The new book “Happy If You Know It” is a collection of poetry, fiction, art and photography that tackles the question, “what does it mean to trust our intuition?”
I have two small angels perched on either side of my shoulders—the carefree black girl and the older, more knowledge shaman guide.
My carefree side insists that I’m overthinking everything. I should relax and just got for it. The higher the risks, the higher rewards. Everything will work out as the universe intends. Progress over perfection. Just do it!
My old lady shaman would rather I give it more thought. Think it through. Consider the risks—financial, social… but mostly financial.
Perhaps you’ve felt it too? When you left your cushy but soul-crushing corporate job behind to found your own startup. When you pulled 10K from your savings to keep your business afloat.
When you took on a client that you believe in even though you knew they wouldn’t be able to pay for the full cost of your services. Or maybe when you took a chance on a hire who was a little less experienced than you knew you really needed.
What does it mean to trust our intuition? To trust our gut?
In an article published on Psychology Today, Dr. Marcia Reynolds Psy.D. writes that “your gut wants you to have what you most value.”
When our values conflict and we feel that we need to minimize our risk one of the things we can do is to ask ourselves, “Does my gut reaction match what I most value? Am I too scared to say or do what my gut is saying?”
With this in mind—I evaluated my decision-making process. I realized that whenever I listened to either side of my gut, I was safe. I made the best decision that I could have made with all the insight I knew to be true at the time. I went in the direction that benefited me best to result in the best outcome I could have achieved at the time.
When I listened to the carefree black girl, I was right. When I listened to my old shaman lady. I was right. They both want the best for me. Whether it was to go for it or patiently hold off to think it through—they both want me to have what I most value.
When I listened to neither of them, that’s when I’d get into trouble.
I can recall plenty of times when I had a gut instinct, a primary urge that I didn’t listen to or follow. Only to regret it later.
Just as equally there have been times when I did follow my intuition and reaped the benefits.
How can we really know when to make a decision based on what the “mini me” on our shoulders is trying to tell us?
The new book, Happy If You Know It is a collection of poetry, fiction, confessional writing, art and photography that tackles the question, “what does it mean to trust our intuition?”
But don’t confuse Happy If You Know It with a traditional self-help book. This anthology relies on personal experiences and exploratiosn rather than facts, figures or affirmations.
This book is not a guide. There are no actionable steps and no checklists. Instead, this book features personal and contributions from 15 different women including Toronto muralist and artist Ness Lee, long-established painter and filmmaker Margaux Williamson, celebrated writer/musician Vivek Shraya and Rogers Writers’ Trust 2017 Fiction Prize shortlister Carleigh Baker.
Happy If You Know It is published by With/out Pretend, an independent Toronto-based publisher focused on producing, promoting and distributing works by women and persons of colour, including those who identify as femme, queer and trans.
In Happy If You Know It expect writing that’s raw, perplex, thought-provoking, revealing and vulnerable.
None of the writers claim to have it all figured out. This book isn’t going to turn turmoil into certainty nor will it make sense of a scattered world.
But it will allow for deep reflection, uncomfort, maybe a little shifting in your seat and furrowing of the brows.
I am not sure of most things. Your guess is as good as mine. But I’m at my best when I can take my time in making decisions. When I can listen to both sides of myself without being influenced by social media, fake followers, celebrities, or self-proclaimed gurus.
I like having space. I like having both angels on my shoulders.
I am happy when I feel free, loved and valued. I am happy when I feel I am being driven by purpose. These are the things that I value.