Trusting your intuition. I knew I wanted to go. Was this intuitive decision making, listening to my inner voice? What are inner voices? What is intuition?

Trusting your intuition.
I knew I wanted to go.
Was this intuitive decision making, listening to my inner voice?
What are inner voices? What is intuition?


Aruna Papp, shame, honor and love

I knew I wanted to go

Have you ever "known" it was a good thing to attend something? That's what I felt when the email about Aruna Papp came into my inbox.

It was a few weeks before the event - a talk and book signing.

Soon I lost track of the email, only remembered I had received something that interested me, could not recall more than that.

So I sent an email to the friends who most often forward stuff to me. One resent the email about the book signing.

Again, inside me it said, yes, go.

It so happened I was in Montreal that night (I spend a lot of time in the country).

Her topics: honor-based cultures, shame-based cultures, honor-based violence - and especially growing up in a culture where internalized shame was so widespread that she accepted she was an unworthy creature - the title of her book.

I know a lot about such cultures. I didn't expect to learn much.

And I didn't - except that the biggest learning for me, time after time, is experiencing different people.

So I met Aruna, experienced her, just the tiniest bit - and especially appreciated how she was looking at shame and honor as a widespread ingrained cultural factor, in her case with a special focus on women coming, as she did, from South Asia.

The question here: was it intuition that told me to go? And in that case, what is intuition? What was that inner voice that said, go to that?

Why did I care to listen to Aruna? In my experience, shame is a big thing in many cultures, holding so many of us back - and often we don't recognize its power.

I remember reading a book on shame - maybe 20 years ago now, and being utterly gripped by it. I'd read a lot about anger - the power of anger, the dance of anger. I'd read a lot about love, and about fear. But shame - nothing about that. I was swept away.

In the West, just 2 generations ago, most women who became pregnant outside marriage gave their babies up for adoption because it was shameful to have a child outside marriage. It would be a blow to family honor, to have people know.

I know that when I left home and was living with my boyfriend, my parents were ashamed of having this known by their friends - so I agreed to say, around their friends, that I was living with a girlfriend.

My sister was not a great student. My parents, I knew, would feel ashamed if she should fail a grade. (She didn't.)

Menstruation was something else to be ashamed of. My mother hid menstrual products so well that I had no idea menstruation existed.

The power of shame. Sometimes what brings up feelings of shame is different for us than for others. To be emotionally hurt - that long was something I felt ashamed of. It was fine for others to feel hurt - no shame attached to that. But if anyone knew I was hurt, intense shame.

There's lots more - widespread shame in the West and elsewhere, as well as individual triggers.

So when the email popped into my inbox, lots of stuff simmering on the back burner, lots of interests that were there but not getting my attention, suddenly got my attention.

Was it trusting my intuition that got me to listen?
I don't know about intuition, but I've long tried to listen to my inner voice - or actually, to my many inner voices. Those voices have taken me to so many places I never expected to go.

Song writing, for instance. It's almost 20 years ago now, that I woke up with songs in my head. I could have ignored them. I certainly didn't expect them. But I've loved creativity all my life. It would have felt totally wrong not to listen to the songs.

Country. I was all for the city in my 20's. No desire at all to spend time in the country. Then a desire to be in the country popped up, and stayed, and got increasingly more insistent. Now I live mainly in the country.

So I don't know if it's something that others label trusting your intuition that got me to listen when the email about Aruna and her book popped into my inbox.

I just knew it felt right to go. So I went.

Was the feeling right? Yes. The day after her talk, I woke up sure I wanted to interview her for an online interview series I'm doing. Great interview.

And we've talked more - like about collaborating on a book about shame and honor.

But was that intuition? Or was it just being in touch with myself, with things that matter to me?

For me, that is the answer that feels right. I try to listen to myself, to my inner voices. Sometimes they ask stuff that I can't manage to do. Sometimes they want things I can't get. But I respect those urges. I listen.

Where will this particular listening lead to? I have no idea, where exactly. But it feels like it's in a good direction for me and for others.


September 7, 2012

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PS. When it comes to trusting your intuition, I've also written on - and done a video on - how important it can be to do the counter intuitive thing. In other words, at time not doing intuitive decision making may be very important. I've powerfully experienced that there are times when trusting your intuition blocks you - and if we listen to it, we won't even know how we've blocked ourselves:

Trusting your intuition. I knew I wanted to go.
Was this intuitive decision making, listening to my inner voice?
What are inner voices? What is intuition?
And how do we develop what is called intuition?
I have only one strategy: to listen both to the inner voices,
and to reason, because the counter intuitive choice
is often right, and so-called intuition is wrong.

To go from this blog journal on trusting your intuition,
to the interview that happened because I listened
to my inner voices, click here

To go from these diary blogs
on listening to inner voices,
to the interview series that came from
listening to my inner voice,
click here


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