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Have you put intuition in the backseat?

Intuition & Inner Knowing: intuition

It’s been very interesting to go from someone who wasn’t sure she even had intuition to someone who relies more and more on intuition to direct my life—the decisions I make, the projects I work on, the travel destinations I choose, and what to do on a Friday night.

I smile now that I ever doubted I had intuition. We all do. We all have intuition. It’s just not all of us are tapped into it. We’re not paying attention; we’re not listening to our intuition.

I know that was my story for many, many years.

“You are much more than you see in your physical body. There is another part of you that exists even while you are now here in this physical body. And that part of you wants to communicate with you. The very emotion that you feel is communication from that Inner You. And you may trust it above all other communication that you receive from any other source.” —Abraham

Even when we do sense the guidance or direction our intuition offers, many of us are not following our intuitive nudges.

We know intuition is saying go there or do that, but we don’t go there or do that.

We ignore our intuition. We disregard the nudge it gives us in a particular direction or about a certain decision. Instead we choose to stay confused—I don’t know what to do. I don’t know the right decision. I don’t know which one to choose.

Or maybe we get out a piece of paper and start making a list of pros and cons, and effort our way to a decision or next step by analyzing and thinking and overthinking.

Does that sound familiar? It sure does to me. That’s exactly how I lived.

I could make a list of pros and cons so long it would make your head spin. I could brainstorm and strategize and look at all the options from every angle. And often end up less clear and more confused than when I started.

All the while, intuition was there—offering clarity. Pointing the way, clarifying the confusion.

But intuition was being ignored. Being tuned out. Being disregarded as illogical. Being looked past as not a valid way to make decisions, especially what we perceive as big decisions. Like which job to take or whether to stay in the relationship.

Clients tell me they’ve been fine following intuitive nudges for what they perceive as small decisions. Like which restaurant to pick or which nail salon to go to.

Those decisions feel less invested, so trusting intuition in those cases is fine. But when it comes to “big life decisions”, intuition is in the backseat being ignored, and we choose to decide by being logical, rational, left-brained, well-reasoned.

Isn’t that interesting? It really shines a light on our relationship with our intuition. Why would intuition be OK to follow for small decisions, but not big ones? Why is intuition valid for some things, but not all things? It’s just so curious.

What if life could get a whole lot easier if you loosened up on the logic and truly embraced your intuition?

“The only real valuable thing is intuition.” —Albert Einstein

In fact, do you already have evidence of this—when you listened to and followed your intuition and life flowed. Or when you ignored your intuition and regretted it.

Have you ever dismissed the guidance of your wise intuition and later wished you hadn’t?

Sometimes a client will tell me about something that didn’t go the way she wanted. She experienced an unwanted consequence to a decision she made. In retrospect, she wishes she’d chosen A instead of B or wishes she’d decided to go instead of stay.

Well guess what? She also reveals her intuition had directed her otherwise, but she’d chosen not to follow the guidance. She had ignored her intuition.

For example, one of my clients shared her intuition nudged her to take the new job offer. But she had a lot of fear around the change and stayed put, declining the offer. Then a month later she was laid off.

In hindsight, my client wishes she had listened to her intuition and followed the intuitive nudge.

That’s OK. We all have lessons to learn. That’s part of growth and expansion as a human being.

So, lesson learned, right? Well…not so fast.

Because when I asked my client if she’s listening to and following her intuition today, the answer is Ummm, not really, still not all the time, not for big decisions.

Look, I get it.

It’s a real shift to go from a logical, left-brain approach to living to actually embracing and following your intuitive nudges.

Nudges that might not even make sense—to you or those around you.

“I trust my intuition. I am willing to listen to that still, small voice within.” —Louise Hay

The simplicity and commitment of that is so beautiful.

So what exactly is intuition?

For many of us intuition is one of those concepts both clear and vague at the same time.

Intuition is that inner voice or feeling or knowing.

I don’t think intuition is coming from the mind. It’s not coming at the end of the sentence I think…

You might feel your intuition in your heart or in your gut. It seems most of us are more one or the other—so sensing intuition through the heart or in the gut.

Someone might say:

  • I just knew it in my gut.
  • I could just tell in my heart this was the right decision.

“Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows.” —Native American proverb

Intuition has been described as seeing with the soul. That’s pretty powerful, right?

Intuition comes from a spirit of all is well. Your intuition is always encouraging and positive and loving. Your intuition is peaceful; there’s no drama.

“All that I need to know at any given moment is revealed to me. My intuition is always on my side.” —Louise Hay

My very favorite way to think about intuition is it’s the voice of the Universe within you.

Whether you call it an inner guide, a gut feeling, a sixth sense, intuition is perceiving or knowing something without conscious reasoning. And it is, indeed, the ultimate wisdom. And it’s within you!

“Cease trying to work everything out with your minds. It will get you nowhere. Live by intuition and inspiration and let your whole life be Revelation.” —Eileen Caddy

I want to share a personal story of following an intuitive nudge.

I was working out at my neighborhood YMCA in Chicago when I experienced a solid nudge (maybe more like a shove) from my intuition.

I had just finished working out and was getting ready to leave, and suddenly, without rational thought, I received an intuitive nudge.

The next thing I knew I had stopped in front of a complete stranger—someone I’d seen at the gym a few times but did not know—and asked the man out on a coffee date.

The man said, I’d be delighted. That man is Hans. We fell in love. That was 18 years ago.

If I ever need a reason to believe my intuition knows what’s best for me, then I have my reason. His name is Hans; he’s the love of my life, and I have my intuition to thank for playing matchmaker.

Here are 9 tips for intuitive living.

1. Embrace the value of your intuition.

“The advantage of receiving information from your Inner Being is that your Inner Being has a broader perspective. Your Inner Being has the awareness and knowledge that comes from all life experience—physical and non-physical—whereas your physical perspective is limited to this lifetime only. And so, as you are sensitive to the communication that comes forth from your Inner Being, it is of great value.” —Abraham

Your intuition has so much to offer you. Your intuition is of great value. But you have to be open to receiving what intuition offers.

You can take a step in that direction right now by simply saying, I embrace my intuition. I’m ready to receive.

2. Make space for intuition.

“You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. The rational mind doesn’t nourish you. You assume that it gives you the truth, because the rational mind is the golden calf that this culture worships, but this is not true. Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating.” —Anne Lamott

I don’t think you have to go on a silent retreat in India for six months to make space for your intuition.

  • But you might need to put down your device.
  • You might need to quiet your mind with meditation or yoga or a walk in nature.
  • You might need to start saying no and create some space on your calendar and margin in your life.

As Anne says, quiet all the chatter in your head. You won’t do that all the time; you won’t do it perfectly. But just make some space in your life, in your spirit, in your present moment for intuition to show up.

3. Downgrade the rational mind.

For most of us, we’ve made our rational mind top dog. Well, it’s time to switch the order of rank.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” — Albert Einstein

One way I like to think about downgrading my rational mind is I let my rational mind drive the car, but I’m letting intuition chart my course.

“There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.” —Malcolm Gladwell

4. Stop living by committee.

This is a big one.

You cannot hear your intuition if you are always polling friends and family about what you should do. Looking outside yourself for answers is not the pathway to deepening your relationship with your intuition and strengthening the role intuition can play in your life.

There is no outside authority or expert who knows better than you the right decision, the next step, the best path.

Bottom line: Intuition really can’t play a role in your life if you always outsource direction and decision making to those around you. It’s time to bring it in house and let intuition guide you.

5. Ask for guidance.

From your intuition, that is.

So rather than asking friends what decision you should make, ask your intuition. Rather than looking to experts for answers, ask your intuition for guidance.

“When we say a prayer, we allow our consciousness to receive intuitive guidance.” —Gabby Bernstein

How cool is that!

Ask your intuition for help, for guidance, for direction, for answers. Start asking.

6. Pay attention.

“Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way.” —Florence Scovel Shinn

But if you’re not paying attention, you won’t even notice the way is being pointed out. You won’t see the signs. You won’t receive the answers. You won’t perceive the nudge.

It’s not that they weren’t there. You just missed them because you weren’t paying attention.

A couple of really important questions to ask:

  • Are you so busy, distracted, and caught up in your mind that you’ve cut yourself off from intuition?
  • Will you create enough space in your life and get still enough and present enough to pay attention?

7. Stop analyzing, second-guessing, and doubting.

Oh, can you feel the low vibration!

You’re not really listening to your intuition if you hear what it has to say and then start analyzing what you heard. If you try to fit intuition’s guidance into your matrix of pros and cons and logical and rational, it’s not going to work; it’s not going to make sense.

You can’t truly hear your intuition when you analyze, second-guess, and doubt. There is a faith, a trust required if you are to be guided by your intuition.

“Your soul, that inner quiet space, is yours to consult. It will always guide you in the right direction.” —Dr. Wayne Dyer

If you believe that, there’s no reason to analyze, second guess, and doubt.

8. Honor your intuition.

It’s only when you stop analyzing, second-guessing, and doubting, that you can really start to honor your intuition.

To trust it. To rely on it. To easily allow it to guide you.

Abraham says: “When something feels off, it is.”

But how many times does something feel off and you dismiss it? You rationalize. You talk yourself out of what you have an inner knowing about.

That’s not honoring your intuition.

I hear that so frequently from my clients. Not honoring intuition is a very common experience. And it’s one that doesn’t serve you.

“For the spiritual being, intuition is far more than a hunch. It is viewed as guidance or as God talking, and this inner insight is never taken lightly or ignored.” —Dr. Wayne Dyer

9. Follow your intuitive nudges.

When you receive guidance from your intuition, follow through.

“Are you ever at your desk and you have that feeling that you’re thirsty but you put it off for a minute because there’s something else that you’re right in the middle of? Get up and go wherever it is you go to get your water and see what that message really was, because your Inner Being is guiding you through the path of least resistance.” —Abraham

Too often we dismiss these nudges. But what value, what use is intuition if you don’t follow through?

“We need to be willing to let our intuition guide us, and then be willing to follow that guidance directly and fearlessly.” –Shakti Gawain

Follow the intuitive nudge. Make the call, accept the offer, have the conversation, change the goal.

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