A year of living intuitively

Actually, probably for life. It’s how the proverbial ‘year of living dangerously’ applies to me right now.

2018 has become quite the year of change, and it probably began on 16 Dec. 2017 when my SUV caught fire. I lost my Dad in early June of this year, and I’m still adjusting to that. This new approach to living is probably related to the changes his death has spurred.

I use several terms from psychology here. What I have to say is based a little on things I’ve read, and mostly on my observations.

I guess you could say that I grew up with an underdeveloped intuitive sense. The subject never came up during my elementary and Jr. High years. By the time high school arrived I was on the late 1970s version of STEM-track courses…algebra, geometry, 2nd year algebra, trigonometry, and pre-calculus. My schooling was one of right and wrong answers, black and white, checkmarks and exes. While life at home didn’t constantly reinforce this emphasis on exactness, it didn’t encourage fuzzy perspectives enough to balance the binary-ness.

My first experience with non-binary ‘thinking’ in an education setting was physics class at UT Austin. Physics was really bad about that, with a score of 23 being a B, and there were always two or three kids on the front row who scored in the upper 90s on tests. The whole experience was kinda surreal. I really don’t remember being graded on a curve in high school, and certainly not before that. A couple of my teachers might have mentioned it in grade school but memory doesn’t serve.

As a child I’d hear the words womens’ intuition but never mens’. At the same time I’d hear about men and boys and gut instinct or going with their gut in making decisions.

It’s the same thing.

It’s a tool. It’s necessary for your survival as a human, along with your intellect, your feelings, and emotions.

Women seem to have a better and certainly less aggressive way of operating in it. I think it has to do with the way most girls are raised. When I was four or five and in nursery school I was taught two jingles. Girls are made up of sugar and spice, and everything nice, and boys are made up of frogs and snails, and puppy dog tails. It’s a cute picture when you’re approaching kindergarten. Growing up girls carry the sweetness they had as children into womanhood. Boys are taught to suppress the sweetness and embrace anger and aggression as they move into manhood. This is not healthy.

For my entire adult life I’ve had trouble seeing the grey. I’ve been pretty judgmental, and that’s not limited to my time in Christianity, although I have found western religion to be rather enabling in that regard. I’ve viewed the world as black and white, while seeing greys in the mirror. That’s messed up. And it’s something I am trying to change.

Then what does it mean, living intuitively? It’s taking a more right-brained approach to how I view the world. There are blacks and whites, but they’re dots next to one another on paper. They’re pixels on a screen. And if you back away a little you can see the grey. On top of that if you stare at the grey for long enough the colors start to manifest. It means doing things that aren’t always well thought out. It’s switching directions in the middle of something…sometimes several times before completion. It’s sudden changes of plans. It’s stopping to help a stranger instead of heading to wherever you thought you were headed during your lunch break. It’s often chaotic. It’s random. It doesn’t always make sense. It’s letting the heart lead.

For someone who found comfort in the concrete, a spacewalk, even tethered, is kinda scary. I sometimes feel an urge to retreat to the familiar…to plan it all out. But what’s familiar is decreasingly useful. I’m sure I’ll second-guess my intuitive direction, and I’ll probably screw something up and have to get out the mop. It’s okay. I give myself permission to make a mess. It’s a life-long learning process and not something with a cap and gown at the end.