Recently I wrote about how instinct and chronic illness have sometimes interconnected in my life. Yet it's all well and good to talk about instinct but how about putting it into reality when one is faced with undesirable choices?
You know that precise moment when you walk into a situation or you meet someone and you notice something feels wrong? How often have you disregarded that feeling, and in the process disregarded yourself; your needs and inner guidance? Then, later, when that feeling is confirmed, do you mentally kick yourself, remember that you knew something was wrong all along? I've certainly been there - talked myself out of my instinct, or been talked out of it. I don't believe this is uncommon. This isn't a world in which we are taught to hear ourselves.
How about the situations in which there appears to be no option? Where the only choices available seem undesirable, though something inside you is screaming no at every turn, but still you must choose. Perhaps when those situations have occurred in my life, with a little more lateral thinking I might have found alternate pathways; new directions instead of closed doors. Or perhaps not. Sometimes decisions must be made quickly and we simply do the best we can.
The mythologist Joseph Campbell once wrote:
Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.
Certainly I recognise that one - the way following your deepest longings can sometimes open up a chain of reactions, as if all around you is conspiring to support you. Yet, sometimes it's not like that. (Does this mean you are on the wrong path? That your timing is wrong? Does it mean anything at all?) Lately, I have been asking myself about the question (the luxury) of timing. About what happens if I make more of my decisions slowly when possible; feel my way into them. About ways I can be more true to myself.
In "Dance Movement Therapy" foundation training last week, we partook in an exercise. One person repeatedly asked the other: "Who are you? I have wondered this before. Who am I? Who are you? Not the social mask, not the roles you play. Who are you under the skin? Who are you at the core? Who are you when you are honest, when you are bloody, when you are yourself, raw and unconditioned and real?
Later, we had our statements of reply read back to us and for each statement we created actions, dance, movement, embodying our feelings. Who are you? "I am a person who can be exhausted by words," I found myself saying...."But the right words do not exhaust me." Next, I offered "I am instinctive." It wasn't until I heard my words read back that I felt the connection between those statements; that truth deep in my body. I am a person who is sometimes exhausted by small talk. I am a person who loses energy and grows drained when her words don't mesh with her instinct.
I felt that exhaustion so clearly in myself: this dichotomy between instinct, knowing, strength and the small talk that permeates so much of life. In recognising this, I asked myself how I desert myself in the bid to make others comfortable...and how I can remedy this. Sometimes small talk is necessary, and gosh, I love humour; I'd hate to only have'big' talk. However, as much as possible, I want to know I fully mean the words I speak. I want to listen more deeply. To feel my way into my own words and feelings more; to use less words for the sake of it. It feel ongoing, something of which I'll have to keep reminding myself, but the intention feels a good starting point: protecting my own energy levels, being mindful.
How about you? Are there ways you could be more fully yourself? Do you believe in instinct? Act on it? I'd love to read your stories. Share them in the 'comments' section if you like.