While on my way to an appointment in Switzerland I was in the mix of the hustle and bustle of a large train station. Usually I use Google to find my way around, but on that morning Google Maps wasn’t working. Then the strangest thing happened: I found myself standing on the platform with a strong feeling that I needed to be on train number three. There was no logical reason for it.
Within minutes, up rolls train number three and I walk over to the door. While hesitantly standing just outside, the voice in my head kept saying “we don’t get on random trains in Switzerland when we don’t know where they are going.” Nevertheless it felt like I was being sucked in to the train, like I really was supposed to be on train number three! While in the midst of my mental game of a tug of war, the tone that means the doors are closing sounded. A strong urge to jump on the train washed over me, but the voice in my head won out with the plead of “Don’t do it! Who the heck knows where you’ll end up!”
So I didn’t. The train doors closed, it glided to my left and the wind rushed by my face as the last car passed. A feeling of disappointment flushed over me (kind of like when I missed the school bus as a kid), which was funny as I truly had no idea where that train was headed. Over the next few minutes I tried my best to read maps and signs, but to no avail. Next I asked a guy if he was a local. He was, so I showed him the address and asked if he could help me get there. He matter-of-factly said “Take train three, that’s the easiest way and it will drop you off two blocks from that address.”
“Really??” I thought. Several other trains were arriving and I asked if I could take any of those instead. He insisted on waiting for the next train number three because it was a simple straight shot. I thanked him and found a seat.
I waited and wondered: First, it was amazing how strong the knowing was to get on that train, but why did I listen to the chatter and talk myself out of it? Then, realizing that the feeling of knowing happens to all of us (we call it instinct, gut feeling, God, inner wisdom, nudges from our heart, etc), how can we tell the difference between the knowing and the chatter?
Thanks to some exploration months later, I began to see more about the experience I had with train number three. Here’s what I now see:
We do just know. Deep down this happens hundreds (maybe thousands) of times a day: when to get out of bed, how to maneuver around the dog in the kitchen, what to eat for lunch, when to cross the street, who we want to spend time with, and on and on. And all these knowings happen in the moment.
Often the chatter is there too, but chatter typically has to do with the future. When I was standing at the door of the train, I was imagining things that could happen in the future if I got on train number three. My inner knowing was there in the present moment, but I thought my way out of it.
The easy way to speak about this feeling of knowing what to do is: there is no thought involved. It is our instinct. When we are standing on the curb, we know when to cross the street. While at the counter with the choice of chocolate or vanilla ice cream, we just know which one we want. When a friend invites you to coffee, you have a feeling about whether you want to go or not. When you are offered a job, deep down you know whether you want it or not. In the moment, we just know.
But alas, then there are times you don’t know. When you don’t know, you don’t know. The cool part is that is fine too. Wait for it, and there will be a moment when you will.
The only thing that can get in the way of the clarity of knowing is our thinking. The feeling of knowing only happens in the present moment. There are many times that I go with my mental chatter and they are all little lessons. More and more I trust my knowing over logic.
Interestingly sometimes we go with the knowing and experience the chatter later, but it’s all the same: Recently I was unexpectedly offered a part time job. I love the freedom of only having my coaching practice and I never thought I’d work for someone again. Although, when the offer came, I instantly knew it was a clear yes. No thinking about it, no wondering, just a feeling and knowing of “yes”. The next day the chatter and doubt showed up. Fairly quickly I realized the chatter was just extra curricular thinking about an imagined future. No biggie: the feeling in the moment was and still is yes. Those silly thoughts show up when they do, but we don’t have to take them seriously.
When you know, you know. I’ll stick with that.
An Opportunity for You
Since I began sharing about the wonders, experiences and success found through Coddiwompling, the two most prevalent comments I get are: “I love hearing about your life and adventures, it’s so inspiring” and “I wish I could live like that, but I don’t think I can… Can I?”
The truth is: You can live this way right where you are without having to get rid of everything you already love in your own life. The more we begin to open up to all the possibilities available to us in our everyday lives, the more fun and prosperous our lives become, and then the entire world benefits. This applies to every part of life: Business, career, relationships, hobbies, love… yes everything.
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