Anne Lamott once wrote, “You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. The rational mind doesn’t nourish you. You assume that it gives you the truth, because the rational mind is the golden calf that this culture worships, but this is not true. Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating.”
There were times, even entire years, that I have ignored her – my intuition. Once in a while, however, I would listen and She would reward me with warmth and ease, while other times I considered her my foe, deeming her incompetent. She would scream at me and I would scream back in argument. She would jolt my stomach, a warning to be weary, and I would swallow an antacid. If She created a storm of apprehension, I would put on a raincoat and galoshes and fare the weather of emotions like some great sea-captain. Some months back my cup was emptied. I lay broken on the shower floor and She softly reminded me, via a whisper, that She had told me so.
I conceded that day and we’ve become close, She and I. While I’ve agreed to heed her warnings as well as embrace the signs of encouragement and wonder, She has agreed to leave my stomach be and cease all storms. My willingness to finally acknowledge, as well as listen and feel her, has reaped many beautiful new friendships, opportunities and artistic endeavors.
As I make my travel list for my six-week working vacation in Verona, Italy this September, I find myself leaning on her simple art of knowing more and more. There are many other places I’d like to visit, however She moves me once again towards Italy. While transferring the money to my Italian landlord to secure my apartment today I was struck at just how easy it was to commit to. Although there have been many times that my rational mind sets out like a gun for hire to thwart my plans, I find he always misses the mark and she prevails as the more intelligent of the two. As money to pay for my trip appears and co-workers step up and offer to cover my work while away, I am reminded of just how universal She really is.
Since my decision to embark on an extended working vacation in Verona, and through my listening to her, I have since made friends with an amazingly gifted artist living in Seattle who happens to have grown up in Verona, Italy. She will in fact be staying on Lake Como in just a few short weeks. Yet another new friend has introduced me via email to a wonderful couple my own age living in Verona who have already opened their dinner table for me with open arms. Even my parents, who haven’t been to Italy in years, are looking forward to a bringing my teenage sons for a week-long visit and letting me show them, my family, the country as well. I’ve offered my second bedroom to a few friends; and I do believe they both are making their own travel plans as I write this. I assume if they all listen to their own “She” then it’ll be just as easy for them as it’s been for me and their own gun for hires dressed as “rationality” will be thwarted as well….