Updated on May 31st, 2019
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. Then I created a structured and intuitive coaching practice, but drove myself very hard with it. It wasn’t until I went through a tough year that I learnt to trust my intuition more. So read on for the story of what happened then…
It had been a tough year.
I had worked really hard for a long time to create a balanced life with a work I loved. I’d wanted to make my life joyful, inspiring and sustainable, but found myself burning out with the entrepreneurial trap (and sometimes necessity) of doing it all myself.
I was working all hours, trying to get everything done that I thought I should do: creating services and offers, writing books, articles and blog posts, networking, social media posting, giving free talks and workshops… and – yes – working with my clients.
Then long-standing work collaborations came to an end. I got ill for six weeks with a debilitating virus. And my wonderful, strong, life-loving mother (who lives in another country) got diagnosed with Motoneuron Disease – in her eighties. All my instincts were screaming that I wanted to be with her as she undertook this last part of her journey in life. Yet I felt shackled by the obligations of my work.
And I realised:
This was not the life I had set out to live. It was not how I loved to work. Somehow, my original life vision from years ago had grown into a work-a-lot-to-get-results-and-survive-financially monster that rather resembled the high-powered corporate career I had left, previously, to actually get a life.
Instead of joyful, empowered and fulfilled, I was feeling straight-jacketed, disappointed and utterly worn out. And a veil of early grief about my mother started coming down on me.
What was worse: I didn’t really know what to do about it.
So I stopped. And it felt good.
I’d always been someone quite self-disciplined who wanted to do things properly. And I’d also been apt at changing and learning new things, even pushing through my own fears and resistance, to realise my aspirations.
But maybe, this time, I had gone too far. Perhaps finding myself with my back against the wall broke my determination to do things properly – whatever that meant – at all cost.
Something changed in me. What I’d been doing so far was working for my clients, my collaborators and my contractors, but it wasn’t working for me. I’d reached a point where I just didn’t want to go on anymore. I knew that, if I wanted a different result for me, I needed to do something different.
I started listening to and acting upon my intuition.
My gut feeling. What my inner voice was telling me. What I just felt and knew, deep down, to be right for me.
I stopped overruling myself and began to believe that how I felt about things was not my fear, resistance or even laziness speaking; rather, it was a true and accurate indicator of whether what I was doing was right or wrong for me.
And things had gotten to a point where they felt very wrong – so clearly, I needed to take my own inner indicator more seriously!
So I stopped pretty much everything I didn’t want to do anymore. How radical! How utterly freeing! I only kept up my frequent trips to my mother’s, and my writing.
I believed in the work I’d created, so I left my website and blog out there. I imagined that it could still be a beacon for those who needed my work, so they could find me.
(No one did, by the way. Isn’t that interesting?)
Meanwhile, my radical break was doing me good. The free-flow I was living in was giving me the space to digest and recover from my tough year. And looking after my mother, spending time with her, felt right and meaningful.
The question of how to continue didn’t go away, of course. For all I’d done was buying myself time: a chance to recharge my batteries, clear my mind and re-connect with who I really was.
But I stuck with my radical break.
And then slowly, gradually…
Pointers started to emerge. I followed them.
I had a clear sense that, before anything else, I needed to improve my health – dramatically. No good moving my life forward if I wasn’t well enough to sustain it!
I’d always been into healthy nutrition and alternative therapies. Nevertheless, I was unsure which approach would be most helpful for me now.
One evening, I had a sudden realisation, a knowing that hit me out of the blue: In order to get better, I had to look at energy – mine, others’ and the world’s.
This realisation felt calm and clear and utterly right.
Now, my background is scientific, psychological, creative and spiritual, and I’d never been interested in energy work before.
Yet this knowing made total sense to me. It was as if the thick layer of fog I’d been wandering around in had ruptured, letting in a clear, golden ray of light from above. This turned out to be the first of many pointers, which, in my new spirit of listening to my intuition, I acted upon:
A quick online research led me to energy balancing practitioners. One of them really “spoke” to me – she lived in Los Angeles, on the other side of the world from where I was. But I contacted her and – thanks to the blessings of modern technology! – had some sessions with her. (These lifted me immediately.)
She also suggested I work with a herbalist. I’d tried before to find one, unsuccessfully. This time, though, I chanced upon one instantly, who also happened to practice just down the road! (I subsequently did a detox programme with her, which markedly improved my health.)
Another hunch on my quest to learn about energy, was to take Kundalini Yoga classes. I’d been unsuccessfully looking for such classes in my area in the past. As I looked again now, however, I found classes by a new teacher who’d just moved to the area. (I enrolled immediately.)
You get the gist:
What happened when I started listening to my intuition, was…
Flow and synchronicities
Somehow, what had felt stuck during my tough year seemed to re-align itself. Things started to move again. For so long, I’d been looking – not knowing what to look for, nor where. Now, I seemed to be finding all I needed instantly.
It wasn’t happening all the time. I was still sitting in the fog of not-knowing-my-way quite a bit. I still am, sometimes, even today. But I also kept finding. I still keep finding.
Looking back, I can see my intuition was taking me forward – even though it didn’t always feel that way. I have learnt to trust that it will keep taking me forward, as long as I tune into it. I do set direction and intentions for my life, but then, instead of pushing for them, I relax, listening into or looking around myself. I notice what feels right that will take me in my direction, and I do that.
A new way forward emerged for my work.
It told me to deepen, renew and evolve what I’d created, rather than leave it behind. (Of course, I found just the training to help with that – a Diploma in Practical Spirituality and Wellness.) I also started working differently: more flexibly, and combining structure and intuition.
As I re-engaged with my work, those who needed it started to find me again (even though I work less today and still look after my mum quite a bit.) Isn’t that interesting? 😊
And surprising new avenues opened up:
Inspiration came for my writing, and I started a local Authors Group, wrote two children’s books, a delicious seasonal photographic ebooklet (The Little Book of Spring) and a number of guest blogs and articles. More seasonal ebooklets are in the making. And I have taken my passion for singing and playing the piano into yoga, contributing yoga mantras at yoga retreats.
Living in tune with my intuition really is a new way of experiencing life!
Over to you now…
What is your relationship with your intuition or gut feeling?
And what are your experiences with following its voice?
Please share your comments below!
Want to read more about this topic?
Learn 5 Ways to Start Tuning Into Your Intuition (coming soon)