Trusting your gut.
These have become buzzwords lately.
We are each endowed with intuition; that gut feeling of what is right for each of us. And often our intuition guides us, protects us, and leads us to the right answer.
So we should always trust our intuition, right?
While we’ve carried our sense of intuition for a lifetime, we’ve likely picked up other things along the way. We may become fearful and self-critical as we encounter the hardships of everyday life. Protective patterns of thinking develop, forming layers over our true nature. A shadowy inner voice can cloud our instincts.
What if the gut feeling you attribute to your intuition… isn’t?
Here’s my example:
As a kid, I dreamed of performing on Broadway. I moved to NYC from Ohio when I was 18 years old without a single friend or connection in the big city. I began my college studies in music theatre and found my program was not particularly nurturing or supportive. At the time, I was on the tail end of recovery from an eating disorder, and I felt alone in a whole new world. I wasn’t confident enough to develop my craft without a safe space where I wouldn’t feel judged. My love for theater languished. I interpreted my waning passion as a gut instinct that I wasn’t meant for the stage. I didn’t perform for much longer. I started to get bored with every role I occupied. I didn’t see a way forward.
True, my boredom was likely a foreshadowing that a performance career wouldn’t last long (and I certainly don’t think it is where I should be now). But because I bowed to my “gut” feelings so quickly–feelings that were likely stoked by fear of judgment and not-enoughness–I would later question if I moved on too quickly.
Don’t mistake fear for intuition.
I believe that intuition can be one of our best teachers. Tuning into our instincts can reveal so much. But fear masked as intuition can trick us into following the wrong calling. Or giving up on the right one.
So how do we hone our intuition? How do we know what to trust?
Over the years, I’ve adopted several practices that help me to gain a deeper understanding of my inner world. Here are a few exercises that can support your journey to becoming more intuitive and help ensure your “intuition” is really just that.
First thing in the morning or right before bed, take some time to write down what is on your mind. Through the act of journaling, what is in your mind can take shape outside of you, allowing you to see it more clearly.
I know this might bring back memories of having a diary in your youth and writing KEEP OUT on the cover. What a different world we live in: Now it seems everyone is over-sharing every little moment of their lives on social media. But I’m talking about writing just for you.
Don’t self-monitor, don’t edit. Just write.
A mantra-based meditation practice helps me ground myself in the present moment by bringing me out of the chatter in my mind.
If you're new to the act of meditation or want to try a new intuition-focused practice, I've created a step-by-step guide to the intuition meditation that works for me. Click the button below to try it out!
We spend so much time buzzing around in our own minds without really being fully present in our own skin. Movement, be it a workout, a run, or just taking a walk, helps me get out of my head and into my body. At times when I feel completely lost for words or answers, I get my body moving and the right message often finds me.
If you want to get in touch with your instincts, try going for a run, practicing yoga or pilates, or taking a stroll around the block. The answers may meet you there.