Ready — Set — Ring! Intuition is a bell that tinkles to snap us out of the habit of living by rote memory. Sure, routines provide structure to our lives, but change is the one constant we can count on. In order to slough off our habitual responses, we must rely on that subtle gut feeling to nudge us in the direction that is organically life-enhancing.
It always tickles me when I know my electricity is off and I find myself flipping on the light switch anyway. I’m a few feet away before I realize I’m standing in the dark and wondering how many responses I make daily that are made in a repetitive semi-conscious state.
I don’t want to roll through life just flipping switches out of habit. I want to make conscious choices— ones that are less automatic and more driven by divine design.
Last year my mom got sick and her doctor tested her for several possible causes that could cause her symptoms. Several weeks passed with mom getting worse and still no answers. As I spoke with her on the phone, the word “gallbladder” seemed to hang in the air above me, but the medical tests had indicated it was fine. At my insistence, she had another test performed on it and the doctor found her gallbladder was only functioning at eight percent and was indeed the ailment that was causing her distress. Thankfully, I had dismissed the risk of sounding absurd and heeded my gut feeling.
Much like our hunches, bells grab our attention. They ding us into and out of classes and alert us to cease the old year and commence a new one. Bells announce new beginnings at weddings and fresh endings at funerals. The “State House Bell” was adopted by slavery abolitionists and renamed the “Liberty Bell” as a symbol of freedom. In April of this year, it tolled in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and a subsequent new beginning for the freed slaves.
Unlike the slaves, we need not wait to live freely, but, we get accustomed to waiting for alerts to tell us that it’s time to move on to the next activity or appointment. We often neglect to notice the bells that only we can hear — the ones that are pulled by our heartstrings like when we know we should take a walk with a friend, but choose to wash the car instead or when we join another committee knowing its mission isn’t our calling, or when we mindlessly trudge to work even though our passion is embedded on a different career path.
We will keep stumbling through a maze of mistakes unless we allow our internal bells to rattle us out of familiar patterns. So, listen to your inner voice and follow its lead as you ring in your new year — your own truth. You might be surprised by the freedom you fetch!
Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County and an author. Her column appears each Tuesday.