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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Planted seeds/Gut

Several of you have told me I should make a book about my recent journey.  It's certainly something I've thought about and, thankfully, I'd have a good start with what I've written here.  The idea is one of many that has been planted in me.  Whether I am fertile soil for the idea remains to be seen...  Usually when I talk or write about planting seeds, I do so in reference to the seeds I try to plant in the world, not the ones that are planted in me.  It's a little uncomfortable to think that I, the soil, may be the determiner of a seed's viability, but I guess I am.

Maybe a root for this book idea is beginning to grow because on my 8-hour drive home from Atlanta yesterday, I was thinking about an introduction to the book.  Actually I was thinking about it because I am now part of a writing group and we are sharing a piece of our writing to get feedback from the group.  I don't have writing, or at least anything I'd share publicly, beyond what you see here.  Sure, I could bring something from my blog, but I know I won't do a lot of editing to the writing I've already posted publicly, so I want to bring something else to the group, something that I can really work on.  Then I thought, "The book!"  Maybe my new writing group can help me begin my book.  (Wow.  Using the word "my" gives me an ownership I'm not sure I'm ready to have.)

So I asked myself:  How could I introduce my most recent journey of following my gut, of trusting it absolutely?  At what point did I start living that way?  I thought back to when I took the job at Trinity.  "Oh, that was the first time I really followed my gut."  But wait, how about months before when I knew in my gut that a house I walked into would soon be my house?  Or years before when I knew an apartment I walked into would soon be my apartment?  Or years before that when I knew I needed to go to Guatemala, more than once...or before that, El Salvador...?  No logic led me to those places.  It was all about my gut, though I wasn't conscious of it then the way I am now.  Or wait, maybe it was when I decided to attend Sacred Heart for high school.  I finally realized that that was the first time I made a decision based on my gut. It was probably my real "grown-up" decision.

I went to public school through middle school and was told that, like my older brother and sister, I would be attending Catholic high school.  I didn't want to...until I was given the choice myself.  Now, I didn't ever shadow or do any of the things kids do nowadays when they are choosing a high school.  But when I was finally told I could choose between a public and Catholic high school, I went with the Catholic school.  I know it was the right choice.  I met my best friend there and in a few days we'll be traveling to Dallas to meet up with 4 of our other friends we made during our years at Sacred Heart.  We graduated 21 years ago.  If for nothing else but those 5 friends, I am so glad I followed my gut.  Luckily, I also got a good education out of my time there.

That story will not be the starting point of my book, but it amazes me to think I've been working like this, doing the whole gut thing, for a pretty long time, during much of which I wasn't even aware I was doing it.  Maybe my gut is providing fertile soil for the seeds that land in my being... It's a comforting thought.


While traveling I had a conversation with a woman about how I "decided" to take my journey.  I talked about following the pull, something that never exactly feels like a decision.  Her response intrigued me.  She said something like, "That's so cool, because I've never followed my gut except for when I married my husband."  (Incidentally, romantic relationships seem to be the one area of life that I am not so attuned to my gut.)  Luckily, she has a pretty cool husband and their relationship was a joy to witness.  It seems her one gut-following experience has turned out well.  But I wondered what it feels like to have an awareness of what your gut says and not follow it.  OK, I know I've done it, too, and in those cases, the results have been somewhere between not great and disastrous.  But I wonder what it's like to consistently not listen to the inner voice, the inner pull, the gut, whatever you want to call it.  The planted seeds never germinate.  New growth doesn't happen.  It must feel miserable.  Having had the fortune of resources- intellectual, financial, spiritual, emotional- I have also had the fortune of possibilities.  I haven't figured out if those who consistently don't follow the pull (even though they are aware of it), who don't nurture the seeds, do so because they don't feel they have the resources or they simply don't have the guts.  Seeing the last phrase, I wonder what it takes not to have the guts to follow the gut.  Where does the limiting of possibilities happen, within or without? 


Is it simply fear?  Or is lack of resources (whatever kind are needed) a legitimate reason not to follow one's gut?  Are fear and a stated lack of resources really the same thing?  I don't currently have the resources to do what I know I am called to do.  But I am watering the seeds as well as I can, trusting that there will be sunshine and enough in me, the soil, to bring forth new growth. My gut hasn't let me down yet.  Are there people who recognize new seeds planted, who try to nurture them, only to find those planted seeds rotting, or perhaps starting to grow and then dying?  I don't know, but I know people face disappointments all the time.  Are the disappointments about what the seeds encounter (or don't encounter) in the soil or what comes from the outside world?  I don't know.  If you are a gut-follower...or a conscious non-gut-follower, I'd love to hear what you have to say.  If you're not aware of your gut, well, I hope you're able to tune into it.  You might find that you have some pretty fascinating seeds inside you just waiting for a little attention so they can bloom.           


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