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You are walking down a track that hurts your feet but feels familiar, something tells you there may be a different track with soft, supportive, springy terrain but to get there all you see is brambles. You keep walking on the track you’re on. Feet sore, terrain familiar. A part of you is curious about what is beyond the brambles. Now you know there is a different path, an argument begins within. Is it worth the risk? What’s so bad about this path? Life is about growth and growth comes from suffering; this path may be more useful. Brambles will hurt too dramatically. Suddenly it’s not just your feet that are sore, your mind is full of conflict and doubt. You realise you are not in congruence within and your energy is depleted by an inner battle.
It’s not easy for so many reasons. It’s lonely. It’s scary. It feels too brutal. It feels like the skin of you is being scraped and you want to leap back, escape the pain. All you want is solace, refuge, comfort - a quiet, nestled place where more of you is not required. But to find congruence with oneself, to discover your truest truths, to nurture them and to listen to their honest yearnings, to choose the less trodden path; though this may be the hardest task, it is possibly the most valuable.
Ending a relationship, leaving a job, facing a destructive habit, changing a pattern of behaviour. These things are not easy. And before you make a change it feels daunting, looming, too big to face.
When I reflect on the times I heard a voice from within telling me uncomfortable truths, the necessary changes seemed too risky and disruptive. So instead I did what I could to carry on with life, slightly separate from that part of myself. But then, when circumstances later changed and I had faced the enormous thing, I would realise that the voice within had been right all along and the inner prompting was a gift I could have opened sooner.
Call it intuition, call it inner wisdom, your highest self, gut feeling, a nagging sense. Whatever you call it, if you’ve felt it it offers a compelling argument that is usually very hard to implement.
But I’m staring to wonder if befriending and listening to that voice might be the most important invitation you’ll ever receive.
When you get a invitation to a party, you may not be sure straight away if you’re available, what the logistics will be, who else will be there, but you will probably know if your basic response is a “yes" or a “no” - an “ooh exciting!” or a “how can I get out of this?”. When my gut tells me something I don’t want to hear, my first response is usually “how can I get out of this?”.
But it turns out that when I don’t listen, things get complicated. Battling to suppress the voice and ignore the invitation becomes more inconvenient than the thing itself. When you have a nagging feeling, it nags.
I once started a brilliant self help book and was so inspired until I realised that if I was to implement anything within it, I would have to leave my relationship. That isn’t what I wanted to do, so I didn’t leave. Instead I dressed my relationship up in bright clothes to disguise the naked truth. I turned up the volume on Hope and tried to shut off from the disquieting parts of myself.
When the relationship later ended, I realised I could finally be congruent with my whole self. And I knew the voice had been trying to help, not harm me. And suddenly there was no more inner conflict, no inconvenient “knowing” to suppress. No weight of indecision breaking my back.
My heart was broken, yes, but my back was no longer stooped with the weight of uncomfortable truths.
It hurt like hell and I didn’t know how it was going to turn out. But in spite of this not knowing, and in spite of feeling terribly sad, I was also able to feel the clean, fresh, free-flowing air of being congruent with my deepest truth. And now when I see others in conflict with themselves, I wonder if perhaps the scariest option, despite any hardships it might present, could actually be less unsettling than ignoring the callings of a pure heart; the gentle tugging of an earnest soul which seeks your fullest potential and your deepest joy.
Perhaps “being attuned” means the ability to tune into an internal radio frequency that tells you it how it really is, not how you wish it would be. And when you take the time to gently turn the dial and reduce the static of denial, a wonderful clarity can be found.
Suddenly you can hear your own sweet song.
Which you find yourself humming as you emerge from the brambles and your feet make contact with a new terrain. Soft. Springy. Supportive. And a huge smile breaks over your face as you see where this path leads.