Do you know what our problem is? The one that sticks out like a sore thumb and is so clear that everyone pretends that the white elephant is still not in the room?
The other day, I was wondering about what animals do right that we screw up. Yes, I understand and accept that we are at the top of the food chain, but there are still a few things that animals do very well. Things so well that we should stop and pay attention. And then I kept asking myself the same question, “How do they know to do that?”
How do the birds know to fly south for the winter? There are no flight attendants looking at their calendars, pointing in the direction of the Equator, advising these birds on their annual migration to warmer weather. And when do they know to come back? How do salmon know when it is time to swim upstream and lay their eggs? Do they know they are going to die afterwards? How do baby turtles know to swim towards the ocean? Who taught the dogs to know to shake water off their fur?
Instinct is what we know before we are even born…it resides within us. It is a part of our species and in included in our DNA. It is never something to be learned and can never be taught. And because our mind processes are so complex and developed, we forego instinct for reason.
Instead, we are forever in a perpetual state of common sense and logic. I get it. And I know what that looks like and feels like because that was me…for over 40 years. I never gave myself a chance to trust my soul. It would come to the surface infrequently because I suppressed it with analytical choices based on fear.
We all have let fear decide for us. When the fear of what could happen by doing it decides. But fear doesn’t come from the soul — it comes from the mind. When we over think, play out the scenario, and predetermine the outcome. All before we do one thing. Now, just because we are mostly level-headed people, it does not mean to throw caution and intelligent decisions by the way side.
If we only choose to live a life surrounded by prudent and stable decisions, then we will never truly grow or reach our full potential. Progress as we know it will become stale and stagnant along with our desires and dreams. However, if we choose to live more carelessly without thinking ahead with the choices we make, we will become negligent and thoughtless.
In fact, I believe we must find a way to balance our level-headedness alongside our innate sense of listening to our gut too.
There are many of us that are “right-brained” or “Type A personality” and there are people who don’t even seem to have a care in the world and their choices reflect their inability to think ahead. But just like with everything else in the world, we cannot have too much of one thing. We cannot have the yin without the yang. We cannot recognize the good without knowing the bad too. We cannot replenish that which is lost unless there is something else to replenish it.
Isn’t it about time that we started to listen to our own soul? To that innate calling that directs us the way that no life experience ever could? To follow our hearts and pursue our dreams? Our inner gut talks to us, but we refuse to listen. We treat the hunch we feel over and over again as a fluke instead of really trusting it like we should.
And then what happens in the end? We wish that we had taken more chances…that we had allowed ourselves to be more vulnerable…that we had lived through our dreams. What we do may not always be right. But what we don’t do because of fear will always be wrong.
“If you let fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, your life will be safe, expedient, and thin.” – Katharine Butler Hathaway
The animals do what they do because they don’t know how NOT to do what they do. We have chosen to act on reason and logic instead of heart and soul. There is a lesson in that for all of us that ignore the way nature has simply reminded us to trust what we already know to be true. We may not always be able to understand why or explain it to someone else, but we know it as our truth.
– Michelle A. Homme 2015 ©