mercy, always trust your heart, wisdom, karyn shanks md, trust yourself, rise, we rise,

Mercy (Listen to Your Heart)

Dear One,

Have you ever heard something incongruent with what you believe? Maybe you hadn’t really thought it through before—but your heart tells you on the spot that it’s not true?

But it’s coming from a widely revered source, perhaps one you personally admire, someone who has a good track record for inspiring millions with their wisdom. You hear the words come out of their mouth… and your heart says “no.” And, “what?”

That was me yesterday, listening to a podcast on my drive home from Chicago. Someone I respect was interviewing big thinkers about spiritual topics. It was an engaging conversation and I found myself pleasantly uplifted by what I was hearing (and by the coconut milk latte I was drinking), after attending a grueling three-day conference.

The interviewer asked one of the guests about the nature of mercy—a topic that fascinates me. He said, “mercy is when we do good things for people even when we know they don’t deserve it, knowing our good acts will find their way back to us.”


Heart knows something very different here: this ain’t right.

My heart says: that’s not spirituality—that’s judgment, plain and simple.

How can I possibly know who deserves or doesn’t deserve?

And what would it mean if our good acts were motivated by what we receive in return?

I’m thinking this as they are ooh-ing and ahh-ing and high-fiving one another for the pithy spiritual home run they’d just made.

Except it was not a home run. Not even close.

It got me thinking about mercy. And about trusting my heart in the face of a contrary popular opinion.

My conclusions:

  • I do my best in the world but I take no measure.
  • I can’t possibly know what it’s like to be in your shoes.
  • I assume we’re all doing our very best.

I practice mercy when I do my best, say my best, and give my best to all comers. Not judging. And not expecting anything in return.

And (most importantly):

  • My heart told me right (always trust your heart!).

Have a Beautiful Day!


Dive into the archives: Karyn Shanks, MD. Five Ways to Harness Your Intuition. 2016.

Karyn Shanks MD


Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, body-mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-eight year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

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