Sunday, October 18, 2009

Following Your Heart

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In my latest book for mothers of tweens, Helping Our Daughters Live Powerful Lives, I take a lesson from the movie Ice Princess. Joan Carlyle, based on her own experiences, believes she knows what’s best for her daughter, Casey.

As an academician Joan has always pushed Casey in a similar direction. In the beginning her daughter plays along.

Near the end of the movie Casey tells a Harvard interviewer she must chase another dream.

Finally Casey realizes it is her heart that must decide what to do with her life...not her mom. She withdraws her name from consideration and has to break the bad news to her mother. Her mother doesn't take the news well.

They had worked so hard on this dream.

Harvard is it. Harvard is Casey’s ticket to her future. Casey, though, has a different dream. Casey is an ice skater.

“Casey, you can’t do this,” her mom says. “You are giving up on your dream.”

“No mom,” Casey says, “I’m giving up on yours.”

In a Judging Amy TV episode, Judge Amy is upset with Lauren, her pre-teen daughter. Lauren wants to try out for the cheerleading team. Judge Amy is dead set against it.

She says no, and gives no good reason for her decision.

She seems harsh and uncaring.

As I watched, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. Later we find out Judge Amy had not made her squad and felt rejected by her cheerleading peers.

To Judge Amy, cheerleaders were snobby and cruel. She wants to protect Lauren from a similar scenario. Lauren’s experience is different. To her, the cheerleaders are friendly and accepting.

It’s hard for others to not let their own hurts and pains color their recommendations and decisions. The bottom line is there are many, many people with many, many opinions, ideas, suggestions, laws and recommendations about how we should behave or act. No one else on the face of this planet—not even loved ones with best intentions—can take into consideration all the factors of a person striving to make decisions and to reach personal goals.

When we attempt to listen to well-meaning authority or support figures in our lives, we tend to get lost. What they might perceive as a “safe” bet, like Joan Carlyle, might be anything but for us.

As I tell my workshop participants, “You are the one that has to wake up to your life everyday.”

Something else I like to include and I'm paraphrasing the words of Caroline Myss. "Take the riskiest path you can find; the safest path is an illusion."

Allyn Evans
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Beth Blair said...

It's so interesting how frequently humans project themselves on others, and who better than our own daughters. It also makes me wonder who influenced me in making decisions over the years with a opinion that had nothing to do with my situation.

This post is a good reminder before dishing out advice or try to influence anyone.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

You may also find the new movie Whip It a good movie to take young women to. Like Juno, it has some excellent topics for discussion.


Allyn Evans said...

Thanks, Carolyn! Will check it out.

Anonymous said...

I think that people also need to know that following your path doesn't mean it's easy. In fact, it, in many ways, will probably be harder than anything you've done and I think the universe tests you ALOT to make sure you are dedicated. All part of it, and honestly, when you are doing what are supposed to, the thought of going back to the former life is enough to shore you up. I think sometimes we don't admit to the hard part when sharing with others for fear it will deter them in their journey. Or maybe each persons's challenge is so different from the any body else's that you can't prepare somebody if you tried. Or something. The hard part is what chafes away the things that don't work and brings to the forefront the things that do.

Allyn Evans said...

Thanks for the comment. I like what you said. And it is true...following your heart doesn't mean it will be the easiest path for you. I remember hearing Caroline Myss talk about this before. It's as if people want guarantees that if I am on purpose or doing what I am here to do that is will be easy. That's not what the journey is about. Following your heart, though, can be most rewarding and I believe the only true path to happiness.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I like that last line!