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.
Here are three of my intuition stories for you
One afternoon, I was going to cross the street, but felt hesitation and waited. And lo and behold, there was a cyclist about to cross my path whom I hadn’t seen 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, not even noticing the absence of the book when, straight after, I went on a three-hour walk in a nearby park. On my way home, at the end of the day, I passed that café again, feeling irresistibly drawn to it and thinking that perhaps I ought to buy some bread there. (Paradoxically, 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 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 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), I had a sudden impulse to research modern Bards and found a Druid retreat place, in a different part of the country, which offered Sacred Body Art weekends. This really struck me as the perfect way to enter my fifties and start 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 herbalist (yes, the very one mentioned above) was also going to be at the weekend, supporting the group! 😊
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, and very much in tune with my own rhythm and the pace of my life. It has made me feel more connected to life, and 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 – 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, and it never might be. But as I practice, it works better and better for me. 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 five things I did which helped me – I hope they’ll help you too!
1 Calm down, relax
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, and relax, will help you notice what your gut feeling is telling you.
Can you stop 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 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 randomly lashing out, 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 better.
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 all 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 do a trial for real, you could run through the detail of what it means to do it in your mind, and see how comfortably you can imagine yourself doing it.)
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 the questions you’re unsure about. Get still (perhaps in meditation) and ask your gut: “Should I be doing this?” Then wait and be prepared 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. (You’ll have to look up “the intuitive sway” to learn more.)
You can also ask questions like “What does this mean?” or “Where should I start?”
Don’t think about it, 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 Commit to follow your gut response
Trust that it knows more than you think (literally!). Decide that, next time you have an inkling, an inspiration, a gut feeling about something, you’ll follow it, no ifs and buts. Do this playfully: Experiment and have fun with it.
Be happy about every little thing you do that feels right, about every synchronicity you notice. And don’t worry too much when nothing seems to come of it.
Keep practicing with an open mind, and you’ll get better. As your life starts to feel increasingly aligned and ‘right’ for who you 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 forwards 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!
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