We'd all be a little healthier and happier if we paid a bit more attention to the little voice inside our head. You know - that voice of reason, sense and tranquility that can all too easily be drowned out by the hubbub of city life. Michelle Tanmizi can recall two instances when her inner voice actually saved her life. 'One morning, I had this spontaneous thought that I should put on a pair of shoes instead of the flip flops I usually wore every day, so that it would be easier to run,' says the 37-year-old. 'I was in Africa at the time and for some reason that day, I automatically thought to wear shoes. I've no idea why. Nothing happened the whole day - and then that night, my travelling partner and I were attacked. I had to run for help.' It was indeed a self-defining moment. 'It told me to always listen to my intuition,' she says. Her revelations don't end there, either. 'When it comes to travelling, if it doesn't feel right, I won't do it. Once in Cambodia, I was trying to hitch a ride to Siem Reap. I had the chance to get on a helicopter flight, but for some reason I just decided that I shouldn't get on it. It later crashed, killing two people.' This isn't to suggest that the Jakarta-born, Singaporean, French and US-educated Tanmizi is purely guided by voices (although with intuition like that, it's tempting to ask her along to the races). Tanmizi is now the joint director of Zama International, a holistic healing centre in Central that embraces everything from botanical remedies and mineral therapy to live blood cell screening, counselling and lifestyle coaching. Tanmizi is also a globe-trotting poet, with her own book of poetry. 'I'd realised that corporate life wasn't for me,' says the former executive, who arrived in Hong Kong with Hennessy in 1990 before switching to Christian Dior, which she left four years later. 'It's always the same - lots of politics, and I can't deal with that. So I quit everything, packed my backpack with eight items of clothing, and that was it. I just wanted to travel and write.' She describes her self-published book, Truth, as 'the product of travelling around the world, and the relationships I've been in since 1985. And the photos in it are from bits and pieces of my life. I have to warn you though - most of the poetry is a bit depressing.' It is, indeed, intensely personal stuff - hence, the title. 'I just believe that writing should be from the heart,' Tanmizi says. 'The book is chronological, themes of love and deception - I was going through a very hard time then. Most of the people who have bought this book are women. They all seemed to connect with it and understand my writing. They tell me that the writing is very unusual. I like to create images with the words.' While travelling in Mexico, Tanmizi came across the word zama, an ancient Mayan word for 'dawn' - the birth of a new day; a new beginning; and the opportunity to make a fresh start. 'A few years ago I'd never have thought of myself as director of a healing centre,' says Tanmizi, who is fluent in English, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Putonghua and Indonesian. 'I originally wanted to be a doctor, but I was dangerous when it came to chemistry. So I opted for business, instead.' And so Zama was born, when she met her business partner, Jennifer Walker, a healing expert. 'One of the major challenges of this is that people think it's all extremely flaky,' Tanmizi says. 'But it's very grounded work. I see healing as encompassing everything. A person can be physically fit, but, if they're not doing well in their mind, heart and soul, they need to be helped. It's a spiritual thing, as well.' After about a decade of personal discovery, what has she learned? 'I've been proposed to four times,' she reveals. 'But my choice was always not to get married until I found the right person, and until I'm happy with myself and done all the things that I want to do. That's why it's called 'settling down', isn't it? And now I'm ready to.'