I’ve always allowed my heart to make my final decisions for me. Because, while these decisions may not have seemed to make much “sense” at the time, the head is not the center of me; my heart is. But the heart doesn’t know to be logical or to be reasonable; without fail it simply points towards more love, love without any guarantees. And while in the moment it seems folly to let the blind heart lead, it is a like a compass that doesn’t need sight to find true north. It is like a homing pigeon that flies straight to the unseen miracle. Heart decisions are scary decisions because they often defy reason. But as I look back over my life, the risk to love is the only redeeming thing; the richest choice I ever made. The heart is blind, true; but she saves the day every time.

I’ve noticed that my voice as a writer has gotten stronger with each passing year until now I’m not ashamed to shout my truth. Curiously, my real voice has softened over time as I realized that gentle and subtle are more attractive anyway. When I was young, I was speaking from a place of knowledge alone. While knowledge educates, it can’t pen a book that will move you to tears; it can’t be the hand of compassion that reaches for another, it can’t be… fully human. Only a heart can do that. It is the countless, sleepless nights facing life alone that has forged my story into gold. This was the real change agent; facing myself. It has gifted me with a stronger and more relatable voice with which to gather others to me. Courageous writing is heart writing, and you must face your own heart squarely to hear its whispers. If you want a strong message, if you want to reach more people then ever before, reach inside and pull up your heart, holding it up for others to see. It may be uncomfortable at times, it may even be painful, but your heart’s voice is the only authentic voice you’ve been given, and to ignore it is to unwittingly allow someone else’s hand to dictate your history.

It’s what you say to yourself when you’re staring at the ceiling late at night that other people can relate to, and are hoping you’ll have the courage to say. This is because when one person steps out in a vulnerable way, that heroic action goes out like a gentle but mighty wave, seducing and melting the feigned strength and misunderstandings all around. As if by magic, other hearts begin unlocking, and the dull air becomes lighter and brighter. Everyone is chuckling through the tears now, mainly at themselves: at the door they kept shut so tightly. Standing on the other side of it, it’s easy to see the door was more like a window, and it was meant to stay open. The fresh air feels right and reminds them that everyone is a beautiful mess inside. The thoughts that were haunting them, the unspoken mysteries inside-especially the longings that kept them awake at night were really weaving a song, and to not sing that song would be like stealing a songbird’s voice.

Go inside, because most people only go on the outside. The softest part of the fruit is at the center. Go inward and find your own shaky, fumbling, uncertain voice. Your center has something to say. It has a message-it always has. While you may have forgotten it or dropped it along the way, if your heart’s still beating, there’s still plenty of time. Believing your heart isn’t really the hard part; the hard part is fighting it. That will wear you out faster than anything. If your heart’s tired of fighting, it’s not because it wasn’t meant to. The heart was designed for courage; the courage of a lion… just look what you’ve come through! Your heart’s always fighting for something, isn’t it? At the center of you is a fighter who keeps being resurrected time and again. If your heart’s tired, it’s been fighting in the wrong direction. It’s been arguing with the mind, having to answer to its ridiculous rules again. The minute you give way to the roll of the ocean wave it will flood in, washing away the doubt and mistrust, and you’ll see clearly again: the door that slammed shut was really a window all along. The fighter in the center of you would rather fight for the only thing worth fighting for: love… sweet love.

Listening to your heart isn’t dangerous; not listening to the voice beating inside is the only danger you’ll ever face. Your mind will always have its strong opinions; it will go on proclaiming its rightness; that you can count on. Yet only the heart knows the way. It knows the way out of doubt and confusion. It knows the way out of mistrust and cynicism. It knows the way out of stagnation and boredom. It knows the way out of the basement of your soul; it knows which way is up, and it knows where the light hides. Your heart is a compass, and when you train yourself to see without having to see, all that was unsolved in your heart will unravel before your disbelieving mind. Let it marvel! Let it call you kooky, or any other label or name it wants to give you because it doesn’t understand. Let them all marvel-because believing in your heart only leads to one place: your freedom. All your heart wants is for you to be free; free of the tyrannical mind. Most of all, believe in your heart because it will always tell you the truth.