A birthday epiphany

“You think you can take the day off on April 12?”

tenniesCharlie’s nonchalant delivery sent the first blip onto my radar. The fact that my birthday fell on April 13 was the second blip. In truth, a conversation months earlier about trying to plan regular weekend getaways was really the original blip. But put those three blips together, and we have what amounts to an SFE: a Suspicious Future Event.

Now, as someone who takes in the world around her through intuitive, big-picture patterning, my mind naturally connected those dots, added in a few others that had previously appeared unrelated, and immediately swept to the conclusion that he had something up his sleeve for the weekend of my birthday and it would involve travel and a surprise.

That intuitive bent is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because, well, I enjoy being able to figure out what’s up with just a few disparate tidbits of knowledge. Most of the time my educated guesses are right. It’s a curse, though, because it makes it really hard to be surprised, to let things unfold in the moment without deciphering the meaning behind it. And that means I tend to figure out life, but not always savor the moments. It’s like I’m standing outside the moment a little bit. Sometimes, I even think it makes me look like a know-it-all, which is unfortunate because I’ll freely admit when I don’t know jack.

As it turned out, my SFE was a weekend trip to Stonewall Jackson Resort in central West Virginia, a day at the spa (which might have been a way to also ensure a golf outing for Charlie on the famed Arnold Palmer course there, but who cares), and a weekend of lake travel, hiking, and relaxation. It was lovely. And even though I knew something was up, I did my best to tamp down any intuitive pattern-making on my part. I tried to live in the moment, to let it unfold and be a surprise.

This required practicing a whole different way of perceiving the world, called Sensing – the “here and now, concrete reality, letting it unfold” approach. It’s not my strong suit, but it meant checking my Intuition and my desire to have the big picture in favor of accepting each minute piece of information on its own.

I had to be comfortable with letting things unfold – “Hmmm. We stayed on Route 50 rather than entering the Interstate,” I found myself thinking. “I wonder … No! Just enjoy the ride.”

Later, my intuition tried again: “OK, we turned South at Clarksburg, so that narrows it to … NO! Stop it.”

When we passed the last turnoff, though, I just couldn’t help it. “We’re going to Stonewall, aren’t we,” I asked. Charlie just smiled.

Hey, it was hard for me, but it was a good way to begin a great weekend. And coincidentally, another “big picture vs. here and now” approach (Intuition vs. Sensing) brilliantly unfolded early the next day. See, we’d decided to take a two-mile hike through the woods to “Chipmunk Point.” (And yes, there were scads of chipmunks scampering about, some so tiny I was amazed they weren’t still curled up in a nest, eyes tightly shut.)

I’m busy scouting out our trail – the direction, slope and scope of the path that I just happened to notice would split about 25 yards or so ahead – and trying to decide if we should take the high road or the low road. Coursing through my mind are all the possibilities of the two routes. One contained the possibility of unknown treasures, but would require steeper hills; the other offered familiarity but a gentler slope. One offered vistas of the lake (not to mention a return visit to Chipmunk Corner); the other promised a deep woods walk.

Suddenly, Charlie grabs my sleeve. “Watch out for the mud.” This would be the mud over which my foot, encased in a brand new Saucony shoe, was poised to drop.

And there you have it: the most perfect example of the difference between Intuition and Sensing, between those who focus on the big picture vs. those who focus on details. Here I am, moving along a path that’s unfolding in my mind as I fit together the patterns and possibilities of its meandering direction, trying to intuitively decide which branch of the trail we should take. And there’s Charlie, fully present in the details, making his way mud-free over terrain that’s a reality right then and there at that place and in that moment.

I’d have had muddy new shoes – a bummer, for sure, but of small consequence to me when contemplating possibilities. He’d have had cleaner shoes but might not have put together all the new possibilities of that alternate route back.

Together, however, we accomplished both. And isn’t that the key? To balance both styles of gathering information so we’ll have the best experience possible? In this case, to emerge from the woods with relatively clean shoes after a walk spent exploring new possibilities. Nothing could be finer.Image

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