imagine from the heart, you become aware that everything begins with a single thought in your mind. You have the ability, on your own or in a community, to imagine and create.

Many of us have cried, screamed, judged, blamed, and pointed fingers of shame. But once we take back our power through pursuing inner work, we can no longer remain victims. We can no longer afford to hide. The only path we can take is forward, accepting that we have the power to guide ourselves by following our hearts, which beat in harmony with the universe.

#3 Letting Go Means Making Space for Your Wildest Creations

Most of us have been encouraged to be a good person to others — and yet, similarly, most of us have never been encouraged to be kind, gentle, and compassionate with ourselves in a pure and loving way. We’re now faced with an opportunity to shift our stories, and shed the lifelong practices handed down to us by society and our ancestors. 

We have an opportunity to become increasingly aware of what drives someone and how that truly impacts us. “One must shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many. ‘Good’ is no longer good when one’s neighbor mouths it. And how should there be a ‘common good’! The term contradicts itself: whatever can be common always has little value. In the end it must be as it is and always has been great things remain for the great, abysses for the profound, nuances and shudders for the refined, and, in brief, all that is rare for the rare,” writes Friedrich Nietzsche in Beyond Good and Evil.

Despite all the success stories we hear, more people are becoming aware that everyone has a story. We can either succumb to be a victim or we can understand that we can control how we choose to respond and show up in our lives. What matters is what action we take: do we remain stuck in our past, or release ourselves by choosing a different path that may be unknown but healthier for us?

You hold great power and an inner ability to navigate your life. The noise and chaos in the external world continues to increase but the true question is whether you are able to trust yourself and let go of deep seeded fear, sadness, or anger. It’s okay to feel into each emotion but freedom comes when you learn to let them pass through you. When you hold on to the past with everything you have, you will experience more of the same. The unknown can be frightening or exhilarating. By breaking through false safety nets and entering uncharted waters, you reclaim your power and freedom. Letting go means making space for your wildest creations.

#4 Leadership is Not Outside Yourself

Leadership is not outside yourself, and it’s your time to understand that you don’t need false prophets, leaders, or profits to have a full life. It’s time for health-conscious souls to take our place in history and step into our power. It’s our time to create a healthy life, and world. 

What is Your Heart Whispering to You?

You have a wealth of information to understand and claim from your own heart. All you are being asked to do is listen and question. Unlike lava, which spurts from a volcano and never holds back its pure eruptions, we have been trained to keep our feelings, thoughts, and desires inside ourselves. Do you feel a need to hold back or can you start releasing?

The cracks we are witnessing in the world are like cracks in the hardened arteries of the human heart. Can you feel the fracturing of the world and the unmasking of who you truly are at the heart of it all?

A heart-centered life is an extraordinary gift

Each of us is on our own unique journey, and once we discover our own wonder and have the courage to trek into the unknown, we can begin to explore what’s truly in our heart and find others who share our passion for whatever sparks us. It could be starting a garden or forming something to ignite the imagination of children. Though you believe in what you’re creating, you’ll meet many people who will laugh at you or judge you, and it will be up to you to keep going, by lifting yourself up and not taking on the fears of anyone else.

F*ck the Bucket List Trilogy is dedicated to anyone ready for a journey of a lifetime. This article weaves excerpts from the three books.