Have you ever had a recurring intuitions, dreams, thoughts, or impressions and wondered what to do with them? Perhaps you don’t pursue them, because they seem illogical or impractical?
Several years ago, I decided to make a practice of saying yes to these intuitions. I began to place intuition on an equal footing with logic in my life. Logic had always been my risk free friend, but eventually I learned that intuition was a form of knowledge, often superior to logic. Whereas logic takes right and left turns, intuition leaps. This has brought me to some interesting places.
In the past, I’ve struggled with big decisions. I still do, though much less. Big decisions are always made in a fog without all the facts. There are never enough data points for big decisions, but I am learning to trust myself and take the first step:
I was recently faced with a big decision after several culminating events forced my hand. Long story short, in November, I received a job opportunity that would require me to move from Atlanta to Woolwich, Maine. I took it and in December I was working for a homebuilder and renovation company, doing carpentry and construction.
Several curious people have asked me why I made such a big move so quickly. I suppose it all boils down to the fact that I embarked on an inward journey that has had significant ramifications. It is difficult to put into words. However, it reminds me of an experience I had after graduating college. In 2002, before I started working, I went to Hawaii for a month with one of my best buddies. I took a surfing class. I was nervous. What if I couldn’t do it?
Looking back on this, it occurred to me that although one must have an understanding of the general mechanics of standing up on the board, which you’re taught on the beach, more importantly and ironically, you have to fight the urge to be mechanical. You have to feel the wave and act accordingly.
What’s worse than falling off a surfboard over and over? Answer: sitting on the beach wondering if you could have surfed. I was a lousy surfer, but at least I surfed once. It may seem obvious but to surf you have to be in the water. You can’t be on the beach where it is safe and risk free. In the water, it’s awkward and tiring to try over and over again. Eventually, however, I surfed a wave and I will never forget that feeling, because I caught something bigger than myself, which is the key to living a life of wonder.
Assuming there is a God, and I am certain there is, He most certainly has created waves for us to surf in life. We aren’t meant to be purely mechanical and linear, always knowing what’s next. Of course being mechanical is a strong temptation, but then we stagnate, robbed of joy and wonder. And we aren’t the only ones that stagnate. The people around us also begin to stagnate.
However, the other side of the coin is that sometimes we do get knocked off our board and it’s painful. At the end of August 2016, I was asked to leave a business that I co-founded with little to show for it. I wasn’t totally surprised. I had been watching decisions being made that put us squarely on the beach when we needed to be catching waves and I vehemently disagreed.
I found myself tumbling in the surf wondering what was up and what was down. I had poured myself into that business for nearly three years only to realize that my hopes for what that business should have been, hopes that went beyond profitability, were dashed on the rocks.
The hard reality of saying yes to life is that sometimes you get knocked off your surfboard and it’s painful. But one has to face that possibility with courage because you simply can’t get half way up on the surfboard and still experience surfing as it is meant to be experienced.
In October of 2016, I took a timber framing class in Maine. While there, I visited my cousin whose husband’s family owns a home building and renovation company. He suggested I come up to Maine and work for them for a couple of months. His logic was simple: swinging a hammer would help me get my mind off of my disappointment.
Whereas before I was watching all the doors close in my face, I began seeing all the right doors open. A swell was forming in the distance as I realized I had a decision to make. Have some faith to catch the wave or let it pass by. In less than a month, I had a great job, an amazing place to live, family close by, and an easy move in the books. I literally just had to walk through the doors and watch everything unfold for me. It was beautiful.
I learned a very important lesson: it’s ok that not everyone wants or is ready to leave the safety of the beach. But, for me, that’s not in the cards and I had to find the courage to move on.
I am currently learning carpentry and am excited about my plans for the future. I’ve been in Maine since December, and with each passing day, I continue to regain my footing. It’s clear that I made the right decision and I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time.