Discover what you truly want.

One of my favorite authors is Oriah Mountain Dreamer. Probably my favorite line from her book “The Invitation” is the following:

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.”

I coach some amazing women on this planet, and through hundreds of hours of coaching, I have come to realize that we all ache or long for something in our lives. We are asked what are dreams are by the people we love, but true fulfillment is based in more intensity than just our dreams that we can describe. I say we yearn, long, ache in our bodies for those things that we are truly meant to create in our lifetimes; it’s a matter of the energy that lives in our bodies.

Maybe our longing is to finally find our soul mates, or to be in a job that uses each of our gifts, or maybe it’s to express ourselves fully creatively, but we all yearn to contribute something. In my work, I have come to call the longing our “awakened yearning,” and it’s where I start with my clients. Accessing this yearning is the foundation of everything for us, it’s the root system for our dreams. The fulfillment on this ache creates the garden called our life, which can be filled with a gorgeous variety of plants and flowers, trees and animals, and this garden is simply an amazing place to cultivate in ourselves.

No one’s yearning is the same. In the West, we get confused about the fulfillment on it, though. We ache to be fully self-expressed, so we think we need to be a celebrity instead of finding a way to fulfill on that self-expression, which maybe is about writing a song or painting a painting. Then there is the illusion of getting all the stuff and then we will be happy. I could count on one hand how many people I know who have been successful at realizing the American dream with a life full of material things but are truly happy. I find more consistently that the more you have, the more dissatisfaction and unhappiness you can experience because more stuff does not equal fulfillment.

What is awakened yearning specifically? Well, I start with the word “awakened” because it takes going through a process of awakening to trust the inner voice (the gut sense). This intuitive self does have something authentic to say about what is the right path for us to take. It takes weeding through our inner critics (masked in the voice that talks to us in our heads) with precision to find the nuggets of wisdom that lie deep within. It takes doing the work to uncover any leftover scarring we have from our childhoods that kept us from being too big, too bright, too bold, too much for the environments we were being raised in. This kind of inner work can be healing, sometimes grueling yet always produces breakthroughs that can lead to magnificent living if taken on with an “I am all in” attitude.

I use the word “yearning” because all of us have an ache or longing to grow, to learn, to develop ourselves and contribute something that may look however it looks. It could be being the most amazing mom, or part of a company, or entrepreneur or politician. I know this sounds like a “pie in the sky” statement, but what occurs is also backed up by neuroscience.

Research now proves that our brains are meant to grow. We seek to learn and develop ourselves through learning a new language, taking a dance class, traveling abroad or changing jobs because we are meant to be growing and developing. We are born with millions of neurons that if not used go through a process of being pruned or basically eliminated. Activating neurons and connecting them is what promulgates growth, and as they say, neurons that fire together wire together.

I say that when we listen to our awakened yearnings, we are listening for those inner desires that create growth for us because they aren’t necessary logical or part of our normal day-to-day choices. But we are not trained to listen to or to trust that voice in us. We are not told to trust our instincts as children. We are not raised to trust what we think is true even if we think it is magical dragons in the room. This is of no fault to adults because we think we are teaching them about what is real and what is not, but unfortunately, our yearnings are sourced from a similar place of creation in our imagination. The difference is we feel the yearnings in our body, and if you are sensitive, there is not much you can do to push the yearnings down or away.

If you don’t listen to the yearning, you suffer. It’s that simple! Awaken your yearnings and truly align to your dreams!

So how do we discover our awakened yearnings? Well, here are the steps:

1- Get still – We are so distracted that we move constantly from one thing to another. The first step of awakening is to get still, be still for more than a few moments and comfortable doing so.

2- Be open and vulnerable – We use the distraction of being busy, social media numb out, etc., to keep us focused on our outer world, our outer lives, which also can be total avoidance for what we are feeling or experiencing internally. We need to shift our focus to being willing to be open and ready for identifying and recognizing how we feel.

3- Be willing – The state of willingness to awaken and to do the work necessary to discover the “Giant Within,” which Tony Robbins named one of his first books, is everything. Being willing to dive into the deep end of the pool of self-discovery takes courage and is everything. The thing I ask my potential clients is, Are you willing to do the work necessary to create the life of your dreams? I can feel when someone is and when someone is not. I only work with the ones that say HELL YES, and I can feel their hell yes in my body!

4- Ache/yearn – Just sit still with your core yearning. Let it be there once it is awakened and present. Use the yearning to guide the dreams you have and the vision you see for your life.

In this phase, write in a journal: I ache for … and fill in the space.

(For me, I ache for true and deep love and connection, and my career as a coach fulfills on that yearning!)

5- Align – Make sure your awakened yearnings align with your dreams and ideally your big choices in life. Aligning your yearnings to your career, your self-expression and ultimate journey provides the ultimate rich garden of fulfillment.

Photo credit: Thinkstock, istock, SvetlanaFedoseeva.