Fear or Intuition: A Personal Story


On a college campus,  August 13,1986, an 18 year old girl slept in her messy room, with her bedroom door locked. She heard a loud sound, and when she awoke, she realized her door had been kicked in and she was being dragged by her hair to another room. This man held a knife to her throat, and forced himself inside her.

He took her violently.

He took her mentally.

He took her pride.

He took her voice.

He took her trust.

He took her dignity.

He took her peace.

He took her belief.

He took her intuition.

Intuition is fears kinder cousin. It is the voice that speaks within us, guiding us, to what it instinctively knows is right or wrong. Sometimes, it speaks to us in the moment. Sometimes it speaks to us ahead of time. It doesn’t worry, it doesn’t fear……it guides. It so resembles fear, that it is hard to know when to trust this cousin.

I was awakened by voices. I could hear my mom crying, and my dad speaking in low tones as he always did when it was serious. His cadence rhythmic. I rubbed my 14 year old eyes, and made my way to the bathroom. My sister was home! She was in the living room with my parents, and my brain began to register that she was wearing a hospital gown. The girl who was raped, was my sister.

I had hung out at her house  that particular day, showing her moves I had learned at cheer camp. You see, my sister had just recently escaped the chaos of our childhood home and was living with friends. I spent as much time as possible there, as it represented hope. Hope of more, hope of a way out of the chaos I was still living in. I begged to stay the night at her house that evening, but my Mom refused. She had always resented my sister and I being close, and I remember at every turn fighting to spend time with my only sister.

We were close in a way that you don’t see often.

We were close in a way that only kids from abusive homes can understand.

We were close in a way that nurtured my wings.

We were close in a way that I wanted to jump inside her and take her place, that very minute.

For weeks after the attack, I slept on the floor next to my sister, misguided in my feeling of protection for her. She moved back home, as quickly as she had moved out. There was much yelling that summer, as no one knew how to handle their emotions after the attack. My home was an example of how NOT to handle it. My Dad increased the amount of time he was away from us, further retreating, where his family couldn’t reach, but his underlying anger was palpable. My Mom, focused on how the attack effected her, and wondered why we weren’t all helping her through it. My brother must have remained silent in his own pain, because I barely remember his voice through this time. My sister, cried a lot, and wound up retreating with friends up to the lake for the remainder of the summer.

I was left wondering.

Wondering about safety.

Wondering about fear.

Wondering about intuition.

Wondering about healing.

Wondering about human nature.

Wondering about my sister.

As women, how do we differentiate between fear and intuition? I remember distinctly, my sister had her door locked that night for a reason. For weeks leading up to the attack, my sister mentioned several odd things happening at her house. A stolen home phone, a man standing on the sidewalk in front of her home snapping photos. In the moment things that just didn’t sit well with her. We all discounted these things, brushing them off as nothing.

I believe now, it wasn’t nothing, it was her intuition speaking to her, but she had never learned to understand it’s language. In a chaotic home, it’s hard to hear intuition. It’s hard to hear much, but anger and fear. We were all well versed in anger and fear. But intuition…..not so much.

My sister believed, that once she was free from our home, that she could do and be whatever she wanted.

She was right of course, but none of us get there scar free.

On our path to freedom, we must bear the pain of getting there. We must learn the difference between fear and intuition, because the perils of not, are too large.

If we let our story convince us that fear is the same as intuition, we lose.

We spend our lives in fear.

We operate through fear.

We are easily offended.

We are on guard.

We are waiting…..waiting for you to piss.us.off.

Fear is highly emotional. It reflects unhealed psychological wounds. Fear, when nurtured, turns into hate. Listening to our fear, turns into irrational thoughts, and dictates our behavior, towards ourselves and others.

Intuition is unemotional. It is rational, calm, kind, compassionate and soft spoken. It uses our past, and present to try and solve the situation at hand. Intuition, when nurtured, turns into love. Listening to our intuition is a form of self love.

Both are experienced as a gut feeling. It is important to understand the differences so that fear doesn’t drown intuition out.

If we operate from a place of love, a place of presence, I believe, we can better hear intuition. We create this warm and cozy space for intuition. We nurture it and speak to it, so we can understand each others language and begin a dialogue….that we can hear.  When we learn to trust intuition, there is no longer a need for fear. We will continue to have rational fear, the fight or flight kind of fear, as that is biological, but no need for irrational fears.

Of course, I am not saying that we could have stopped the attack. As most of us know, rape is about power, and power is greedy, hungry, and very often, angry. I am saying, that I believe my sister’s intuition was speaking and not one of us knew how to listen. Who knows what might have been different? I don’t spend time in that place, because regret is too painful and leads to fear. Get them before they get us, so we can rectify our past. No thank you.

My sister created her own place of love. She has two beautiful children, and is engaged to a beautiful soul. She has struggled to get to this place. I have watched her edges be polished in ways I wished I could have stopped at the time. I have seen her battle, since the attack with the difference between fear and intuition.  For it takes great faith to learn the language of the kinder cousin, intuition.

Mindfulness Tips:

Make a list of all of your fears. This brings self awareness and accountability to the table.

Close your eyes imagining how you feel with each fear. Go there…where do you feel it in your body?

Make a list of times when your intuition has been on point. Close your eyes and imagine the feeling you had when your intuition was speaking to you. Go there….. where do you feel it in your body?

During your sitting practice, spend time being present with the difference in the two feelings.

  • Where did you feel each in your body?
  • What was the thought attached to the feeling?
  • Where do you see fear present in your life?
  • When do you hear intuition the loudest?

A Letter To My Children

Kids on Beach

My Children,

I know I’ve told you all these years, when something bad happens on television, to look for the helpers. There are always helpers, there are always people with good hearts there to reach out their hand and help a fellow human being. Looking for these people, helps our heart, it helps our minds understand the tragedy before us. It helps us to make sense of this carnage on our television screen, right? If we see helpers, it means our faith in humanity is still in tact.

Screw that. In light of this past month, and the numerous mass shootings we see everyday on television, it’s past time to look for the helpers…..you must BE a helper! You see, telling you to look for the helpers, was my way of feeling like I was doing something, feeling like I was helping you through this tragic world. But it’s not, and I’m not.

I am so sick of tiptoeing around this issue. I am so sick of pretending I’m doing something by telling you to “look for the helpers”. I’m sick of seeing it on Facebook, I’m sick of seeing blog posts about it, while we are doing NOTHING.

No, I have not lost hope in humanity. I have not lost hope in the helpers. I am mad. In fact, I am done. This is not what I hoped for you, and I am sorry I have not acted sooner. Sometimes the mindfulness I have instilled in you since you were young, creates passivity. Sometimes, those who are the most mindful, are too quiet. Sometimes our kindness is mistaken for weakness…..and we are anything but weak.

What I am going to tell you now is different my children. Instead of looking for the helpers, let’s look for something different.
Let’s look for those wishing to pray this away…..is it working?
Let’s look for those carrying guns to get the bad guy before he get’s them….is it working?
Let’s look for those complaining on Facebook…..is it working?
Let’s look for those who fear their right to guns being taken away…so much so that they will solely blame mental health for this carnage….is it working?
Let’s look for those people who assume that the bad guys usually have brown skin……is it working?
Let’s look for those willing to marginalize humans by the location they were born into…..is it working?
Let’s look for those operating through fear…..is it working? Not as a group, but individually, is it working?

Yep, even you, at your young age, can see that bigotry, racism, religion, fear and complaints won’t change a thing……not a thing.

Can we just say it out loud??? IT”S NOT WORKING!!! Let’s say it together. IT”S NOT WORKING!!!

This world isn’t going to change itself. There are people very motivated by money, by racism, by religion, and by fear that are willing to work for it. They are willing to do what it takes to create the change they want to see. The change that fit’s their agenda, and moves them further up the ladder of humanity in their minds.

We are going to change our direction now my children. Now, instead of looking for the helpers, we will be mindful of the areas WE can effect change. Look where YOU can be the helper. Let’s fine tune this and pinpoint the areas we can be of help. What are WE willing to work for?

I am going to treat you as the powerful humans you are my children. You. Have. Power. Don’t let all the rules of childhood confuse you. You are the people who will create change.

Use your power to decide where you stand on this issue, not just where Dad and I stand, but where YOU stand.
Use your power to dream about the change you will create.
Use your power to bring the other children with you.
Use your power to speak up about injustice…not tiptoe around it.
Use your power to speak out about skin color and the significance of it.
Use your power to unite the different cultures in support of collaboration not competition.
Use your power to elevate fellow humans in collaboration with each other, and for each other.
Use your power to be mindful of the feelings inside of you.
Use your power to be mindful of the change you are capable of.
Use your power to educate yourself, so that you can speak clearly, intelligently and powerfully.
Use your power to see the person behind the pain, because unless you see that, you are powerless.
Use your power to harness your feelings into something better for you and for our world.

Above all, use your power to be kind. Because, while we may disagree religiously, philosophically, and fundamentally, we are all humans.

I learn from you everyday, my children. Please continue to teach the adults about kindness, compassion, humanity and inclusion. We think we are so smart, we think we teach you about these things. We are misguided.

As your parent, I promise to be a model for change.
I promise to give you all the love, caring and guidance you can handle.
I promise to be do my best to understand other cultures, not fear them.
I promise to stop tip-toeing around real issues in fear of upsetting others.
I promise to show you how change is created, by learning what needs to be done, and doing it.
I promise to not keep my mouth shut.
I promise, no matter how hard….to keep trying.
I promise to stop telling you to look for the helpers, and to step up and be one.
I promise to create change, so that you will understand how powerful one person can be.
I promise to get started today.

Your Mom