I’ve been thinking lately about the difference between doing what I feel I should do – and the times I listen to myself, to my soul, and choose instead what I need to do. Not “need” in the sense of obligation to anyone else, or out of the desire to cross things of my to-do list. I’m talking about finding the stillness and taking the time to truly hear the whispers of my heart’s desire.

Just the other day, my soul started murmuring and, thankfully, I took the time to listen. I had awoken early on a Sunday and, as the sunshine filled the kitchen, immediately started puttering around – finding this and that to do. I had a 9:00am date with a dear friend (really a soul sister) to go paddle boarding – which I had originally been over the moon about. But my mind started ticking away… Wouldn’t my time be better spent going to the grocery store to stock the fridge and cupboards? What about all the other things I needed to do? Wasn’t paddle boarding just so indulgent? Blah, blah, blah. I made the decision that I should cancel.

As I stood in my kitchen, cell phone in hand, I stopped. I listened. I heard, “NO! You HAVE to go paddle boarding today. Grocery shopping is not an alternative.” So I put down the phone. I walked out the door to meet my friend. And I spent the next hour in heaven … the still lake in the early morning, the majestic herons gently landing on the shore, the potent smell of seaweed, my friend’s infectious laughter, the feel of my feet gripping the board as I paddled across the water. It was glorious. And it was what I needed. What my soul needed.

Heron

At the time, all of this didn’t seem that profound. But as I reflect on that morning, and the many times my mind tries to persuade me to turn away from my true longings, I’ve started to learn something. I’ve come to realize that these moments – whether it’s paddle boarding or piano playing or choosing my art – are necessary for me to feel whole. To feel alive. I cannot do all the other “stuff” as well if I don’t feed myself first.

I can’t recall the number of times I’ve chosen to do the dishes and fold the laundry before my beloved time at the piano. And this must stop. Of course the daily chores and tending to my family still need to happen. But if I turn away from my soul’s desires – this soul of mine will start to shrink. If I continue to do the “same old same old” rather than choosing things that open me up, that make my heart sing – my connection to my heart will unravel.

piano keys 2

I no longer want to compromise my art and my expression. I want, I need herons and seaweed and black and white piano keys. So it is my hope that I can still myself during times of indecisiveness and listen to the whispers. It is my hope that these whispers become yawps – reminding me with clamor and urgency of the need to feed my soul.