We all want to feel safe and know how to succeed, look good, and do it right. We think if we keep following rules, agreements, and stories that worked in the past, we’ll be able to protect ourselves from the messy vulnerability of life with its glorious flavors of in-between, not knowing, mystery, and worst of all – failure. But try as we might to make our familiar rules keep yielding positive results, often they just trap us in old loops and make us feel scattered, exhausted, and stale.
There comes a point when you have to stop using the past as a reference point. When, like traversing monkey bars, you need to intentionally toss to the wind the well-meaning rules you’ve been using to guide your path and reach to a deeper source of guidance within you – your intuition.
The still, small voice within. You know it, yes?
The one that sees the big picture and operates with knowing, ease, depth, and trust. The one that transcends ego’s relentless and restless preoccupation with problem, instead accepting what is and engaging via solution. The one that goes with the flow of life, honors rhythms, and reads the signs. The one that is FOR you, that encourages you, gives it to you straight, and keeps bringing you back to love.
In the seeming battle between mind and heart – I say seeming because it’s only the mind that’s fighting – it’s almost always that our thinking self has to bend to our intuitive knowing to create harmony and balance. But there are no guarantees when you follow your intuition, are there? In fact, it can be oddly confronting because its guidance leads us into the wilderness — away from what we think we want, what we’ve believed is right or possible, and what “makes sense” into the new, the dynamic, the bigger than ourselves, the deeper need.
In 2004 I knew it was time for me to leave social work. From 1998-2004 I worked in a battered women’s shelter, a locked psych ward, with abused and delinquent kids, and finally in a drug and alcohol treatment center. I had amazing experiences but my life had moved in a new direction and my intuition and connection to spirit had developed to the point that I was doing readings, and I felt certain that this was how my deeper work and service was evolving.
With no plan and no savings I quit my job and sat at my house listening, waiting for guidance on how to proceed. I felt sure there was a plan for me. I was confident that if I was still, and made myself available for my intuition to guide me, it would. So I literally sat in my studio apartment on my giant pink shag rug with the music and computer off, and no friends over and waited. And waited.
Three weeks later the answer came and when it did I thought it was crazy. But I clearly heard my intuition speak to me and it said only one thing and that was to teach others how to do what I had learned to do – to hear my intuition and spirit.
I felt wildly unprepared for this but I took a risk and put it out to people I knew in San Francisco and the first few classes filled up. I had no idea what I was doing (though if you can lead groups in a locked psych ward you can do just about anything) so I leaned on the one thing I did know how to do: listen and follow. And not only did it work out, but it became my primary focus for the next five years.
Through these classes I learned that everyone – from yogis, moms, corporate folk, artists, business owners, traveling gypsies, athletes, university professors, young, middle-aged, and beyond – can develop the skill of discerning the voices within themselves to hear and follow their intuitive guidance because it’s just that: a skill. Like taking voice lessons to develop your speaking or singing voice, you can learn to develop your connection with your inner knowing. And when you do – and it’s truly no mystery – you feel safer inside, more able to let go of your old rules, stories, and agreements, because you have a solid connection to an inner guide that will steer you in ways more authentic and dynamic that any rule could.
I will write more later on the ins and outs of this another time but for today I will leave you with this – the more still and quiet you get, the more you place your attention on your heart over your thinking mind, the stronger your connection to your intuition will become.
From the heart,