Three Ways to Honor Your Deepest Feelings You incline naturally toward pleasure and away from pain. Pleasure invites you to delight in the experience of being alive. It frees life energy to move through your body and fuels your passion for life. Passion and pleasure are essential motivating forces for vitality, power and creativity. With them you live more fully in the present. Restrained emotions are the approved ideal for public behavior. Emotional numbness creates an armor that keeps us separate in the world. We may deny pleasure and feel guilty for wanting it. Guilt can be a teacher that moves us toward change and renewal. Or guilt can be a demon that restrains us from enjoying the gift of life. We may honor our deepest feelings or we may repress them. The choice is ours. Listen to your deepest feelings as a message from the Self. The Self communicates with you through the language of feelings. They express the Self’s desire to move forward. They guide you in making wise choices. You must stay in touch with your feelings to know the desires of your Self. Passion is an intense emotion from deep within. It fuels your desires. It holds a powerful energy to create. Desire and passion shape your life and who you become. They align you with your Self and inner Genius. You are an infinite choice-maker. You make choices moment-by-moment. Each choice states the value you place on your Self. The plan is simple. Pay attention to your feelings. Follow your passions – the desires of your heart. Honor the Self and release your inner Genius. Embrace ongoing change while keeping a balanced center. Life is a balancing act. We experience push-pulls between the desires of the heart and the pressures of the world. Our immense creativity arises from these dynamic tensions. Times of change and disorder allow space for our creative potential to blossom. They bring confusion. But they also offer opportunity for growth and renewal. What matters most is how we respond. The process of change leads to transformation. It allows us to grow our potential and transform ourselves and our world. Change requires both internal and external movement in the body. The expression of movement and emotion are essential for the body’s well-being. Restricting either one stops the flow of energy. And the flow of energy through the body restores balance. Practice awareness of your feelings throughout the day. Channel the energy of strong emotions into movement such as walking or cleaning. Choose practices that release energy and restore your inner balance. Set healthy boundaries that allow you to nurture your Self and others. A balanced center involves the ability to nurture the Self and others. This balance is not static but is open to flow and change. Needs are not idle longings. They are necessary for our well-being. You must take responsibility to fulfill them. As example, you need time to simply relax and enjoy life-sometimes by yourself and sometimes with others. Often you may feel guilty taking time for yourself. But time alone is not a luxury. Only in solitude can you know your true Self. Only in quiet time alone can you know your deepest feelings. When you feel relaxed and refreshed, you are more loving to others. Guilt impedes the flow of energy and takes the pleasure out of what you are doing. A healthy feeling of guilt tells you where your emotional boundaries are. It guides you to make good choices. Love for yourself and others requires a delicate balance of giving and receiving. It is a paradox that love is our Divine nature and love is our greatest lesson to learn. As you choose ways to honor your deepest feelings, include movement and emotion, whenever possible. Consider walks alone in nature – sometimes called open eye meditations. They allow you to reconnect with Earth and the inner You. They affect your mood, your immune system and the self you are becoming. Science tells us these magical effects are real. Nature’s energy flows through you and transforms you. You return to the world refreshed and ready to share your gifts. Dr. Mary Beth Ford is the author of Wisdom from the Gardens-Life Lessons and creator of the CD Garden Wisdom-5 Ways to Grow in Life Balance and Joy. She specializes in the area of life balance, which she describes as balance between outer world and inner Self. In her work she shares five powerful garden lessons for living with balance and joy. She helps busy people live with Spirit in the world. Using nature images she offers us a new way of seeing ourselves and our world.