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How listening to your hunches can change your life

Do you sometimes look back and marvel at how your whole life changed in a moment and a door to authentic happiness opened because of some small, apparently insignificant action that you took?

JoAnn and I celebrated July 4, America’s birthday, like everyone else, but we also had something very personal to celebrate.

16 years ago, on July 4 1995, I was living in a senior citizens apartment block in Vancouver, British Columbia, devastated and demoralized by the sudden death of my wife, and the collapse of the spiritual community that had been my home for 36 years.

I had a nudge to give JoAnn a call

I decided to visit Colorado and stay for a few days at a community near Loveland where I knew I could find some friendship and support in the midst of my grieving.

But shortly before I was due to leave Vancouver for Denver a memory triggered in my brain.

I remembered how a couple of years previously, a Denver woman had applied to attend a small writing workshop I was putting on. Her name was JoAnn Workman, and she had written me a nice note of apology saying she wouldn't be able to attend the event because her plans had changed.

"Why don't you give her a call?" said an inner voice. "Be brave.  Ask her if she would like to meet for a coffee sometime while you're in Colorado?"

So that's what I did. I looked up her phone number in the Denver white pages and gave her a call.

“Is this all I’m supposed to be doing with my life?”

JoAnn was alone in her town house when I called. We had never met. She remembers vividly what she was doing just before the call came through. "I was sitting in my chair asking myself, ‘Is this all I'm supposed to be doing with my life?'

"Then two things happened almost simultaneously. I don't really know which came first. The phone went, and at the same time I felt a presence sitting in the chair just across the room from me.

“It was all so surreal and unexpected that I was totally flustered when I picked up the phone.

“It was like another special moment in my life when I was sitting at my desk in a Shell office in Houston. My Dad had just died, and I felt him come by my desk and say goodbye."

Listen to the little nudges within

JoAnn and I talked for a little bit and agreed to meet while I was in Colorado. And now here we are, 16 years later, sitting together in our new town home in Denver. Cracking a champagne because it’s July 4 – and celebrating a strong, loving relationship born in that awkward, but magical little phone call long ago.

Listen to the little nudges that life brings to you. We live increasingly busy lives and that busyness can easily distract us from the wisdom inherent within us.

Never doubt that there is a hand of grace upon your life. It is the hand of love, and its vision is not limited in the same way that the vision of our own human mind is limited.

Some thoughts about Boomers

I’ve been thinking about Boomers lately, now turning 65 at the rate of some 10,000 people a day, and the challenges that this segment of the population faces. And (talking about nudges) I’m feeling I would like to include Boomers a bit more directly in the focus of my blog.

I’d love to hear any thoughts you may have on this, and on a proposed new tagline for The Happy Seeker. It goes like this: “Helping Boomers and others find authentic happiness.”

Do you have any thoughts or experiences regarding “life’s little nudges” that you'd like to share? Please do write and join the conversation.

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Hilary July 5, 2011 at 11:14 am

Hi Chris and JoAnn .. congratulations .. amazing moments. Things do happen out of the blue don’t they .. or meetings happen .. I’m not sure I can think of any life changing ones as such – but for sure plenty of other times.

I like your idea of Boomers .. up and coming ones, present ones and ‘ancient ones’ .. lots of aspects to address … caring, health, carers, family … etc etc ..

Hope you had a happy day .. and many more to come .. cheers Hilary


Christopher Foster July 6, 2011 at 11:58 am

An absolute pleasure to share your words and your beautiful spirit Hilary, thanks for visiting here. As I mentioned on your blog I was so touched with your beautiful offerings there. You are a true artist. Thanks for your comment re Boomers and thanks particularly for your kind good wishes to JoAnn and me. Blessings.


jonathanfigaro July 5, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Our intuitions is all we have as HUMANS. If we cannot trust Our own mind, what can we trust???


Christopher Foster July 6, 2011 at 11:55 am

Amen Jonathan. Amen. Trust is one of our most important assets or allies isn’t it. We will never reach our true potential without trust. Thanks for stopping by.


jonathanfigaro July 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm

No problem CHris!

Keith July 5, 2011 at 7:53 pm


I send my heartfelt congratulations to you and JoAnn. What a beautiful example you’ve used to show the importance of listening to that inner voice. This statement is so touching and beautiful, “Never doubt that there is a hand of grace upon your life. It is the hand of love, and its vision is not limited in the same way that the vision of our own human mind is limited.”

In a similar story, a little over five years ago, I made a last minute decision to go meet a woman. I came so close to blowing it off and just not going, but it didn’t feel right at all. I felt I must go and see it through at least. I did, and Jenny and I have been together since. 🙂


Christopher Foster July 6, 2011 at 11:52 am

Thank you Keith, your words really touch me. Hooray for you and Jenny.


Ken Wert July 6, 2011 at 8:23 am

I believe we likely make hundreds (or more?) of such inspired or nudged decisions to reach out to someone without ever knowing we affected their lives. We are graced to be witness to a very small handful of them — you and JoAnn, for example (Congrats!).

But so often, we say hello to someone we don’t know, who we might not normally have said hi to, and a life is changed. We go on. It was a brief passing in an elevator or in the doctor’s office or on the street. But a life is changed without our ever knowing.

I remember reading about a young man who had felt invisible his whole life. His parents neglected him. His personality had grown dark and sullen and quiet. He had decided that if no one said hello to him on some particular day, that he would go home and commit suicide.

A teacher was passing by him who evidently was usually caught up in her own thoughts and wouldn’t normally have said hello. But on this day, she felt that nudge, a spiritual prompting, as she described it, to stop that day and say hello. She did. HE went home and stayed alive because of it. It was only years later that he told her the story and the impact that simple greeting had on his life.

Great post, Christopher!


Christopher Foster July 6, 2011 at 11:50 am

I do so much agree with you Ken. Thank you for your fine and inspiring words here. I’d be guessing, of course, but I bet we see only 5 per cent of the results of a loving attitude to our world if that. Your story of the young man who was in despair and the teacher who followed her inner impulse to reach out to him is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve read. Stay strong friend.


Anne July 6, 2011 at 8:25 am

I definitely had a nudge when I met my husband. I was with a friend at a dance club when I saw a stranger across the room, and asked him to dance. I would never consider myself the type to talk to a stranger, but I felt compelled to do it.

The rest is history. We were married 10 months later, and now have four wonderful children. I’m so glad I accepted the nudge. It’s so difficult to step out of our comfort zone when we feel the nudge, but the rewards can be incredible.


Christopher Foster July 6, 2011 at 11:43 am

Anne, I’m so delighted you chose to share this story with us. It’s a beautiful story. God touched you on the shoulder, for sure. I can imagine that it did take a bit of courage to follow through as you did: but as you say, the rewards can be incredible. Blessings to your family and to you and every good wish for the future.


Phil D. Malmstrom July 6, 2011 at 8:38 am

What a lovely tribute and memory this was Christopher… Thank you for sharing it with us.

As I’ve learned to open myself up to those “Spiritual Nudges” God places on our hearts, I’ve found a richness of purpose and clarity that I’d never thought possible before. It’s a challenge sometimes to be obedient in those moments, but it always leads us where we’re meant to be.

Have a Blessed Day Sir!


Christopher Foster July 6, 2011 at 11:34 am

Thank you Phil. It’s good to walk this way of life with you. You bring the gift of a very steadfast and loving spirit to your world and I’m blessed by it and I know many others are too. How could they not be.You have a blessed day too.


Gail Brenner (AFlourishingLife) July 6, 2011 at 11:46 am

Such a beautiful story, Christopher. Thanks so much for sharing it, and delightful to hear JoAnn’s perspective as well.

Do I listen to hunches? All the time. It can be as simple as which errand I do first on a list or what kind of food my hand grabs in front of the open refrigerator. I might call it living in the “Yes!” There is a hunch or impulse or movement that just seems right, and I follow it.

I never know where these hunches will take me, but I totally trust in the perfection of it. It’s a blessed life.


Christopher Foster July 7, 2011 at 10:18 am

Thanks for sharing this beautiful perspective Gail. I love what you say about being open to your inner guidance system all the time, not just once in a while when you happen to think of it. It seems to me you describe being in the flow — the flow of life. I love what you say about trust too. It was a happy day for me when I first connected with you.


The Vizier July 7, 2011 at 4:46 am

Hi Christopher,

That is a lovely story of how you and JoAnn got together. It is always wonderful to read about how such special and heartwarming moments happen to people. 🙂 And it was all because you chose to listen to your hunches. It is amazing how such hunches can change our lives forever. Conversely, who know what we would have missed if we did not listen to them.

I don’t have such a dramatic story to share about hunches. But years ago when I began my journey of self-discovery, a friend mentioned in passing about the I-Ching or the Book of Changes to me. Although he passed it off as a fortune-telling book, back then, I felt a compelling urge to lay my hands on it and read it for myself. I rushed to the bookshop as soon as I could and once I got the book, it did indeed change my life and my views forever.

I think it is a good idea to focus a little more on Boomers in your blog. I am sure they could use your guidance from the experience you have to share. 🙂

Thank you for sharing this lovely article! 🙂

Irving the Vizier


Christopher Foster July 7, 2011 at 10:12 am

Thanks for your kind words Irving and thank you especially for your story about how you felt a real urge to get hold of the I-Ching. It really has changed your life hasn’t it, given you a whole new horizon and a new way of looking at life and experiencing life. It’s amazing the power a book — the right book at the right time — can have in our lives. With you in your journey.


Tess The Bold Life July 7, 2011 at 6:32 am

Hi Christopher,
I love your story! I also think Boomers are a great target market for you. However I’m not sure about adding …others to the tag-line. Hope all is well with you. How’s that first video coming along???


Christopher Foster July 7, 2011 at 10:05 am

Tess, thank you for your comment. Look, do you have any more thoughts re a tagline? I do want to target Boomers but I don’t want to be exclusive, oh dear, what am I going to do?


Barbara July 9, 2011 at 6:41 pm

I am a Boomer and looking for a nudge! There are times that we are hoping for a nudge… and have to ‘cool it.’ A nudge just happens. We cannot make it happen.

The person I was working for (a keyboardist) asked me to call and hire a drummer for a special event. When I heard Elliot’s crazy answering machine message, I told myself “I have to meet that man.” I did. First, I looked down from the balcony on the night of the concert, to see if I could guess which one he was. No problem.

Congratulations to you and JoAnn.


Christopher Foster July 10, 2011 at 11:01 am

Thanks for a great comment and a great story Barbara. So glad you listened to your hunch when you heard Elliott’s answering machine:-).


Sibyl July 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Christopher: What a great story. I really loved that and I so appreciated the advice to listen to messages that come your way. I think it is so true that we have to always listen to the signs that come your way and they may not always be immediately obvious. However, if we are looking and listening, we really can hear them. Thanks for that message this morning. I am going to keep my eyes open for signs for sure today 🙂


Christopher Foster July 14, 2011 at 11:52 am

Sibyl, sorry for the delay in responding to you here. Been a busy boy. Just want to thank you for your kind words and keep on keeping your eyes and ears open for those nudges right?


winsomebella July 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Love reading your positive words and this reminder of the power of hunches. Thanks.


Christopher Foster July 14, 2011 at 11:53 am

Thank you winsomebella. Peace be with you.


John Sherry July 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Top notch observations Christopher. Our nudges or gut instinct messages are more accurate than any mental logic beacuse they power through seemingly lost or difficult situations to light the way often illuminating us to amazing discoveries.

I made a whole sports career out of trusting my intuitive senses despite every one elses ‘good’ advice and I loved every minute. The mind is limited but the instincts are limitless in the truths they speak and the answers the provide. Blessings in abundance my friend.


Christopher Foster July 14, 2011 at 11:57 am

John, sorry for the delay in responding but I want to thank you for your heartfelt words. You speak with real authority. We sure do know what we experience and I’m so happy to have this chance to touch a bit more into your life experiences in this way. Good luck and God bless..


Live with Flair July 13, 2011 at 8:35 am

Greetings! I just discovered your wonderful blog because a friend sent me a link to your question, “It is too late to start blogging?” I LOVED it! And I love this post about hunches!

I have two great ones to share with you: I was in the deepest depression years ago, and I recalled my true love of teaching and writing. On a hunch, I called a nearby university and asked if I could teach a writing course there because I had a Ph.D. in writing.

They said, “Of course! When and how many classes?” That started a whole journey into happiness with teaching and writing. Then I had a hunch to compile my writing lessons in a little book and sell it! I did! “How to Write with Flair” is my book!


Christopher Foster July 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Absolutely delighted to hear from you Heather. Thanks for sharing these great experiences. This has been a mixed up week for me and I only just finished changing the post I put up yesterday. I wrote a new one specifically relating to my own experiences with writing and especially the fact I’ve started a writing consultancy after all these years.

So I can really relate to your story about applying to the university to teach a writing course — and how it changed your life.

I hope we’ll keep in touch and congratulations on the book. I’d love to see it. Would you be interested in an exchange, I have a fable I’m quite proud of I could send to you?


Live with Flair July 14, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Yes! Where shall I send the book? I would love to send it to you as a gift, especially since I think it might be useful for your blogging / writing consulting business. It’s a short little handbook that helps writers improve their writing in just 5 steps. here’s the link to my createspace page so you can read about it: https://www.createspace.com/3471782

Thanks!!! You are SO ENCOURAGING!!

Peter Wright July 13, 2011 at 11:16 am

Lovely story of how you and JoAnn met Christopher, and wonderful that you are using your skills to help and inspire other Boomers (and younger) enjoy their lives.

I am a Boomer forced by politics to move from Africa to Canada in my mid 50’s to start a new life a few years ago.

Boomers can do anything they put there minds to, just might take a bit longer than before.

Thank you for sharing your story.


Christopher Foster July 14, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Peter, hello, and I’m delighted to meet you across the internet. I lived in British Columbia for 40-plus years before moving to Colorado to re-marry.

I lived in Africa too for a couple of years when I was young, worked on a trade magazine in what was then Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. Whereabouts in Africa did you live? I love what you say about Boomers. Thanks for the comment.


Peter Wright July 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Small world Christopher, moved to Salisbury as a kid in 1956, went to school there, then Headlands (halfway to Umtali as it was then) back to Salisbury until moving to South Africa in 1978 (Durban and then near Midrand), back to Zimbabwe (as it had become) in 1994 and to Canada in 2004.

Other Boomers will be pleased to hear that despite a heart attack last year, I still ride my horse, walk briskly, use a chain saw, drive a tractor and am one of the top 40 twitter users in Canada – not boasting, just some background to my earlier comment about we can do whatever we want to do.

Amanda July 14, 2011 at 11:00 am

Hi Chris!

I’m a daughter of a boomer but of course can still relate and take advice from this post and everything else on your blog.

Congrats – for following your heart and reclaiming your life 16 years ago.



Christopher Foster July 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Thank you for your kind words Amanda. Happy to connect with you and wish you all the very best in the days to come.


Peter Wright July 17, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Thanks Christopher, born in London UK, went to Rhodesia at age 6.

Now live near on a farm with 2 horses, a dog and 6 cats (3 from Africa) near Woodstock, Ontario.

if you got to my blog, you would have seen a bit more of the story.


Christopher Foster July 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm

It’s a remarkable story Peter. Says a ton about your persistence and courage. It brought back a lot of memories for me. I am just so happy that you have come through these times of turmoil and found a new life. Every good wish.


Christopher Foster July 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Wonderful to hear from you Peter. Oh my. Salisbury. Umtali. Names that don’t exist anymore. I went out to Rhodesia in 1951, aged 18 I guess, just a little before you, worked on a business mag called ther Rhodesian Recorder. It was all kind of sublime. Sure expanded my horizon.

It was a beautiful country then. Food in UK even after the war was pretty thin for awhile. I went into Meikles Hotel in Salisbury and this young black waiter brought me a 6 cours elunch, with MEAT, can you believe it?

Where wer you born Peter and whereabouts in Canada are you? Congratulations on staying so active. I’ll mosey over to your blog right now. I went out to BC in 1955 by the way.


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