It was the last day of the August heat wave, just before the thunderstorms broke the heat, and we had decided to enjoy a rare day off and go to the museums and galleries in the city.
As we drove into the city, my eyes drifted over the scenery and I noticed the beauty of the scorched fields. The hot, dusty air blew across the parched landscape of gold and yellow fields and the trees were barely clinging to their green leaves. I thought about how lucky I was to live here and to have this ever changing, beautiful scenery on my doorstep. And that even in this heat, we still have plenty of running water in our homes.
Whilst feeling this sense of gratitude, I got a pang of sadness for the farmers, guessing that they had lost much of their crops this summer. It had been so hot these past few months that many of the crops had withered and died. I closed my eyes and wished them good luck and providence. Hoping that, despite the soaring temperatures, water bans and ruined crops that they might still gain something good at the end of the year.
We had all been praying for rain and cooler weather. The forecasters had promised thunderstorms later that very evening. So it seemed like a good idea to go out rather than sit in front of the computer in the heat of our offices. After months of hectic work life, it was time to take a breather and August is vacation time in this part of the world.
Lost in my thoughts, I became aware that it had been a long time since I ‘tuned in’ to my spirit. I mean my intuitive self which had been drowned out recently because of the all the noise around me. So, I purposefully pushed out all thoughts of work still pending, current problems and things that need my attention and tried to focus on just today.
Then, I realised I had forgotten to do my usual practice of positive affirmations that morning. So I took a deep breath and let go. I closed my eyes and said a little wish to myself. ‘May today be an enjoyable, fun and interesting day for us both. So we can switch off and just relax.’ As I said the words in my head, I imagined a scene at the end of the day with the two of us sitting in a cafe, smiling and chatting happily about what fun it’s been. I imagined that the rains would come only after we are safely inside and that the atmosphere was like being on holiday.
We arrived in the city, parked our car and were walking towards the city museum when we realised we both needed to get some money. “Where is the nearest ATM machine?” I asked my husband but neither of us had any clue. We continued walking along the street and found ourselves standing at a crossroads that we didn’t recognize. My husband pulled out his mobile phone and started to search for an App to find an ATM. I looked around us feeling agitated in the heat. I felt a subtle urge to go down the road on the left but had no idea why.
‘There is nothing to worry about’, I heard the voice in my head say, ‘just relax’, and I started to feel calmer. The thoughts continued, ‘remember when you were in Canada in that unknown city when you found that particular art shop you were looking for? You had no map or mobile App to guide you then. You just used your intuition, remember? Hmm, yes... okay, let’s try and see if it works again. Nothing to lose.’ I said to myself.
By the way, these were not exact words going around in my head but instantaneous feelings, perceptions or intuitions you could say. ‘That road feels like the right way to go’ was the next thought and I felt the road on the left pulling me again, more so than the other four possible roads. So I turned to my husband, grinned and said, “Come on, I think it’s this way. I’m going to follow my ‘Gut-Nav’ and you can follow your Sat-Nav.” My Gut-Nav is my pet name for these intuitive feelings that I get when trying to navigate somewhere. Some people call it a gut feeling or sixth sense or just ‘knowing’ something about which direction to take.
“Okay... you and your Gut-Nav... hmm...” said my husband, not really convinced that this was a good idea. He continued to poke at his mobile phone as he followed behind me, complaining that the phone App was not working properly as it was taking too long to upload. I said nothing as we walked but tried to listen to my inner dialogue. I asked myself, ‘which way now?’ as we reached another junction. The road stretched a long way ahead of us and I could see another crossroads in the distance. ‘Keep going straight. Remember how you did it before; just walk and ask again at every junction.’
You see, it’s an interesting phenomenon when I tune into my Gut-Nav because I don’t get a clear map in my head or a predefined route. The directions don’t come all at once. I simply have to relax, try to let go of logical thinking and just listen to the feelings/thoughts as they come up.
We stopped at the next crossroads. ‘Where to now?’ I asked as we looked around us. Before I could get an answer, I noticed on the road to the right, about only 100 meters away, there was a small red sign which looked like the logo of our bank. It was hanging above a shop window but the shops all seemed to be closed down. I pointed it out to my husband and he said it was definitely our bank’s logo. So we turned right and walked towards it and there, to our amazement, was a small bank outlet with an ATM squeezed in between a whole row of closed down shops!
“Brilliant!” I grinned happily as we went inside and both got our money out. As we continued on our walk towards the museum, my husband said, “Wow, that was easy! How did you do that and so quickly?” His mobile phone app was still uploading.
So I explained, “Well, all I did was firstly, think about the goal which was ‘we need to find an ATM’. Then I said something positive in my head like ‘we have found an ATM easily’ and at the same time, I remembered a time when I had done this kind of thing before. More importantly, I imagined the feeling of getting some money out and thinking ‘this is great, thank you! We got what we needed!’ This feeling should be like it has already happened. So it’s very simple really and only takes a second.” He mused over my explanation but didn’t quite understand how it could have actually worked.
The museum was better than I had expected and after we had spent several hours wondering around, we were ready to move on. We left the museum, had some lunch and were now trying to decide whether to go ahead with our plans for taking the Tunnel Tour. It was held at other end of the town centre and would require a long, uphill walk. After talking with him about the details, I realised that it might have been the same tour which I had already taken a few years ago with a friend of mine. In which case, it would be pointless for me to go again.
The tour would consist of a walk through the old tunnel bunkers under the city. The next tour was due to start in 45 minutes and it would be quite cold down there. We would need to go back to the car, pick up our warm clothes and then walk up the hill to the ticket office. We were already quite tired and were both wondering if we should even bother with the long trudge in this heat.
Again, I tuned in to my intuition, ‘should we go or not?’ The answer came, ‘go with the flow’. It seemed my husband wanted to go to the ticket office and first check if it was the same tour. So, I decided to let go, relax and imagined that ‘we are getting to the ticket office with plenty of time, enjoying a nice cool ice cream beforehand’ and saw us both smiling, having fun - whatever it was that we would end up doing.
By the time we got to our destination we were both hot and panting from the hike uphill. Then, we had to wait for ten minutes as there was a queue at the ticket office. Finally, we were served and my husband told me that the ticket office lady had said it was a different tour. I was still unsure but it was okay, I was going with the flow.
Now, we had just another ten minutes before the tour would start. So I switched on my Gut-Nav again and said to my husband “come on” as I headed out of the ticket office and past the crowds. He was confused, where was I going now with so little time? Actually, I was not familiar with this place either but we walked just a few paces up the road and found a nice little Italian restaurant with an ice cream stand outside! I was delighted and my man was happy too. So, we had just enough time to cool down, relax with an ice cream and change into our warm clothes. Not only that, the tour turned out to be the one I really wanted to see after all and indeed, we both thoroughly enjoyed it. I smiled with gratitude as we followed our tour guide inside and into the welcome coolness of the tunnels.
After the tour, a hot, humid evening awaited us outside. At last, the storm clouds were gathering, the air was heavy and the much needed rains would come soon. We looked up at the sky wondering what to do next. My husband suggested finding a bar as we were both quite thirsty and could do with a sit down. His lower back was aching again, especially after all the walking and standing around. I knew that what he really needed was to lie down flat on his back, not just sit on a chair, even if only for a few minutes, and I needed to rest my aching feet. Again, without thinking too much, I imagined a nice grassy place where we were both able to rest before the rains came down. But there were no lawns in sight. We were surrounded by bars, houses and stone paving on the ground.
This time my Gut-Nav was already tuned in. It was pulling me further up the hill, through the archway and out and away from the old city. My husband asked, “Do you know where we are going?” and grumbled that all the bars were down in the square behind us and we were going in the opposite direction. I cheekily answered, “yes, sure” but really didn’t know where I was headed. However, he smiled because by now he had begun to trust my instincts and let me lead.
We continued uphill leaving the old city walls behind and into what seemed like busy, traffic filled roads beyond. I followed the road up and up for a few minutes until I saw some trees on the other side of the main ring road. We crossed the road and found ourselves on a wide, slopping, grassy bank under some tall oak trees. I took out my shawl and laid it on the parched grass. My man was very grateful as we both sat down and took the weight off our feet.
We lay on our backs, relaxed and stared up at the clouds through the trees. I pondered over my incredibly accurate Gut-Nav which I had tuned into it several times that day. Despite this place being our nearest big city, neither of us had visited it very often and so we were both quite unfamiliar with its geography. I smiled to myself as I thought about how much fun I was having practising the use of my wonderful mental tools.
Soon, the wind started to pick up and it was time to get moving again as the clouds were about to break. “Time for that drink?” asked my thirsty husband. ‘Absolutely’ I smiled. We headed back down the hill towards the centre of town again feeling much re-energised after our short rest.
Then, we found ourselves again near the bars and restaurants by the river side. The plan had been to get something to eat and perhaps, go to the cinema afterwards. But as we sat down in a rather crowded bar and ordered our drinks, neither of us felt like eating yet. Actually, I was toying with the idea of going home, back to the quiet, and relaxing in the coolness our living room.
“What do you want to do?” asked my husband, looking rather tired. “Well,” I hesitated as I didn’t want to be the one who was leading again. “I don’t mind... What does your Gut-Nav say?” He thought for a few moments sipping his beer.
Suddenly, he smiled and his eyes lit up as he said, “I feel like going home! How about we save the money we would have spent in the cinema and get a DVD film instead? We can go to Millers, buy a nice movie, go home, relax and just eat whatever is in the fridge.” He grinned with his clever new plan. Millers are a pharmacist, drug/general store that sells all kinds of goods including films, music and videos.
It seemed we were both tuned in to each other - which happens quite often. “You read my mind!” I smiled back and looked at my watch. “But the only problem is that we only have about twenty minutes till the shops close. And where is the nearest Millers, anyway?”
“Well, we can only try”, said my husband and got up to pay the bill. The first thought was, ‘we’re never gonna make it.’ But then, you can probably guess what went through my head next. Yep! I pictured, imagined and felt what we wanted to do.
As we walked back towards one of the main high streets, I remembered seeing a big Millers store a long time ago when I had last visited the city. “I am not sure but I think it’s just off the big square by the church” I said.
This time both of us had tuned in to our Gut-Navs and our intuition worked even faster than before. “I think it’s that way” my husband pointed. We took a turning and headed directly towards the square that I had thought about. “There it is!” I exclaimed, not quite believing it myself, seeing the huge Millers store on the other side of the square which still had its doors open.
As you can guess, we had just enough time to browse around the film aisles and make our selections. My husband even found a particular movie which he had been after for a long time. As we finished paying, the lights were going off and the shop was getting ready to shut the doors.
We left the store with our lucky findings and just as we arrived at the underground car park, the heavens opened and we were very glad to be out of the rain. Finally, the temperatures started to drop and it seemed that everyone was heading out of the city. My husband managed to steer clear of the traffic jam by following his Gut-Nav and took a detour. He drove us home without experiencing the usual stress.
By the time we got back, we were both feeling tired and thankful to be home. It was a wonderful day and we both smiled at each other, delighted at our fun expedition and intuitive explorations in the city. I gathered some yummy nibbles and we both blissfully put our feet up to watch the movie.
* * *
Well, now you are probably going to ask me how can you tune into your Gut-Nav? The trick is simple: first define what you really want and say the words in your head as though you have already reached your goal. At the same time play the emotion you will feel at the end and be grateful. It can be imagined or something that happened to you before. Most importantly, let go. Let go of expectations, let go of need or desperation. The more you trust yourself, your feelings, the more likely it will be accurate.
Lastly, let me ask you something: Did my husband and I manage to have an enjoyable, fun and interesting day, and enjoy that holiday feeling? When was the last time you set your intention for the day, first thing in the morning, and it came true?
Your gut is magic! Happy navigating. And thank you for reading.
With love, Naz
Written by Nazish S. Qazi on 16/08/2015