How do you know what to do?
Sometimes your body gives you clues. Here’s what I mean:
My friend, Jenni, like so many people, is unemployed, and has been for over a year. She’s managing by moving in with her elderly parents, and helping to take care of them while she looks for work.
One thing that buoys her spirits is the spiritual course/community she joined for the year. It meets weekly, is reasonably priced, and has helped her maintain a positive attitude. As part of the course, she was required to attend a retreat weekend, to which she readily agreed, though she didn’t know how much it would cost. It turned out to cost $275, which, she said, was more than she’d spent on anything in over a year. She was committed, as it was part of the curriculum, and because she’d given her word, which she takes very seriously. She had an immediate visceral reaction, literally feeling sick to her stomach — and that reaction recurred every time she thought about the retreat. She also found it hard to eat.
Finally, she couldn’t stand the feeling any more, and got up the courage to explain her situation to the group leader. Of course the leader was sympathetic, and asked her what she could afford. She told him $125, to which he readily agreed. While that was still more than she’d spent on anything in the last year, she felt the money was well worth spending. And her digestive distress went away completely!
Here’s another example:
I ask people I talk to casually to call my radio show if they have any relationship questions, because I do need callers, ideally about 5 per show — hint, hint. (Oddly, though, the people who have called in are not the people I’ve asked.) So I asked Ben, whom I met at a party a few weeks ago to call in. He agreed to call that same week, and I was thrilled.
A few hours before the show began, he called to ask if it was okay if he didn’t call in to the show, saying he was under pressure at work.His call surprised me — I’d forgotten that he’d agreed, and anyway, if I had a dime for each time someone said they’d call and didn’t, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t still be doing client sessions. Of course, I said it was fine if he didn’t call.
Here’s what he told me later: “I felt so much better after you let me off the hook, it was amazing! I had
walked down to my PO Box, and my head was pounding. My blood pressure has been going up and I’m sure this was a new record. The world looked dark.
“When I make a commitment to someone, it’s cast in stone, but I decided I should at least find out what my commitment meant to you, so I called. When you said it was fine if i didn’t call the show, the day literally got brighter — it was a beautiful day and I had not known that.
“Oh, and my head stopped pounding.”
So here’s the take-away: At a deep level, you know what you need. And since mind/body are one system, your body knows what’s best. If you don’t yet have a well-developed intuition, you can begin by listening to your body — it will guide you to do what you need to generate positive results.