I paused and put my spoon down.
Deep breath, Maia, you’re being paranoid.
He said there were no tomatoes. He wasn’t confused. He even asked if you had a nightshade intolerance. He gets it.
The smell of the soup kicked up my fear.
One tiny taste and I was sure there was tomato.
Stop it, Maia. No one is lying to you.
I ate a few more bites.
The waiter appeared at our table, he reached for my bowl.
I’m so sorry. New chef… changed the recipe…
I tried to smile, I tried to be blasé.
Nothing to be done. Smile. No big deal.
I’ll just be hugging the toilet vomiting, panting for breath, head pounding, arms shaking.
No big deal, another lost day.
* * *
I teach my students to trust themselves, to trust their own perception and intuition, over what they read or what they’re told or what a waiter says he knows.
It takes some time and experimentation to learn what’s intuition and what’s your brain getting bossy (you can read more on Bully Brain here!).
In this situation, my intuition was screaming but I listened to my brain’s chatter instead.
Why? Why do we tune out when our body is clearly offering up its truth?
If your head isn’t listening to your heart, ask yourself these questions:
* What’s Your History?
My grandmother suffered from migraines and I grew up hearing that she was a hypochondriac. Need I say more?
We each have our own story that colors how we see the world. It’s in the things that have been said (and not said) by those around us as we grew up.
We have a list of things we want to be and not be… and until we make that list conscious, we are always subconsciously measuring our actions against our list.
So for me, I don’t want to be a hypochondriac… and that sometimes leads to ignoring my intuition.
* Are You Exhausted?
Like you, I make a gazillion decisions a day. I make decisions for my health, my home, my business. I decide what to make for dinner.
Every once in a while I want to abdicate for ten minutes. I want to let someone else make a choice.
This gives my brain great leverage against my intuition. It can use thoughts like Are you the only one who knows anything? or Can’t you just let someone else take care of this?
If I had stopped and tuned in, I would have known that my intuition was right. But it was the end of the day, and I was tired, and I wanted my ten minutes of not being on.
* Have You Given Away Your Power?
Let’s face it, it’s pretty easy for someone else to establish authority.
And if you’re exhausted and ready to not be in control for a few moments, it’s even easier.
I asked the waiter what didn’t have tomato or potato.
He said Oh! You’re nightshade intolerant. And proceeded to list what I could eat.
He established his authority by recognizing my condition and appearing knowledgeable about the intersection of my nightshade intolerance with the menu.
Think about this:
If it’s this easy to give up authority to a waiter whom I have never met before, how much easier is it to give up authority to your family physician or lawyer, or to your mother, or to a college professor?
When our intuition flies in the face of what an authority is telling us, it takes a stronger sense of self to stand in your own power.
What’s the antidote?
* Notice when your head and your heart are not in accord.
When I start hearing a voice chastising me in my head, that’s a pretty good sign that my brain is in bully mode.
* Begin to recognize what fear feels like in your body.
Because your brain will usually get overactive when you are scared and fear muddies your ability to hear the voice of your heart.
I am pretty terrified of an accidental nightshade ingestion; it can lead to tremendous pain.
That pain is a big fear driver.
And fear distorts my ability to really listen to my inner voice.*
What distorts your ability to hear the small voice within? What makes you ignore your intuition?
*If you find that fear or panic is an issue for you, try carrying a bottle of Five Flower Formula or Rescue Remedy in your bag. When you find yourself fearful, put a drop under your tongue and take a few seconds to regroup.