Saturday, December 02, 2006

Keep an Open Mind

Actual snow on the ground

Early this morning I made my way up to Don Mills and Lawrence via TTC (bus) then a short walk across some pretty slippery pavement to the Overland school of Learning. The purpose? To shoot a class on intuition or more specifically the instructor teaching the class on intuition. Kate Opashinov a very gifted, inspiring instructor who can adjust her course outline to match each of the individual students requests and needs at a moments notice uses her humour and energetic personality to keep the class from getting glassy eyed. Her ability to keep this up for 6 hours (10am-4:30 with a half hour break) is incredible.

The school, 55 Overland

So what is a class on intuition all about you ask? Have you ever have a "gut" feeling about something? A light bulb go off or your spider sense alert you for no apparent or logical reason? Perhaps something about a person that you liked or disliked even before talking to them? Maybe you forgot your keys somewhere and for some reason you thought to look in the freezer? Maybe you're taking on a new client and something is giving you the heebie jeebie's but you can't put your finger on it. Maybe there's something that makes you decide to take a different route to work. These are all examples of intuition.

The class begins with Kate introducing what intuition is. The students are then prepped into a relaxed state before diving with both feet first into actual exercises. Some of the exercises are done with all the students as a whole group and some where the students are separated into pairs. In both cases you as an individual get to interact and participate using the skills you have.

Katherine Opashinov

In traditional schooling we are taught based on physical, tactile, and things that we can see or measure. Nothing really explains things like intuition. Some people may have good intuition and some may have bad intuition but there aren't a lot of ways to be taught other than the school of hard knocks. Kate's class is great in that it's actually okay to make wrong guesses. She doesn't swoop in a yell at you saying "you suck". That would be like yelling at a baby learning to walk. "What he didn't walk on the first try? Get him a wheelchair cause he'll never learn.". Sometimes we may get the right thought into our head but for some reason our brain decides that it's not practical. Maybe based on past experiences, or maybe because we get distracted by something else.

Among some of the exercises while in pairs, one person is designated to emote (person A) while the other performs the duties of a receiver (person B). For example, Person A will concentrate on a feeling (ie. feeling warm, prickly, cold, wet, mad) meanwhile person B will try to guess what person A is feeling. For this exercise I was put into the emoter part and a woman in the chair next to me was the receiver. It was kind of odd to concentrate on a single feeling. How often do I do this with the mindset to send this message to someone else? Maybe when I'm trying to get the girl to say "yes" but that's more trying to brainwash than to actually just have her repeat a thought in my head. While doing the exercise I couldn't help but put my fingers to my temples as if it actually assisted in sending out my thoughts more. Sort of like the amazing Raveen or a magician trying to think of the card you picked. A bit theatrical but whatever. The receiver when asked thought I was thinking of being wrapped in a warm blanket made of valour. She put emphasis on the texture of the blanket which I was trying to picture in my mind.

Her answer freaked me out a bit as I was indeed thinking about being warm and wrapped in a blanket, but a blanket of polar fleece. Maybe not exactly the same material but pretty close in terms of texture. There were other exercises where the role was reversed. We had to imagine ourselves somewhere. The woman concentrated and I my job was to figure out where she was. The first thing that popped into my mind, about 10 or 20 seconds after we officially started, was that she was on a tropical beach with water lapping toward her. To my surprise I was correct. To make sure it wasn't just pure luck I thought we should have another go. Go, Ten seconds, I thought of a place with rocks, rocky jagged large rocks. She told me she was on a mountain. Granted I could have said rock quarry but see could have thought of a bunch of others things with no rocks in the environment. Desert, north pole, ocean, even beach again to throw me off.

The odds of thinking the same thing are astronomical if we think there's just coincidence. The following exercise was a bit more unnerving. One of us had to concentrate on a past injury or current injury. I was partnered up with a different subject. As soon as we were told to start. I thought that the girl's whole left leg was bugging her, from her ankle to her hip. Then as an added flash had the impression something was wrong with her neck. Keep in mind that she was sitting in a chair. It wasn't like she was standing with a limp. As it turns out she had had an accident where her knee popped out of her joint and as a result required surgery to bolt her leg back together. This made her whole left leg feel sore including her hip. As for her neck, it turns out that she slept in the wrong position the night before and her neck had a kink in it.

When one considers the odds of about 85% of the class, the class being about 12 pairs, getting the "correct" answers one has to wonder if there is more to this than just luck. At one point while walking around the room Kate picked up that I was thinking Jello. How add it that?

For more information on Intuition and other courses Kate teaches check out her web site at She is also available for one on one sessions which are also described on her web site. If you end up taking a session and mention you found Kate through this site you won't get any discounts but maybe I'll get lunch. Work that Karma. :->

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