Updated on June 30th, 2020
I was not always in the habit of listening to my gut feeling. As a former Biochemist and Executive Management Consultant, I’d lived mostly in my head, and placed structure above what I thought were vague ideas. But since I’ve learnt to trust my intuition, my life has changed. In this post, I’m sharing three intuition stories and suggest how you can learn to trust your intuition – and live a more easeful life!
I have not always been well-connected to my gut feeling. (Here’s how I found my way to it, and what happened then.) Today, I tap into my intuition (or it taps into me…) in all kinds of ways.
Three intuition stories
One afternoon, I was going to cross the street, but I suddenly felt hesitant, so I waited. And lo and behold, there was a cyclist about to cross my path; I hadn’t seen him because of the glare of the sun in my eyes. (Mind you, I still recommend checking carefully before crossing the street! 😊 )
Another time, I forgot a book I had just bought in a café where I’d had lunch. I didn’t even notice the absence of the book when, straight after, I went on a three-hour walk in a nearby park with a friend. On the way home, at the end of the day, I passed that café again and felt irresistibly drawn to it. I thought that perhaps I ought to buy some bread there. (Which is a bit of a paradox, as I don’t even eat bread!) But I followed the hunch, and entered the café. I was one of the last customers before closing time. Only then it hit me that I didn’t have my book and might well have left it there. I asked the girl behind the counter about it, and, sure enough, she’d found and kept it, even though she didn’t think anyone would come back for it! (And that is why I still own the Complete Works of John Keats to this day. 😊 )
On another occasion, I was looking for a special, meaningful event to celebrate my fiftieth birthday, and I found it by a chain of synchronous events: Enchanted by Alison Croggon’s fantastic stories of Bards (which I had picked up on a whim in a charity shop and kept on my book shelf for a year without reading it), I had a sudden impulse to research modern Bards. I found a Druid retreat place, half a day away from where I live, which offered Sacred Body Art weekends. This struck me as the perfect way to start my fifties and begin embodying the woman I wanted to be. I checked the dates: The only time they were running that weekend that year was exactly on my fiftieth birthday! Needless to say that I signed up on the spot. Imagine my surprise when I found, later, that my local herbalist was also going to be at the weekend, supporting the group as a cook! 😊
These days, I pay attention to my gut feeling
I don’t question it; I follow it.
I keep open and curious as I discover what happens next along the way, trusting that it will lead me towards what I want or need, even when what comes my way looks surprising and unexpected. When it seems to lead me to a place I didn’t think I wanted to go, it prompts me to look again at the direction I’ve set myself.
Following my intuition is a gentle way of moving my life forward, very much in tune with my own rhythms and the pace of my life. It has made me feel more connected to life, more held by something greater than myself – something that knows more than me about what I’m here to do, and will help me unfold and blossom in that, if I just let it.
I’m more in tune with myself these days, too: better able to say YES or NO to what comes my way. I base my responses on what I can now feel is right or wrong for me, or on how much energy I have available to give at any moment. I guess I’ve become less of a people pleaser through that! I say NO more often than before – hopefully gently and for the right reasons. 😊
My intuitive living is not perfect. It never might be. I’m not always sure what I actually feel about things, and intuitive impulses I receive can feel vague or confusing at times. But as I keep practicing, with consciousness, and reflecting on how I felt, what I then did or didn’t do, and what then happened, it’s working better and better for me. It’s a learning process… and when I lose my connection to my gut feeling, I’ll work to re-establish it, quickly!
How you can start trusting your intuition, too
Below are seven principles I found helpful which I still practice – I hope they’ll help you too!
1 Calm down, relax, get still
In order to listen to your intuition, you need to be able hear its ‘voice’. This is difficult when life is frantic, with a million things vying for your attention, and stress, high emotions and chaotic thoughts reigning within us. Therefore, anything you can do to calm down your life and yourself, to relax and get still inside and out, will help you notice what your gut feeling is telling you.
Can you stop even just a few of those too many things you’re doing? Resolve or remove yourself from conflicts? Take your life more slowly? Can you actively make time to rest? Process or release difficult emotions? Calm down and still your racing mind?
Pick something that feels right for you, do it regularly, and see what happens!
2 Become more mindful
You can train yourself to pay more attention to what’s going on around and within you. Meditation, for example, can help you quieten your mind and become still(er) in the midst of a frantic world. Then mindfulness techniques can help you tune in with the world and yourself, consciously focus your attention and practice noticing stuff.
All of which will enable you to better ‘hear’ the voice of your gut feeling and distinguish it from other impulses.
You’ll be able to see more clearly what is happening and sense your best response, rather than responding by reflex, just to get something done or off your back.
3 Try it on for size
This one helps me a lot, as I can’t always sense from just thinking about something whether it’s right for me or not. But when I actually try it out for real, I feel what it’s like, and then I know.
I’ve completed a Garden Design course, a while back, for example, to figure out if that could be a profession for me. And I learnt that I love the planting, but not so much the hard landscaping, nor being outdoors in cold weather… Hence, gardening, for me, has remained a hobby.
What is it you’re unsure of? How could you try it on for size?
(If you cannot try this for real, you could run through the detail of what it means to do this, in your mind. How does imagining yourself doing this make you feel?)
In any case, notice: How does it feel? What’s your inner voice telling you about it?
4 Ask for insight
I was amazed when I discovered this: You can actually ask your intuition questions you’re unsure about. Get still (perhaps in meditation, or walking alone in nature, or whichever way works for you), and ask your intuitive knowing, the wise part within you: “Should I be doing this?” Then wait and be open to receive your answer.
It might emerge as a felt YES or NO within you, or, as a sway forward (=YES) or backward (=NO) of your body. (Using Your Body As A Pendulum has an explanation of this.) Or perhaps you’ll not hear anything as such, but you’ll feel or know what the right answer for you is.
You can also ask questions like “What does this mean?” or “Where should I start?” Or whatever else might help you find your best way forward.
Don’t think about it too much, don’t analyse it – just wait for a response. If nothing comes there and then, let it rest. If you’re like me, you might find that an answer suddenly drops in at some later stage!
5 Draw a wisdom card
I own three card sets that I like to work with when I’m unsure about something or someone: energy cards, power animal cards, and women’s wisdom cards. More recently, I added a fourth one that has cards with only a single word on it, like joy, commitment, reflection, faith, love, celebration, and so on.
You might of course prefer angel cards, or tarot cards, or Goddess cards, or ideas cards, or image cards, or colour cards, or… whichever card set feels right for you, in your gut. 🙂
There are many ways of consulting cards, but at the simplest you could mix your card set up while thinking of the question, doubt or confusion you want clarity on. Then lay out the cards, face down. Let your hand move over the cards and notice where your hand wants to stop – pick a card from that place.
Then reflect on what it shows or says.
Would you take the card’s meaning literally, or is it best read metaphorically, as a story, an image or a symbol that relates to what you asked?
What could it mean for your current situation, your question, your confusion? Which ideas or answers does it spark in you? Do these feel right or wrong to you?
6 Notice synchronicities
Esoteric wisdom and even Jungian psychology has long believed that synchronicities – seemingly unconnected, astonishing, almost miraculous coincidences – carry meaning and provide guidance, as they correspond to our emotional states and inner experiences. Some people believe they’re winks and nods from the Universe, to let us know that we’re on the right path – if we choose to notice.
I have days where I see the same sequence of numbers, say 11:11 or 44:44 – repeatedly, in a number of unconnected places. I have bumped into a person, three times within two weeks, in random places at random times, after not seeing them for twenty years. I’ve had a year where everything seemed to point to the West of my country: I did a course in Wales, a friend of mine moved to Bristol, and I found a doctor and homeopath I wanted to work with, who also had her practice in Bristol.
If synchroniticities are something you’re interested to explore, the first step is to notice them – perhaps you’ll even feel drawn to write them down in a journal and observe them for a while?
You’ll find your own symbolic meaning for the synchronicities you notice. For me, I tend to interpret them as a sign that I’m on the right path, or as pointers that will make me more conscious and curious about exploring certain a direction.
7 Commit to following your gut response
Trust that your inner wisdom knows more than you think. Decide that, next time you have an inkling, an inspiration, a gut feeling about something or someone, you’ll just follow it, no ifs nor buts.
Try doing this lightly and playfully: Experiment, have fun with it, and see what happens.
Be happy about every little thing you do that feels right, about every synchronicity you notice. Observe what happens. And don’t worry too much when nothing seems to come of it.
Keep practicing with an open mind…
… and you’ll connect more deeply with your inner wisdom. It’ll become your friend, and you’ll be in frequent dialogue. You’ll feel clearer about what’s right or wrong for you, as you’ll have an inner compass to increasingly rely on.
You might well start making different choices than before with confidence. As your life begins to feel increasingly aligned with who you really are, notice how you’re growing in confidence, wellbeing and joy, and coping better with life’s inevitable ups and downs!
Oh – and don’t forget to enjoy moving forward in your life in this way!
Over to you now…
How do you get in touch with your intuition or gut feeling?
Do you always follow its voice?
What’s happened for you as you follow your intuition?
Please share your comments below!
Want to read more about this topic?