Lately I’ve been blogging about my new venture into painting — and loving it.

Recently, I realized there was more to the story.

Why am I sharing this now?  Because I know that *I* need to hear this message again. Because I know that a HUGE part of my work in the world is to help people just like you tune in to and follow your heart.

Because my heart called me to share it.

Because it might resonate with you.

Because this is what is allowing me to begin to learn to rest and heal, even when I feel like I *should* be doing something else. Something better. Something more productive.

Because it is becoming clear to me that this blog is meant to include more than just my painting journey.

Here it is:

You know that thing that your heart is whispering to you? That thing that, if you chose it, would mean you were supporting your true needs? The thing that you keep ignoring, even though you *know* it’s the right thing to do?

You know that thing, right?

Let’s, for a moment, pretend together that you don’t know what I am talking about.

Close your eyes. Place your hand on your heart. And listen. Keep listening.

What did you see/feel/hear/know in that moment?

That’s the thing I mean. *That’s* the thing your heart is calling you to do. That’s the thing that is the next step.

Oh, yes, I know. There are a million reasons *not* to do that thing. Too expensive, too silly, too big, too small, not important enough, won’t make a difference, not enough money, not enough time, no one understands, it is irresponsible and ridiculous.

I know because I was there.

In May of 2010 I was at the most stressful job I had ever had. I was managing a day program for adults on the Autism spectrum. I had been hired to totally revamp the program. And I was thrilled when I started the previous September, but that changed quickly.

Nearly every day I was faced with a list of stressors that quickly became too much. Low staffing, being a victim of repeated physical violence and threats of violence, other departments undermining what I tried to do, name-calling, and much more than I want to recall right now.

It became so bad that I started regularly having panic attacks before work in the morning.

It consumed my life. It took me all evening to recover from the day.  Every day.

It was a mess. I didn’t know how I could keep going. I thought *I* was deeply flawed and wondered why I couldn’t handle this situation.

So, as I was falling apart while getting ready for sleep one night my saintly partner asked me what my heart said about the situation. I tuned in and heard “LEAVE NOW!!!!!” practically being screamed at me. I knew that was the answer. I knew it was truth.

Yet I stayed. We were both too scared for me to leave. I had a million reasons why leaving wasn’t practical. Just like you have a million reasons not to follow your heart. I know. I know. I’ve been there. Many times.

But your heart ALWAYS knows the way. Always. It may not be a pretty way. It may not bring what you expect, but it always knows.

I finally left that job in August 2010, waaaay too late for my health.  I’ll spare you the details, but I left with the gifts of severe PTSD and now Adrenal Exhaustion.

Fast forward to now. Most the fears I had about leaving haven’t actually materialized. Some of them have.

And still I am better off than I would have been had I stayed. I’m well on my path to the work I am meant to do in the world. It’s not straight-forward. It’s scary and messy and uncertain. And it’s still better than where I was.

And had I listened sooner I might have saved my self a whole heap of health issues. See, the truth is, I knew even months before the “LEAVE NOW” message was screamed at me. I knew, deep in my heart that I had to leave. And yet I froze in fear.

And I am gentle with myself knowing it needed to unfold that way. Knowing I am a more compassionate person for having experienced it all. Knowing that my boundaries are stronger now. You can bet that I will never allow myself to be in that situation again. Never.

So, my message to you? Cliche as it may be…

Listen to your heart.

And act on its wisdom. Cherish yourself. Do what you need to do. Even if it is scary. Even if it scares your family. As long as you are truly, deeply coming from a place of acting on the guidance from your heart.  Do it.

And if you’re too scared to do it now, at least take a moment to acknowledge your heart for bringing you this gift. Let it simmer. Give it a little peek into the light of day. Start really considering, “What if?”

I support you.

You can read more of my story by clicking  here.