One of my best friends, who is also an educator, told me that she used to say to her 5th graders,
“Be silent and listen! They have the same letters!!”
I laughed at the time, in large part, because I had a vivid vision of my spontaneous, impulsive, engaging, and contagiously funny friend trying to get the attention of twenty restless 11-year olds.
My laughter quickly turned into another “AHA” moment as I began remembering key turning points in my life after sitting in silence and listening to the voice of my heart, not the noise of the world.
In 1996 I boarded a plane to return home from a business trip in Colorado Springs. I was exhausted and drained from the week and thinking about the tough management and financial decisions in front of me when I got home. Chaotic, intense, and very noisy thoughts filled my head, throwing me into an overwhelming vortex that was spiraling out of control. In the midst of those swirling work-related thoughts I remembered that I had talked to my 6-year old son the night before but couldn’t remember the stories he shared about his day. I was too distracted to listen, or sadly, to care. It wasn’t the first time. The tears came.
“When you take time for stillness amidst the chaos you transcend the world of “doing” that can easily engulf you and diminish your connection to your true self.”
~ Panache Desai
We prepared for takeoff. All electronic devices were turned off. The flight attendant had finished her spiel. I closed my eyes, shut off the world, and got silent.
To this day I can’t put a timeframe around what happened next, but at some point in my air-borne silence I heard a whisper, “What are you doing?”
Sounds simple enough, but it wasn’t. The question was a sincere, soulful, strong and inescapable ground trothing from my heart.
I couldn’t articulate it then, but I now know that my heart was seeking affirmation of my truest desire. At that time I didn’t fully appreciate the significance but now realize that my desires set my intentions which become my will and my deeds… and in so….become my destiny. Wow!
My world became clear in the silence. I momentarily escaped the chaos I had been living for nearly 2½ years.
In that moment of clarity, I changed my destiny.
I deplaned and walked to the baggage claim in Richmond, Virginia at 9 o’clock on a Friday night with a lighter, less burdened step. I found the nearest phone booth (which sounds very strange as I write this in 2015) and called the lead of my agency. I had told no one – not even my family - but without any hesitation I told him I needed to step away from my management position. He asked me what I was going to do. I didn’t know. We agreed to talk the following Monday.
I had no backup plan. But, I didn’t care because I left all attachments to outcomes, expectations, and fear in the clouds. Crazy huh, especially because I was the breadwinner of the family!
So, maybe it was a little crazy to let my feelings and heart serve as my inner GPS, rather than my head and “shoulds.”
I did it because the moment was real fullness and somehow I felt unlimited in opportunity.
I felt inspired.
And, I intuitively knew that doors would open easily when I followed my heart’s strong calling.
I close with a happy ending. Doors DID open. I received a phone call the next Monday from a high-level official who became one of my greatest supervisors, teachers, and mentors. His opening statement on the call was “I feel like I just took a walk and stumbled on a $100 bill.” He offered the most perfect work opportunity. We worked together for the next 14 years with common purpose and joy.
More importantly, I was more present when listening to the stories of my young (and now grown up) son!
In fact, I am now more “present” in life. That incident and many afterwards have taught me to seek stillness every day, as much as I can. I listen for the calls that question my desires and excite my spirit. I take advantage of the energy, ideas, and solutions that come easily in the stillness. I feel grateful. I feel awakened to the thrill of being alive, to trust the unknown, and to not press for an outcome.
In the stillness, my heart knows the answer. I let it lead the way in creating a life of my deepest desires, knowing that those desires are always supported by Universal love, intelligence, wisdom, and truth every step of the way.
All I have to do is be silent and listen – it only takes six letters!
Thank you for allowing me to share my story. My hope is that you also keep asking “What do I want?” and let your heart lead the way to your desires and destiny.