One day I’ll write more about the use of intuition in healing. So let me start by telling you my story and how it’s helped me thrive in spite of some pretty big challenges.

My atunement to the subject of multi-sensory perception goes back to childhood. Though not talked about much, it runs in the family, actually. My grandfather was a physician who often “knew” what was wrong simply looking at a patient when other doctors brought their unexplained cases to him. And my mother and aunts have shared more than a few stories about his wife, my grandmother and her “knowing.” Extremely empathic, I simply notice things others don’t at times.

Always one to be utterly truthful this kind of being “different” got me into a few jams as a kid for sure. Like the time I walked into a teacher’s home with a group of friends and casually mentioned, quite unexpectedly that I loved it and, in fact, was going to “live in a place just like this when I go to college.”

I had never seen a townhouse before and was enchanted with the coziness and feel of the place. In my enthusiasm I thought that my congratulations on her new place would be a good thing. However, a look of offense came over my teacher’s face as she assured me that a college student could never afford a place like hers. A chip on her shoulder which lasted the rest of the year made her class pretty uncomfortable for me. She even drew my closest friends into the grudge resulting in some of the worst bullying of my high school experience.

(Update: Fast forward 35 years and I now retroactively chalk these kind of social disaster experiences up to my undiagnosed Aspergers. – ap)

Ironically, I forgot about the encounter until I went off to college and was told that all the dorms – and I desperately wanted to live in one – were full.  The moment I walked into my new digs, picked out by a new roommate I’d been assigned before I even got there, I had a feeling of deja-vu. It was almost identical to my teacher’s townhouse. It was literally the only housing available on campus and had been completed just weeks before I arrived.

These kinds of events are fairly benign, even somewhat commonplace for everyone from time to time. I just seemed to have them a lot as a kid; however, my intuitive gifts came into much sharper focus with The Big Bang.

In 1985, after suddenly collapsing after a Houston Astros baseball game I found myself paralyzed by a subarachnoid hematoma which compressed my spinal cord. After laying completely unattended for many hours in a crowded emergency room, sure I was dying from the unimaginable pain, I was finally transferred to another hospital.

Extremely lucky to have landed in the hands of a gifted neurosurgeon after leaving the trauma ward across town I survived nine hours of tedious and life threatening neurosurgery to extract the large clot that was literally threatening to shut off the flow of my life force. In the process of removing the clot it was necessary to remove all of the lamina on my thoracic spine. The lamina is the bony bump that you feel as you run your hand along someone’s spine and it’s what protects the spine and connects to the spinal ligaments. This and several resulting spinal deformities have been the underlying causes of chronic pain, my constant partner from the moment I awoke from surgery.

For years I experienced visual and body memories of most of what was done to me in surgery, and I was imprinted emotionally by things that were said about me by those working on me while in a highly suggestive state. I pray that one day surgeons will understand more about their fiduciary obligations with patients in the highly suggestive state of being both helpless and heavily drugged.

When I awoke in the ICU a few days later I was told I might not ever walk again. In fact this stunning message was delivered by a crew of medical school students armed with needles for pricking me, along with their deity, the genius of a neurosurgeon that had saved my life. As I lay helpless as a baby and unable to move they spoke as if I wasn’t in the room. This man and the incredible staff at this world class hospital literally saved my life; and then for all intents and purposes very nearly scared it right back out of me with a lack of empathy and knowledge of the processes of primary and secondary trauma.

And it wasn’t personal. No one really understood these things in 1985. Many still don’t. We have so much work to do in the area of returning caring for the spirit to our way of practicing medicine.

The first fully conscious memory I have after about a week of semi-consciousness in intensive care is waking up with the knowledge with every fiber of my being that I would walk again. Not only did I know this but I was shown exactly how I would do it by a loving presence that I woke up fully aware of. Bless my mother for her spiritual insight. She immediately gifted me with a set of audio tapes to listen to on my Walkman. The tapes reflected radical new thinking and she wanted to give me every chance to fulfill my declaration. After listening to the tapes at night I awoke each morning and prepared for my doctor to visit with a new internally illustrated “lesson” on how to move the energy up from my big toe incrementally to the rest of my body. I never knew really where it came from but I have been able to tap into this loving presence ever since.

This was the beginning of my relationship with what I’ve never really been comfortable naming. For a while I described it as my spiritual guides – to myself mostly, never to other people. Now I’m more comfortable with calling it “the voice inside myself.” Or high sense perception. Neuroscience is explaining more about this every day.

It’s difficult to explain this kind of knowing. So to my family and the doctors I just sounded stubborn. I guess you could say they finally accepted what I knew when I awoke as my walker and I made our way out of the hospital just two weeks later. I also knew I would be okay having children in spite of their warnings against it. Being a mother of four was my calling.

Although I recovered the ability to walk rather quickly and returned to some semblance of normal life, back pain, neuropathic pain, and organ spasticity have been my companions and teachers ever since. And we’ve made our peace with each other for the most part, thank goodness.  I listen to them, they listen to me. We get along. Most of the time. When I step out of line and act without regard for my body’s limitations, they certainly let me know the err of my ways. I don’t do heavy lifting any more, for instance.  And marathon gardening sessions are a longed for thing of the past.

More destructive to my life, however, was the trauma to my central nervous system. Not only had I been traumatized, but I was a highly sensitive person to begin with. For many years I had to deal with deciphering the effects of both physical and emotional trauma mostly by myself. So my intuition or internal guidance system was my most trusted ally.

Complimentary therapies have been invaluable on my healing path for the past 30 years, as have a very few forward thinking physicians and teachers. They’ve not been easy to find. My challenges were always on the cutting edge. And I followed voraciously the books on the subject of the emerging science of Energy Medicine. From books I located some of my most trusted advisors.

In the next post I’ll tell you about a few of them.