Diversity and demographics does not change the fact that many people are struggling today. I live in a large urban setting, and it is a common occurrence for homeless people as well as a lot of other folks to ask me for money. The question I often ask myself is how do I know who to help? Recently, I had a challenge concerning giving to a stranger that left me with no other option then to tap into my intuition to determine the best way to handle it.
Intuition is a skill that is not easy to explain. It involves being comfortable with knowing your feelings and emotions, and staying keenly aware of what is going on in and around you at all times.
My crash course in trusting my gut happened when I was in a grocery store and got in a line with only one woman in front of me. As I unpacked my groceries, I vaguely heard the customer in front of me tell the cashier she would pay with a food stamp card and a gift card. It appeared to be simple enough transaction especially since the lady only had a few grocery items.
I grew up working in a grocery store, and I can usually quickly calculate how much my own groceries will cost within a dollar. As I quickly glanced at the lady’s grocery items on the counter my thoughts were the whole thing would cost about $20.
Ringing up this small amount of groceries could have been done in less then 5 minutes, but problems with the woman’s food stamp card led to the cashier trying again and again to get approval for the payment. Watching the whole thing unfold, I knew intuitively the card was not going to go through. I also knew that without the food stamp card, the woman standing in front of me would not be able to pay for her groceries.
Taking all this in, I was ready to offer to pay for her groceries, but instead something told me not to rush to try and fix things. I did what I advise my clients to do, and made a conscious decision to slow down and take in the internal and external cues to help guide me on the best decision to make.
The female customer in front of me was in early 40’s was bundled up with a winter coat, gloves and hat. Without knowing her, I tuned into the subtle energy field that surrounds all of us. In a couple of minutes, my intuition kicked in and my sense was that she was a very proud individual and offering assistance could possibly make her feel humiliated, shame, embarrassment and maybe even piss her off.
There were now a couple of other people in line behind me and as I glanced at the woman behind me she came up and whispered in my ear, “I want to offer to pay for her groceries.” I whispered back to her, “I want to do the same thing, but my intuition tells me she is not a person who is comfortable with accepting help.”
Less then a minute or two after saying this to me, the lady standing behind me took matters in her own hands and offered to pay for the woman’s groceries. I watched the whole thing unfold like a slow motion movie as the female customer’s body language completely changed She wrinkled her forehead and I noticed her back straightened up as if she was putting an invisible defense barrier in place.
Recognizing the subtle signs of discomfort is one of the best clues to decide to what to do when faced with a decision.
The customer who was trying to get approval for her food stamp card did not answer the woman who offered to help her. Instead, she unleashed her anger on the cashier and said there was a problem with the store’s messed up technology, since she saw the $15 in her food stamp account online, right before coming to the grocery store. GRE words reflected the hurt, embarrassment, shame and anger that I sensed earlier. And in that moment i felt incredibly sorry for her, and my gut told me she was telling the truth. But my knowing this did not change the fact that this very proud woman would not accept charity.
In those tense couple of minutes after the customer’s outburst, I also became aware of the female cashier’s distress, as she stood there helplessly wringing her hands together. And there was no mistaking the woman behind me feeling frustrated over her not being able to help.
As much as I wanted to help the woman pay for her groceries on this cold January day in Chicago, I had to detach my emotions and allow things to proceed without getting involved. That is the hard part of being intuitively aware honoring what you sense and and not taking action even when your heart wants you to.
Within a minute of so, the female customer made a split second decision and pushed the majority of grocery items aside and told the cashier she would pay for the remaining items on her gift card. That transaction went smoothly and the lady with the very straight back grabbed her grocery bag and quickly walked away.
With so many people struggling it is easy to want to jump in and fix things.. The only true option is to refuse to accept that there is an absolute solution for everything we are facing in our lives. And as much as like to fast forward through a movie, the truth is we make better choices when we allow yourselves to slow down and take a moment to check in with our intuition to help us make better life choices.
Intuitive Strategist Sheree Franklin works with individuals and corporations. She is the author of Intuition: The Hidden Asset Everyone Should Learn to Use. To learn more about Franklin’s book go to www.amzn.to/1UxlWLG.
Sheree is also a practitioner at Holistic Health Practice at One East Superior, in Chicago. Her practice includes one-to-one coaching as well as corporate speaking events, workshops and facilitation. For more information go to www.shereefranklin.com.