… if Oprah asked me …

 
At the end of most of Oprah’s interviews she asks my favorite question in the universe, “What do you know for sure?” I love this moment and wait on the edge of my seat for the interviewee to respond with a philosophical statement about God, The Universe, purpose, life, faith or relationships. 
 
I wait for the answer, I listen closely, and then I think about how I would answer. 
 
“Amanda, what do you know for sure?”
 
I know for sure, that we are here to do what we love. 

 

Do. 
 
The desires of your heart were not placed there by accident. Each heart-felt desire holds a significant amount of purpose and is how you can serve the world.
 
I am never more alive than when sitting across from a client who is working through their stuff, beginning to feel better, and changing their life for real. I am overjoyed each day as I think, “OMFG it has finally happened. I am paid to help people create better lives. This is for real!” 
 
The path wasn’t easy, but I knew I would love it and I knew I would get here. I knew I wanted to be someone who helped people. And I believed it for years and years and years. 
 
And that is now my reality. Of course I want to learn and grow and increase my capacity to do this well. I have more dreams, but I can certainly say that I now know what my dreams happening feels like.
 
It’s literally everything I would have imagined. It doesn’t look like I thought it would but it FEELS exactly like I thought it would. I feels how I practiced feeling every time I meditated and envisioned myself doing this. 
 
(Side note: Thinking about how we want to feel is something we often forget when dreaming our dreams and making our plans. Sometimes we don’t know what we want, but have a pretty good idea of how we want to feel, and as you make your lists, pin your pinterest pages, and create your vision boards remember that how you want to feel is just as important as what you want to do.)
 
I am fortunate that I asked and prayed and was led to some of what I wanted to do really young. Not everyone does. 
 
My mom, for example, has always told me that she believes we are created for purpose and that she knew I would do that, but that she has never been able to figure out what exactly she loves (besides me, obviously… and probable my dad and little sister too ;)). 
 
Through a scary situation and a trying time in her life in which, if you would have asked her, she would have told you she felt like everything was falling apart, my mom started painting. She painted to relieve stress and get away, initially, but a funny thing started to happen. When she would paint hours and hours would pass by. She could not wait to create the next thing. She made a painting to put in literally every person’s house we knew.
 
She had found something she loved. 
 
A few days ago, I sent her the painting on the left. Tonight she texted me the picture on the right.
 
And it blew me away. I do not just see a painting… I see something infused with love, truth and beauty. I see something that came from deep inside someone’s heart. I see a gift from God.
 

image

 

Seeing someone else’s heart felt work lights me up and inspires me to create more of what I love. 
 
I immediately started writing this blog. 

 

 
Change.
 
The thing is, this doing what you love, is not just about careers or hobbys that can turn into careers. This is about changing the world. Because, as I’ve begun to learn, that is how it works. As you do what you love you raise your energy and those around you get inspired too. Since none of us are more or less special than anyone else, we all have the ability to create positive change in this way. 
 
Marianne Williamson talks about this in A Return to Love. She writes, “…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
 
And, as I’ve learned, it starts with the little things. You can begin to break out of your funky ruts and improve your outlook by enjoying and having gratitude for the little things. Start your day with feeling thankful for your sheets, the sun streaming in and your cup of coffee. In each day try to do a workout you love, listen to music you love, or cook food you love. Enjoy these things more and take a moment to feel gratitude. Your energy will shift and you will feel better. When you feel better you think more positive thoughts, take more positive actions, and life begins to flow.  And, in my experience, putting those positive-I-love-this-life vibes out there brings more of that back into your life. 
 

 

Grow.
 
The thing about this is, we all have things we love, we are just convinced that it’s not meaningful or it’s a waste of time or it’s not really important, that it could never lead to a career and blah blah blah blah blah.
 
So we ignore the little signs leading us to getting clearer about what it is we want. And when we do pay attention to what those things are that light us up, we blow them off by telling ourselves that we are not qualified, are too old/young, that the economy sucks too bad or whatever and we stand in our own way of creating the life that deeply somewhere in us, we know we really want. We block ourselves with every single idea that tells us what we are not good enough for or can not have what we want. 
 
And, trust me, on your journey every little negative belief you hold about yourself will come up. But as I’ve learned from Gabby Bernstein and some of my other fave teachers, it comes up so you can change it. {Read about how I worked through the idea that I could never have Louboutins and bought my first pair here.}
 
The path would have been easier and I would have done some of the things I’m doing now sooner if I had simply believed I could do it. But that’s not how it works, because I didn’t always believe it. As I set out to live this life, the blocks of “you are not good enough” “you do not have this qualification or that personality  “who is going to pay you?” came up. I believed in these negative ideas and I delayed my process. But as I learned to reframe my negative concepts and began to tell myself a new story about each idea, I got closer to believing I really could have everything I wanted. 
 
When I stepped into the idea of, “You are effing awesome. You have gifts, skills, and knowledge that the world needs and you can and will be well compensated for your gifts,” everything changed. When I unapologetically decided that I wanted to become a therapist and coach and that I wanted to serve in this way, with a heartfelt belief that I could do this and do it well, that’s exactly what I got. The journey included a lot of work on myself and in my life and I was able to accomplish in small subtle steps.  And I believe that as I work to accomplish the other goals I have, I know my negative self-perceptions will continue to come up, but that’s okay, I’m up for the challenge and I know, it’s the only way to grow.
 
So, I ask you; what would you want if you could have anything? What would it feel like to have the life you desire? Now practice believing that you can have it. Practice feeling how it would feel to have it. And know that the subtle steps that will lead you there will be laid out. 
 
 
 
Xo, 
 
Amanda Frances McKinney
 
 
 
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson