College application season means advice and anxiety come at you from all corners. It’s easy to lose heart.
Are you able to spend time wondering (not worrying, but wondering) about the future, or are your days too crammed with test prep, school projects, responsibilities at home?
Are you trying to crunch a bunch of facts and make them add up to your “dream school” or “reach school” or “safety school”?
(Or you trying to visualize the next chapter of your life based on what attracts you, what challenges you, what pushes you, what makes you feel at ease?)
Are you trying to declare that you already know what you want to study, so that you can go ahead and be convincing and study it?
You know that deflated feeling when your crush likes someone else?
You know that deflated feeling when you are hungry and stuck on a subway?
You know that deflated feeling when your parents want you to talk to a distant elderly relative about how school is going?
That’s the feeling that happens to us when we don’t listen to our hearts.
Luckily we can always reboot.
Why does it matter?
This college application process demands you to step into the first ring of adulthood. In your college essay and college application,, you are trying to say who you are to a bunch of strangers in hopes they will take you into their community because you are a person of value and potential. You will have something to prove there, won’t you? So how do you possibly listen to your heart, your gut, your hunch, on where you should be and why you should be there?
This exercise can help you listen to your own self
This exercise might make you call the corny police, but just go hide in the bathroom and do it and then reach out to us via our favorite page if you still think we need tutelage in cool. The steps are easy so you won’t even have to bring an electronic device with you and risk dropping your phone (or laptop) in the toilet in order to discover your path.
In a quiet space (or forced quiet– i.e. the bathroom)–
- Sit down on a flat, stable surface (toilet with lid down counts, guys) and close your eyes.
- Feel the ground beneath you holding you up without fail and asking nothing of you. Say to yourself, “I trust this ground.” (The state of trust makes us relax).
- Put your hand on your heart, palm flat. This is the “energetic” heart in the center of your chest.
- Say AHHHHHHH (under your breath is fine) and imagine a tight fist opening slowly.
- Take another breath and ask, “If my life is totally up to me, what is the best thing for me to do right now, for a future that will feel authentic and right to my deepest self?” (It works best to ask this aloud, but you can ask silently if you can’t STAND talking to yourself).
You might hear something like “get a glass of water” or “go for a walk” or even “have a chat with your mom.”
You might hear another voice– that might not have your ultimate best interest in mind– saying things like “Play on your PS3” or “Check snap-chat” or “burn your SAT scores.” The trick is to really listen to how the voice sounds. If you’re not sure it sounds like a loving and true voice (will your future really be RIGHT FOR YOU if you spend the rest of your days on PS3, social media, or reactive?) try again.
Here’s why it benefits you to go inside
So much of this college process is out of your hands. So much is dictated by expectations piled on us by other people, or concerns about status that are based on prestige and not our deepest personal qualities. But if bit by bit, you practice listening to the true and loving voice (you have one, really, test it out), you may find out that your path is evident to you.
You are not dropping your responsibilities, shooting the moon, or disrespecting the adults who give you advice– you are paying attention to the ONLY thing that will be with you, inextricably, for the rest of your life– YOU.
Incrementally, if listened to, that voice might get louder. Might speak up about the direction that most serves your life. Might give you all kinds of secrets and insights. Might.
(Did you just become a junkie for this heart thing? Great– my teacher, the articulate, profound, and hilarious Thea Elijah can guide you deep and far down this road through her Whole Heart Communication system for leaders. Check her out here.)