How fitting that this week's writing challenge is about the single word "instinct". Just for fun, I looked it up in the dictionary and one of the definitions included the following:
• A natural aptitude or gift.
Yes, this was definitely fitting.
In my adult life, I have often relied on my instinct, when it comes to decision making or doing anything in general. Privately I referred to it as my inner guide; this magical part of myself that was leading me through life. At times it has manifested itself in some very chilling and eye-opening ways. However, my instinct was not always there. As a child, I was unsure if my instinct even existed. For a time, I thought it was dead. I lived a sheltered and protected life. I longed for the freedom to make my own decisions and to do what I wanted. But I understood why, so I learned to work within the limitations I had and cultivated other areas of my life. Little did I know I was actually helping my instinct by secretly feeding it the information it would need for later.
Just before I entered the fifth grade, my life changed dramatically. Clearly, up until this point, my instinct had been very quiet. But now, it was ready to start talking to me. It was during this year that I left my childhood forever and became an adult, not by choice, but by circumstances beyond my control. Rather than go into graphic details, I will only say this: I had a feeling that something was terribly wrong and that I needed to speak up before it was too late. When I did, it seemed as if everyone else thought it would just work itself out. “Let’s wait awhile.” I knew that this was not a good idea. My instinct told me so. I could feel it. But the decision was not mine to make.
So we waited…until it was almost too late. Turns out, I was right and everyone else was wrong.
The night before my surgery, I lay in the hospital bed and turned inward. I needed to let my instinct speak to me. I was scared, and I asked the night nurse if it was natural to be nervous before surgery. She said yes, but I was skeptical. After she left the room, I tried to silence the words of fear in my head so I could hear my instinct speak to me. It took forever to quiet my mind, but finally, I thought I could hear something. It was faint at first, but yes, it was there. Very softly it said, “Don’t worry, Susan. I am here and everything is going to be alright.”
Afterwards, I was a different person.
I knew it in my bones.
Was it just me?
Did everyone else know it too?
I was so alone... where were my friends?
I felt as if I more mature than my years. I was. You can’t go through something like I had and not be, if not wiser. My only saving grace was the fact that I enjoyed my solitude. I did what I wanted to do, and continued to feed my instinct. Books, music, television, movies and any other cultural things I could get my hands on. The teaching continued.
As I got older I tested the waters and learned. Sometimes my instinct was so accurate it was scary. Other times…well…I did not know what to think. So I just stopped, listened and waited for the next moment.
Was I going crazy? No, I was just becoming more aware of everything around me. All of my senses were in heightened awareness. I was listening and acting on my instinct. It felt good, but I seemed to be battling with everyone. These battles were ugly and trying mine and everyone else’s patience.
Stronger and louder it got and I knew there was no turning back now. I had to let go, give in completely and follow my instinct. The explosion was so intense…I felt myself being thrown into the air and landing hard on the ground. I was not sure that I would ever be able to stand again. The one thing I did know was that after the dust settled, after all the fighting and struggles were over, I had finally learned to listen to my instinct, my inner guide and be in tune with everything around me.
Today, I bare some pretty big scars, both emotional and physical. But I know when to walk away from something. I know when something is going to be bad and I know when I am on the right track; all because I learned to listen to my instinct. This magical part of me has not died. It is very much alive and still guiding me.
***I have written this piece for a group on Facebook that I recently joined, GBE 2: Blog On. Interested in more...click on the picture below to take you there.