Why is it so hard to listen to my soul? I can see I’m over-identifying with an old pattern of denying my secret, inner urging in favor of “taking care of myself.” Recently, I’ve realized how this case of mistaken identity has covered up some important internal guidance.

I remember being in my second year of college, an art major, without much confidence in my work. At some point, I had a conversation with a friend who was taking Graphic Arts courses at the local Junior College, and I thought, “That’s what I need to do, get a skill, so I can find a job!” Instead of declaring Art as my major at the university, I detoured back to a JC and took an AS degree in Printing. There were many other routes I could have taken, but the identity that believed a skill would serve me better than a degree won out. Out of fear (abhiniveśa) that I wouldn’t be able to find work, and an inability to see another route (avidyā), I abandoned the heart-led path and chose practicality.

That was 40 years ago. Printing gave me an interesting, challenging, and not altogether unfulfilling career. I did support myself financially, and gained many good things in the process, including a second career as a Yoga Therapist and Holistic Nutrition Coach. Deep inside, however, there still lays an unfulfilled and deep longing to delve deeply into the inner exploration and expression that only the arts can provide me. 

Now, as I contemplate my desire, and dare I say intention, to close my wellness business, different expressions of that same old pattern are returning to haunt me. On the exterior, I am ashamed and feel that I’m giving up without achieving the success I’d hoped I’d have. I am judgmental toward myself for the shrinking feeling that I viscerally experience when I think about teaching in public and group sessions. I wonder what is wrong with me that I cannot, and indeed will not, execute the simple steps that generate business, calling on doctors, and sending out emails to promote my services. I do know how to do all of this, yet I am not willing. Something looms over me, keeping me immobilized.

And then, during my Yoga practice, some shift to the internal happens. Contemplating the same situation with eyes drawn gently upward and focused on the point between my brows, there is a distinctly different feeling. I am connected to myself in a deeper, more intimate way, sensing, feeling, somehow knowing my heart’s deepest desire. And tears spring to my eyes as my soul weeps at finally being listened to and heard. 

Even now, typing all of this with eyes closed, I am a different identity – truer, less connected to those old patterns, more aligned with a deep need, a rawness of emotion that tells me I have hit the mark. 

It’s finally time to return to listening deeply from the depths of my heart and intuition.

My tears are an expression of relief and surrender. I trust that this is correct perception (īśvarapraṇidhāna). The path is shining before me, and I actually get to take this – the road less traveled.

Laura Lehrer

Laura Lehrer

Laura is a certified yoga therapist and holistic health coach. She is deeply committed to helping her clients create a joyful, balanced life. Learn more about her here.