Letting Your Heart Light Your Way
Living with Trust: Guidance for Your Life’s Journey by Alice McCall
Nearly 20 years ago, Alice McCall felt an internal tug that was as irresistible as it was illogical. Her heart was telling her to leave her career as a corporate executive in Atlanta to pursue a new path in a sleepy beach town in the Florida Panhandle. She followed her heart, trusting that everything would work out OK—and it did. Over the next several years, McCall became well known along the Gulf Coast as a spiritual teacher and healing facilitator. But that heart-led achievement turned out to be just a trial run for a far greater one: conquering breast cancer.
The doctors who diagnosed her in 2007 didn’t mince words, she recalls in her new book, Living with Trust: Guidance for Your Life’s Journey: "I was being pressured to follow the ‘gold standard’ traditional recommendation—to have my left breast and underarm lymph nodes removed, followed by a mix of possibly radiation, chemotherapy, and hormone treatments. They wanted me to do it now! My heart, however, wanted something else."
By then McCall had spent seven years helping others heal; now it was time to heal herself. For the next several weeks, she focused, laser-like, on transforming her mind, emotions, spirit and body. Meanwhile, worried family and friends staged an intervention, hoping to convince her to accept conventional medical treatment. It was difficult, she writes, but she again stuck to the path her heart set for her. Two months later, a thermogram showed no sign of cancer. Now, ten years later, she remains cancer-free.
In Living with Trust, McCall uses that experience as an illustration of the power of heart-guided wisdom, and as a starting point for teaching others how to follow their hearts as a means to fuller, freer lives. It’s a process that involves consciously rejecting all those negative things—force of habit, fear of the unknown, worries about failure—that keep us on a safe but unfulfilling path or keep us from moving forward at all.
McCall begins with instructions for simple centering/meditation, from which her process evolves, although her "heart-centered meditations" aren’t quite like the stilling techniques we learn in yoga. While it’s important to quiet the infamous "monkey mind," this meditation is a two-way street: it creates space for the Divine within us to speak to us. If we hope to live a heart-guided life, that’s the voice we must listen for and then trust unconditionally.
"It can often feel easy to trust in anything rather than our heart-felt truth," she writes. "We’ll trust what the TV says, doctors, a manager’s judgment of us, a cab driver, the internet, or what our friends think before we put trust in ourselves. When a nagging awareness that a situation does not feel right demands our attention—we do not trust it.... So we set forth on an opposite path only to learn, after the fact, that our inner guidance was right."
Trusting the heart means not overthinking things. McCall notes that the mind can give us only what we already know—"facts, knowledge and habits"—rather than the inspiration and wisdom that must come from the imagination. By trying to exert too much control over our lives (by pushing for a specific outcome to a problem, for example, rather than an open-ended solution), we unnecessarily limit ourselves, she says. When we follow our hearts and allow our lives to unfold, we are rewarded with a positive outcome, often one we never could have envisioned or planned for.
The final step to heart-felt living is surrender—and that’s the hardest part of the process, she says. ("We have all heard the advice ‘Let Go & Let God,’ but few of us actually follow it.") Surrendering means releasing our fears and worries, and replacing control with discernment—"choosing what is best for you, without trying to control what is not yours to change." True freedom comes in finding balance between discernment and surrender: "Do your part responsibly without the need to control all aspects, and then release it. Let go and let God." That’s when you become co-creator, with God, of your own life journey.
Like many books that tackle big ideas, Living with Trust is deceptively slim. And even then, McCall suggests reading a little at a time, allowing a few days between digestion and implementation. Old habits die hard, and the process she describes requires shedding old habits, old attitudes and old fears. But with practice, she says, "hearing" the heart becomes truly intuitive—and the effect is liberating.
Living with Trust: Guidance for Your Life’s Journey by Alice McCall of Healing Path Concepts, can be purchased on Amazon, $3.99 (Kindle ed.)