Friday morning, I sat down at my desk to complete my daily gratitude journal. The first question on every page is the same: In two words, how do you feel right now? Like I do every day, I paused for a second. Two words rarely pop straight to mind. I remembered the experience of teaching my new Creative Art Journaling class from the prior day and the feeling of contentment I get from teaching. Aha! I jotted down my first answer. Then I was stumped, and did what I also do most days. I grabbed the emotion wheel chart from inside my desk. I'm kinda crappy at assessing my own emotional state, and as silly as it may sound, the chart, which I've kept by me for years, has helped broaden the depth and scope of my language around my feelings.
Pen poised, I perused the wheel. At its center are the core emotions of surprise, fear, anger, disgust, sadness, and happiness. Already feeling content, I looked at the happy “slice” and its sub-components. Optimistic?, I wondered. No, that didn't feel right. How else do I really feel? Hopeful? Nope. Mindfulness is teaching me to reconnect with my body, so I used my brain to do a quick internal head-to-toe scan. My eyes fell on the word "open." Yes! Open, that was it. My brain felt clear. My chest felt expansive. My muscles felt loose. Open. I wrote it down, completed the day's other questions, and set the book aside. I had book club homework to complete.
What you see in the picture here is a shot of the pages from both my gratitude journal and the book we're reading for the club called Stretch. To oversimplify, Stretch is about learning how to do more with less by stretching. (Not the muscle kind.) I was reading and turning pages when I came to p. 93. There it was; the word open. Openness. Bam!
The author was writing about the importance to the stretch of learning a little about a lot of disparate things, getting outside our own sphere to experience various perspectives. I love to do that. He went on to explain that openness to experience is one of the big five personality traits used by psychologists to classify innate differences between people. I circled the word, and smiled over my “open” coincidences. Then something weird happened.
It might not seem like a big deal, to randomly decide on a feeling word and a short while later read about the same word in an unrelated place. And it’s exactly the type of coincidence I used to ignore. But something compelled me at that moment to write the word intuition at the top of the page, so I did. I assume that the “something” was my intuition.
Lending credence to my intuition is a skill I never honed. As a kid, I never heard the word intuition, never learned about its purpose or function. As an adult, little changed around how much I allowed much less encouraged intuition to mold my life. Until my girl got sick. When that happened, my impetus to trust others to know us better than I did became despairingly fruitless. I learned that intuition, or, the less elegant vernacular of trusting my gut was its own form of prayer. Friday, I was reminded of that lesson.
A series of coincidences have occurred over the last several weeks. There was, back in December, the buying of hair fragrance and discovering of a hidden message to love myself. In January, there was the “quote incident.” I randomly picked a quote from a book to read to a group of friends. The day after which I read a chapter from another source that contained the same quote. The day after that, the quote was spoken by the leader of my mindfulness class. Three separate origins over the course of three different days. Coincidence? Me thinks not. The quote was about the magic of making a start.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.
At the start of a new year with a new self-care intention and a recommitment to my writing journey, getting a message about the power of starting seemed prophetic. Now, in February, I’ve received a message about the necessity of being open. My intuition encouraged me to acknowledge these events here. I don’t know why, and I’m doing it anyway. The journey my intuition and I are on is unclear, fogged over by a mist of preconceived notions and manipulative dogma. I’ve got a lot to figure out, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow.
Hey you, out there, you’ve got my attention, and I’m listening, with openness.