On trusting our inner compass

If you’re not excited about it, it’s not the right path.  Abraham Hicks  

How do we know that the choices in our life are the right ones? That we are making the right decisions, heading down the right path? Is life a series of logical practical decisions that get us to our destinations?  Or is there a deeper mystery at play? When is a change the right change? When is it the right time?

About a year ago, I tried to make a change in my life. A big change. I tried to move to a new city and take a new job, something that I had been wanting a very long time. Or so I thought.  
I had applied for the ‘dream job’, something that I had been thinking about and wishing would happen for years. 
But while filling in the application form, there was a NO in my head but I dismissed it. How could it be NO? I had wanted this for so long, it was a great salary, a great opportunity, perfect timing. I logically talked to myself about all the reasons this was the right thing and carried on. I got to submitting the form, hovered over the button, heard a big NO but pressed send anyway.  

When the letter came to call me for interview, all I could hear was NO. I felt nothing but dread. But I ignored it. The morning of the interview came and as I got dressed, all I could think was NO. I pushed away the sick feeling, the dread, the unease and the NO and I went for the interview. And it went well, I did my best and I knew they liked me.  But as I drove home, all I could think and hear was NO. NO. NO. NO. for a 4-hour car journey. 

When I got the phone call to tell me that I had been successful, I didn’t even want to answer the phone because I knew they were going to offer it to me and I knew it was a NO. I knew it was a NO with all my being and yet I accepted the job because I had been thinking about it and wishing it for so many years. I wanted to say NO but I did the ‘right’ thing and said yes. Right for who? 

I went down to visit the city to look for a new house and a new school for my children. They offered me the salary that I wanted without even having to negotiate. But the NO was still there. I had to hand in the notice in my current job and I couldn’t do it and I made excuses and played for more time because the NO was still there and I didn’t know what to do. And it was getting louder and louder. 

And I wasn’t sleeping at all. And I was waking up in the night sweating and screaming. And I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t think straight. I could barely speak. And no-one could understand why I was in such turmoil. Wasn’t this the thing I had wanted and talked about for years and years? It’s a no brainer, right?

And everyone wanted to help and to give me advice and were loving and kind and yet I could hear it in their voices and see it in their faces that they didn’t’ understand. And I didn’t understand where this NO was coming from. WHATS WRONG WITH ME? Why can’t I just make the logical, sensible, practical choice. The choice that makes sense to everyone else but me. Other people would love this job, this chance, this salary, this choice. So, why couldn’t I?

In the end, the NO won. It had to. I had to give in to it. It was shocking in its violence and so loud that I couldn’t not listen to it. There was no other decision I could make. It was making me sick and unhappy and full of doubt and loathing and fear and chaos. I spent 3 weeks in a state of absolute turmoil and in the end, I had to listen. It wasn’t my path. It felt wrong to the core of my being.

When I was first offered the job, someone said to me ‘You must be so excited’ and I knew in that moment that I wasn’t excited at all. I knew deep down in my soul that this wasn’t the path that I was meant to take. It felt utterly wrong. For whatever reason. I still don’t understand it fully but I felt it, I knew it, it was an instinct, a gut feeling, a knowing. It wasn’t remotely logical and it made absolutely no sense at all. Trying to go against this feeling made me physically ill. I was going against my truth, my journey and my path.

We are told so often that we ‘do the right’ thing, the acceptable thing, the sensible thing that society tells us to do. We must make grown up decisions that make sense to the world and its structures and go against the inner guidance and feelings that we often have that point us in other directions. That we must ignore our inner compass and stick with the status quo even if that feels wrong to us.

Going against the tide and the flow often takes strength and courage. It can take all our will to swim against that flow. But if that NO shouts to us then we must listen to it when it comes with all of our heart because often it points us in the direction of the YES, whatever that is to us. And that is where we find our true path.


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