Follow the Road of Your Intuition
“You can't connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.” ~Steve Jobs
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen I was nine years old, my mother took me across the city of Chicago to a small church in Pilsen to meet Mother Teresa. I was a bit young to really be able to understand the magnitude of this petite Albanian nun—from the outside, she seemed like a quiet and humble religious woman. But inside there was a fire in her I will never forget. At one point, I was able to hug her . . . and when she looked into my eyes, I felt a deep, loving power pouring out of her.
As I got older, I began to devour books about this Nobel Peace Prize winner. It quickly became apparent to me this holy woman had turned her back on the life she once led, because of a clear message she’d received from a higher power.
On September 10, 1946, Mother Teresa experienced a calling that would forever transform her life. She was riding a train from Calcutta to the Himalayan foothills for a retreat when Christ spoke to her and told her to abandon teaching to work in the slums of Calcutta, aiding the city's poorest and sickest people.
"I want Indian Nuns, Missionaries of Charity, who would be my fire of love amongst the poor, the sick, the dying and the little children," she heard Christ say to her on the train that day. "You are, I know, the most incapable person—weak and sinful, but just because you are that—I want to use You for My glory. Wilt thou refuse?"
No, Mother Teresa didn't sit around thinking, "Well, what do I really want to do?" Instead, she heard that call, took it and ran with it.
The end result? She became one of the most important figures in modern history, single-handedly showing the world what it means to serve the poor, the sick and the unwanted.
By following her inner prompts, Mother Teresa transformed countless people’s lives and, indeed, nations. Mind. Blown.
And she was rewarded in gold for listening to her gut. I have learned this time and time again in my own life. I’ve actually trained myself like a ninja to connect the dots — even when the dots look sketchy.
Intuition: Knowing Beyond Logic
By Osho “Be the person you are. Never try to be another, and you will become mature. Maturity is accepting the responsibility of being oneself, whatsoever the cost. Risking all to be oneself, that's what maturity is all about.”
About a year ago, I decided to follow my intuition’s guidance and write a book. This, in and of itself, was a miracle. Writing for the public and speaking to the public have never been my strong suits. But something shifted in me, bringing about a real urge—an actual deep need, really—to communicate my thoughts and feelings, both on paper and in front of an audience.
Let me back up a bit. When I was in college, my mother used to help me write my papers. Sure, I had ideas. But she was a poet with mad word skills, utterly amazing in every way. We had a blast drinking wine and spending hours with Thomas Aquinas, Emile Durkheim, J. Krishnamurti, and everyone else I studied in the religious studies curriculum. Given that my theology major / women studies minor required long, mind-bending papers, my mom cheerfully dug in and cleaned up my words, and I was no longer lost in translation (my favorite movie, by the way). I leaned on her for encouragement and clarity. With her help, I made mostly A’s in college, which was pretty shocking, considering how much I'd struggled with writing.
At the same time, I was the girl who got a D in her 8th grade speech class. Public speaking felt like an absolute nightmare to me. My mom was the speaker in our house. She could stand up at a church, or in an auditorium or theatre and just belt out her poems, no problem. Me, not so much.
Not too long ago, I learned to meditate and literally “awakened.” Next thing I knew, I was speaking at Harpo Studios in Chicago, explaining my experience with Transcendental Meditation to Oprah Winfrey and her executive producer, Sheri Salata. How did that happen?
It’s a long, mystical, badass story (an entire chapter in my book, Enlightenment Is Sexy), but for the sake of blog-brevity, I’ll say it was mainly because I followed my intuition! When I did find myself standing there in Oprah’s office, I spoke my truth. Like a boss, I looked her dead in the eye, and with everything in my soul, I told her that her newfound Transcendental Meditation practice was going to make her feel boundless, free and happier than she’d ever been in her life.
I shared with her pieces of my journey to hell and back after my beautiful mother’s death. My sense was that what had benefitted me from “awakening” with that first meditation could likely be hers, as well. I meant every word and spoke with pure passion, fearlessly. When I got done talking, Oprah looked at Sheri and said, “I want what that girl has.”
I interrupted her.
“You will have it. If you keep meditating, it will come.” I told her this, knowing that either I was bat-shit crazy or this was all meant to be.
I can see now it was fate. That day — that decision to share my story — changed my life, and I never even saw it coming. So, as I continue to connect the dots and write this book, I have felt like Mother Teresa.
I listened to the voice deep down in my soul and just went with it.
And on the surface, it doesn’t make much sense. But I don’t have to understand everything, and I’m glad that I don’t. I don’t need that sort of responsibility. After all, I’ve got a book to write. I’ll leave the driving up to God.
Our gut instincts are our internal GPS navigational systems. I’ve learned time and time again that when I follow the road of my intuition, it always leads to my expanding happiness. So, to those skeptics who have given me the how-the-hell-are-you-thinking-you’re-going-to-make-a-living-as-a-writer look, I say:
Follow my destiny, maybe change the world, and — if nothing else — live my truth.
[bctt tweet="I listened to the voice deep down in my soul and just went with it."]