I feel as if there have been several recent posts about my de-cluttering process. Clearly it has affected me more than I thought! Today’s post isn't so much about de-cluttering, instead it is about intuition, and inner wisdom - something I have been thinking a lot about recently. Yesterday, I visited Carifesta - a Caribbean festival being held here in Barbados this year, showcasing artistic talent of every description from islands all around the Caribbean. I have had the privilege to attend a few of the events so far, and thoroughly enjoyed each one. Last night I visited the craft market, and it was a glorious celebration to what people can do with their hands, heads and hearts with a little bit of creativity. As I walked through the gate, ready to soak up the lovely offerings, I distinctly heard a voice say - do not buy anything unless you are willing to get rid of something you already have. Believe it or not, I didn't jump out of my skin, nor did I take myself straight down to “Jenkins” (Bajans - you know that is another name for the mental hospital) for the simple reason that this has happened before. And it started about a year and a half ago.
At that time, I had this experience where I would say that it felt as if someone was talking to me. That is really the best way that I can describe it, I felt as if there was a voice or something guiding me at certain times when I wanted to make certain decisions. I confided in my sister, and in a close friend about it, and neither of them seemed surprised. My one criticism would be that it didn’t happen often enough (no matter how often I felt as if I could do with some good advice!) and it seemed very random in when it would give suggestions. When I spoke to my friend about it, one of the comments I made was that I really could not understand why all of a sudden I started having this sense of guidance, and she said to me – what if it had been there all along, and I had only now become open to hearing it. It was an interesting point, and I was curious about it, so I decided to remain open and see what happened. As time went on, it wasn’t always a voice – sometimes it was a visceral reaction, or a gut feeling, and sometimes it was just a certainty that I had for no reason. And I decided to see what would happen if I just went with it (especially given that sometimes it went against what I might consider traditional logic). These experiences are what I will refer to as listening to my intuition as the post continues.
After a while, I decided to actually do some research on the subject. I came across a number of writings, books, even podcasts and one in particular from a young lady who has a strong connection to intuitive guidance and she describes it as inner wisdom that is peaceful. While I do not necessarily agree with everything that I have read or heard, my interest was definitely piqued, and I have thought about it a lot and here is my theory. I think that as people, we do have an inner wisdom or knowing and it can guide our actions, and even give us insight about other people, as well as really help us navigate the world, however I feel like we sometimes switch that off as children growing up, and the switch off continues into adulthood. For me, having gone down the pathway of traditional medical study, much emphasis is placed on evidence basis for things, and having concrete evidence. I will not go into my usual rant about research and evidence here, but one thing I will say is that it occurred to me – evidence is only as good as the tools we have to measure it. Just because we have no evidence for something that doesn’t mean it isn’t there, it may mean that we simply do not have the tools to measure it.
I also think that what is considered societal norm can override our listening to intuition. One thing I realized when I really started paying attention to it, is that sometimes I meet people that I don’t want to connect with on any level. It doesn’t affect me working with them, and it isn't that I dislike them, but I don’t necessarily want them in my space, and conversely, sometimes I meet people that I really just “click” with. To coin a phrase I heard (but I am not sure where) our “spirits meet”. It made me think about children especially babies who seem to gravitate to some people and not to others, and how we often insist that they are close with people that they intrinsically do not feel comfort around. For me, I thought about being younger, especially in my late teens and early twenties, where I felt this external pressure to befriend certain people and do certain things that are societally accepted. I thought of the pressure to bow to the societal norms of house purchase, and car selection, and climbing the corporate ladder, and of many of the people I know now (including myself) who are feeling a disconnect, and a discomfort – having reached the heady material and career heights that they have strived for, as if we were never really connected with the idea.
And on the flip side, I thought about decisions I made that had no rational reasoning behind them, but that I knew in my mind were 100% the right thing to do. One year, I had a friend who lives in another country, and who was diagnosed with longstanding benign cancer, and I made the decision (perhaps somewhat impulsively) to go and visit her there, at a time of year when travel was expensive. I cannot say what made me do it, except that I had a strong sense that I needed to do it, and so I did. I am glad that I did, she passed away not long after, as there were complications that had not been discovered at the time of diagnosis. I miss her, but I am glad I took the opportunity to spend that time with her. I could give many examples, and I am sure that if we all thought about it, there were decisions that we made that had no rational basis but that we knew instinctively were the right decisions to make. For me that is intuition, and I made the decision to listen to it more, and to worry less about what traditional societal norms I was turning my back on as I did so. And in honesty it has never steered me wrong.
Being open to listening to my intuition allowed me to start listening to my body, and what it wanted. It allowed me to try things that I might have previously thought were not “scientific” such as meditation. It allowed me to be open to a world of knowledge about the effects of the mind and spirit on physical health, and has changed how I think about these things. It has changed how and when I interact with people, and I no longer feel guilty if I just don’t feel comfortable with someone – I just stay away from them. It has changed my life in ways that I cannot describe, but it was truly one of the best lessons I have learned. For me the lesson was to listen to my intuition, and it might take me to surprising places of peace and beauty, if I am open to it. And on this particular occasion (as I walked into that craft fair), it has inspired me to try to live a net zero life for a while - and to not buy something new unless I am willing to make space for it by getting rid of something current. More on that later.
So on this one, I open up comments. What are your experiences with intuition, and do you call it something else but still get a sense of what I am talking about? Do you know exactly what I am talking about but feel like it comes from somewhere else? I look forward to your comments.
Big love from a small island
Ps I took the above photo in the lovely city on Bath in the UK. More autumn love