Follow that Ever-So-Bold Heart

Following my heart across the Appalachian mountains- just at the start of my five month journey, loving the rugged wilderness of Maine.

Following my heart across the Appalachian mountains- just at the start of my five month journey, loving the rugged wilderness of Maine.

Often times when I speak about my travels, my work or the adventures I’ve had, people ask me how I got here, how I’ve made those things happen.  And it’s funny, because the first time I was asked that I didn’t even think about it, I simply responded that I “have a tendency to follow my heart.” In a kind of weird way, it’s actually that simple.

Throughout our lives, we are all faced with millions of decisions- many of which we don’t even acknowledge because our brains are too busy filtering out the unfamiliar so we can make sense of it all in the comfort of the familiar.  Our hearts don’t really work that way though.  Within the heart, we have the comfort of intuition, the quiet, sure, “knowing” self that never demands center stage but always comes through in times of need.

I suppose I was a pretty self-aware kid growing up.  At a very young age, I learned what it was to work hard for something I loved and I never questioned that work, no matter how challenging.  I knew that if I was pursuing my love I was following my heart, and that very basic principle became my guiding light at the ripe age of 7.  It has translated over the years through the course of the jobs I’ve taken, opportunities I’ve pursued as well as those I’ve walked away from.

Our hearts can be pretty bold forces in this world, when given the chance.  Mine has certainly led me down paths that my rational mind challenged with fear and doubt. The beauty of it is that when you commit to the heart, when you commit to that bold voice within you, you are overtaken with a strength that allows you to look ahead, to set intentions without expectations, and to boldly go where you’ve never gone before.

Today I sit in gratitude for the boldness of my heart, for her constant guiding confidence, for the places she’s taken me, and for this next adventure whose ledge I rest upon.  In several weeks, my husband and I move to Chile with our dog, and only whatever we can manage to carry comfortably.  What do we seek? We seek a beautiful story, we seek adventure, we seek the friends we have yet to meet and the places that will take our breath away.  We seek that which pulls our hearts to a place neither of us has ever been, yet one that will no doubt push us beyond what we feel we are capable of. And we embrace it.

This state of being reminds me of another time, when I sat quietly contemplating an adventure that took every ounce of boldness within my being- the decision to walk continuously for 2,176 miles, from Maine all the way to Georgia, with my then boyfriend of 8 months (now the very same husband embarking on this Chile adventure).  This journal entry nicely captured the essence of embracing that boldness:

2008, April: “Oh this life…these twists and turns and winding trails of this beautiful life.  I’ve been longing to write- aching for it;  and yet you’ve sat by as my life is jarring and spinning.  Being in the woods again and writing takes me back to China, the hours of walking, the solitude and comfort in discomfort.  And I meditate on the new discomfort I will soon carry and embrace- to walk for hours, days, weeks and months.  To carry all of my belongings on my back and cherish the simplicity of my daily choices. 

The primary anxiety is only in the here and now, wanting so badly to wrap everything up finally- sell the car, pay off the last of the credit cards, everything else sold, stored or forwarded; all that remains of Greta either in motion or in memory.

I crave a shift in perspective- the change this will bring to my pursuits and my lifestyle, the chapter of my life that will be as foreign as those that unfolded before it.  There is no doubt it’s what I should do, regardless of how I came about doing it.  I am so ready to again embrace the beautiful boldness I felt not so long ago as I walked along the other side of the world.”

What bold step have you taken by acknowledging your heart’s desire?

What adventure did you embrace with the strength drawn from knowing it was just what you were meant to do, and that was all the reason needed?

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