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Both meditation and yoga are practices that encourage us to look within for answers. They teach us to listen to our internal GPS, that little voice that tries to guide us down the right path. We don’t always listen, but it is always there … whispering.

The other day while meditating and trying to make that strong connection with my intuition, my inner voice, my spirit guides (whatever you want to call it) I thought about my mother and her courage and strength to stand up to others as she listened to her own intuition and fought for her daughter. When I was still in diapers, probably only a year old, my big toe started to turn in. My mother knew that something was wrong. She shared her concern with my dad, but he couldn’t see what she saw. However, the two of them took me to the doctor. He didn’t see it either. But my mom knew, she trusted and listened to her inner voice and she insisted that even though my parents didn’t have the money, I be taken to a specialist, a pediatric orthopedic. I was diagnosed as being pigeon toed.

And because it was caught early and so much of my treatment – casts, brace, special shoes – were done when I was young, I have no memory of the trauma. I only know the family stories. I would thump my legs down hard as Dad changed my diaper, and the metal bar of my brace painfully smacked his hands. Never failed to get me he’d chuckle. Or the story of my sister defending me against the neighborhood kids, who taunted me for having my shoes on the wrong feet, which was done to guide my toes from turning in.

I am so grateful that my mother listened to her inner voice. She challenged the medical community at a time when few disagreed with doctors. As a mom, I think there is nothing more powerful than a mother’s determination to help her child, but we aren’t as good at doing that for ourselves. Maybe, if we occasionally thought about our inner child, we would do a better job.

When I was going through my fertility treatments, I wasn’t listening to my inner voice. I completely ignored it and stayed in my head, determined to undergo fertility treatments that were not in my best interest. I subjected myself to blood draws, injections, ultrasounds, and frequent early mornings and late nights as I drove sometimes twice a day from Providence to Boston, about an hour distance. I was fitting this all in while working a stressful, full-time job as an advertising executive, and trying to do it without anyone knowing what I was up to. It was hard and I reacted badly to the hormones. But I ignored what my body, and my soul, were communicating and continued to subject myself to what was clearly not working for me. Frankly, I broke. I think I had a nervous breakdown and it took a lot of work for me to come back. I also struggled with panic attacks that lingered for close to 15 years.

I wish I had listened to my inner voice back then. But sometimes what it is trying to communicate is not what we want to hear. And so we tune it out and do what we want, and then we regret it. Or we hurt, or get sick, or end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

When I take time out of my day to sit quietly, to meditate, to practice yoga, I feel more grounded, more centered, more sure of myself. And I have greater awareness.

The other day, my sister helped herself to a big serving of banana bread that her neighbor had brought over. When she tasted it, she noticed something was wrong, but then she remembered that her neighbor used sour cream in it, and so she figured that was why the taste was off. Well, as you can image, she and her husband both got quite sick, which is never a fun thing to happen, but an even scarier thing during COVID. She regrets that she didn’t listen to that inner voice.

Whenever I think about listening to intuition, I remember Oprah speaking with a guest who sensed that something wasn’t right when a man got on the elevator right after her. But she thought it would look odd to immediately get off. She didn’t want to offend the stranger, and sadly, she became a victim of violence.

I’m ending this essay on a frightening example, because I want the impact to be strong. Maybe you’ll spare yourself a stomach upset by listening to your inner voice, maybe a car accident, or maybe something more sinister. Whatever it is … listen and trust your inner voice. It may be the best thing you ever do.

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    1. I hear too well sometimes — getting distracted by a conversation at the next table, listening to the lawn mower outside, hearing my neighbor’s dog barking to come in.
      But my own inner voice, which is right there inside me, well, I swear I need hearing aids! Thank you for this post.

      1. Thank you for commenting on this post. I loved your funny descriptions. It made me laugh. Don’t we all need hearing aids when it comes to hearing those faint whispers.

  1. Isn’t it sad that “women’s intuition” is almost a joke — or that “men’s intuition” isn’t even a thing?

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