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While my mother lay dying from breast cancer at the age of 47, she wrote a letter to her parents. Both of my maternal grandparents were extraordinary people. They were full-blooded Finnish and as my mother was their only daughter, they cherished and wisely guided her. My grandfather provided discipline, wisdom, prudence and love. My 4 ft. 10” grandmother was impish, fun loving, and full of love herself. Everyone was a recipient. She was elfin, mischievous, and courageous. I watched as she climbed a tree when she was in her early 70s, then peaked through the branches at the applauding crowd. Oh, how I loved these two people. They were my light in a world that contained so much darkness.

In the letter, which my grandfather showed to me many years after her death, my mother wrote with eloquent words of the gratitude she felt at their raising of her. She also spoke of her inner voices and how she wished she had begun listening to them when she was younger.

It was the first time I had heard the term, “inner voices” and over the ensuing years, I gave it much thought. I also began listening to my own inner voices. To me, it is as if I have my own personal guru inside of me. He is in charge of my intuition, what I grew to call my inner voices. So many times in my life, I heard them and didn’t heed them. The results were disastrous. With each of my first three marriages, I felt as if I were putting my neck in a noose. My inner voices were screaming at me. I presented a deaf ear and paid a heavy price. I plunged into life as if I knew where I was going when in truth I had no idea; I used little wisdom in all of my decisions. When I was younger, I referred to my inner voices as “the child inside of me”. She too was begging me to get help, to address the trauma that had happened to me when I was thirteen years of age. But as someone who I loved very much once told me, “It’s too hard to catch a moving target.”

I blithely wandered through life with my, as John DeBruyn so aptly termed, “heedless follies of unbridled youth”. Along the way I read many books, I listened, I stubbed my toe repeatedly, I took classes, and I pondered hour after hour on bits and pieces of wisdom I gathered without even knowing it. Gems went into my inner voices closet, waiting for the day when I would listen to what they said instead of blindly rushing into situations that ranged from indelicate to downright dangerous. It was as if everything I heard, saw, and felt contained these gems and my inner voices extracted the wisdom, the lessons learned and filed them in the appropriate place.

So when I tried to commit suicide and failed, my inner child was screaming for help, guiding my path in such a way that every attempt, to my fury, failed. I didn’t really want to commit suicide. I knew that later when I was going through recovery. I wanted only to find the key that unlocked the door that contained all my inner voices. Every time I headed in the wrong direction my gut hurt, my body tensed, my inner self felt torn apart. No wonder. What I didn’t consciously know my inner voices knew. I wanted someone to rescue me. All along, I was the only one that could do that.

Inside all of us dwells our own inner voices. So, the next time you hear something inside of you, trying to guide you into the right path, stop and listen. You may define it as intuition. That’s a much more respectable word than “inner voices”. Webster calls intuition, “the power of attaining direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference”. In recovery, as I began setting the outline for what would later be called REPAIR, I spoke of the properties of Awareness: sensibility, prudence, knowledge, visualization, feeling and foresight.  They are siblings in the same family, gifts given to humans at birth. Socrates, one of the world’s greatest philosophers, once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” He was right.

Examine your life. Unlock the door that contains your own inner voice. Wisdom in life is free; All you have to pay is attention. If you need a guide, get a copy of REPAIR Your Life.