Sometimes, the things we ask the Universe for will land in our lap long after we've forgotten we ever mentioned them.
That very thing happened to me just a couple weeks ago.
Back in December I wrote a blog called Becoming A Millionaire: Step 2. It was based on some advice in (what was then) Jacqueline Harrison's book How To Create A Business From Nothing. As you may know, Jacqueline and I are now co-authoring and the book is taking on a whole new life, but more about that another time…
One of the steps she advised was to build a picture of your end business goal and work back. My vision involved a beautiful 4-bedroom house in Queensland which I share with my husband (who I am yet to meet), and is a place from which I run yoga and meditation retreats. I also (flippantly) mentioned that I wanted to run workshops in Hawaii. Well, turns out I'm doing exactly that, and it's taken less than 12 months to manifest.
What's even more wow about this is the fact that when I agreed to help out on my friend's yoga retreat in Hawaii, the idea of it being part of my greater vision couldn't have been further from my mind. In the 6 months since I wrote that blog I have kept myself busy with putting one foot in front of the other. Generally speaking I have focused on earning some money while continuing to follow my heart: I figured running workshops in Hawaii was a long way down the track.
When I was introduced to Kelli Prieur, owner of Kelli's Heartglow Yoga, it was in the context of me editing her upcoming book. However, we hit it off so well that what began as a one-way editing street has now become an intertwined magical mystery tour that just happens to be stopping in Maui this October.
Shut. The. Front. Door.
My heart has some very firm ideas about what it will and won't accept, and one of its conditions is to only work with people who are kind, compassionate, authentic and fun. And who allow my heart to sing its own mantra.
Singing someone else's tune? Um, that's a big no-no for my heart – she has her own repertoire and far from being closed to new ideas (harmonising is perfectly acceptable) if a situation calls for a bum note, it's non-negotiable. She's outta there.
The consequence of this level of commitment is that I have turned down paid work that didn't resonate with my heart. Namely, sitting in an air-conditioned office under fluorescent lights for eight hours working for someone who doesn't even know I exist – is not going to happen. It also means that on occasion I have refused to work with certain people. If their song doesn't have a beat or rhythm that I can dance to, then it's a "thanks, but no thanks". Surprisingly I've even turned away existing clients if the relationship began to feel out of tune.
In simple terms, working from my heart space has meant turning away a lot of potential cash.
And d'you know what? In doing that, I have truly tested my commitment to doing what makes my heart sing, and in turn I seem to be moving closer to the vision I wrote about last year. I have pushed the boundaries of what is important to me and in doing so sent a very clear message to the Universe that I will only operate where there is integrity, love and joy. I will only work with people who appreciate me, and I will wholeheartedly maintain my devotion to filling my heart with joy and love no matter what other consequences arise from that.
One of the consequences – which would easily look like a down side – is that my earnings dropped to an all-time low during this period. In fact, my 2012/2013 tax return will come in at around $25k. Bear in mind, the rent on my apartment is over $14k per year, so it hasn't left a lot to spend on food, travel and necessities.
For many, it would have been a grim year, but because I kept my heart open, having such low funds really didn't matter. Even more amazing is the fact that holding out all that time and maintaining a commitment to go where the joy is I am now in a space where everything seems to be turning around. And it's happening fast.
In many respects, getting to this point has been a tough road, but in many more ways it's been the most natural thing in the world. By letting go of the idea that success is a 6-figure pay check, and a mortgage, and whatever else we generally concede to equal success, I have found a gigantic treasure chest that is more bejewelled than any pay check I've ever received.
By continually following my heart for the past 6-12 months (actually it's more like 4 years), I have learned that the Universe listens to what it is we are really saying. What I have been saying is that I believe in myself; I trust that I will be looked after; and if I set my heart on a dream that is in harmony with the greater good, then it's only a matter of time before it becomes my reality.
Had I continued to work as an employee with a regular salary, and continued listing my dreams wistfully while plugging away at someone else's song, I may still have happened upon this incredible Hawaiian experience. But I'm pretty certain I wouldn't have felt the golden threads that hold this picture in place.
If I hadn't given my heart the opportunity to be free, I'm not sure I'd be heading to Maui to sing mantra for a group of beautiful yogis. I would probably be there practicing asana as I've always done, and I would still be repeating my dream that one day I'd be sharing my voice instead of hiding it away.
The lesson I've really learned here is that if we have a dream or goal, no matter how huge it may seem and no matter how far down the track we think it is, if we simply open our hearts, the very thing we dream of could actually be just around the next corner.
Simply put; if we speak from the heart, listen with the heart, and work and play from the heart, there is surely only one outcome.
For me, that involves singing mantra at a yoga retreat in Maui. But what has also come from this experience is a slow but definite increase in work that I truly love, as well as a continually expanding network of authentic, joyful and creative people. Income wise, things are really beginning to pick up. I guess it's like any tipping point: when my soul, my thoughts and beliefs are back in alignment, the money was sure to come flowing back in. And flowing it is.
I wish we all had the opportunity to open our hearts and take a risk. Maybe we all do, but more often I hear reasons not to be free.
Either way, there's got to be at least 7 billion ways to live your dream so what is your heart saying right now? What's the dream your heart is holding onto?
Maybe it's time to let it out so you can sing, dance and love just as we are all meant to…