your pal, erin

Author & Psychic Superhero

Spidey senses or silly fear?

Dear Erin, 

Every time I get a “gut feeling” that something’s wrong, I dismiss it as fear and wind up kicking myself for not listening to my instincts.  How can I tell the difference between fear and intuition?  



Dear JJ, 

Be kind to yourself.  It’s human nature to second-guess our instincts.  Wouldn’t you rather question your inner knowing and discover that you were right than trust your gut and be proven wrong? 

Twenty years ago, when I was working as a nanny in Warsaw, I spoke very little Polish but was fluent enough to catch a cab downtown and give the driver directions to our house just outside the city.  One night, when I got into a taxi and gave the driver my address, he acted confused and pretended not to understand what I was saying.  I knew he was deliberately prolonging the drive in order to make a couple extra zloty but I didn’t want to insult him, so I kept my mouth shut.  

As the trip became increasingly protracted, my Spidey Senses warned there was going to be trouble.  After the fifth time he asked, "Are you SURE this where you want to go?” I was so upset that I almost told him to drop me off at a nearby bus stop so I could walk home. As I peered into the darkened woods behind the bus shelter, an ominous feeling struck, so I stayed put.  

When it came time to make a left turn across a divided highway with no stoplight, the driver turned around and questioned my directions yet again, causing the car to drift head-on into the path of an oncoming army truck. This wasn’t a truck like anything on the streets in America.  It was a bonafide war vehicle, designed to transport 50 soldiers over a terrain of rubble.  

The driver was killed and I narrowly escaped with a cracked skull and a ripped brain sack. Believe it or not, my days in the Polish hospital system afterward were more traumatic than the accident itself…but that’s another story.

When my intuition spoke, I was overwhelmed with inexplicable feelings anger and self-preservation, but I was never once afraid. On the contrary, I felt a grounding sensation that can best be described as Calm Before The Storm.

Fear is a very ungrounded feeling.  And when you're in the midst of it, it can be difficult to discern -- especially when it's accompanied by that rascally sidekick anxiety. But when your intuition brings you need-to-know information, you will be enveloped in a state of utter calm, even in the face of a worst-case scenario.  (Especially when facing a worst-case scenario?)  

The best psychic big-sister type advice I can add is that when your gut tells you that something is up, start by assuming that it's just a silly little fear knocking on your insides.  Take some deep, clearing breaths.  If they happen to lead to a creepy crawly sensation on your skin and a Calm Before The Storm feeling in your belly, then trust your intuition. You’ll know what to do. 

Your pal,


Originally published in Connect Savannah (p. 53)