In early February 2013, my son began wetting his bed every few nights, and on those following mornings, I would be disappointed and have a little conversation with him. As this bed wetting became more regular, I went to Target to get a bed wetting mattress cover because I didn’t know how long this was going to last. While we were at Target, I also grabbed water for my thirsty, pleading son, and as I grabbed for the water, I had an intuitive feeling that this thirst and bedwetting were because of diabetes.
As quickly as that feeling arrived, I had moved into my head to talk myself out of it being diabetes. I then turned and continued to buy the mattress cover. Later that week, I looked at my son’s hands and noticed that all of his knuckles were cracked and red; again, I had an intuitive feeling that it was diabetes. This time, I called our doctor’s office. As I was waiting to schedule an appointment, I hung up the phone because I was now telling myself, “You don’t want to be that overprotective parent who calls about everything.” That weekend my son wet the bed so badly that I was now convinced I had to make that appointment. What I knew the moment we were in Target was that my son was sick, and I even named it, but because I didn’t know what internal wisdom was, I just talked myself out of what I knew was true.
Becoming Aware of our Own Thoughts and Feelings
Every day we have hundreds of feelings and subsequent thoughts about what we see and hear. Many of these feelings and thoughts are simple and can become an action like making a phone call/text or choosing what to make for dinner and writing down a grocery list. Other feelings and thoughts, however, are deeper, like my feeling that my son was very sick.
With these deeper feelings, we can find ourselves having little conversations within our mind as a way to process their depth, and from these conversations, we often act, or not. We have been having these interior conversations since the moment we began to use language. As we grew and matured, we got better at not acting on every feeling we had because we learned there are socially acceptable responses. We have become so used to these conversations within that many of us are no longer fully aware that these conversations take place as often as they do. These conversations though, are important to who we are in this world, and they are a window into your internal wisdom.
How then do you begin to recognize your inner wisdom? Let’s use what happened at Target when I was buying a mattress cover. While I was grabbing the water, I had an intuitive feeling that my son had diabetes, but then I moved into my head where I began to find evidence to dismiss the wisdom that came as the feeling. That first feeling is wisdom, and it is unique to you. That first feeling is what you need to pay attention to because it tells you the truth and you will always know what to do from that feeling.
When incidents, external conversations, accidents, etc. happen, our bodies often respond first with a feeling, and then we go right into our minds to rationalize it and usually neatly pack it away. As soon as we go into our minds, the potential to act wisely can be lost. Let’s take a simpler, more common example from parenting: think of a time when your child came home from a friend’s house or school and right away you knew there was something wrong because you had a feeling of dread or worry. What did you do with that feeling? Did you talk yourself out of responding to that feeling or did you pay attention to it and realize that feeling was right?! I can imagine you are beginning to remember many times when you had a feeling that was right and you even thought, “I need to start listening to myself.” That is exactly how I felt when I sat in the hospital and heard the words, “Your son has type 1 diabetes,” I immediately realized I had already known that.
Stay Present with Your Intuition
Our internal conversations have great meaning and as the above examples show, they now include our children. As we respond to our feelings, whether they are major feelings like knowing a diagnosis or simpler like knowing our child had a terrible day, we must pay attention to our wisdom. Our thoughts about our feelings will help us stay with our wisdom or move away from it. Staying present with your first feeling, especially when you have concerns, will help you respond with the wisdom that showed up from the feeling. Such wisdom can then help you more fully parent, especially if your child/ren are suffering from illness or bullying or some other major issue.
Every day we are faced with multiple moments of how to respond to difficult things happening with us and our kids. Take this week ahead and begin to notice that first feeling. If you are already good at noticing that first feeling, pay closer attention to the conversation that follows it. What are you doing with that feeling? Are you talking yourself out of a wise response? All of this gives you a way to better know yourself, be more present, and to help you to more wisely respond. It is a way to be kind not only to those around you but also to yourself.