The cliché about the best-laid plans going astray is true. In high school, I was going to be an archaeologist. In my twenties, I got a Bachelor of Art in History so I could work in a museum. After that, I got my Master’s in English because I was going to write novels for a living. None of my plans came to fruition. 

And I am so grateful for that.

I make a positive impact every day in the lives of others through my work as a therapist. I have traveled to exotic locales and had great adventures. I have swum in the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean. I petted a dolphin. I do write, though not for a living. If I die tomorrow, I do so knowing that I have lived a rich and fulfilling life.

Yet, this has not been through any great design of my own. I have relied more often on intuition to guide me rather than logic. The path my intuition has taken me has meandered. There have been ups and there have been downs. There have been stops and starts. There have been times I wandered in the dark not quite sure of where I was headed. All I could do was put one foot in front of the other in the hopes that I was moving in the right direction.

It might have made more sense to base my decisions on logic and reason. I have told myself that a logical choice after high school graduation would have been to enter the military. The military would have paid for college, and I would not be saddled with my student loan debt. Thanks to the military, I would have traveled. After the military, I would have gone into medicine and become a doctor. I would still be a healer but a different kind of healer than I am now. I could be living in a mansion in an upscale neighborhood right now in a fine city enjoying elegant dining with whoever qualifies as the elite set of the said metropolis.

This is not my life, and I am grateful for that.

Our modern world values what can be seen and what can be held and what can be known. We can know logic and reason because their byproducts are observable. One plus one equals two because we can see that it does. The sun will always rise in the east and set in the west. I can drop an apple and watch gravity in action. Intuition is often painted as some mystical force that, much like the muses, whispers divine inspiration only upon those daring mortals foolish enough to risk hearing it. Those who follow their intuition society deems loopy and loony. These are the people who pay for Tarot card readings and who believe in astrology. Intuition is seen as the opposite of reason.

Society is wrong, of course. There is a logic to listening to our intuition despite how perverse its outcome may seem initially. Those of us who follow our hearts seek the divine wisdom of self-knowledge. Intuition is not a mysterious and unknowable force. It is a consistent measuring of what our values are against the choices we are currently presented with.

At the time I graduated high school, the military represented conformity to me, and my values were that of individuality and independence. I studied English because I valued creativity. My work as a therapist represents my values of empathy and compassion. In each instance, I chose to act on my values. Those values represented the most I knew of myself at those times in my life. I didn’t know exactly where I was headed when I made these choices. All I had was a strong feeling of knowing that somehow, I was traveling down the path I needed to be on.

Values are what give our life meaning and purpose. When we choose our values, we are choosing to embrace our Self. When I listen to my intuition, it is in effect my inner wisdom encouraging me to question if the decisions I am making align with my values. Thus, I did not become a famous romance novelist. I have never worked in a museum. I am not an archaeologist. None of those things were in line with my values and so I could not be those things. I could not do them.

Our values can change and shift. They should do so because this reflects our personal growth. When we make a commitment to listen to the wisdom of our intuition, we are making a commitment to grow in self-knowledge. If I later become a romance novelist or an archaeologist or work in a museum, it will only be because those actions are now in line with my values. If I do become a doctor or enter the military, it will again only be because those choices align with my values. Values anchor us in the here and now. In doing so, they teach us who we are and help us define who we want to become. 

I have a great life. It is the best life I could have for it came about through my journey to my Self. It was my intuition that led me here.

Life is a journey, and we are meant to travel it learning what it means to be the best version of ourselves. Fortunately, our intuition serves as our own personal psychopomp guiding our souls, sometimes we know not where but always to the destination we needed to find.

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Deborah Kirkland
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