About Me

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With a B.Ed., M.Ed., and over 10 years of classroom teaching experience, Chantelle has been privileged to observe the fruits of many living philosophies. By continually striving to live the best life possible, Chantelle has been able to overcome many personal challenges in life and enjoys helping others do the same. In 2001, Chantelle stepped into her first yoga class and has been amazed at the ways it has transformed her life. In 2007 she studied under Shri Yogi Hari of the Sivananda lineage and became a certified yoga teacher. She has since earned the E-RYT designation from Yoga Alliance and continues to study under various Indian Master Yogis. In October 2013 launched Prana Yoga & Wellness, offering private/corporate yoga and stress management workshops based on Eastern wisdom. Chantelle frequently appears as a guest speaker and is involved with various community projects and local non-profit organizations. Dedicated to walking her talk, Chantelle is not afraid to do the necessary work to remain happily married and be a healthy role model for her two young daughters.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Truth About Following Your Heart

"Follow your heart"...It's a theme woven throughout all forms of media, from billboards to children's movies, but what does it even mean? And how do you even know when your heart is speaking to you?

The most important place to start is knowing which heart you intend on following before you even think about accepting this ambiguously ambitious mission.

Wait... I have more than one heart?
Yes, well... if you include your physical heart, that would make three, but only one heart is the one you are actually supposed to follow and it's not the thumper in your chest.

Energetically speaking, you have what I would call two non-physical hearts: one belongs to your personality, the other to your spirit (or higher self). The heart of the personality is governed by desires and fueled by lies and insecurities. It's responsible for the impulse purchase of the shoes you had to have because they'll make you look more (you fill in the blank). It causes you to eat food not because we're hungry, but because it makes you feel (you fill in the blank)... you get the picture. Essentially, the heart of the personality has the maturity of a two year old and therefore happiness is intense, but fleeting and greatly dependent upon the impossible and dangerous quest of doing whatever it takes to keep baby happy. This heart will trick you every time into making detrimentally selfish moves that will erode your sense of self and stuff your closet with more skeletons than you can shake a bone at. You could say the heart of the personality is the maker of addictions, the director of extramarital affairs, and the conductor of debt; its mantra varies but includes "I want" "me... mine... I...". Clearly, if this is the heart you choose to follow, you will be heading for serious trouble.

"The heart of the personality is governed by desires and fueled by lies and insecurities."
The heart of the human spirit, however, is the complete opposite. It is governed by virtue and fueled by truth. It will have you asking the tough questions and facing the hard answers. It will lead you to purpose, meaning and ultimately to serving others. The spiritual heart will make you hungry for connection and community, helping you find your tribe, while remaining compassionate toward the rest of your human family. The heart of the spirit is knowing and wise, appreciating the value of time and persistence. It's transparent and sustainable because it's honest and generates it's own contentment. It has less of a variety of mantras, but a plethora of questions like "what will be the impact?" "is this the right thing to do?" or for "what will be for the highest and greatest good?"

Now don't get me wrong. The heart of the personality isn't something you need to try to get rid of. Rather, all it needs is a little structure and training so it can serve spiritual heart. There is only one "you" in body, personality, skills and talents that needs to be accurately expressed into the world. You are more than your superficial wants and needs. 

Dig Deep
The trouble with the heart of the personality is it has no weight of substance to keep it grounded. It's like a kite in the wind moving in whichever direction desire takes it; easy to get twisted in tangled in the least desirable of places or suddenly crash hard and without warning. It is vital to tame that recklessly wild heart by digging deep and anchoring it to all of the important life guiding stuff only accessible by knowing one's self. Successful heart-based voyagers know that following your heart is the disciplined art of staying aligned with your values and virtues.

When identifying values, it's important to go beyond the obvious. You may say family, but perhaps what you really mean is close, meaningful and loving relationships (or whatever other adjectives you would use to describe family). You may say career, but you may mean using my talent and skills in meaningful way and being fairly compensated for it. When we expand on the adjectives that describe what's important to us, the more we are able to be detailed about what truly enriches our lives, the more we can hold ourselves accountable for truly nurturing and protecting them. If you haven't spent a lot of time finding out what your values are and rooting yourself to them, you truly have nothing guiding you. 

Once you uncover your values, the next thing to explore are your virtues. Which characteristics denotes a person living a highly respectful life? Honesty? Compassion? Discernment? Patience? Persistence? List these virtues and memorize them. These will become the standards by which you measure yourself and if you fall short in any area, you willingly commit to working hard to further developing them. Virtues keep you honest with yourself and are the building blocks of character. It's pretty hard to cultivate the virtue of honesty when you are about to charge that 10-day cruise to your credit card when you know you don't have the money in your bank account and you are determined to be more responsible with money. A strong character has the ability
to look herself in the eye while gazing in the mirror and feel proud of the person she is–not how she looks–  because she's able to keep the heart of the personality in check.
Give yourself a “time-out”

By now, you are probably beginning to understand that following your heart is not a free-for-all. On the contrary, it is a very disciplined approach to living because once you have identified your values and virtues, you now have your own policing system in place. The beauty of being self-governed is the satisfaction you feel when you know you've done the right thing, as difficult as it was, and you can happily and proudly answer to yourself. Not only does living this way take will power, it is a constant flow of conscious, deeply personal decisions that no longer have you seeking external approval, thereby moving your source of happiness within yourself. While you may envision
free-spirited, follow-your-bliss kind of person always saying "yes", freedom of heart requires saying "no" much more frequently.

And when you find yourself off course, which is bound to happen from time to time, it's important to sit it out for a while so you can stop what has been set in motion. Misalignment means it's time to be still and quiet. It's a time to tune into your spiritual heart and listen so you can get back on track again. It's also a time to be kind to yourself and forgive the wrong turns you have taken, while vowing to do better. In essence, you are bringing the hearts of the personality and spirit back into harmony with each other, which will be extremely important when you find yourself lost for reasons beyond your own navigational skills.

Dead ends and obstacles are guaranteed

A lot of upsets, mistakes and failures are sure to be encountered on this path. Remember this: discouragement is the enemy. If your spiritual heart still desires it, then you have no choice but to find away over, through, around or under the obstacle. Never fall for "well... I guess the Universe is telling me it just isn't meant to be." Bullsh*t. If you give up and continue to dwell about it for days after, the disappointment you feel is your spiritual heart telling you to push on and get ready to learn and grow in the process. If you don't listen, you are signing yourself up to settle and suffer. On the other hand, if you can give up and not think twice about it, then it wasn't really that important to you in the first place or maybe the desire ran its course and it's time to move on.  

As far as the obstacles are concerned, they may seem to block you from where you want to go, but in reality they are the perfect opportunity to test your character and strengthen or gain some skills by taking a stand on what you value and expressing your virtues. If your two hearts are working together, you will find a way through the challenge, but not without exerting effort or ingenuity. The more situations you find yourself exercising these muscles, the stronger your character becomes. Then you'll see that following your heart isn't so much about the outcome as it is about how the process changes you for the better. These changes and victories over challenges are the secret sauce to gaining confidence in your ability to accomplish anything you put your mind to, on your terms.
Be resourceful
As Frank Baum wrote through the words of Glinda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz, “You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself”.
Following your heart is not about pursuing, but expressing and building. You must know yourself to know what is seeking to be expressed.  I repeat... there is nothing out there to be pursued. It is simply channeling all of the experiences, skills and talents you already have and love using and expressing, with a healthy respect for the experiences, skills and talents yet to be discovered. Know what you are already good at, what you love doing so much that you could lose track of time while doing it and being paid to do it would be a bonus. It doesn't matter if the skills and talents are related, just know what is at your disposal. You never know how seemingly unrelated skills can be paired together to create a new opportunity for yourself or cleverly overcome obstacles; nothing is wasted on this path. And equally important is remaining curious about the latent aspects of yourself that are just waiting for the right timing and conditions to emerge. When you follow your true heart, you are armed with the strength, courage and wisdom to be able to face whatever comes your way, and will surely build a life you can be proud of.