Following the feeling…

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Have you ever done something completely illogical, just because it ‘felt right’? Chances are that you have, and that it turned out that listening to that inner, elusive prompt was the best decision you could have made. In bypassing the circuits of habit and the imposed logic of the everyday world we sometimes manage to tap in to a deeper understanding and a clearer vision, one that sees beyond the boundaries we tend to impose upon ourselves all our lives.

We build our vision of reality based on the interpretation of events, both through our own eyes and the filters we impose on ourselves, and through the interpretations we are taught as we grow and learn how to live in a society that has its own rules and preconceptions.

When we are taken out of our accustomed milieu, perhaps travelling to a foreign land where the culture, habits, manners and morality even are different, we notice things we would not have seen in our own habitual places. How we see them depends largely on our own reactions and choices. As a simple example, I remember well the reaction of someone I know to travelling as close to home as France. She found the French to be rude, unmannered and did not enjoy her time there at all.

Historically, there has been tension between the two nations and that is one obvious filter. Our fear of anything beyond our familiar comfort zone is another. I lived in France for years, and never found them anything other than courteous, polite and welcoming. They, however, found the British stiffness… especially my table manners instilled by a Victorian generation… quaintly amusing. The difference, I think, is one of the barriers of imposed perception. To go to another land and judge it by your own ‘normality’, or to be able to leave judgement behind and join them in theirs, embracing the difference and the possibilities that can open through them.

For the past few years we have ‘followed the feeling’. We have made tentative plans, knowing, full well, that we are easily sidetracked. But one has to begin somewhere and a starting point is a good place for that. From there we have seen where the adventure has led us, following clues in the landscape, gut instinct, coincidences… even the red kites.

What we have learned on our travels has been fascinating, opening the landscape to a different vision and interpretation, one that goes both wider and deeper and has challenged many preconceived ideas. What we have been shown about how we usually think and reason has been a real eye-opener in more ways than one.

During half of this time we have been working in the landscape where I live and which I know very well. Yet until we opened ourselves to what the moment might show us, I had never truly seen it, never seen the connecting threads that run through both the land and its history, never understood, not really, how little we humans have changed in our hopes and aspirations, our emotions and fears, over millennia.

The veneer of our modern civilisation is a solid one, hard to break, harder still to deliberately discard. Evolution, too, counts for something and we are not the same as we were hundreds and thousands of years ago in many important respects. Yet beneath the veneer we share the same humanity, the same instincts, the same inner voice that sees clearer than modern eyes behind their designer shades.

Sometimes it is worth forgetting the habits and falsities of a constructed life and remembering to listen to that inner wisdom, following the feeling… or following the heart.

37 thoughts on “Following the feeling…

  1. What you say is so true, Sue. On more than a few occasions it has been ‘gut reaction’ which has led me along paths I’d never have thought of venturing down – going off to Pakistan being just one example. Sometimes, with all the clamour of our lives it’s not always easy to hear that faint whisper trying to point out the direction in which we should go next.

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  2. Interesting comment about France. The only rude people we encountered were in Paris, and not all of them. By and large they were friendly and helpful. The one time I did not listen to my inner self was that self-same trip to Paris, where we were hit by a car while walking on a street. Hubs and I both felt hesitant about the trip, very unusual and we almost cancelled.

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  3. So much truth and wisdom in this post. I found the people in France, including Paris, were very friendly and courteous. They are proud of their history and culture and I respect that. It is so easy to stay with the familiar, but stepping out of one´s comfort zone can open up so many possibilities. Every time I do it, I am so very happy I did.

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    1. I loved my years in France and found everyone, with the odd human exception, polite and courteous. That adventure took me right out of my comfort zone and into some of the best years of my life… until recent years 🙂

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  4. In nine years of living abroad, I tried really hard to become fully adapted to the country I had grown to love. But in the end, when I talked about “home,” I knew I meant the U.S. And eventually, I knew I had to come back because those roots are surprisingly strong. There were a lot of reasons … the language was one, for sure. But also, the feeling that back in the States I had friends who were raising babies I’d never met and I needed my world back.

    We can change. How much? That’s not an easy question to answer. Some people can change a lot more than I did, though I think starting younger makes a big difference. I changed, but not enough to make “elsewhere” my life. My little inner voice said, “come home.” So I did.

    But I loved it and still do. Funny how that works.

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    1. I was very much at home in France too and loved my years there. Moving back to England permenently was not my choice and was a reluctant necessity. Yet Yorkshire was always ‘home’. The moors pulled at me, even across the Channel, especially in spring. I think there is something in the bedrock to which we are attuned and nowhere else has quite the same vibe.

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  5. Life is fully of different choices and paths. Most of us cling to the familiar, yet if we just take off the blinkers and follow our guts/ hearts , even just occasionally, there is so much to learn 😉😉

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  6. The only time I have had a difficult time with another country was when I landed in Mexico after years of living on the border of Texas and Mexico, and also taking several years of Spanish in school, and suddenly could not remember a single word of it. I felt lost then for sure. Language is a lot when it comes to our ability so relate to others wherever we are. I will admit though that I have been at farmers’ markets where there are people of all nationalities and cultures, and we all sat together enjoying our individual meals and laughing at the antics of the children playing all around us. So I am not sure exactly what it is that makes some of us somewhat uncomfortable when we cannot communicate normally with others. I will say though that the farmer’s market was a familiar place to me while Mexico where I was down near Mexico City, was not at all familiar and I was all by myself. Interesting though. German is spoken down there and I ultimately remembered my one semester of German and was able to ask for the information I needed where I needed to go and got an answer and ultimately got to the place. Thanks for this great topic!

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    1. We are so used to relying on verbal communication that panic can set in when we cannot tallk to those around us. Yet, we can use all the words at our command and yet still not touch the quiet core of truth at the heart of being, or hear its whispers.

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