That Gut Feeling


“The truth about life and lie about life is not measured by others, but by your intuition, which never lies.”

Santosh Kalwar

Following from my May 16th post, Maximize Your Five Senses, today is the last of a series of blogs on each of the five senses (plus one).  In each post, I shared some of the wisdom that my mother imparted to me – which, to those who were wondering, is why she is mentioned in every one of the blogs.  This series was written in memory of her.

Today, I will talk a bit about the sixth senseintuition, or what I call gut feeling.  This is not a sense that one should readily dismiss.  It is very real and we all have it, to some degree.  All too often, we choose to ignore it, usually to our detriment. 

Now, I want to be clear.  When I use the word “intuition,”  I am not referring to psychic ability.  That is another thing altogether – a more advanced level of intuition.

My mother was most definitely not a psychic, but she was very, very intuitive (as was her mother before her, and as am I).  She called it both a blessing and a curse.  A blessing, because when she listened to her sixth sense, she was able to circumvent potential problems or challenges, as they cropped up.  A curse, because she intuitively guessed what people were thinking or how they were going to act (again, not in an ESP-type of way), and sometimes she would have preferred to be wrong.  The following real-life scenarios illustrate her point.


The year was 1966. One morning, my mother was getting us all ready for school (I was in Grade 2; my brother and sister were in high school) but as she was moving about the kitchen, she seemed very out of sorts.  A sensitive little girl, I asked her what was wrong and she looked at me strangely and said “I really don’t know.”  I offered to stay home from school (not because it would have been a good excuse to miss class, but because I was truly alarmed by her demeanor), but she insisted that we all had to go so that we wouldn’t miss our respective school buses.  Mid-afternoon, my father received a call at his office.  It was my mother. She told him that he needed to come home right away, because she was dying (her exact words were “Come home now. I’m dying.”).  Now, although the women in my family have always had a flair for the dramatic, my father instantly realized this was not one of those moments.  He immediately called an ambulance, and rushed home (his office, thankfully, was nearby).  Her blood pressure was almost fatally low, due to internal hemorrhaging. She received an emergency blood transfusion. The doctor said that had my mother waited five minutes longer to make that phone call, she would indeed have been dead.  

When she woke up that morning, she knew that something was very wrong but could not pinpoint what it was.  She felt no pain…  just very uneasy.  This had never happened to her before, so she did not have a frame of reference.   She listened to her gut instinct and, as a result, she lived on for another forty-two years.  A blessing – for her, and for our entire family.


If you ever wanted a character assessment of a friend, lover, fiancé (fiancée), or husband (wife) – my mother was the go-to gal.  The problem was that her “gut feelings” were not always what one wanted to hear.  She was always right – no exception.  She instinctively knew whether someone was a betrayer, an opportunist or just simply bad news.  Family, friends and friends of friends would all flock to my mother for her “opinion” and she would inevitably warn them with “You may not like what I have to say.”   She was more than willing to dispense her wisdom, because she fervently believed that it was “better to be safe, than sorry.”

One day (circa 1970), a young woman (friend of a friend) bumped into my mother at the shopping center.  They chatted for awhile and the woman, “Pat” (not her real name), went on and on about this new man she was seeing.  She said he was perfect.  He was nine years older than her (she was twenty) and treated her like a princess (he took her to nice places, and bought her jewelry).  In her eyes, he was Mr. Right.  Then, Pat’s brow furrowed.  She told my mother that she was confused about one thing.  He was very reserved about his family life.  He preferred to keep conversations light and easy, at all times.  At this point, my mother tilted her head and looked at Pat carefully, then asked her How serious are you (about the man)?”  “I want to marry him,” was the response, and then I would like your opinion of him.”  My mother said, “Let’s arrange a random meeting here at the shopping center. Bring him with you.  I’d like to meet him.”

The next day, they “accidentally” ran into each other.   After the standard pleasantries, my 4’11” mother looked up at the 6’1″ man.   “John” (not his real name) was indeed very handsome and he spoke smoothly.  My mother always looked a person in the eye.  This man’s eyes kept shifting away from her gaze, as they spoke.  She ended their chat and they said their goodbyes.  That evening, Pat phoned my mother – to hear what she had to say.  My mother said only two words:  “He’s married.”   Pat shrieked NO, HE IS NOT!”  and hung up the phone.  She called back a second later and said, in a subdued voice, “How can I know for sure, without asking him directly?”  The answer she received was Well, if you ask him directly, he’ll probably lie to your face.  You could always hire a private detective or… you could tell him that you love him and that you want to marry him.  Then, see how he reacts.”  Of course, my mother knew exactly how he would react. 

A week later, my mother received a call from Pat, who said she felt that her world had come crashing down on her.  When Pat told John that she loved him and wanted them to get married, he recoiled and then told her that he was married and had two small children.  She never heard from him again.   Pat said that she wished she had never asked my mother to meet the man.  My mother informed her that she knew what he was, before she even met him. She also told Pat that she was a naïve, young woman who needed to do some growing up and that, one day, she’ll find the right man. 

Years later, “Pat” married a lovely fellow and they live happily with their three kids and two dogs. 

Odds are, however, that “John” is no longer married.

My mother did not enjoy being the bearer of bad news, the curse of her strong intuition.  Yet sometimes, even curses can transform into blessings.

It’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose.

In the past, whenever I’ve ignored my gut instinct, I’ve lived to regret it.  And, since I strive to have as few regrets has possible, I always listen to my inner voice.  It never lets me down.

My mother was right.

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