What is ‘Intuition’? This was a word I didn’t understand for most of my life. And if it eluded me for so long, I think there’s a good chance there are many others who are disconnected from their own internal compass too. Our bodies have access to wisdom that often the mind can’t see. Yet most of us are trained to ‘think’ our way through life, rather than to trust our ‘feelings’ (and I don’t mean ‘emotions’). Intuition is an inner knowing that often comes from a place that our logical mind cannot comprehend. You may experience it as a little whisper from deep inside you or as an instinctive feeling that suddenly comes over you. For example, you hear people say “I don’t know why, but I feel not to trust this person”; or people who get a feeling to postpone their travel only to find out afterwards that they had avoided a major accident; or you get a feeling to call someone and when you do you find out that something big had just happened for them.
I learned to listen to my intuition the hard way! … by ignoring it for years and making lots of mistakes that took me down life paths of misery. Below I share a bit about my personal learning journey and provide a couple of exercises you can do to connect yourself with your own body’s wisdom.
At age 32, a cervical cancer scare I experienced woke me up consciously and I realized I had been making decisions in life the wrong way! As a result of a year of holistic counseling, I learned that one of the reasons why I felt empty and numb inside was because I had been ignoring my intuition. I’d spent most of my life listening to my head which, let’s face it, had been filled up with programs from schooling, as well social and cultural conditioning. No one had ever taught me to tune into my feelings, my body’s sensations, and trust them along with this little whisper of a voice that I could hear on occasion inside me.
Society had molded me like it does most, to a conventional mindset. I knew what I ‘should do’ in life : be a good girl, look pretty, study hard, go to university, find a good steady job, save money, find a guy, get married, buy a house, have children etc. I was taught how to dress for success, how to behave in a way that made others like & accept me. I bumbled my way through life putting on a smiley face regardless of how I was feeling – well that’s what everyone liked you see! I felt good when others around me reflected my external beauty & intelligence back to me. So I learned to make my decisions based on what others would think - for their approval. From the outside, my life looked picture perfect and quite successful. But on the inside I was struggling and had no clue why, as I was doing all the “right things” according to everyone around me and society’s standards. I didn’t understand why my life, which ticked all the boxes of success, made me feel terrible inside.
The moment that I was faced with the notion that I might only have 1 year to live, it was like my life flashed before my eyes (as they say) with a clarity of all the choices I had made that had brought me to this point of misery. I remembered specific crossroad moments where that little voice inside me said ‘go this way’ and my head said ‘you can’t go that way, what is so and so going to think’. I shared this realization with my holistic counselor and he reflected back that this little voice was my intuition. “Ahhhh!” I thought at the time … I had just had a light bulb moment that changed the course of my life. I realized that by pleasing others I was hurting the most important person in my life : myself!
From that point on, I started listening to my intuition more and more. I made choices based on what would make me feel good, rather than what others would think. It was not about rebelling from others or disregarding their feelings, it was about speaking my truth and not compromising me, in a tactful and respectful way so that others got the opportunity to understand me & my choices. I had just made a fundamental shift : I now looked inside for my way forward, not outside!
Over the following years I read books on ‘intuition’ and attended self-development courses that taught me more about connecting to my body’s wisdom. ‘Intuition’ is defined by two words: “in” and “tuition” … its our tuition / education from within! It’s our internal compass that is there to guide us through life. I came across a book titled ‘The Body Is The Barometer Of The Soul” by Annette Noontil, which immediately resonated with me and validated the notion that our body shows us information that reflects the state of our soul. By ignoring my intuition for most of my life, I was ignoring my soul, which is why I reached a point of feeling disconnected & numb inside, …and ultimately one of the reasons for my cancer!
There are many alternative therapies these days that use methods to bypass the mind and get answers directly from the body, such as Kinesiology, dowsing, regression work etc. I have tried a number of the self testing kinesiology techniques and dowsing with pendulums, but I find my own doubting mind creeps in and gets in the way of clarity. The following 2 techniques however, I find work best for me and I'm sure will surprise you when you try them …
Exercise 1 :
Stand up straight with both legs shoulder-width apart
Close your eyes, get very still and centered
Now ask your body a question that you know is a “yes” answer and watch what happens over the next 5 seconds or so. For example, I ask “Is my name Anna?”
Now ask your body a question that you know is a “no” answer and watch what happens over the next 5 seconds or so. For example, I ask “Is my name Steve?”
Do the physical exercise above before reading further, so as not to get influenced by what I say next.
You will notice that your body tilts in one direction for “yes” and the other direction for “no”!
Most people find they tilt forward for “yes” and backward for “no”, but it can vary for some.
So now that you are connected to your body’s wisdom, try asking other questions that you would like answers to! If you don’t feel a tilt, or you feel like you are swaying side-to-side instead, the answer may be a "maybe". So try asking the question in a different way, a simpler way. I like to think of this exercise, like using a pendulum only my body is the pendulum! (For those who carry pendulums, you can now leave it at home!)
Exercise 2 :
Again stand up straight with both legs shoulder-width apart
Close your eyes, get still and centered
Relax your body
Now spend at least a minute saying out loud “yes yes yes yes yes…” and notice the feeling sensations you get
Now spend at least a minute saying out loud “no no no no no…” and notice the feeling sensations you get
Again, do the physical exercise above before reading further, so as not to get influenced by what I say next. If you are not noticing the difference between the “yes” and “no”, keep repeating until you do.
It may be subtle at first but you should notice that your body feels like it’s opening and expanding for the “yes” exercise and it will feel a withdrawal or collapsing feeling with the “no” exercise. So again, this will help you with making decisions going forward. If you feel an expansion in your body when you are asked a question, your intuition is guiding you to a ‘yes’, if you feel a collapsing feeling your intuition is guiding you to a “no”.
So next time you are faced with a decision that you are not sure about, perhaps your logical or conditioned mind is convoluting your way forward in life, try connecting with you body’s wisdom, your intuition, to determine your life’s path.
I know from my own personal experience, that once I started listening to my intuition and body’s wisdom, my life changed in the most unbelievable ways that lead me to huge expansive experiences and finding my true calling. I now count my blessings every day, for the joy and fulfillment in my life. That numb and lost person I was at 32, seems like a life time ago!
[ image credit : http://www.mrwallpaper.com/view/closed-eyes-1920x1200/ ]