One day during the spring of 2006, I was working in my office when the doorbell rang. A voice said to me, "Don't answer it."
I couldn't figure out what this voice was talking about. After many years of living in New York City, I've found that one nice thing about country life is that you don't have to assume a criminal is standing outside your door. Most likely the bell-ringer is a Girl Scout, someone trying to sell fifty pounds of meat for a ridiculously low price, or a neighbor looking for a runaway dog.
I ignored the voice, and that's when all the trouble began.
A man stood at the door. He said, "You have two dead pine trees on your property. My partner and I will cut them down for you, and we'll leave the place nice and neat." He quoted what seemed a low price, but I hesitated. The little voice, which hadn't given up yet, said, "Tell him you'll call him."
I said, "Can I have your card?"
"Sure," he said, "but we won't be in this area again soon, and in the meantime, someone could get hurt if one of those trees falls down. The sooner you take care of it, the better."
"Get a second opinion," the dauntless voice said.
I went to the office and asked my partner what she thought. The price seemed good to her, too, so I went back and said, "Go ahead." The voice, no doubt sulking, went silent.
A while later, the guy came back to the door and said the job was done. I said, "Great." I asked if he'd take a check, and he said he wanted cash. The voice woke up for a last whimper of protest, but I didn't listen.
What else didn't I do? I didn't look to see if the place was nice and neat before paying. My excuse was that in the past, when I'd had trees cut down, the loggers had always hauled away everything. This excuse proved not to be good enough. The moment the loggers merrily drove away, I knew, without looking, that I'd made a terrible mistake.
How terrible? Envision your front lawn carpeted with branches and twigs. (The trunks of the trees were stacked on the edge of the property, obviously the definition of "nice and neat.") I won't go into details about my thoughts at that moment, but as surely as the reality of future long hours to be spent gathering debris fell upon me, so did the weight of self-judgment.
I now had two problems.
1. I hadn't listened to my intuition.
2. I blamed myself for not listening.
Actually, I had three problems, if I counted the twigs and branches-but there were far too many to count. They lay on the lawn in silent reproach to remind me of problems one and two.
The Process of Self-Flagellation
Clearly, my life would have gone more smoothly had I listened to my intuition on that fateful day. By blaming myself for not listening, though, I made the mistake that parents often make in raising their children.
Parents think that if they point out a child's error in judgment with great emphasis and force, the message to never do that again will be permanently imprinted in the child's awareness.
However, in trying to turn their offspring away from wrongdoing, parents may also turn children away from taking the risk of deciding what's uniquely right for them. A child may decide that the inner voice is unreliable and gets one into trouble.
Some children come to believe that they're not smart enough to trust that voice. Others become afraid that it will mislead them. The child who wants to avoid being made to feel guilty learns to internalize this emotion. He blames himself for doing something wrong before his parents get the opportunity.
That's what I did.
The Moment of Awakening
A few days after the Great Tree Disaster, I picked up branches and twigs in the front yard. In spite of my general mood of beating myself up, I started to enjoy the invigorating scent of pine. As I thought of all the healing uses for the oil of this tree, I suddenly remembered that Pine is the Bach Flower Remedy for guilt. In fact, I'd just begun to take it to clear up some guilt issues on the day the trees had fallen.
In that moment I realized that although I'd disconnected myself from my intuitive source, it had never quit. When I hadn't listened to its quiet messages, it had demonstrated in a powerful way why I needed to listen, reminding me in a dramatic and visible way why guilt wasn't in my best interests.
Once I realized this, I looked around at all the fallen pine branches and started to laugh. As the pine needles soon would, my feelings of guilt dried and withered. I had a mess here, but I could clean it up, and the job would go much more quickly if I picked it up instead of mentally flagellating myself with the branches.
I learned that to make a mistake once is okay. To repeat it by rerunning it in the mind as a way to punish oneself is a much bigger mistake, one I will try not to make again-or if I do, I'll learn to forgive myself much sooner.
Intuition Test and Vibrational Helpers
If you've experienced the consequences of not listening to your intuition, first figure out what's preventing the connection. Though you can rarely go wrong by examining issues of guilt, others I listed above can also be influential.
Often guilt and self-esteem issues become entangled. "Bad" and "not good enough" are close cousins in the emotional family tree. Thinking that you're not good enough can extend to thinking your intuition isn't good enough, either. Tell yourself that nothing alive is smarter than your intuition. It was designed to further your best interests.
Larch is the Bach Flower Remedy for self-esteem. Several crystals can help. First among these is golden citrine, helpful also for a feeling of personal power. Tiger's eye teaches us to intuitively know the right time to take action.
Fear can block the connection. "My intuition may take me into places of danger and then desert me." Your intuition, as I learned, will never desert you. It may take you into unfamiliar places, but it will always guide you through them.
If known fear is involved ("I'll make an idiot out of myself") take Mimulus (BFR). I find that more often unknown fears are involved ("I don't know what will happen."). For these, Aspen (BFR) is helpful. Charoite is an all-purpose crystal for fear, addressing both the known and unknown varieties.
Discouragement. "I try to hear the voice of intuition, but mine has gone silent." It hasn't. Find out what voices are drowning it out. Put yourself in a relaxed state-whatever that means for you. It may take a while, but the more you learn to silence the other voices in your mind, the more strongly it will come through.
Gentian (BFR) is very helpful for discouragement. If it reaches the level of depression for unknown reasons, i.e., a thick dark fog blocks out the voice of intuition, take Mustard (BFR). When we are firmly planted on earth, we are in a better place to let nonphysical energy in. Smoky quartz is very helpful for this. When the opinions and emotions of others get between us and intuition, hematite helps to shield us from these distractions.