Moving through the world with confidence

a beautiful world

Many years ago, I took a trip to Grenada to relax, but also to learn how to snorkel. The idea of seeing those beautiful, graceful and colorful fish felt so exotic and exciting. I hired a guide and liked him the moment that we met. He was young but had an inner confidence, and I knew that hiring him was the right thing to do.

He started to take me out into ocean, adjusting my mask and showing me how to breath through the snorkel, and I suddenly became rigid with fear. I felt like I was going to aspirate tons of sea water and drown. It was not logical. I was in panic mode and tried to get back to shore as fast as I could. He was talking to me, but I was too scared to listen. I actually started yelling, “I cannot do this! I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to do this anymore!” Instead of backing down, he took my hand and held onto me, not tightly, but firmly.

This beautiful young man just took my hand and said, “It’s ok. You can do it. I won’t let you go.”  And he held steady. He did not get worked up or thrown off-balance by my mini-melt-down. He taught me to snorkel and we floated around for a half hour or so, holding hands, watching the fish.

I felt such a sense of accomplishment as I got out of the water. I also saw how panic and fear wanted to shut me down and send me scrambling for “safety”. I was in my mid-thirties then and had so little idea of how to trust myself; to trust the part of me that is always connected to divine wisdom. I’ve learned a lot since that time about listening to, and going with, my inner guidance. I’ve made enough mistakes, where I’ve declared at the unfortunate conclusion,” Why didn’t I listen to myself? I could feel from the start that something was off here” Or, “I never trusted him or her from the beginning. I talked myself into doing that and all along something inside was telling me it wasn’t right.” And I had plenty of times when I did trust the person or situation (even though my head was trying to get me into fear and doubt) and it turned out really well.

If we are going to live open and big lives, we need to trust others, but our inner knowing is always the final authority. We can step out with confidence in the world if we have faith in our inner guidance; the part of us that is connected to all Wisdom…the part that knows we won’t be led down a path feeling great and in harmony, to be suddenly dumped in the middle.

“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer“. Corrie Ten Boom

20 thoughts on “Moving through the world with confidence”

  1. Mary, this is so true. Even as a child and young person we know this feeling as our “gut reaction”. Now I know that is the Holy Spirit guiding us. I listen much more intently now…knowing Who that is!

  2. Again, such synchronicity today, Mary. I am dealing with a very sad situation involving my new neighbor’s dog. Just yesterday, I turned the issue over to Spirit and am trying to get out of my own way, let the solution flow to me and tune into my own gut for the answer.

    Your post has said to me that I am doing the right thing in letting guidance come to me. Thanks for this today.

  3. I like this post because it touches on something I think about a lot. My gut response. I believe in my gut and trust that I generally have a good natural (or gut) response to things in my life. Yet, I always struggle with that distinction you talked about between my head thoughts and my gut thoughts. Can you talk about those two more deeply at some point? I tend to question myself and my “gut” when I wonder if it’s really just my head convincing me of something and not a TRUE “gut” feeling. How do you reconcile this and truly trust your gut?

    1. Hi Lindsay, I have the same problem as you with this ‘gut’ thing, and I don’t think we are alone in this.

      I’m glad you posed the question and I, too, hope Mary can comment at some point in time about it. Have a great day!

      Suzanne Tate

    2. Keep paying attention to how you are feeling. Notice what that feeling is when it seems “right” and remember it. Remind yourself frequently of these good decisions that came from that place of “knowing”. And the times that you acted, even when the feeling was saying, “Don’t”, remember that too (without criticism or self-blame)…just notice. The head likes things to make sense. It needs logical answers and evidence. The gut/intuitive self/still-small voice, doesn’t care at all about these things…it is coming from a place of higher wisdom. The head tries to scare us into action. The gut leads by feeling.

      > > New comment on your post “Moving through the world with confidence” > Author : Lindsay (IP: , > E-mail : > URL : > Whois :

  4. I grapple with the same conflict between head and gut, Lindsay. But, I’ve found that in the most important decisions of my life, I usually “just know” and when I trust that “knowing” and just keep going…the end result is best for everyone concerned. I think we need to remember that sometimes the lesson in the situation is not just for us. My simplest prayer in my most confusing moments is: “Let this situation resolve itself for the best for everyone concerned”.

  5. I’ve heard such wonderful things about your blog from my mother- in-law.
    I love this post and in fact it is uncannily similar to one I wrote about snorkeling. I think fear has so much to to with being hyper reactive to new experience as sensitive creative types are. That sensitivity can be a blessing but also a curse in its ability to circumscribe our experience in the world. I do believe these things get easier with repetition
    The book “Quiet” by Susan Cain talks about this concept brilliantly. Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  6. I did a little research on “gut reaction” and found this:
    Origin: Probably derived from the fact that many people experience emotions and intuitive feelings as being centred on, or having a strong effect on, the stomach area, which is also called the gut. Interestingly, the nervous system’s second biggest network of closely-interconnected neurones, after the brain, is located in this area of the body.

    Might explain why we physically feel sensation there when feeling intuitively. I love Mary, that your young guide simply reached out his hand. Such a simple, human thing to do, allowing you to swim into the flow of the ocean’s pulse and relax and enjoy the beauty around you. Thank you for sharing this story. It sounds like it brought back many happy memories for you in retelling it.

      1. Kelly, wish I could send a peace sign right back to you! I had one on my cello case back in the day in Ann Arbor (the music school on the North Campus) oh so cool and hip. . . Hill Auditorium is still one of the best halls ever. Oh memories, Michigan girl!

  7. Mary, I’m moving through a difficult patch in life right now…But you and White Feather Farm are another lighthouse. Thank-you. I do not get discouraged as easily or for long. There is a light at the end of the tunnel…IT IS NOT A TRAIN, but friends, good blogs, good connections and the Lord. Cathy

  8. Wonderful story! Thanks for sharing.
    I love stories in which a “simple” act of kindness and understanding really does affect people’s lives in such a positive way—–and usually the “giver” doesn’t even realize it. It reminds us all what an impact our actions have on others. 🙂
    Take Care!

  9. I had a similar experience riding a horse many years ago. The instructor asked me to do an exercise I thought was far too advanced for me that I froze. However he coached me through it and the result was a powerful connection between the horse and myself. And also my instructor showing me to nit limit myself by labels, roadblocks or doubts. To this day I still remember how it felt to ride the horse through the exercise and how empowered I felt to press through my fears. It was one of the greatest gifts anyone has every given me. I try to focus on my gut a lot more now a days. I take some flack for it but more often than not my gut was correct. Thanks for the wonderful blog and great mind provoking post today. It brought back some beautiful memories.

  10. I have never seen or heard this quote before but I love it…wish I had it with me as it would have calmed me in my moments of panic, much like your snorkeling adventure. One of these days, hopefully soon, I will also put my face in the water and breathe!!!
    love, Marian

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