We recently had a client in her mid-eighties experience a rapid health decline. She had to move to an assisted living community and sell her condo immediately. While we packed her boxes during her move, she said “I see you packing my belongings and I think to myself, I’ve lived a good life.” Following the move, she called to inform me that she had additional health issues and only a few months left to live. She justified her decision to no longer seek treatment with this logic: “When I can’t do my three absolute favorite things anymore, I think I need to be thankful for the life I lived and accept this path, instead of prolonging my life without my passions.” With no family and only a handful of caring friends, we connected one more time face to face. I asked her, “If you could give advice to women in the world, what would you say?”
Her response sounded something like this:
"My entire life I’ve always listened to my inner voice (emotional, she placed her hand over her heart, against her chest, tapping). I grew up at a time when, as a girl, you were always supposed to 'DO as you’re told,' but my inner voice always served me. Even if that voice went against what I was told. Ultimately, my advice would be to trust yourself. Never do exactly as you’re told if your inner voice tells you otherwise. Listen to what you feel, deep down in the depths of your core and trust it."
This resonated with me. It was like I was hearing an affirmation right at the exact time I needed to hear it in my life. Truth be told we are working on some big things at Songbird, but for now all we have to show for it is a helluva lot of hustle and a trusted relationship with my inner voice. It also reminded me so much of what Glennon Doyle wrote in her book Untamed.
Doyle said, “When I pose a question about my life – in words or abstract images --- I sense a nudge. The nudge guides me…” (p. 58). Doyle refers to this nudge as her Knowing. “What I learned (even though I’m afraid to say it) is that God lives in this deepness inside of me. When I recognize God’s presence and guidance, God celebrates…”(p. 58). Later she goes on to say “I now take orders only from my own Knowing. Whether I’m presented with a work, personal or family decision, whenever uncertainty rises, I sink. I sink beneath the swirling surf of words, fear, expectations, conditioning and advice and feel for the Knowing” (p. 59). “The more I live by my own Knowing, the more my life becomes my own and the less afraid I become. I trust that the Knowing will go with me wherever I go, nudging me toward the next thing… guiding me all the way home” (p. 61).
I loved Doyle’s reference to the Knowing and recognized it as the same thing as Betty listening to her inner voice. This voice is what’s guiding Betty, all the way home.
I too feel this intangible intuition. For me, it’s palpable and a constant reminder of my own possibilities. I have always had this deep connection to my Faith that serves as a compass. It lives, grows and evolves. If I give it time, acknowledge it and feel it, I also begin to trust it. The scale of its magnitude is undetermined, but based on Betty’s life, it can result in a life well-lived. While having faith in the unknown is a challenge for many, I take comfort in knowing that Betty’s example is evidence enough for me to believe in the intuition within each of us. The Knowing, the Inner Voice, whatever you want to call it, can serve you positively all the way home. I know this to be true. I can feel it.