I had two heart attacks in February and August of 1988, at the age of 49.

I felt like an elephant sat on my chest, preventing me from drawing a breath.  On both occasions, I sat down hard and stayed quiet until I began to breathe a little easier and the dizziness left.  Not wanting to bother anyone, I said nothing.  I convinced myself that I was probably suffering from the chronic bronchitis, and its resultant shortness of breath, I had as a child.

After the first attack, I regained much of my former energy, but for three weeks after the second one, if I walked rapidly, I had the same symptoms.

Finally, I casually mentioned them to someone at work, who said, "Lungs aren't the only thing your chest — you do have a heart, too."  In a flash, the veil of self-deception was torn.  I knew he was right.  Then shock set in.

After an electrocardiogram, the cardiologist described me as a "walking time bomb" who needed four by-passes immediately.  I was in a daze.  I met my wife at home, thinking that I would pack and go to the hospital.  She didn't panic.  She said, "Let's sit and think on this.  What's going on with you?  What does this signify?"  So we sat.

What happened next was shocking to this trained research scientist who’d directed laboratories since receiving a Ph.D. in 1966, and who was not given to hallucinations.  I heard a voice so clearly that I simply knew it was true.  It said, "Live your heart's desire or die!"

I had already done most of what I had envisioned when I was young: I had a good career, a great marriage and wonderful, grown and independent children.  I had been making systematic steps in the direction of my heart's desire for three years, but now I had to go all the way or face the consequences.

My desire was to move on from 25 years as a research biochemist and become a psychotherapist, life coach and business consultant.  I wanted to focus myself and others on how to clarify and live a rich, wonderful and fulfilling life.

In a future of not living my heart's desire, I saw only poverty, loneliness and sickness.  No wonder I had been willing to die.

But what to do about my heart?  Then the next revelation came. "If you take care of yourself, you don't need surgery!"  Which was immediately followed by a wave of fear and rationality.  One run-on thought — "I know that I can hardly breathe, I have intense chest pains, the doctor says that I need immediate surgery, how can I disagree with experts, how can I trust my gut in life-and-death matters, what if I'm wrong, what will people say?"

And again, "YOU'LL BE OK!"  For me there was no sense of choice, just instant decision.  Do it!  Don’t be a victim of your genes or circumstances.

Now came the hard part.  How to maintain my determination in the face of recurring fear and the reiteration of the old rules which insisted that attempting to live my heart's desire automatically meant self-indulgent and irresponsible behavior; financial ruin and the loss of my family?

I began a combination of the physical treatments and mental and spiritual changes that was critical to my recovery of full health.

I was able to distinguish my heart's desire from my ego's desire to polish self-image, satisfy childhood fantasies and maximize creature comforts.  I could feel the difference between clear, "accurate" intuition and seemingly similar sensations produced by fear, desire and wishful thinking.

I knew that there is no guarantee of success, only a guarantee of failure if I didn't try.  The trick for me was to let go of the fear of failure.

I developed the courage and strength to withstand the well-intentioned advice of people who "knew better," and to update many deeply embedded but outmoded rules.  I connected with people who inspired me to relentlessly pursue my dreams.

I wrote a stepwise handbook for myself for creating and living my heart's desire.  The handbook had many signposts with behaviors that let me know if I was on course or veering off in wrong directions.  It also has a process for taking time, getting quiet, asking my heart what to do and then listening.

The results were astonishing.  My cholesterol and fatty acids decreased dramatically.  In the early days, my body developed sharp pain right above my heart to warn me if I was speeding up or going in the wrong direction.  You bet I listened.  I realized later that this signal was simply a muscle spasm over my ribs; nothing to do with my heart.

The next year, after an EKG and a treadmill test, a different cardiologist said that I must have been misdiagnosed because I couldn't have had those problems only a year before and be okay this year.  Twenty years later I got more signals to have stents put in.  I didn’t wait until more heart attacks.  And I’m fine.

This is just one story with incomplete diagnoses and no scientific study of the factors leading to my improved health.  I certainly don't recommend that everyone ignore medical advice.

But I do recommend that everyone clarify your heart’s desire and take steps to make it reality.  You’ll find your life, as well as your heart, opens up in wonderful and glorious ways.  Life will become a joy, not a dreary slog down a road leading to a pathetic death.

Since then I've been helping other people examine their lives and design steps to create their heart's desire.  Many have succeeded in developing and living the rich, full lives they've always wanted.  That gladdens my heart.

The best way to give yourself your heart’s desire is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to do your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert coaching by phone or Skype.

AuthorBen Leichtling