Do you wish that life had an Undo button?
How often do you think of the right thing to say, hours after the conversation is over?
Do you have trouble making decisions? (have you ever spent more time trying to pick a movie than it took to watch it?)
These are the moments that call for a Subtle Knife.
I am a huge fan of Philip Pullman’s fantasy series that begins with The Golden Compass. The second book is titled The Subtle Knife, referring to a magical tool that can open a doorway between the worlds (useful to escape various Dark Things). However, the hero or heroine must bring extreme sensitivity to let the knife find the exact place and angle to cut, or it won’t work.
A few years ago as I prepared to lead a group of young women on a vision quest, my husband gave me this beautiful handmade knife from Finland. He called it my subtle knife, a symbol of clarity. The beautiful intention for his gift was for me to wield it wisely — to bring my deepest intuition and judgment to the journey.
The biggest gift I offer to Feed my Spark is to listen to it. But as a Gemini, an enthusiast of many things, and a general airhead, it is not always easy to remember to quiet myself enough to listen deeply. Even though the voice of my Spark ( inner wisdom & light) is absolutely the most powerful guide in the universe. It can help me prevent those Undo moments, and steer me toward the best decisions. For me.
If I let it, my Spark drives the hand that wields the subtle knife. It’s not that hard, if we can remain conscious and open.
Here are the steps:
- Pause. That’s right. Stop what you are doing, long enough to actually ask your inner voice and hear the response.
- Breathe. So how often in the day do you consciously notice your breath? It’s like opening a window to let in the fresh air. It clears out the noise.
- Feel. Bring your awareness into your body. Say hello! Revel in the fact that you have a body!
- Ask. Now hold your knife loosely, looking at the worlds that stand before you, and ask: is this right for me? Is this wrong? What shall I say now? What is the next step? Point the question to your gut, not your brain. Lots of neurotransmitters down there.
- Listen. Is it a solid YES? NO? If you hear lots of reasons, it’s not your Spark. It’s your brain. Ask again.
- Act. The Knife knows exactly what to do, and what to say, if you let it guide you.
What’s so hard about THAT?
- We are a culture of doers. We value doing and moving and producing and speed far above taking the time to go inward.
- It’s awkward. Imagine: your husband asks what you want for dinner that night, and you close your eyes to listen deeply before answering. We never do that! We typically respond fast, out of our ego’s needs, our patterns, our roof brain chatter.
- We like to talk a lot. And when we’re talking (even in our heads), we can’t listen. I have trouble with this… that’s when I conjure the Native American cultural value of silence. To hold it until you have something powerful to say.
Why it’s gonna feel good to do it anyway:
- If you can really get down to the source of your Spark and hear what it’s telling you, you can trust it. totally.
- It’s refreshing to bring a beginner’s mind even to the most basic of choices. Your old stories, your previous likes and dislikes may not apply to the present moment.
- It’s allowing yourself the freedom to take this moment and see what IT needs. Instead of what you THOUGHT it needed.
On a related note, Tony Schwartz over at the Energy Project posted a lovely article on “Whatever you feel compelled to do, don’t do it.”
What’s happened in your life that made you long for a Subtle Knife?