Will You Follow Your Heart... No Matter What???

Photo taken at Electric Pass, an incredible (and tough!) hike south of Aspen

Photo taken at Electric Pass, an incredible (and tough!) hike south of Aspen

What follows is a very open and transparent (and hopefully somewhat encouraging) post. And a huge thank you as always to Hillary Schneider of the Soul Medicine Tribe for the inspiration to share more.

Sometimes, there’s a pull. A pull that you can’t explain. A pull that’s often illogical - and, to others, may even seem insane.

Following that pull isn’t even a CHOICE to you, because you’ve heard the call. You FEEL it on every level of your being. It’s an idea that won’t go away. It persists, even when things seem bleak and you’re wondering where the support is.

The support? It’s in your HEART. It’s that never-ending nudge from Spirit until you take action. The driver that keeps you moving forward, because you KNOW you must.

I haven’t shared a lot of my story, because I've been afraid to put more of ME out there. 

Today, though, I’m feeling the nudge. The nudge to encourage YOU to KEEP LISTENING, even when miracles are in short supply. Even when you’re being tested daily - tested to and past your limits. I shouldn’t say *even* when, though - I should say *especially.*

A few years ago, I was laid off from my job in the Marketing Department of a large health insurance company. I was conveniently laid off one month from the day they found out I was pregnant with my son. After they found out I was preggers, my projects slowed down and I was no longer invited to meetings. And then one day, I showed up at the building to find that my security card had been deactivated overnight.

After losing my home and sleeping in the car for two weeks with my dog and my 6-months-prego belly - in the middle of winter, well below freezing temperatures, where I'd wake up multiple times at night to turn on the car and get a little bit of heat - I tucked my tail and drove halfway across the country to my mother’s home near Washington, D.C., where I ended up staying until my son was born (homebirth!), and for a year after. Grateful to have a place to go, but as a 31-yo at the time... humbling, to say the least.

While at that job, though, I’d been flown (for FREE, selected based on my resume!) to a Startup Week in Boulder, Colorado, as numerous local startups were looking for designers and coders and other support. I’d never been to Colorado, but over the course of that weekend, I KNEW. I knew I needed to come here. To BE here.

So, after a year at my mother’s, I decided that if I was on unemployment in a place I didn’t want to be, I might as well be on unemployment in a place I DID want to be. So I followed that KNOWING to Colorado.

Stopping for a month here and a month there to stay with family along the way, I packed my son and my dog and all we could fit in my little Prius and headed West. 

Finally arriving in the Front Range of Colorado, I was hoping to teach fitness classes at the yoga studio of a friend I’d met through some intensive holistic fitness coach trainings out in California a couple years before. I found a small dingy apartment that I could afford on my unemployment pay, and began looking for opportunities to make an income and support myself and my son. 

It was a LONG road. A humbling road. Every job for which I interviewed told me I was “unemployable” because of the gap in my resume since being laid off while prego. I found myself consumed with self-doubt. Was I really completely untalented and undesirable? 

Although I ended up teaching yoga, Spinning, and bootcamp at a local boutique fitness center (I have my Masters in Exercise Science and an insane number of years in the fitness industry - it had always been the side job I’d hoped to make full-time), it wasn’t enough income to support us. I also ended up commuting to Denver (an hour each way) to work as a full-time personal trainer, but the commute and the slow build-up towards a full-time roster of clients as a new trainer at that gym took their toll. I finally took a full-time job as a web and marketing project manager which barely paid enough to get by. 

Where was the ease? Why wasn’t anything working? I didn’t know, but I DID still know that I was meant to be in Colorado. Every time I tuned in, I FELT that this was somehow right.

Despite the continued hardship. Despite the lack of a red carpet suddenly rolling out for me “because I followed my heart,” “because I took action,” I still KNEW this was my place. I FELT good here. I felt at home here. The proximity of mountains freed up my energy more than I’d ever experienced before in my life. 

Those overused sayings: “Follow your heart and the money will come,” or “Take the leap and the net will appear”… they’re not necessarily true. They weren’t true in my experience. At least not in the "instant miracles” way that they’re hyped.

What IS true is that you WILL be called. You will hear the whispers. You will get the nudges. And you won’t be able to ignore them.

My story continues as I interviewed over the phone - and took a job with - a fun startup pet company across the country, outside of Philadelphia. The ideas of having animals in the office everyday, better pay, and being valued for my experience and skills were promising. Once again, I packed my (now 2) dogs into our little car with my son and all the possessions we could fit, and drove across the country to a new place.

But as fun as Philly can be - especially with a young kid - I couldn’t stop thinking about my mountains. I missed them fiercely. And as much as I loved my coworkers and the work environment and getting to do design work and web work and email marketing work to benefit the animals and their caretakers… after a mere six months, I started looking for jobs back in Colorado. I told my boss I was leaving before I even had a job lined up. 

And when it came time to leave the job, I *still* hadn’t found a new one. But I still KNEW deep down, that I was meant to go to Colorado. I felt it so fiercely. 

For a month, we lived with my sister’s family, also near Washington, D.C. I started questioning again… why wasn’t I being supported when I’d made such a leap of faith? Yet I held onto the Knowing that I needed to go. Somehow.

A few days before my funds were about to run out, I got a job offer in Aspen. Yet again, the dogs, kid and I packed into our vehicle (my brother traded us his SUV for the Prius so that I’d have a 4WD vehicle in the mountains) and drove across the country with all we could fit.

It was a grueling drive. I hit a blizzard driving through Missouri in the middle of the night, and couldn’t stop driving for fear that we’d get stranded and/or freeze on the side of the road. I made it from D.C. to Denver on just half an hour of sleep, and we took a break before continuing the final hours to Aspen the next morning, where upon arrival I immediately took my son to his new preschool and drove to my new office to start my new job.

And as soon as I drove into the Roaring Fork Valley, I felt a sense of complete “HOME” that I had never felt in my entire life - not even while living north of Denver. I was finally IN the mountains, and I felt a new expansion. An even deeper KNOWING.

Even so, the red carpet did not roll out for me. I couldn't seem to find an affordable place to rent, and we were packed to go to the homeless shelter the next day when a place finally opened up for us.

I was rejected by the high and mighty egos in Aspen, and I was fired from my low-paying job (I had taken a huge paycut when I left Philly because I was so determined to get back to the mountains) because I had the audacity to believe - and act like - we’re all equals. I stood up for myself and my own value instead of bowing to their ludicrous ego-based demands.

Around that same time, our SUV broke down AND we lost our rental because our landlord decided to move back home. He gave us two weeks’ notice to be out. I was still barely scraping by financially, so I ran a GoFundMe campaign to quickly raise enough money for deposits on a new place that was close enough to a school so we could walk. 

It also required moving out of the valley I loved to a town nearly an hour away - a small blue collar working town, closer to the desert. In a duplex with holes in the walls and doors and ceilings, electric outlets that didn’t work, mismatched carpet and a neighborhood know by the locals as McCRACKen Court. 

Not where my ego wanted me to be, but hey, I was still in Colorado! As always, I made the best of it and looked for things to appreciate about our new place. We’re still there, and I’ve become quite fond of it, for what it is. 

Losing my job again in such a dramatic way gave me the ability to finally begin to figure out what I really WANTED. In my life. As my calling. I began the most in-depth healing work of my life and, over the course of the last two years, I have completely transformed. I have a clarity now that I’ve never had before. And I still KNOW the Colorado doesn’t just have - it IS my heart.

I’m still on this journey. I have visions and optimism and grace. And I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. My guides tell me repeatedly that I’m on the right path. And I KNOW they’re right. I FEEL it, deeply throughout my being.

So… guess what?

You don’t have to experience out-of-the-blue-miracles to be on the right path. 

You won’t always have a red carpet rolled out for you when you make a bold decision.

You won’t always be guided to do things in your comfort zone - or instantly be returned to comfort as soon as you take that guided step.

But, when you get quiet and still, you WILL know.

I always KNEW Colorado was the place for me. I followed the pull. And it has been an intensely difficult journey, full of fear and terror and the fight for basic survival over and over again…

But everything I’ve been through has served a purpose. Has built me into this new BEing with so many experiences and so much depth and so much compassion for herself and others. Has re-birthed the ARTIST in me. And made me a teacher.

I urge you to LISTEN to your soul. Because you’re being guided. 

Guidance doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. guidance doesn’t mean the sky will bestow gold coins on you with every step. Guidance doesn’t mean INSTANT MIRACLE.

AND... there's nothing wrong with you - or your path -  just because you don't experience overnight success after your latest "download."  Less glamour on your path does NOT mean it's wrong.

Because it WILL ALWAYS be worth it.

It’s been worth it for me. I found my MAGIC. And it is deep.