Intuition as a Spiritual GPS
By Mariamne Paulus
There are many ways to describe intuition; I have come to think of it, in many situations, as a kind of spiritual GPS. Long before I knew anything about intuition I had a strong sense of what was right for me and what was not, of what choices to make and which ones were wrong for me.
I think of an example from years ago. When I was in high school I ran around with a large group of girls. I think there were 17 or 18 of us at one point. We often had slumber parties in our homes. In the fall of our senior year many of us were in relationships with boys, but even our steady boyfriends were not invited to our slumber parties. One time a bunch of guys showed up around midnight. They had been drinking. We refused to let them come in and asked them to leave, which they were not inclined to do. The girls with whom they were dating finally got them to leave.
When the girls came back in, we all sat down for a serious conversation: would we allow guys to come to our slumber parties? And would we allow drinking at our parties? The conversation went on a long time because there were differences of opinion. Finally I said, “I will not attend parties where guys are included or drinking is allowed.” One of my friends immediately said she was with me, but it was apparent that the group was going to split. “My” group was the minority. I think we were only four or five out of the whole group.
It was a strange experience for me. I was not trying to start a “movement.” I did not want to split the group up. But I did not have any question about my choice, and I was not worried about what others would think of me. I was glad some of my friends stood with me, but if I had stood alone, it would have been OK. I just knew what was right for me.
I see that now as a clear example of intuitional guidance. It was not something I thought out. It arose in me as a certainty and I acted on it.
I have tended to acknowledge as intuitional guidance those inner impulses that led to major life decisions, such as the decision to go to South America as a Short Term missionary, or the decision to enter into a relationship with Jim Pike, or the decision to move to Colorado to work with Laurel Keyes, or the decision to start a life work with OSO. But I have lately begun to acknowledge the more constant guidance that has made it possible for me to make small decisions all along the way.
To Move or Not to Move
Recently I have trusted my inner GPS to guide me with regard to a decision about whether and when to move out of our lovely home and into a graduated care facility. OSO and I have agreed that it makes sense to vacate our home while we are both able to make choices about what to take with us and what to leave behind.
We started to do serious research nearly a year ago. We began to visit retirement communities in Scottsdale. We knew we wanted a place where we could move from independent living to assisted living to full care if needed. The question was about the details: What kind of apartment were we talking about? How much would it cost to move in? How much would it cost per month? Under what conditions would we move to assisted living? Did that mean more cost per month? What about the partner who was still well? And what about nursing care? Were the facilities like a hospital? How far away were the facilities from the independent living area? How much would that transition cost?
We started a notebook with all the information in it. The good news was that the first place we toured was lovely. We both agreed, “We could live in this place!” That was heartening. It didn’t feel like we would be consigning ourselves to an “institution.”
As we moved from one place to another we began to develop criteria. This place felt like a step backwards in time; too basic; too much like forty years ago. This place felt too ritzy, like living in a fancy hotel; we would not feel comfortable, but rather like we were guests there. This place cost too much to buy in, with benefits for those who would inherit our estate, but we have no children and no one to leave those benefits to. And it was too far away from the amenities we had come to take for granted. This place was depressing; the decors was art deco and the whole place felt dark. Ugh!!
Finally we found a place that seemed to fit. The size of the apartments available felt just right. The communal facilities were pleasant. There was a meeting room we could reserve if we wanted to hold a workshop. There was a nice out-door swimming pool that is kept heated year round. The nursing facility was like a down-sized apartment where one or both could live, not like a hospital room, and close enough to the rest of the facility that visiting would be easy and the one who was still healthy could continue to live independently. Moreover, there was no increase in the monthly fee when one moved to full care, and if we were to run out of money, the nonprofit foundation that supports the community would take care of costs. We would never be in danger of being kicked out. Westminster Village is only six minutes’ drive from where we live now, so we could keep all our same providers and enjoy all our same amenities. This seemed perfect, so we put down a deposit to be on their waiting list.
Enter intuition as GPS. We do not have a sense for “when” the move will occur. We trust that we will know when the time is right to put our house up for sale. Part of that will be determined by when one of the apartments we would prefer becomes available. Part of that will be determined by when our house will sell. Most of all, it depends on when it all feels “right” to us. We both trust that we will know.
This represents one of those wonderful balances between careful planning for the future and total trust in the universal flow of things. We have done our part in the planning. Now we rely on our inner GPS to tell us when it is time to take the next steps.
Each of us has our motivation for making this move. For me it is about making sure that OSO never has to empty this large house of our belongings by herself and never has to live alone in a big house. For OSO it is about making a wise decision that does not jeopardize our financial future. For both of us it is about moving forward from strength and stability rather than making a decision when forced by circumstances in an emergency.
Our intuition will guide us. We both trust that.