Thoughts for a New Year: a woman’s heart, mind & soul matter

We’re on the verge of a New Year: 2016! I’m writing this post (number 25, to be exact) on a cloudy morning in Nashville, TN. I’m traveling, on the road, and thinking about the heart, mind and soul of a woman.

I’m also sipping on a warm cup of green tea and breathing—deeply—as I write this note to women everywhere. It’s exactly what I want to do on this last morning of 2015.

Women matter. Girls count. I believe that our hearts, minds and souls are treasures. Our voices, stories and experiences enrich our families, communities and—yes—the whole, wide world. As a gender, we sometimes discount the riches we hold within because we live in a culture that asks of us to stay silent, keep quiet, and lie low.

We live in a society that desires from us—mostly—what is physical, and little that is spiritual. It’s a battle. And, quite honestly, the battle has been suppressing our potential for decades. This is a new year, though, and we have the power to end this battle, once and for all, individually and collectively.

I’m a firm believer that everything good begins from within. And, so that’s where we start, by seeing our hearts, minds and souls in a whole new way. I have three ideas as to how:

  1. See your heart as a force for restoration, not a depository of brokenness. Your heart can be a storehouse of pain, or a garden of renewal. It really is your choice. Ask yourself what you want stored up in your heart. Is it grace, or is it curse? Let me help in your decision: grace will strengthen your heart, but curse will weaken it. Does your heart deserve grace? Do you deserve grace? The answer is clear. It’s an indisputable yes. As you embark on a new year, ask yourself what is growing in your heart at this very moment. Are there any dark places? If so, you can bring the light. My practice is this: I close my eyes and, in prayer, visualize any places of pain or darkness (brokenness) leaving my heart. Those spaces are then replaced by light and an abundant growth of flowers. These flowers, in all shapes and colors, represent healing (restoration). My heart is a healer, it’s not a breaker. My heart cannot be broken, either, because it’s pliable and expansive. It holds great capacity for forgiveness and understanding. And, yes, my heart feels sadness…that’s okay. I’m only human, after all. I know, though, that to feel deeply is to live greatly. I just don’t have to allow the sadness to breed bitterness. So, I focus on joy. My heart matters. It matters to me and to God. And, so I tend to it. I honor it. I cultivate a joyful environment within it. You can, too.
  2. See your mind as a force for freedom, not an incubator of fear. Your life, to date, is a culmination of all of your thoughts. Indeed, you are what you think. Beliefs and the belief system you adhere to will either move you forward, or hold you back. What are the habitual limiting beliefs that you’ve told yourself in 2015? How have those perceived limitations—those fears— impacted your ability to achieve your dreams and reach your goals? If you’re like me, I get fired up just thinking that I’ve allowed a fear to creep into my head and put a halt on a dream, or a desire. That’s a painful place to be and I don’t want to live there. I tell you what, start seeing your mind as the engine behind your ability to be free from fear and you’ll witness transformational life-change in the new year. It only takes a small shift in thinking, a change in the words you use, and you’ll completely transform how you view the world and your role in it. Can’t becomes can. No becomes yes. I won’t becomes I must—and then, I WILL. Fear is a killer of minds. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, plant seeds of fear inside of your head. Empower your mind and imagine that you are bigger than, vaster than, and greater than any feeling of fear. On the other side of fear is freedom. You can get there.
  3. See your soul as leader, not follower. Trust the whispers of your soul. So often, we want to mute the voice speaking from within us. We want to be in control, in charge. In 2016, how about trying a new way of being? Might you try letting go a little more and allowing your soul to guide you? Could you set the intention that everything will work out the way that it should in the end? I used to feel very disconnected to my soul. I thought it a secondary part of me, or I didn’t give my soul much thought at all. Now, I know that my soul is the very essence of who I am. It is far more powerful than any physical aspect of what makes me, well, me. My soul is my strength, it is my source of power, it is my beauty and my value. I move through this world differently now—soulfully. I am a leader because I have allowed my soul to lead. So much worry and anxiety we place upon ourselves, as women, when we try to hush the soul and lead alone. We place unrealistic expectations on ourselves and on each other. We forget that we are daughters of God. And this truth, my friends, is the greatest gift of all. In this new and promising year of 2016, I want you to know that your soul is limitless. And then, I want you to realize that you are limitless, too.

Your heart, your mind and your soul matter. They work together for greatness. Let them!

Happy 2016!

Onward to what matters most,

Michelle Madrid-Branch is an author, speaker and global advocate for women and orphans. She is the author of Adoption Means Love: Triumph of the Heart, The Tummy Mummy, and Mascara Moments: Embracing the Woman in the Mirror.

You can connect with Michelle on Twitter @LetHerBeGreater or on Facebook. To learn more about Michelle, please visit

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