God Winks with a Sly Smile
Just yesterday, I was talking to someone about how unpredictable life is. I emphasized the importance of preparing ourselves for this possibility, that danger, the other threat to the cherished elements of life.
As if you could prepare for everything. That’s nonsense. Life is a crapshoot one day and a spin of the roulette wheel the next. Note (smile) that this is not an endorsement of the gambling lifestyle.
Do you know what happened recently? My usually peaceful and predictable walking path dealt me a surprise.
There’s a beautiful cul-de-sac near me. I love to walk around it to extend the length of my route. But today, two huge trucks blocked part of the walkway, and I saw a couple of men hauling a chainsaw toward the trunk of one of the trees.
It didn’t occur until then that I had placed myself in jeopardy, so I fled from the danger zone. I eventually heard that tree fall from several blocks’ distance.
That moment was a lesson for me. After cautioning others to be mindful and aware of themselves and their environment, I had missed something as obvious as a hardhat work zone. So much for my awareness level.
I recently discovered a zippered pocket in plain sight on a purse I had used for a full year before noticing it. I had to laugh at God’s clever ways of reminding me that I needed to do a better job following my own advice: improve your focus.
Signs and Markers
We often miss signs and messages along our life path or realize their significance long after witnessing them.
Take, for instance, the cues we miss in conversing with each other. And when uncomfortable subjects arise, we tend to avoid them or change the subject.
Imagine this familiar scenario: You are talking to a friend or two, and you notice one of them appears withdrawn or upset. You might ask her whether something is wrong, but if she says no or dismisses it, you just let it go.
The reasons for this are varied. Society teaches you to be polite, make sure that the other person feels comfortable, and keep out of other people’s business.
The problem with these social dictates is they don’t allow you to feel free to discuss things that bother you or, even more important, learn to process or resolve those issues.
Another clarification: I’m referring to genuine concern for someone’s welfare. Idle or nosy gossip is another thing altogether.
Talk Topics Can Be Telling
Society is learning, of course, that you should never ignore signs like this. They can indicate brewing crises or deep-seated problems, and you might regret your failure to probe further.
I believe all of us have an innate intuitive sense. Some anthropologists would say it’s linked to our primitive days when we had to figure things out before establishing any written or spoken language. However, I tend to think it is an extraordinary gift for women linked to childbearing capability.
According to the pre-eminent magazine Psychology Today, some experts disagree, of course. They believe in what they call powers of pattern-matching, where the mind delves through long-term memory storage to find similar situations and uses those for the basis of current judgments.
As everyone knows, babies don’t come with instructions. They also lack sufficient verbal skills, which only begin manifesting around 12-18 months of age, to tell us what’s wrong. Paying attention to your intuition and what you know to be normal for your child can make a big difference. Many mothers have shared that nugget with me.
According to Dr. Judith Orloff, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA and author of Guide To Intuitive Health and The Empath’s Survival Guide, intuition operates through the entire right side of our brain and down through the gut. That may be the origin of the “gut feeling” expression.
I have experienced this myself, and I will bet many women would agree this coincides with their personal history.
What To Do When Words Disturb You
So what action should you take when you sense something is wrong but unspoken during a group conversation? You could wait and talk to that person later in a private setting to make sure they were okay.
I always remind people that counseling is an option. But counseling costs. First, the freshly master-degreed psychologist may want to build a reputation doing worthwhile pro bono or reduced-fee work.
There are also group therapy sessions that are more affordable than those for individuals. Counseling meetups are a great idea, but a trained facilitator should lead them. Armchair psychologists can be hazardous to your mental health.
Words Like Therapy Trigger Reactions
Despite improvements in conventional thinking, some people still associate a stigma with those who seek therapy. The negative assumption something is inherently wrong with that person lingers on.
The truth is this: Most therapists will tell you a lot of the healthier people, aware they are human and therefore imperfect, are the ones most likely to seek counseling. I have attended therapy sessions, and there is no shame in my game.
I wasn’t diagnosed with any specific issue, but I did find it comforting to talk to people who could skillfully guide my thinking in healthy directions.
In conclusion, try being more aware of your true feelings, those of your friends, family members, and associates, and the details of your immediate surroundings. You might make discoveries that will spare you pain or enrich your life.
What Do You Think?
Is counseling or therapy a factor in your life? Has it been helpful? How?
What are the things you do to enhance your focus? Remember that my Ebony Jazzed class offers exercises to sharpen your awareness.
Leave a comment or question in the comments box at the bottom of the page. Also, tell me about other wellness topics you want to discuss. That way, I can serve you better!
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