More Than a Feeling

By Judith Ennamorato
NC Press, 174 pp.

Friends, are you frustrated in the quest to realize your true potential? Do you long for material success and spiritual gratification? Do you lack the will to pursue your goals with passion and conviction? Perhaps you are a member of the Conservative caucus. Perhaps you are John Turner.

But possibly, just possibly, all is not lost. What your friends and relatives and the parliamentary press corps have mistaken all these years for lumbering incompetence may be the result of nothing more complicated than that your brain has been firing on only one hemisphere – and the wrong one at that. You may have been suppressing your inherent powers of intuitive insight.

So sayeth Judith Ennamorato, she of the dishy name and the comportment to match. A former runway model, now a mother of four, Ennamorato gazes out of the jacket flap dressed in smart tweed and looking like an ad for Holt Renfrew. She has a theory about success which she wishes to share with us.

It’s nothing if not an appealing theory. Certainly, it dispenses with the need for troublesome things like schooling, experience or visible aptitude, and offers instead the cheery idea that all that’s required is feeling damn good about oneself – sort of How to Make a Million with No Talent Down.

True fulfillment, it would seem, in whatever walk of life, is no further away than the right-hand contents of one’s very own noggin, wherein lie the dormant tools of a new understanding. The trick is simply to learn how to overcome the left-brain biases of analysis and rationalism and to believe instead in the power of the gut hunch: the voice of intuition is the voice of possibility and truth.

No matter that there are large financial empires in Las Vegas and Atlantic City built on P.T. Barnum’s proposition that there’s an intuitively confident individual born every minute – that would be negative thinking, and negative thinking is a curse on intuitive success.

Ennamorato has three major sources of evidence for her contentions. First, there is the appeal to genius. Aristotle, Descartes, Freud, Einstein – a parade of Big Thinkers, all waxing rhapsodic over intuition and how it aided their career advancement.

Second, the scheme is garbed in the trappings of science. There is much talk of the corpus collosum, hemisphere dominance and brain lateralization. Most of this information comes from articles with titles like “How to Harness That Missing Brain Power” published originally in such journals as Reader’s Digest, Cosmopolitan and – that bible of neurophysiology – the Toronto Star.

Finally, there is the testimony of the successful themselves. The bulk of the book consists of conversations with a certain slice of Toronto society: Damasco Garcia of the Blue Jays, Rick Vaive of the Maple Leafs, lawyer Eddie Greenspan, illustrator Ben Wicks, author Joy Fielding, the owner of Winston’s restaurant, the president of McDonald’s Canada, sitcom celebrity Alan Thicke, Star columnist Lynda Hurst . . . all of whom confess that they don’t know what intuition is exactly but, yup, they’re extremely grateful that they’ve got it.

All of this gives the book a character that’s difficult to convey. Imagine Tommy Schnurmacher and Zena Cherry collaborating to write something called Get Fit Through Nuclear Physics.

But how can you, too, capitalize on the powers of intuition? Perhaps it’s necessary to attend her lectures in order to develop these hidden skills fully, but in the meantime the author offers some meditative techniques: “Mentally picture your name on a blackboard, surrounded by multi-colored flashing lights. Concentrate on this image, allowing it to be the only focal point in your mind.” Bob Barker says: Intuition . . . come on down!

Once we have learned to recognize our inner voice, Ennamorato instructs, we must cultivate it, and grow to trust it, even when it contradicts what we “know” to be correct.

That’s all very well for her, you complain, but my inner voice can be counted on to whisper counsel on the order of “Go back to bed,” “No one will notice” and “You get two for one during Happy Hour at the Bal St. Louis.” What most of us need is not greater intuitive awareness, but less subversive inner voices.

But Ennamorato has an answer for that, too. It lies in the energy of positive thinking. To be truly happy we must re-engineer our wills. We must visualize ourselves in our most desired state, and place ourselves physically in the picture.

I am imagining myself in white tie and tails. The King of Sweden is shaking my hand. I am holding a medal. At last I can stop worrying about where next month’s rent is coming

  • Montreal Gazette January 31, 1987