"Tell me princess, now when did you last let your heart decide?"
I remember listening to those words as a little kid, singing them over and over, and feeling sad on the inside.
The truth was, I couldn't remember the last time because, quite frankly, I NEVER let my heart decide at that point.
"The heart is deceitful," they told me.
"It cannot be trusted."
"It will utterly destroy you."
These warnings were issued constantly.
So I was raised to believe that my own heart was dangerous.
My desires were demonized.
More than anything else, I became afraid of myself.
The music I listened to was wrong.
The shows I loved on TV were wrong.
The way I enjoyed dancing and moving my body was wrong.
The clothes I wanted to wear were wrong.
Basically, every desire I had was at best questionable, at worst pure evil.
This is the story of growing up as a gay kid in a fundamentalist cult.
Even before I realized I liked boys, my desires had been stolen from me.
I had deeply internalized a distrust of my heart.
I was in the habit of silencing all my needs and wants and desires.
It only got worse when I realized I liked boys.
Now my desires were an abomination.
Enough to send a person to hell.
Shameful in the eyes of God and my parents and the kids who pushed me up against lockers at school.
When your desires are demonized, you lose a little bit of your ability to be human.
This still happens to LGBT people every day.
There's a popular book that just came out from a megachurch pastor which tells LGBT kids that every time they are attracted to somebody, it's a new demon coming to attack them.
I mean it in a literal sense when I say our desires have been demonized.
But it doesn't just happen to LGBT people.
We have all been told to ignore our hearts.
It happens to college students when they are told that what they want to do isn't a viable career option.
It happens to moms when they are told they can't have dreams and passions of their own anymore.
It happens to business people when they are told to abandon their values in order to make money.
Yet, no matter how many times your heart has been silenced, it never disappears.
It never stops beating inside you, calling out to you, waiting for you to answer.
The desires may be repressed or ignored or even revolted against, but they don't leave.
"Tell me ... When did you last let your heart decide?"
I want to ask you that question today, and I hope the answer is ... well, today.
If you haven't let your heart decide in far too long, I hope you can make that brave choice today.
I will never forget doing a meditation experience with Deepak Chopra in college.
Day one of the experience, he said three words that I've never forgotten:
"Desire is spiritual."
Here I was, judging myself for wanting things, hating myself for what I desired, and Deepak had the audacity to suggest desire could be spiritual. It changed the way I saw myself forever.
Here's what I know for sure:
My desires are there for a reason.
Yours are too.
The desires of your heart are not meant to lead you astray but rather to lead you to your purpose.
When they are fully expressed, they will change your life for the better, not to mention the world.
If you honor your desires and follow what's in your heart, you will without a doubt fulfill your destiny.
Trust your heart.
Let it decide something today.
Your desires are your friend.