Follow your heart

Published May 2020, Teen Breathe Magazine

Do you ever stop to listen to what your heart is telling you? Give it a try. Close your eyes, mute the noise in your midst, and take a deep breath. Listen. Hear the rhythm of your heart; feel the gentle but persistent beats.

It’s in these moments of quiet solitude, while nestled in a loving hug with your heart, that you can find clarity about life.

There are no secrets when you connect with your heart – it knows your truths, your lies, your brightest moments and your deepest darkness. Your heart knows you better than anyone.

But when setting goals for the future, we are often faced with a whirlwind of worries and ‘what ifs’, and these fears can block the truth that shines from our heart. Because of this, we might step back from our path – or run thoughtlessly in other directions. However, our heart is the best guide we have, and we need to listen to it carefully in order to find the richest, brightest life ahead of us.


We can study our schoolbooks all we like, but if we don’t take time to study ourselves and connect with our inner wisdom, this can have an enormous impact on the decisions we make every day, including decisions about our future. Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism believe that all human suffering exists in the mind. The Dalai Lama spoke of the importance of filling your heart up with love and compassion in order to conquer the chaos within. He said, ‘The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your actions will be.’ In other words, if you connect to your heart, you are braver in pursuit of your dreams.


What loving service would you like to provide the world, that comes straight from your heart? Think of a time when you felt completely light, bright, and filled up with love – perhaps it was when you volunteered to help in a retirement home, bringing joy to people’s lives. Or maybe you helped out some friends with a school project, using your skills in a way that benefitted others. When we generously share our skills with the world, we share them with our whole heart. Feel that glittering warmth emanating from within, a feeling that lasts long after the job is finished. This is when you know you have followed your heart: the most dependable moral compass you have.


Inevitably, there will be times in life when we are more nervous, stressed and afraid – and these uncomfortable feelings can paralyse us and stop us from doing the things that we do best. For example, what if you felt scared that you couldn’t do a good job with that project? However, fear cannot exist when we open our hearts. The most important thing is to try to take a breath and navigate our way back to our loving, honest heart, with all its wisdom that will guide us towards the happiest future possible.


Susan Jeffers, author of Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway tells us that fear itself isn’t such a bad thing. Fear is when you are trying to block your heart’s natural impulses in case you might fail. It’s a protective measure humans have developed to avoid putting ourselves in danger.

Susan explains that fear is an essential part of life, as it drives us to grow. It’s how we deal with fear that’s important. ‘The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it,’ Susan says. ‘When you make something happen, not only does the fear of the situation go away, but also you get a big bonus: you do a lot toward building your self-confidence.’


Sit down in a quiet place, get comfortable, and close your eyes. Imagine a goal you have, such as: ‘I want to be a photographer when I grow up.’ Visualise every detail of your life as a photographer. The vision should give you a warm feeling as you see your best self emerge. As your fears rise to the surface, you will feel them more in your belly than your heart: a sensation like butterflies.

It’s important to face these fears and let them go so that your heart can win. Now, visualise yourself conquering your quest. Imagine there is a ceremony at the end with people congratulating you for reaching your goal. Smile, and feel the warmth emanating from within. When the heart wins, fear simply cannot exist.


Still confused about your future? It’s easy to create some heart-centred goals if you recognise your core values, but it takes a little practise to identify what these are. Picture this: if you were stranded on a deserted island for a long time, and you had a choice of five things you could have on this island, what would you choose? Your family? Safety? Fresh fruit and vegetables? A pile of books? A positive outlook? I’m sure you would choose the most important things in life that keep you feeling safe, healthy, motivated, and happy. I know I would!

These five things are probably your deepest core values, and will help you to identify your heartfelt goals.


Our values change as we grow and experience new things, and that’s OK! Just because you made a goal to become a lawyer or marine scientist doesn’t mean that you have to pursue that goal in the future. The important thing is that you continue to learn, you continue to grow – and every step of the way, you keep tuning in to your heroic heart.

Words by Rose Mascaro

Rose Mascaro is a writer, editor and teacher who is passionate about teaching others how to build a life of creative bliss. A published writer, and the 2020 editor of Teen Breathe magazine Australia, she has a Master of Arts in creative writing.