I'm supposed to be getting on a cruise ship right now

Paradise Island

But I'm not. Maybe I'm crazy. I'm definitely a little sad. I was supposed to be joining my dear friend Mandy, who is working as a ship doctor, on a beautiful cruise ship for the next four days. 

"Check your ego at the door and check your gut instead. Every right decision I have ever made has come from my gut. Every wrong decision I've made was the result of me not listening to the greater voice of myself."

Yes, I just quoted Oprah.

Also, this one: "You can have it all, but you just can't have it all at once." She said that too. But back to the trip. 

I booked my ticket months ago, and was looking forward to lounging on a deck, book in hand. Even moreso, I was looking forward to long talks with one of my funnest, dearest friends, whom I never see because we live on different continents halfway around the world. We had a lot to talk about, and I'd been marking the days on the calendar for the day.

But this week things got rough. My back seized up as I bent over my laptop. People I love had medical issues. I have a special family trip to New York for Thanksgiving next week that I want to be well for. I have been going non-stop, all year. And I heard a voice say, "you need to stay here."

Those aren't words that usually float around in my head. Instead, I usually hear "go." In fact, it always says that. It's propelled me to many an early morning flight, onto trapeezes, up mountains holding on to random ski instructors for dear life, and against currents with steady strokes. It says, "jump, keep walking, swim harder." I am thankful for that voice, for the body that carries me on adventures, and for the mind to be able to write about them. I thrive on that, and can't wait to get back at it, soon. As in a week from Wednesday. 

But not today. The voice said, "stay." I got different advice from different people. Of course those closest to me know that I'll make up my mind despite encouragement or warnings, or sometimes both at the same time. As a reporter, I'm always doing research, getting input -- from friends, from books, from professionals, from the Twitterverse. And from prayer. "What should I do?" 

Is it intuition? A little voice from a talking dove? As Oprah says (ha), the universe talking back? Not sure. But it's strong. 

Once, during a period of high stress, I ignored the voice, pushed myself too hard, and ended up with a debilitating illness. That was awesome. 

But now, I'm listening. When my heart beats a little faster, listening to what that means.

When someone says something that doesn't strike me as right, listening, instead of pushing it to the back of my head.

Listening -- when my voice, and my body, say, "take a minute."

It's not always fun to listen. It doesn't make for the best status update. I'm really sad today, thinking about where I had intended to be. Instead, I'm folding stacks of laundry, pacing the house. The cruise would have been wonderful, but the voice knew that I would come back even more tired. (Forgive me, Mandy. I will make it up a hundred times over, I promise.)

It's just that these days, I have to listen and honor that voice. Truth.