February 8, 2017

How I’m Learning to Clear the Mind-Chatter & Listen to my Inner Voice.

I got out of the taxi, paid the fare and walked up to the hostel to check in.

I could feel it already: I didn’t want to be here.

“But I already paid and signed up for the classes at the studio, I should stay.”
“Why do I always do this?”
“I really want to go to the beach. Why did I leave again?” 

This was my thought process after arriving in Ubud, Bali. I’m traveling in Bali, Indonesia, and had spent the first week at a sweet little surf town, Canggu. My hostel was 200 meters away from the ocean…if that.

The inner mermaid in me was in heaven and didn’t want to go. But I was signed up for classes at a yoga studio in Ubud, so off I went.

I value the importance of being true to your word, so if I commit to something, I like to follow through. However, I also understand the importance of going with the flow of life, which sometimes means changing your original plans.

For most people, it’s a hard lesson—knowing when to keep trying and going, and knowing when to just stop and stay. This can come up in all kinds of places in our lives. For me, while traveling, it applies quite literally.

As a traveler, I am on the move a lot. I’ve stayed in some places for just an hour before hopping on the next bus out, and others I’ve planned to spend only two weeks and instead spent five months.

I sometimes struggle when deciding what to do. I always want to make the “best” decision. Do the “right” thing. I start to go into over-thinking mode and get trapped in my mind.

“This could mean something important, so I should stay.“
“But this could also be a test for me, a challenge to overcome!”
“Or it’s testing my ability to know my limits and when to leave.” 

Back and forth I go, trying to convince myself why one decision is better than the other. I list my pros and cons, obsessing over it forever. Then, after dwelling over my dilemma, I’m left feeling confused and a little lost, unsure what I really want in the first place.

How do some people know how to make decisions so easily, while others can’t, for the life of them, figure it out?

This leads me to the real question: How well can I trust myself?

There’s always a little voice. For some, it’s soft and barely audible. For others, it’s a loud, booming noise telling them what’s up. The more we listen to that voice, the louder and stronger it gets. It’s important to remember that it’s always there.

The ones who know when to stay and when to go listen to that voice. They follow what it says, even if it doesn’t make sense to their friends and family, and perhaps even to themselves. But they follow it. They take that step without looking back—even if it’s hard. They don’t feed into the doubts and fears that creep up.

I so easily forget to trust myself, others, and the universe. I don’t take the time to listen to that voice, and I don’t often trust the decisions I make. Doing this gets old and exhausting. I am tired of doing the same thing over again, looking for different results, which by the wise Albert Einstein‘s definition, is the sign of insanity.

So I’m learning that when I make a decision, whatever it is, I sit in silence with it, just for a few moments. Just for a few breaths. I’m listening to that little voice inside and what it’s telling me. Can I hear it? Can I clear the chatter in my mind long enough to trust what my mind, my heart, and the universe is guiding me to do? Can I keep coming back to my breath when I start going down the rabbit hole and doubting my decision?

Yes, I had paid a non-refundable deposit to the yoga studio where I was supposed to be practicing. Yes, it didn’t really make sense that I was going to go back to Canggu after just one day in Ubud. But that’s exactly what I did. My heart was telling me to go. So I listened, and I left.

Whatever decision I make isn’t bad or isn’t good. It just is.

When we trust our decisions, we save ourselves from a lot of extra stress, anxiety, and fear. When we trust our actions, it makes us feel happy and alive. That feeling where you know you are right where you need to be is one of the best feelings ever.

Trusting ourselves can be a game changer when it comes to our daily lives—try it for yourself. When something comes up and you feel a little torn up about it, try to find that quiet place inside, that pocket of inner stillness. For some of you, it might help to take a walk outside, and for others, it might be sitting in meditation, getting up and dancing, or maybe it’s playing your guitar.

Whatever it is you love to do, use it to clear your mind of all the chatter so you can listen. Feel it, find that instinct, that gut feeling—and then just follow it. No second guessing, no going down the rabbit hole. Seal the deal, go with your heart and fully commit. And whenever you notice that you’re doubting yourself and the decision, use this little mantra to help you out: “I will trust myself. I don’t need to doubt my actions or decisions. I am following my heart.”

Maybe it’s a big decision, like a move, a new job, or entering a relationship. Or maybe it’s as simple choosing whether to make coffee at home or go out to your favorite cafe.

Will you trust yourself today?


Author: Tatiana Hall

Image: Author’s Own

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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