We should slow down, get quiet and listen to the little voice inside

Listening to our intuition can be a lifesaver.

I was struck recently by the story about the boy who was scared to take a helicopter sightseeing tour with his mother, which ended up saving their lives. His time-wasting tactics kept them off the New York flight that crashed near Manhattan.

As I read, I was of two thoughts. Firstly, why don’t we all listen to that inner voice more often? Secondly, as an aside, I wondered if I would have forced my son to go on the helicopter.

We all have that little voice inside of us–the one that makes us do some things and stops us from doing others. If the voice is loud enough, some liken it to a guardian angel, or some spirit looking over us, directing our fate in a cosmic way.

Unfortunately, the voice is usually much quieter and easier to ignore. I worry that we have given power to too many people around us to make our decisions for us, nearly silencing that voice.

Our parents start the cycle when we are young. Then our teachers take over. Next, our bosses tell us what to do and how to do it. Throughout, advertisers tell us what to buy, politicians tell us how to vote, and young and old family members “guide” us by their hopes and dreams, needs and wants, often without the realization that we are not them.

There is hope though, because no matter how quiet the voice has become, further blocked by external noise, it is still there. Since there are no Intuition 101 classes to take, it would seem that the only way we can nurture this ability is to practice.

I would think that we could start by slowing down, getting quiet, and blocking out the other voices and influences confusing the issue.
Next would be the challenge of making a decision for ourselves and following through on it, without consulting others. Even if it appears to be a questionable decision in hindsight, we must persevere with trusting our gut.

Like any skill, we will probably not master it right away. No one learns to ride a bicycle on the first try; we fall, we skin a knee or an elbow, chip a tooth, and then eventually get the hang of it.

Recently, I found myself highway driving on the way home from a business trip and I had the opportunity to test out my intuition. I had the feeling I should slow down, but I didn’t listen. When the lights started flashing, I laughed at myself and equated the ticket to a skinned knee.
I also thought about the irony in the lesson of needing to slow down.

My instinct also tells me that more than ever it is time to think for myself, decide for myself and act for myself.

I believe this and yet, on a ludicrously small scale, I was nearly paralyzed by the inability to pick paint colours last month. Clearly this was not a life-or-death situation, but I failed the test of trusting my own instincts, and asked several people individually for their opinions. My inability to listen to what I wanted, and act on just that, frustrated me.

Was it the permanence of paint that put me into a tizzy? After all, who wants to have to repaint?

My fear of failure marginalized my intuition and increased the volume of the voices of others. Suddenly, what they thought was more important than what I thought.

Clearly, I am far from immune to embarrassment and/or rejection, but I can’t let them rule me. Although I like to please other people, happiness only comes when I act in agreement with my intuition, not with theirs: and they cannot ride the bicycle for me.

Luckily, I am getting better and better at pushing my fears down, blazing forward on a trail of my choosing. Rather than living in fear of the next wrong decision, I prefer to listen to my instinct, and act on it. I’ll gladly take the skinned knees and elbows until I get the hang of the balancing act of riding my own bicycle.

Now, switching gears to my second thought on the helicopter crash, I wonder whether I would have forced my son to get on that helicopter, thinking that I knew better than him and that he would love it once we were in the air.

Regardless, my gut feeling is that it is time to wrap this up, so I am wishing you a strengthened belief in your inner voice. May you trust your intuition and act with confidence, clarity, and certainty in your upcoming decisions such that, if you were ever questioned about them, you could effortlessly answer the question why with “I just know.”

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