Our material world has made us obsessed with feeding our minds. From the time we are children, we are educated to be obedient, smart and rewarded for success — from potty training to winning praise for being good boys and girls.

We are graded on not just how well we retain information but whether we are better than the other kids in our class. We are taught to follow authority and not question too much. There is always this desire instilled in us to win and make the adults proud of our achievements. We learn early on that there are specific expectations of how to live our lives.

Imagine you are at a brunch with friends and someone invited a new friend to join your group. Debbie immediately shares with everyone at the table: “My son is a doctor. He married into a wonderful family who has a second home in the Cayman Islands and his wife and three kids live in this amazing five bedroom house in a posh neighborhood with the best schools. I am so glad we sent him to Harvard and gave him an Ivy League education. I am so proud of what he is doing with his life.” 

Meanwhile unbeknownst to you, your son Matthew is a friend of this woman’s son. On a recent fishing trip, his friend Jason had a total meltdown and confided in him: “I have no idea what I am doing with my life any more. I feel so empty. I have ticked off all the boxes, followed all the rules and truly have a wonderful life. But I am just not fulfilled. I thought being a doctor meant I would truly help people be healthy but I spend my days in sick care running from one patient to another. I have a beautiful family but I rarely get to be with them. I look at this world we created and I am heartbroken. I did everything that was expected of me and never thought I’d feel so empty. I want to live in a world where kids, and us, can truly be who we are. Am I crazy or just going crazy?” 

The pandemic has made many of us stop and question what is truly going on — not only in the world but in our own lives. Maybe you started becoming aware that no one knows much of anything or that we are facing one of the biggest global leadership crisis in human history? And you slowly realized that no one is coming to save you and it was up to you to step into your power. 

Maybe you started questioning everything as your life was disrupted at the core? Maybe you were always on the road and had a busy schedule at work and all of a sudden, you found yourself grounded at home. You missed meeting with people in different cities and countries, the live interaction, the dinners and even the airports.

No longer flying everywhere was hard enough, but you weren’t allowed to go to your physical office. You were at home for eighteen months with life staring you straight in the face. Endless video calls did not decrease the work stress but literally brought more stress into your home. 

Maybe, just maybe, you started to question how you got here? Because you had an opportunity to get to the root cause of your stress and burnout? 

And the first opportunity you had, you piled your family into the car and took them on adventure where you reconnected with the ocean and played on the sandy beach. You built castles with your kids and loved teaching them how to paddle board. There was laughter. There was sadness when you had to leave as you were having the time of your life; feeling free for the first time in ages.

On the day you were to head back home, you got up before everyone and went on a walk on the beach. You stopped to feel the water crashing on your legs. And you instinctually sat down to feel the rhythm of the currents, and as you did, you felt a presence. It was your seven-year old self who reminded you that from a very early age, you were able to tap into your imagination with a curiosity to imagine what was beyond the horizon. 

Ever since you were a young child, you were fascinated by the world you were born into and had a yearning to learn and an ability to listen to the whispers of your heart. Not so much from school and the education system but from life itself. You got excited every time you would find answers to questions like, how do bees communicate and make honey in unison? You loved observing trees, animals, birds and nature and you quickly learned that if you truly pay attention to what was whispering to you, you didn’t have to travel far to be able to truly see what is already here waiting for you to uncover.

There is always a sacred mystery in every moment of every day, should you choose to recognize it. No matter how old you are, there is still so much more to learn and explore. And to also recognize that some questions will never be fully answered. Often, wisdom comes from the question and the journey we take to explore the sacred mystery called life.

One thing each of us has access to is our imagination and courage to break the rules of conformity and uniformity, which means that we can choose to go entirely in the opposite direction of what is expected and known. Any one of us can break the mold by creating something aligned to our heart. 

And as you get up and head back home, you now remember that it’s up to you to navigate your own life by trusting the currents — instead of following someone else’s formula of success.

What are you feeding your mind? 

Is it in alignment with the whispers of your heart?