Living the life you yearn to live

Pressure, like a sumo wrestler is sitting on my chest, and this pressure is getting heavier and heavier. The sweat is spreading through me like a tidal wave. I feel nauseous. My body is screaming at me that something is wrong. There’s nothing I can do but sit there, utterly powerless. And I wonder is this it? Am I going to die now?

My first heart attack struck me out of the blue on a cold February morning when I was 43 and sent a wrecking ball through my life. My second heart attack happened 5 days later in hospital. A nurse pushed the red panic button and my bed was surrounded by doctors. They still didn’t know what was wrong with me but time was running out and they had to do something. It was in this chaos that I had an epiphany that changed my life.

As I was being wheeled down to the theatre, I had this utter knowing spread through me that if I’d had enough of the pain of this life – and oh boy had I had pain – I could close my eyes and move on. I knew with every fibre of my being that this body would die but ‘I’ would go on somewhere else, and that transition from here to there would be as peaceful as falling into a relaxing sleep.

The pain of my life welled up inside me, all the loss, the grief, the emptiness, and I thought about it for a moment. How lovely would it be to feel peace, to be happy? But I knew whatever I’d come here to do I hadn’t done it, so I made the decision to stay. In that moment I stumbled onto a path that would change my life.

I made the choice to live. The only problem was I didn’t know how! Crippled with anxiety and afraid I would die at any moment, I set out on a quest to save my life.

Before my heart attacks I had everything I was supposed to have – a loving husband, a house in the suburbs, a great job as a screenwriter – but inside I felt deadened, empty. I was an automaton going through the motions, afraid to stop in case I cracked up. Now I was forced to look back on all the things in my life that I’d tried to suppress instead of heal – the loss of my father to cancer, the deep pain of trying to have children, the loss of my baby at 8 weeks, the traumatic scars of growing up in a conflict zone, the sense of emptiness that nothing could fill.

I had to figure out how to live in a way that had meaning for me. I started to do all the things I’d regretted not doing when I was lying in the back of the ambulance. I did things simply because they were fun. I went to angel classes and found I had a gift for hearing angels and divine teachers. Through a combination of following my joy, meditation, and listening to me instead of the world, I found myself doing the small things every day that my soul was crying out for. This led step by step to the bigger changes and gave me a passion for sharing with others all the steps big and small that helped me to turn my life around.

Now I know I am loved unconditionally, I am never alone, there is magic all around me. I know I have a purpose, I deserve to be loved and to have everything I need to fulfil my soul. I know I can heal, I can change gently, with grace and ease, and I can be all I was born to be in this world – as can you.

It’s not all plain sailing. My journey started in that moment during my second heart attack when I was being wheeled down to the theatre and I chose to live. Now I know you have to choose to live in every moment. You have to make that choice second by second. Sometimes that means acknowledging the pain, fear, grief, trauma, confusion and loss in this moment, knowing you want to heal and change and grow, but not denying where you are, not going into a numbed out ‘coma’ of the walking dead. This is a day by day, step by step journey back to you.

Here are the 3 key ways that have helped me live the life I yearned for, and can help you too.

1. The Art of Inner Listening

Stop taking your cues on how to behave and what to do from the outside world, and turn inside and take your cues from your soul. The only way to do this is to take time out to listen to yourself every day.

There are different stages to this. First, step away from the noise and busyness of the world and find a place of silence. Switch off Netflix. Turn off your phone. Find a quiet place to sit at home or in nature, somewhere you can be alone with your own thoughts.

Ironically, the first thing that happens when you sit alone with yourself is that you start to ‘hear’ all the voices from the outside world. Everyone else’s thoughts and opinions on what you should be doing start to bubble up inside you. It’s your job to notice that these are the opinions of other people. Let them go - the same way you veg out in a boring meeting and turn back to your own thoughts. Move on into the quieter space within you.

Now you start to hear your own voice – and what a chatterbox it can be. ‘Am I doing this right? I’m hungry. I really should be doing the dishes instead of sitting here.’ That’s not listening, that’s talking. So the next step is to quiet your little voice. Tell it it’s okay, you’ll deal with all that later. Focus on your breathing or on a peaceful image.

Now you’re entering the real silence inside you. And in this silence you have the opportunity to listen and hear something meaningful. But the trick is not to listen! Just sit in the peace, expecting nothing. Something may rise up inside you – a thought, a feeling, an image, a knowing. That feeling of something rising up inside you is the best indicator you’re on the right track. When your soul speaks it feels like it’s floating up from your heart or your gut and has nothing to do with your mind. You may hear nothing at all in the moment and that’s okay, but the next time you’re out for a walk you may get an insight rising up from inside and you’ll know this is the response to your listening.

Notice I called this the art of inner listening, not the science. You gently and patiently feel your way through it. But the most important thing you are doing is turning inside to listen to the whispers of your own soul, to find out what it wants to do and to do that now.

2. Connect to Divine Guidance

Once you start this inner listening, you can ask to be guided by the army of divine beings who are with us all to help us grow. Sit in that peaceful silence and ask your own angels and spirit guides to show you what you need to know or do right now. Call on beautiful divine teachers like Jesus or Buddha and ask them the same question. Or go straight to God.

These divine beings are dying to help you in ways big and small – they’re just waiting for you to ask. Keep it simple. Building up a relationship with them is like building up any new friendship. First you need to spend quality time with them. Try sitting in peaceful listening with them for 10 minutes every day.

Notice how you best ‘talk’ to each other. Maybe you don’t use words at all. Maybe you communicate in images or feelings. Maybe you just know what each other is trying to say. Trust whatever works for you. Then remember to listen to them and not just talk.

It takes time to build up a true friendship. It won’t all happen in one night but you’ll make a step forward in your friendship each day. After a while you’ll find yourself casually communicating with them when you’re standing in the queue in Tesco.

3. Practice Self Love

We are brought up to believe that we should do whatever it takes to help others around us - but no-one teaches us to help ourselves. The biggest change we need to make is to start loving ourselves, in both practical and spiritual ways.

How do you show love to others? You buy them presents, you take a load off, you listen to them when they’re in pain, you comfort them and support them. Now it’s time to start doing this for yourself.

Once you start to connect with your angels, teachers and God, you can ask them to show you how to truly love yourself in a deeper way.

The spiritual path is about walking back to love. We can’t do that if we don’t love ourselves. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Ask yourself in every moment is this hurting me or loving me? Choose only love.

About the author: 


Deirdre Cartmill is a spiritual teacher, healer, speaker and writer based in Belfast. At 43 she had two heart attacks in a week and her life fell apart. She had to learn how to ditch trauma and stress and live the life her soul was crying out for. Now she helps others do the same by sharing the spiritual insights and practical steps that helped her heal and change her life. She runs workshops and retreats and offers energy healings and one to one soul guidance. Find out more about Deirdre and how she can help you on your healing journey at her website -

Deirdre is running a Connect with Your Spiritual Guides and Your Soul Purpose workshop on Saturday 29th June in Belfast. For more details on the workshop please click here.

You’ll find more spiritual guidance and tips on Deirdre’s YouTube channel