Trust Your Intuition and Live Life Wide Open


Jathan at Fort Phoenix in Fairhaven, Mass. (Photo by Heather Fink)

I’m a firm believer in trusting your instincts. If you get a bad feeling about something, that little nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach is your intuition’s way of saying, “Hold it right there, mister. You’d better think about this for a moment.”

In regard to that, Oprah Winfrey has said multiple times over the years, “Doubt means don’t. Don’t move. Don’t answer. Don’t rush forward.”

Either way you cut it, it boils down to the fact that our unconscious is always working overtime to protect us, guiding us away from danger even when our heart may want us to take a leap of faith.

This is the reason why when I meet certain folks, I feel my heart slam its shutters closed tight and I know that there is no way I’ll ever purposefully engage with that person ever again.

Sometimes friends and family claim that I am simply too jaded by life to live with an open mind. I disagree. I live with my heart wide open, ready to experience everything positive that life has to offer.

I’ve simply learned from past experiences. As a result, I keep my ears pricked up and my nostrils flared, sniffing the air for the first telltale sign that I should bolt out of self preservation. This has served me well over the years.

On the other hand, my keen senses also pick up on the fact that sometimes, when I’m really lucky, I’m exactly where I need to be, even if I can’t explain why or how at first.

Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson put it more succinctly, when he said, “Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.”

The other day, I had to cover a story at a local school about a mentoring program that is working to keep kids in school. My team, Heather and I went out to conduct the interviews and film the segments.

As always when on assignment, I try my best to be professional and courteous, but my mind is always on the task at hand. It never really occurs to me that I’ll ever see any of the people I interview ever again, except maybe as a contact for a story somewhere down the road. It is rare that I become friends with any of these individuals.

However, that day my ears must have pricked up because the instant I met Matt Walsh I became quite conscious of his positive energy and somehow I knew we were going to be friends down the road, and probably sooner rather than later.

I tried to explain the feeling to Heather, and she admitted he was nice, but didn’t really see why I was reading anything into the encounter.

Matt is a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) teacher at Normandin Middle School, is a Teach for America alumnus, and his passion for teaching and effervescent spirit is contagious. Our interchange lasted all of two minutes that day, but I found myself drawn to his positivity.

A couple weeks passed, and I found that Matt still kept creeping into my mind. I was scheduled to go cover a play at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, and it was Heather’s night to work, so she wouldn’t be able to join me like she usually does. So I had an extra ticket and no one to go with me, and I hate to waste a ticket.

I told Heather this would be a great opportunity to get to know Matt. She said he’d probably think I was nuts when I called since he’d only met me so briefly, but I took the chance and called anyway.

To my relief and surprise, Matt was excited by my call and said he’d go. He suggested we meet for coffee before the show, and as we walked around downtown New Bedford, talking about everything from work and theater to family and hobbies, it was obvious to both of us that we had a lot in common.

After the play, we realized we had so much to talk about, we went to one of my favorite restaurants, No Problemo, to grab burritos and talk some more. The time flew by, and it proved to be one of those rare moments when the planets align and you realize that you’ve just met your new best friend.

That has only happened to me a couple times before, but when it does, it is sudden and swift and a real gift from the universe. The first time it happened was when I met my friends Robert and Forrest in my late teens, then again when I met my wife. So out of 40 plus years, that’s not a lot.

Still, the reason I’m telling you all of this is to say that you always need to listen when your intuition speaks. If you’ve never really listened to it much before, it initially speaks so softly it seems to whisper. But the more you listen, the louder and more comfortable it gets, and suddenly you’ll realize it is shouting from the rooftops. Regardless of how your intuition speaks to you, it pays to always be aware of what it is saying.

The more you listen, the more you’ll trust that voice and the happier you’ll be, because you’ll be living life authentically, on terms that are best for you. This isn’t to say that intuition is foolproof, but the older you get the smarter your intuition becomes. In time, you’ll find that the right doors open and the wrong ones slam shut. Either way, you can live wide open to the possibilities of life.

And as the late Leonard Nimoy once said, “That is the exploration that awaits you! Not mapping stars and studying nebula, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence.”

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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