Ways of Knowing™ Symposium: Exploring the Role of Intuition in Health & Healing

Personal Stories

What Stories about Intuition and Healing Do the Participants Tell?

Nurses, physicians, and alternative/complementary professionals shared their stories in response to a survey of Symposium participants. [link to Survey and Results] These sample stories range from dramatic insights into life and death issues through Indigenous cultural perceptions and to a alternative/complementary healer following inner guidance to heal herself. The stories reflect non-linear knowledge of what to say or do in key moments and acting on that knowledge. What follows are some of these stories, told in the participants own words.



Dr. Lisa Ruth-Sahd from York College of Pennsylvania provided an example of knowing that the condition of the patient was more critical than conventional assessment indicated.

A 44-year-old man came to the hospital after being involved in a motorcycle accident in which he was thrown off of his bike into the guardrail and slid approximately 40 feet. I was surprised that he was alert and oriented on arrival to the emergency department and was able to recall the events of the accident because when the accident occurred he was not wearing a helmet. When he arrived he had stable vital signs, a normal Glascow Coma Score (GCS) (neurological assessment), and a normal Revised Trauma Score (RTS) (scoring tool used to evaluate physiologic parameters in trauma patients). Despite these normal findings, I felt apprehensive and uncomfortable and could not understand why. I kept second-guessing my assessment and wondering why I continued to feel that something is wrong.

Although I had just completed an assessment ten minutes earlier with benign results, I felt I needed to go back in the room and perform a second complete assessment. I LISTENED to my inner feelings that something was just not right with this patient. This time I noticed his heart rate was faster than it was previously and he was developing a bruise over his anterior chest wall. I looked up at the heart monitor and saw that the electrocardiogram (EKG) pattern had become flattened. Putting all this together, I immediately alerted the trauma surgeon as well as the emergency room physician and together we rapidly prepared the patient for a pericardiocentesis, a procedure necessary to decompress the pressure that was developing around his heart. The accident had caused a blood vessel to tear and consequently he was developing a pericardial tamponade secondary to bleeding.



 Lora MatzLora Matz, MS, LICSW from the University of Minnesota gave an example of a dramatic insight she had when working with a patient.

While working at Children’s hospital I once worked with a teen named Sarah. Although Sarah was not responding to her treatment and knew that she did not have long to live, she was buying some time in order to go on a Make a Wish trip. Sarah was receiving palliative radiation treatments, which made her quite sick, but she was determined to continue. She had been involved in a discussion regarding last wishes and her advanced directives and let us all know very clearly that she did not want to be kept on life supports no matter what. One day her oncologist and nurse practitioner and I were finishing lunch when we were paged to Sarah’s floor. Sarah had returned from radiation and was plummeting rapidly. Her oncologist stepped into the room to check her vitals. I knew from looking at her that it was not good, her coloring was gray and she was gasping for breath. He stepped out of the room and said, “ We are loosing her, and her parents aren’t in the hospital. She was stable this morning and I begged them to take a break and leave for a while. She’s going to die before they get back, there is not a damn thing we can do about it.” “Yes there is!” I said, and watched myself, as though from an altered state, step forward and walk into Sarah’s room and crouch down close to her face. “ Sarah, do you know that you are dying now and that your parents aren’t here. Do you want us to let you go, or do you want to wait for them?”

Barely audible, Sarah softly said, “Wait for them, please.” I let her know that I was going to climb on the bed with her. After climbing on the bed and pulling her into my arms, we sat and waited. Time and others moving in and out of the room seemed irrelevant and took on a dream like quality. After some time had passed, Sarah’s parents were able to be located and returned to the hospital. Her mother and I changed places and Sarah died peacefully in her mother’s arms. As I climbed off of the bed and quietly began to leave the room, I suddenly became self-conscious and aware of my surroundings. A lightening bolt of self-doubt and fear ran through me. I hesitated as I began to leave the room wondering what the nurses and everyone would think? Who the heck did I think I was to do that? And what was it that I had done? Was it me at all? As I quietly closed the door behind me to give Sarah’s family some privacy, all of the nurses stepped out from behind the desk and began to applaud. Heidi, Sarah’s primary nurse came up to me and gave me a big hug saying. “I came out of there and everyone asked if there was anything they could do and I said, It’s ok, Lora just did it. Thank you so much, that was wonderful!” I was humbled into silence.


#Many participants indicated that they used intuition to identify an important thing to say or ask a patient. Dr. Patricia Hart, faculty at the Center for Spirituality & Healing, says “Intuition to me, for the most part, isn’t a dramatic experience. It seems very ordinary and simply a way of assessing an experience and responding naturally with what’s called for, with what appears to be very effective results. I recognize it only by comparing my everyday experiences with experiences I typically had ten years ago. I’m just much more “on target” with much less time and effort required. Usually it’s asking a weird question out of the blue, uncensored, and getting a profound answer or seeing a deep emotional release/ response to the question”. It’s seeing emotional/spiritual layer beneath what’s reflected in the physical realm. She tells the following story about her experiences using intuition.

 During a routine encounter with a young diabetic adult in the ER with DKA, it simply popped into my head to ask her what was going on when she was first diagnosed at age 7 or 8. She revealed that it was right after she’d witnessed her sister murdered by her boyfriend! This is not part of the usual questioning about diabetes, but in my mind it had everything to do with her diagnosis!


#C. Teddie Potter, RN, MS and Public Health Nurse works with AIDs patients. When visiting the partner of a patient of hers who died she has an amazing, symbolic encounter with a ‘gift’ from her patient.

It was not uncommon for me to do a bereavement visit one to two weeks after the death of a long term patient. On this occasion we walked down to the creek on a dreary fall day. The partner said, “Sometimes I feel L. [partner who died] so close to me. I think that I can turn around and see him as though he is still here in some way.” Intuitively I knew I needed to let him know that his perception was accurate and could be trusted. These words came to me, “Cherish these experiences and feelings as they are indeed real. The veil between worlds is very thin at this time.” At that very moment, a ray of sunlight pierced the clouds and shone on a cardinal sitting on a rock in the middle of the creek. The bird was brilliant red. The partner suddenly said, “We need to go back home now.” Once we were back, he went into the other room and came out holding a gift. He handed it to me saying, “Before L. died, he got this for you because he wanted you to know how much you helped us.” I opened the package and found a little figurine of a cardinal. The partner smiled and said, “It was L.’s favorite bird.” Intuitive knowing gave me the best words to give a grieving man just as it had given me guidance on how to provide the best care for the dying man.


#Dr. Charles Bransford with Stillwater Medical Group asks an intuitively generated question which triggers greater peace and understanding in a dying patient.

As a physician, I do a lot of work with palliative care. I recently worked with a wonderful woman with end stage breast cancer who was at a stage where it probably would be best for her to discontinue chemotherapy and go into hospice. She had successfully beaten the odds so many times that she, her oncologists, the chemotherapy nurses, and her husband didn’t really know how to stop. Yet, it was obvious to all of us that she was dying and her suffering was increased by aggressive treatments. When I met with her and her husband I asked a question that came out of the blue for me which was: “Have you taken care of anyone with cancer before?” This question really came from inside me – it wasn’t something I’d read about. As it turned out it was the perfect question. She told me about being the primary caregiver for her mother as she died from cancer. She said her mother wouldn’t accept any type of pain meds. I could see the light go on for my patient as she realized she was doing much the same thing herself. She then made some wonderful decisions both for herself and her family. I believe that question came from my own intuition. I’d love to know how to make that happen more often.


#Dorothea Hrossowy, Rosen Method Practitioner learns a lot from her patient’s body as she is working with them. Here is her story of how she was confused by intuitive information and how her perceptions were correct, but her assumed interpretations were incorrect.

 One time I was working on a woman and she suddenly looked very young, about 6. But then it shifted again and she looked deathly pale and very sickly. As I was looking at her she looked very old, and like death itself. I actually got a little nervous, wondering what would happen in that moment, was something wrong, was I really seeing that, is she going to die? Should I say something, or keep quiet about this? All these things were going through my mind while I had my hands on her belly and ribs, and trying to decide what to do or say. Then she said, “I am remembering the death of my father.” How old were you? She said “I was six and we went to see him in the hospital. He was really sick and they knew he was dying and they brought me in to say good bye.” She began to cry profusely, and talked about how sad she was and how deathly sick he looked to her. She cried a lot of tears, and I was able to just bring presence to that little girl’s grief, still living in this 60 year old woman. When the grief settled out, I sensed a growing aliveness in her body and I asked her what was going on in her now, and she said she could feel aliveness flowing down her arms and legs, and she said, “It is flowing out, right out my finger tips and its like a vibration and it connects me to every other living person in the world.” That was amazing, and I could hold that with her, and remind her that she would never be alone, that she was deeply connected, even though she lost her dear father at six.


NirinjinParticipants spoke of the need for healers to listen to their intuition to assist their own self-healing. Nirinjan Yee who was a cranial sacral healer at the time of onslaught of Lyme’s disease, listened to her intuition to assist her healing process.

 In 1989 I contracted Lyme disease. By 1991, my joints were swollen, I was partially paralyzed and my other body systems were rapidly deteriorating. There were no health care practitioners that could help me. As hard as I tried to heal myself, I was getting sicker and sicker. On New Year’s eve in 1992, I wrote that I would like to be healthy. I heard a voice from within say “you can”. I saw the image of a glistening silver thread connected to my life force (which at that time was very little) flowing outward into a dark space. Within the dark space appeared the following instructions: Go on IV antibiotics for 15 days, then take Chinese herbs for 1 month, followed by Homeopathy for 1 year. I approached my doctor who was the head of research for infectious diseases at UCSF. He consulted doctors in New York and Massachusetts where Lyme disease was more common. The treatment that they recommended was IV antibiotics twice a day for 40 days. I was open to doing the whole treatment. However, after 15 days had passed, I began to get new symptoms and I felt that my kidneys were getting weakened. I told the doctors that I wanted to end the treatment. The adamantly told me that if I did, I would get Lyme disease even worse than I had it and that I would have to do the whole 40 days again. On the 17th day, with the support of a circle of healing friends, I ended the IV treatment I was discharged from the hospital and told I would never be able to walk again and if I needed more drug treatment to come back. I then did one month of Chinese herbal medicine and a year of Homeopathic treatment.


#As a native healer, Dane Kaohelani Silva integrates natural medicine & wisdom to promote optimal health & wellness for patients & students. Dane a indigenous Hawaiian healer tells his story.

Sitting at the round table by himself in the crowded University cafeteria around 9 PM, the young man prepared himself for his late night chemistry class. Hearing a female voice saying, “Please hold my hand!”, he turned around in his seat to locate the source of the request. He didn’t recognize anyone but caught sight of a distressed young woman sitting alone at a nearby table. When he heard the request in his head again, the man realized that this unvoiced plea had come from the young woman. Despite the incongruous nature of his action, the young man stood up and walked over to hold the hand of the woman. She looked up at him and said, “I was just praying for someone to come and hold my hand!” She told him that she was about to kill herself because of an unacceptable relationship with her employer. This event subsequently led to a personal healing experience for the depressed young Nurse. It also led the young man in a new, wider path where he deepened and integrated his cultural and technical skills with life science and healing arts.

  • Ways of Knowing™: Exploring the Role of Intuition in Health & Healing Symposium