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Guts & Mangoes

A few months back I had one of the best mangoes I’ve ever had . . . During a pandemic when I’m not allowed to squeeze and smell the fruit I’m purchasing, I was able to select an excellent mango which was fragrant, juicy and just the right texture. How could I possibly make this choice without being able to touch the selection in front of me? I went strictly by one sense, my sight, but that’s not all . . . I also had a gut instinct that it would be the best choice. This is a small decision to make to rely on gut instinct, with really no major consequence. If I’m wrong, it's maybe the loss of $3, so why contemplate such a thing?

This perfect mango which was selected in an almost lottery-style highlighted for me all the times I have had to rely on my gut instinct over the years. I rely on it in my profession when trying to figure out what a student needs to be successful or when I know something’s wrong but they’re reluctant to share. I rely on it in my life decisions, knowing when it’s time to move on and when it’s safe to do so.

This gut instinct is that feeling in one’s core that something is right or wrong. When it’s something wrong, it feels like a slimy, sludge working it’s way through mind and heart to create nothing but doubts and sorrow. When it’s right, it feels like all of the surrounding molecules locking into place to create a cocoon of safety and a sense of peace.

It’s random, not something I actively seek yet it’s been a key component of my decision-making process, and it is essential to my success as a teacher. People often ask me how I connect with the students I do in the way I do – I lead with this instinct and let it guide me to the students’ way of knowing, to their heart and I respond accordingly. How can we meet them where they’re at if we don’t pay attention to all dimensions of their being - physical, emotional and spiritual? We must pay attention to all the ways they communicate with us, their words, their body language, their micro-expressions - that almost physical heart-to-heart connection.

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