Last Summer, my friend Jules was visiting me from South Africa and we had had a solid shopping expedition on Oxford Street. It was quite rushed in that adrenaline fuelled in a 'I need to see all these shops quickly as I'm going home tomorrow' kind of way.
At around 2pm we were exhausted and dehydrated-as you often are after such a task. We wondered down Carnaby street looking for somewhere to refuel and rest our weary feet and it appeared that everywhere was rammed. Being a rarely sunny and dry day in London, us and everyone else wanted to sit outside. Jules really wanted us to have a pub lunch being a tourist and all, and we eventually discovered a rather grimy looking pub with some tables outside on the sidewalk. However something inside me told me that I really didn't want to sit there or eat there. The table we were headed to had it's previous occupants leftovers strewn over it, and someone had spilt a hefty amount of tomato sauce on the floor beside it. But as were tired and really had no other easily available options, we sat down.
Soon after our waitress had begrudgingly cleared the table and placed our drinks down, we became aware of a women begging pretty aggressively at the table just down from ours. She was filthy appeared middle aged, and was covered in pustules all over her face. She was gaunt and clearly desperate for funds for whatever addiction fuelled her, although I'm guessing it was drugs of the worst kind. She was leaning over a nervous looking American couples table and insisting that they gave her some money.
After a few minutes she was at our table, asking for cash. We kept our heads down and declined politely, both looking at our phones at the time. Jules was smoking, and the woman then asked for a cigarette. Again Julie shook her head and said she didn't have one for her. The women became annoyed and shouted "well shove it up your arse then", to which I think Julie mumbled something in reply.
A few seconds later the women was right beside me shouting: "Do not laugh at a homeless person, do not laugh at a homeless person." When I replied to her that I had not been laughing at all, she retaliated and said "Because at the end of the day, you have a home and I don't". And as she finished the word don't, she swung around with all her might and smacked me across my head with her palm, her swing continued and she knocked over my drink before completing the arc of her circle by whacking Jules too.
It then felt like everything stopped. People in the street watching this commotion froze as she skipped down the street singing 'do not laugh at a homeless person, do not laugh at a homeless person'.
It felt like a scene out of a movie, and really rattled me. Passers by came to ask if we were ok and if we were going to press charges, but we didn't as I'm not sure that this woman would even have recalled the encounter, and once our shock had worn off and our clothes dried off from the spilt drink, we felt really sorry for her.
Afterwards all I could think about was rushing home to shower and scrub where she had touched me.
The thing is that I KNEW that I shouldn't have sat there, my intuition had told me that I shouldn't, and I had blatantly ignored it.
I think that we are all losing this innate ability to listed to ourselves.
Intuition is defined as: the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.
I thought about this story again last week as I read about a yoga game for kids using their intuition. It involves one child standing in the corner with their eyes closed as another child on the class hides a feather beneath one of the yoga mats in the class. The child then comes back to the group and uses their intuition to 'guess' where the feather is. Apparently it is incredible how often the children guess correctly the first time.
It's as we get older that begin to ignore this inner wisdom.
I need to start listening to my intuition more. Although I do think that my daily meditation practice is helping me with this too. I also plan on going to a group next week about connecting with your inner guidance.
When last did you go or not go 'with your gut feel'?
PS The picture above has no relevance to where it happened, I just like it :)