Instinctive knowing is akin to a sixth sense.
We have five physical senses: seeing, hearing, touch/feeling, taste, and smell. I think of intuition as related and integrated with these five, but also having a separate connection – so it’s like a sixth sense.
Mindful observance of your five senses increases your ability to integrate information.
When I was pregnant with my beautiful daughter, I noticed a black dot develop on my face just under the corner of my left eye, on my cheekbone.
It became larger as my belly grew.
In my oriental medical school I learned that progesterone didn’t just make babies grow it also made other cells develop more rapidly. By the time I delivered my sweet daughter the dot on my face had grown exponentially. It was about 1/8 th of an inch big – which is pretty big for a freckle that had developed over a 10 month period.
I had a bad feeling about it.
My health plan at the time was one of those plans that took forever to get things done – regardless of severity. So they couldn’t get me an appointment to have the biopsy for months; then something happened and I had to cancel and then I couldn’t get another appointment for months.
It kept bothering me – this nagging feeling that something was wrong with that black dot on my face. So I kept trying to follow through to get in to the doctor’s office.
Finally, I saw the doctor and she took off a little bit of the dot to biopsy it. It was her last day with the hospital. The new doctor to whom I was referred, called me directly following the biopsy asking that I return asap. He called me, twice, not the nurse, not the scheduler – the doctor. That informed me that it was serious.
It was a melanoma in-situ. It was stage 0, just at the site. Which was good, because even at that low a stage the doctor had to remove a 1/2 inch all the way around the dot to get clean borders.
It left a big 1-inch scar on my face, that has turned into a laugh line.
I had an instinctive knowing that there was something wrong. I had information from my sensory guiding system too, and the two together guided me to keep following up on the black dot.
My instinctive knowing led me to get treatment far in advance of when skin cancer is usually found which in turn increased my chances for a positive outcome.
Of course, it helped that it was right there on my face; right in a place I looked every day and the world looked too.
A much more obscure example of instinctive knowing was an innocuous freckle on my husband’s thigh.
There was really nothing about his freckle that was different from all the other freckles. It was the normal size of a freckle. He had other freckles that were the same shape and color.
Objectively, it did not really have any characteristic that differentiated it from the other freckles.
His dermatologist who was one of the best in town had looked at it, and measured it, and determined it was okay.
It bothered me. I had a bad feeling about it. I would see it and I would say I want you to have your doctor check it out.
It looked darker, almost black, to me, and when I held my hand over the area I could feel a sharpness, a hot, tingling in my palm that seemed to be radiating from the freckle. I didn’t feel this with any other freckle.
I actually had a visceral response of not liking the freckle; it was weird.
Every time it bothered me, I bothered my husband until finally he went to the doctor and said, my wife says there is something wrong with this freckle. The doctor said, I don’t think it’s anything but since it bothers her I will take it off and biopsy it.
It was melanoma, stage 1.
My husband had surgery the next week they removed 2 inches around the freckle to get clear borders. He has a five-inch scar, but the area doesn’t feel tingly-hot to my palm anymore.
And he is okay.
Funny thing, now whenever he goes to see his dermatologist, his doctor says – is there anything that is bothering Beth. He doesn’t ask it first; he uses all his training and skills to evaluate if there is something out-of-place – but he always asks it before the consult is over. He and I, both, have learned to pay attention to my instinctive knowing.
My willingness to listen and respond to my instinctive knowing saved his life. That’s a good thing for sure.
These two stories identify two separate incidents where mindful observation of the five senses – the sensory guidance system – integrated with instinctive knowing, allowed for an opportunity for something resembling a sixth sense to guide my and my husband’s actions.
The instinctive knowing wasn’t fear or anxiety it was more of a bother or a nagging feeling that kept bringing me back to something that was calling for attention.
Practice paying attention to those quiet, nagging feelings that something is out-of-place, like a puzzle or a mystery.
You may find your sensory guidance system includes an instinctive knowing that will guide you to make a transformative decision or response.
I have to say, I do like puzzles and mysteries.
See you tomorrow.