Instinct: Responding Simplistically to Life


By: Danielle Wilson

I feel we have a lot to learn from the Earth, from our own bodies, even, given they live as an extension of the ancient rock we call home. When something in nature goes awry—whether by organic occurrence, such as a natural disaster wiping out miles of terrain, or by human manipulation, like structures or sidewalks, pollution or abuse of the elements—Mother Earth responds promptly, and without question. She does what she needs to do, and typically is patient, yet steadfast, throughout the process. We may not always recognize her composed, methodical responses to stress or threats, mostly because they happen slowly and quietly under the surface of our busy, distracted lives, but when life happens, the Earth responds. It’s as simple as that.

Our bodies function in a similar manner. We may fret mentally or emotionally over scrapes or bruises as the shock of an injury can produce a stressed, reactionary response from our ego, but our bodies take it in stride. Cuts heal without our logical mind becoming burdened with the task of consciously maintaining the healing process, and bruises slowly dissipate from blue, to yellow, and gone as we go about our lives, most likely unaware of the immediate and intentional care happening from within. There are so many aspects of our lives we don’t really have to think about in order enact resolution: breathing, healing, sensing, feeling—these are all parts of life that simply happen to us, and for us, without much thought—if any—for the most of us. 

With some pretty big decisions and opportunities arising in my life, lately, I’ve been called to consider this simplistic and organic way of resolving and evolving. As intelligent beings, we’ve mastered our ability to think critically and interact with the world through intellect and the manipulation of the elements, and perhaps we’ve grown to trust this skill too deeply, almost codependently. Somehow, the abuse of this skill has led to an epidemic of indecisiveness, unnecessary stress, a chronic regret due to making decisions for the wrong reasons. When putting intellect at the forefront of our skillset, we place ourselves in the position to think in circles. When logic steps in as lead decision-maker, we can talk ourselves in and out, and in and out of anything for eternity! At some point, reason and rationale must be set aside for the soul’s divine knowing to persist in resolving our issues and decisions. Life happens, we respond—can it be that simple?

In the wake of a career opportunity (with glowing financial security and benefits, I might add) I was advised to create a pros and cons list to guide myself in deciding whether to accept or decline. The problem was, the thought of this opportunity, as much as it would improve my financial situation and all aspects of life that funnel out of that place, brought nothing but a wave of brutally grey unhappiness over my being. More than that, the thought of making a pros and cons list—something that would mark my official consideration of this opportunity –made that sort of sick to my stomach feeling lump up into my throat, and eventually led to tears. Ah! Why cry over something that is merely an option making face? The answer lies within my powerful and simplistic internal knowing—that calm and swift decision-making nature, which mirrors that of the Earth’s resolve.

As the opportunity unveiled itself, even before the final disclosure of information had come to a close, I knew it wasn’t for me. Whether it was a gut feeling or a divine sixth sense, something living deep within my body, within my soul, had the answer. That gloomy, uneasy feeling was my decision. When something is right, when it’s meant to be a part of our path, choosing it involves feeling a content lightness within and around us. When we are where we shouldn’t be, or even headed in that direction, however, a hefty weight sits atop our hearts, not necessarily pulling us down, but more so pulling us away from the path we are not destined to travel. The more we begin to tune in and trust this ethereal call, the closer we draw ourselves to purpose, balance, and peace. The thinking involved with constructing a pros and cons list was an act of overriding this spiritual instinct and given my many years of bonding with and nurturing my soul and its endless power, the frog in my throat and tears streaming down my face were its way of yelling, “HELLO! Aren’t you going to listen to me?!”

There are, certainly, some challenges that can arise when choosing this spirit driven course of action. Most prominently, there’s the matter of getting in touch with these soul messages to begin with. Meditation, or anything placing you in a meditation state can help such as yoga, walking in nature, dance, painting, drawing, journaling, reading—activities that focus the mind and awareness on the entirety of present experience—allow us to more efficiently notice feeling, thought, and being as separate functions that can be observed and released at will, if necessary. Then, even in the heat of meeting a crossroads in life, we can feel our response to the information, and any thoughts can be merely observed, acknowledged, and freed from the shackles of our minds. 

Another issue rears its head when we allow the circling of logical thought to take hold, and no matter how frequent or dedicated our meditation practice, this does and will happen at some point (we’re human, and we can’t expect to get the process right every time). Overthinking—or in some cases, any type of thinking—decisions can muddy the waters of our instinct. We begin to wonder, “is this my brain thinking this, my heart wanting it, or my gut knowing it?” The questions will spiral in a never ending, frustrating spell of human logic. When we find ourselves in this place, taking time to sit presently away from the decision is imperative. Whatever form of meditation and awareness we practice, spending time in that activity while intentionally placing all aspects involved with our decision to the side will bring us back to a place of clarity and balance where confusing thoughts are diffused and dissipated, and divine knowing can reestablish itself. 

The struggles we experience towards resolution, in any regard, become complex because we make them that way. As extensions of the Earth, we are undoubtedly capable of maintaining simplicity in our decision making and problem solving: life happens, we respond. Thought is not as necessary within the process as we’ve been led to believe. Taking a page from the book of wisdom written by our greatest, and most ancient life force, Mother Earth, follow your instincts. Feel your way through life and you’ll quickly find yourself growing in purpose, grounded in balance, and glowing in peace.

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