What Does It Really Mean to Follow Your Heart?

I woke up this morning in my little bedroom back at my parents’ house, having handed over the keys to my London apartment to their new owner at precisely 1pm yesterday.

The bed in my little bedroom is the comfiest bed. It was my grandma’s and it’s electric and at the click of a button I can raise my head or my feet or both. I feel like something out of a Carry On film. It’s got an electric blanket too, which is probably one of the best inventions known to man.

That’s where I woke up this morning. And now I’m sitting in the garden. I can hear a sheep baa-ing, and birds singing, and the leaves rustling, and the chickens clucking at the bottom of the garden. The sun is shining, the air is fresh and the tide is out in the bay, leaving the familiar sight of the sands. The sands look gentle and inviting. But the Bay is a deceptive and dangerous place. The tides come in quickly through the channels and will cut you off in a flash from behind. 

Less than 24 hours after my departure from London, I’m already feeling the way I knew I would. This was exactly the right decision. Out here in the countryside I feel so much closer to the truth of life and to the truth of who I am. I can feel it already filling me up from the inside out.

And when I woke up this morning, I was thinking about what it really means to follow your heart. 

The circles I move in often give me an understanding that following your heart means to do something big. Something drastic. To impact millions. To make millions. To be seen and heard by millions. A feeling that following your heart means to dream bigger, not smaller. To do more, not less.

In the city it feels easier to buy into that story. But not out here. Out here the truth is clearer. And the truth, as I see it, is this:

To truly follow your heart may mean making decisions to live life in a smaller, not bigger way. It may mean local, rather than global. It may mean impacting the person next door, rather than the people on the next continent. To truly follow your heart may mean moving away from everything you thought you wanted. It means following what gives you long lasting joy, rather than short term excitement.  

Of course, it may mean entirely the opposite too. It may mean big and global. It may mean more, not less.

The point is only this:

To truly follow your heart means listening to your heart and to act on the guidance it provides with courage.

Changing the world doesn't have to mean being seen and heard by millions. It may be the class of kids you show up to teach day after day. It may be the gentle touch you give the dying woman in the hospice. It may be the tiny conservation project you start in your village. Or it may mean speaking on stage to millions, writing books or being on TV.

What’s important to understand is only that your heart will always lead you to where you can have your biggest impact but that sometimes big impact looks teeny tiny indeed.

Don’t be fooled. The world we all want to live in (or at least the one I want to live in) - that is to say a world in which we all work together for the benefit of the whole - requires only that you follow your heart and use your unique gifts in the way you're being called. 

Love and courage,