This week I have been rushing from one task to the next, attempting to manage, contribute, complete, and resolve every project, task, email, etc. I am jumping from one fire to the next, never stopping long enough to consider if, perhaps, the work that needs to done is not the rushing from task to task but rather that I need to pause and reflect on my priorities. Perhaps by considering what duties are most important I will find that the work I am doing is possibly not serving me.
It’s what Brenee Brown calls, “hustling for worthiness.” I am eager to prove my value and hoping that by jumping through all of these hoops I will prove my worth. But that’s not how worth works. First, it doesn’t come from external sources. Second it is intrinsic, it is not given or bestowed, I have value (and so do you!) simply by virtue of being present and alive) and that’s it. The rest is choice – am I going to continue to choose to be reactionary, rushing from one task and to do item to the next? Or am I going to pause and use discernment to find my best way forward?
Discernment is the right answer, always. Discernment asks us to look inside for answers rather than outside. It is not allowing every wind to blow us off course. It is pausing and holding still, rather than chasing every passing thought or idea. Discernment is an inner knowing, a trust in our individual compasses to guide us. It is soul, it is heart, it is listening. Discernment is connecting deeply with ourselves to know our way forward.
For me personally discernment looks like meditation, schedule, good food, and rest. When I have those boxes checked then I am free to listen. I often practice discernment by writing. I write to know what I think and whenever I doubt that I have a path I re-read what I have written and am often surprised by the clarity, the obvious path that leads me forward and through difficult times, happy times, and large and small decisions.
Discernment is when it makes no sense but you know it’s the right thing to do. It is trusting yourself and that tiny voice that is begging to be heard even when the world is shouting for you to go one way, discernment will illuminate the path is truly yours.
How does one discern? For me I get a feeling of excitement when I am pursuing something that feels good and right. When I am on my path it feels like a homecoming, a comfortable and well worn path, and it’s easy. Choosing myself and my own path feels right and good. If you have to push too hard that is not the path. When everything seems to magically fall into place, that’s when I’m in the right place doing the right thing. I am discerning and not forcing.
Discerning is also listening before you begin, it is not charging ahead or rushing, it is rest and reflection, it is taking a deep breath and listening to what your heart beat is saying. Discernment is trust and faith, it is balance and breath, it is knowing, feeling, trusting. Following your own drummer, taking care of yourself first is calm, humble, and freeing.
Discernment does take time to learn because in our culture we are so fixated on what the world and others think or believe about us that we sometimes listen to those shouts instead of the whispers of our inner knowing. I made discernment part of my annual goal a few years ago, to practice discernment when making large and small choices. By practicing I got better and through practice I learned how to trust myself first, rather than to the outside world. This practice has been uplifting and freeing. It has helped me to not only attain personal and professional goals, it has kept me in the right frame of mind, it has kept me present and focused. This practice has reminded me that what I think, believe, feel, know is important, necessary, and vital to my personal success. It is necessary to my growth and my journey. It is what keeps me honest and helps me keep the faith. Discerning what my next step is rather than checking boxes, or reading from a script, has helped me to get where I’m going and feel confident that the steps I am taking, my journey and my destination.
How do you use discernment in your everyday life? Is there a method or tool you use to connect with yourself and listen? How do you know your path when you see it?