The Counselor's Corner: Listen to your heart

By Fred Cavaiani

Are you living the life you want to live right now?  What does your heart (feelings) tell you what you would like to do with the rest of your life?  Discovering what we most feel inspired to do and how we want to live our life can sometimes be disconcerting and puzzling.   We can have a difficult time listening to ourselves.  In each person there is a drumbeat that keeps beating which inspires us and directs us to be true to our deepest desires and wishes. Often we resist listening to this drumbeat/inspiration/feeling because we are too busy and too preoccupied with many things.  We can find ourselves caught in a job that we may not like at all. We can become so worried and anxious about making a living or dealing with sudden struggles that there is little time to pay attention to our deepest desires.

At times we can stay so deep in our heads that we may avoid our feelings.  We can intellectualize so many things that the stirrings in our hearts are neglected.  To listen to our heart is to admit that we can become fearful at times. We need to embrace this fear. Sometimes we can feel discouraged. We need to embrace this discouragement. Sometimes we can feel so joyful that we want to sing with enthusiasm and tell the world that life is good. We need to embrace this joy.

It can be all too easy to minimize our feelings.  When we do this we put an obstacle in the way of receiving inspirations and experiencing the almost Divine Energy within us which can inspire us to be true to our personal self.

Many people journey through life without listening to the profound desires within their hearts. When the heart is neglected, life becomes neglected.  When we live in our hearts and pay close attention to what we are feeling, wisdom begins.  The lessons of life become clear.   When we stay in our heads we can start feeling anxious, troubled and confused.

A good question to ask ourselves is this: what gives me the greatest fulfillment in life?  Another question is this:  what energizes me the most in life?   And the third question is this: what brings me the greatest peace in life?  Each of these questions starts with the heart which is a metaphor for “feelings” or “desires” or “consistent inspirations.”  These “feelings, desires, and consistent inspirations” create this continual drumbeat which keeps directing us to experience life in a deeper manner and to look at life in a deeper and profoundly inspiring manner.  Some call this discernment. Others call this inspiration.  Then there are those who will call this “paying attention to your feelings.”  All three are connected.

Lately my wife and I have been contemplating moving and downsizing.  It is amazing to start this process.  At first we intellectualized it or looked at all the rational reasons about doing this. Then when it came to where we want to move we did the same things but without thoroughly embracing what we were feeling.  Now we have returned to what we feel the most.  Eureka! Inspiration has returned! Wisdom has happened.  We are getting a clearer vision of what we will do. But this could only happen when we started listening to our hearts and what would really feel the best for us.

One of the biggest mistakes in life is to forget that inspiration starts in the heart.  To be fearful of our hearts and all the joys and wounds inside is to be fearful of life.  When we use psychic energy to avoid what we feel, we begin to inhibit ourselves from experiencing the peace and joy of life.  We also put a block between ourselves and God.  Inspiration, experiencing God, discovering ourselves, and living life with energy and joy all start by listening carefully and attentively to our deepest desires and longings.  By a desire or longing I do not mean a hunger for chocolate, or a thirst for a beer or a glass of wine or a pill.  These are simply superficial attractions for a high that satisfies a physical craving.  They are not genuine longings or desires of the heart.

The deepest longings of the heart consist of a longing for Love, a Longing for Meaning, a Longing for Permanence, and a Longing for Peace.  When I listen carefully to these inner longings within myself I will find the roadmap to living a fulfilling life because when I stay in my heart I discover the peace, compassion and tranquility of God coming toward me with Love, Wisdom and Peace. But it all begins with embracing my inner heart with care, compassion and consistency.  It becomes a glorious way to live.

Fred Cavaiani is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Psychologist with a private practice in Troy.  He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Medical Center. He is also a consultant at Capuchin Retreat in Washington, MI. Fred conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday.  He can be reached at (248)362-3340.  His e-mail address is: and his website is