I knew something was off, but I couldn’t identify it. It felt like my 15-year relationship was spinning around, discussions replaying like a broken record, patterns repeating again and again. I remember confusion and love. I remember trying to understand what was happening, reaching out over and over, being the calm communicator but having a harder time doing so. I remember reminding him that we were on the same team. I remember him vacillating between being present and loving and needing space. I remember trying to prove that he was wanted, appreciated, & loved. We needed help, and a counselor gave me good advice: “there’s a lot here to be worried about. Just love him, and let him do whatever he wants to do. See if that helps. Oh, and don’t believe a word he says.” I was mystified with that last sentence but thought that yes, I could just love him and not ask questions.
In a few short weeks, the truth came out. He had been living a double life, hiding affairs for 5 years. At least 5 years. I’m still not sure when they began.
And let me be very clear: I did not pick up on that at all. Someone told me once that “a woman can always tell if her man is unfaithful.” Well, I could not. I simply didn’t think he was capable of such a thing. It never entered my mind. I knew something was weird but I never thought that.
Scene change. Bear with me here. Season 5 of Game of Thrones. In this scene, Father-of-the-Year Stannis Baratheon decides to burn his innocent young daughter alive to guarantee a win in battle. There’s this lovely scene where she asks if she can do anything for her father. She wants to help him, you see. They hug. He mutters, “Forgive me.” And in the next scene, we see the daughter walking through a crowd, accompanied by 2 soldiers. You can tell she’s thinking, something strange is happening. Why are all these men standing here like this? The soldiers escort her through the crowd, and she doesn’t understand her own peril until she sees the pyre. She stops. Something really weird is happening, and she doesn’t feel safe. At all. She freezes until another character says “it will all be over soon princess” and she knows FOR SURE that the pyre is for her. Then she starts to fight. It’s Game of Thrones, so you know it ends.
I want us women to honor those feelings. The feelings of “this is weird- what’s happening?”
All too often we override those sensations, because we trust someone else or we’re helping someone else. Or we don’t understand them. Or we have no facts to support them.
But, oh man do we need to look out for ourselves.
After learning the truth, I spent years piecing back together the reality of that relationship. What really happened and when? Is THAT why the energy felt strange around her? What was really happening when we had that conversation?
Slowly, I began to piece together how my intuition HAD BEEN speaking to me. The problem was, I didn’t understand its language.
Since then, I’ve learned a lot about my own intuition. My body does try to get my attention. The trouble is, I discount it as weird. I minimize all sorts of physical signs - flashes of nausea, a soft pain in my chest, shakiness, heaviness, exhaustion, a sense that I’m parenting a teenager, heady confusion, subtle hopelessness, a deep kind of surprising change of atmosphere around a certain person for absolutely no reason.
And, like the real trooper that I am, I fight these sensations with meditation. I eat healthier. More often than not, I think simply, “that’s odd “ and go on. My rational mind chocks it up to strange-sensation-maybe-i-should-lay-off-veggie-juicing OR strange-things-that-other-people-do-because-no one’s-normal.
I see my flexibility and perseverance as strengths, but now I ALSO see how others can manipulate that flexibility if I’m not aware that the signs I feel are signs of danger. Signs that I should pay close attention.
Those sensations are messengers. My body is actually very good at telling me I’m in trouble. But, my tendency has been to minimize or ignore it.
My hope is that others can learn from my mistakes. What now seems as obvious as the nose on my face, was completely unknown to me for most of my life. No one ever talked to me about listening to my body’s signals. As far as I knew, no one else had these sensations.
All this is what brought me to coaching. I wanted to know more about these signals from my body. What could I learn by listening to them? Does everybody experience this? There is power, wisdom and direction in them, and I see them now as guides.
It strikes me as some sort of knowledge that my grandma should have given me. A feminine intuition that is as old as we are. Perhaps it’s passed down in our tissues? Intuition in our tissues.
Our culture relies on evidence, and intuition is NOT evidence based. It’s much older. And I think, much wiser.
It’s kind of magic really.