When You Don’t Know, Don’t Go

We all have an inner GPS that steers us in the right direction if we allow its voice to be heard. I like to call it your “inner wise woman” or your “higher, wiser Self.”

Sometimes we allow that voice to be overridden, though, and it can come back to bite us in the butt.  Sound familiar at all?

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About a year ago, my husband and I were making lots of back and forth trips to Hawaii from Colorado as we got closer to breaking ground for the retreat center we’re building on the Big Island. Our home had been in Colorado for 15 years, but now our business and a big dream had drawn us to Hawaii.

We were also moving through a time of deep personal loss. After a year and a half of pouring our time, energy and intention into two cycles of IVF,  I had just recovered from getting extremely sick during the second cycle.

And – a double whammy -  our doctor had just told us the IVF wasn’t working. If we wanted to get pregnant, the best chance was going to be using a donor egg…. But there weren’t any guarantees if we went that route, either. You can imagine the sadness we felt after all the time, love and energy we’d been putting into this dream of having our own child.

In the midst of all this, Patrick had a trip coming up back to the Big Island for a week… and my plan all along had been to stay in Colorado. But then… I started doubting myself.

“Maybe I should go with him.” “It’s probably better for us to be together right now.” “If I stay here, in Colorado, alone, I might just slip into more of a funk and that wouldn’t be good.”

I also resorted to an old habit I thought I’d left behind, one you might even be familiar with in your own life: polling my friends. “What do you think I should do? Stay here? Go?”

Here’s the bottom line, though: no one, except me, knew what I  needed at that particular time.  And when I walked up to the ticket counter the next day to check my bag I almost didn’t do it, a sign I chose to disregard.

There was a voice in my head that kept saying “Just go. It will all be okay… you’ll be with Patrick and the time away on the island will be healing for you.” But, it wasn’t.


From the minute we landed in Kona, I felt uneasy. I was anxious, tearful, and barely able to stay focused during a 3-hour meeting we had with our architect the next morning. As we sat at the coffee shop with him, discussing timelines and plans for the next year, a voice within me kept saying “What are you doing here?”

We all have an inner GPS that steers us in the right direction if we allow its voice to be heard

Later that day, I had a phone session scheduled with my therapist… someone who know me well and was an integral support throughout the years of infertility treatment I went through.

When I told her what had been happening, she stopped me and said “Honey, when you don’t know, you don’t go.” I could feel the relief in my body when she said it, too. Like, “Oh yeah, if I’m not sure.. I don’t HAVE to do anything.”  

Of course, we also unpacked some of the bigger things going on in life that had impacted my decision, but these simple words of wisdom were what really stuck with me.

So I took a walk and some quiet time to myself after our session that day and really thought about what I needed. More than anything, my sad and grieving heart needed time at home in Colorado, time with my dogs, and time to just be quiet and let my heart heal.

So, the next day, four days earlier than my planned return, I hopped on a plane and flew back to Colorado.  And every bone in my body said “THANK YOU” when I decided to change my flight and go back early.

Trust your inner knowing… it will always guide you in the right direction.

For me, this was clear confirmation that I was making the right decision. It was the opposite feeling of standing at the ticket counter feeling totally ambivalent about checking my bag and getting on that plane to Hawaii in the first place.

When you don’t know, don’t go.

Words of wisdom that have guided me many times since then.  They remind me, and I hope you, that when we’re not sure about something or don’t have the answer that it’s perfectly okay to not know. To not go. To give ourselves the time we need for the answers to emerge.

So often, like I did before this trip, when we’re not sure what to do we to look for “the answers” outside of ourselves… when, really, we always have the answers we need within us. It often just requires a little stillness and quiet time to reflect before they emerge.