Does intuition feel like it is something that only magical mermaids and unicorns can have access to? I guess for me I used to feel the same - like it was some kind of super power than I would never be able to tap into. And in some ways - it is a magical super power - but I believe that we all have the ability to listen and live our lives intuitively. So what is intuition? To me - it is that feeling deep down in my gut which tells me what I need to know. I feel it low down in the pit of my abdomen, and if I don't listen to it then it can feel almost like an ache. For a long time I got it confused with fear and anxiousness, so went against it in an attempt to 'be braver', but for me, fear is more of a fluttering high up in my tummy. I recognise this now.
According to the oracle... aka google... the definition of intuition is... the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.
Our body is so clever and gently guides us each and every day. It guides us in our choices, our decisions, our daily habits - however for many of us we have chosen to ignore the messages we get - maybe because of time, strict routines or simply lack of trust. And sometimes, following our intuition seems downright inconvenient so it is far easier to gloss over it and hope it 'goes away'!
I am sure you are familiar with the phrase, following your gut instinct. Research now suggests that our digestive system is literally our second brain - so it makes perfect sense that we would listen to the messages that it has to tell us. This gut instinct is usually the first reaction we have to a situation and if we are in tune with it then we can literally feel when something is right for us. But, more often than not we don't give ourselves time to listen to this instinct, or inner guidance, because we live our lives based on what looks right 'on paper' instead of what feels right in our body.
Intuition is like a muscle - the more we work it, strengthen it and nurture it, the more it will work effectively and keep us on an aligned path. Think about your physical body. If you ignore a niggling pain or sensation in your body, and continue on regardless, the chances are that it might lead to injury and upset. However if we heard and acknowledged those very first signals, we are far less likely to take the path that leads to even more pain and suffering.
For many years I ignored my intuitive muscles. They were telling me so many things, about my health, about my career, about my lifestyle... but I just continued on regardless - living my life by the things I thought I should do. I should be eating certain things. I should be exercising in a certain way. I should be working in a certain job. Along the way I was given about a billion signs from my intuition muscles gently nudging me in a certain direction - that in the end they had to scream at me in order to get my attention!
It took an injury, several (hundred) meltdowns and a lot of digestion issues to make me stop and listen to my gut and it is now something I practice daily. But it wasn't so easy at the start. I was met with so much resistance in my mind. I lacked the trust in my own intuition to really believe that it knew what was best for me. I had to take it in teeny, weeny baby steps until I had the faith that I could let go to what it was guiding me towards.
When you are truly in alignment with intuition, the only way I can describe it is that it feels right. It feels easier, lighter and brings more contentment to your life. It feels like you are flowing up stream, rather than fighting against the current. It doesn't mean there won't be tough times, it can in fact raise even more questions because sometimes what your intuition is telling you doesn't always make the most logical sense.
So how do we practice using these intuitive muscles?
- Before you make any decision, take a breath. We often rush into things because there is a fear of time running out, but by simply taking a deep long breath into your belly, you relax your body and your mind and you can think more clearly.
- Once you have taken that deep breath, notice what your first reaction is to the situation. What was the very first thing you thought of? More often than not, this is your intuition kicking in before your ego has a chance to come in and de-rail it!
- Notice what you feel in your body when you are thinking about the reaction. Do you have tightness anywhere? Do you feel at ease or uptight? What is your gut telling you? Is it feeling soft and content, or is it doing flips and trying to get your attention?
- When doubts come up - which they will - question them. Are they appearing because it doesn't feel right in your gut? Or are they coming up because they are part of a regular pattern of fear about your capability to deal with a situation? Where are the doubts coming from?
- Can you take the leap and trust yourself on this one occasion? You only need to focus on this situation right now - nothing more. Can you hear the messages your intuition is sending you clearly, and can you take the plunge and act on it in this moment?
Trusting your intuition takes practice, practice, practice. But the great news is that you have so many opportunities to practice it each and every day. You can use every single decision you make to flex your intuition muscles - from deciding what to have for breakfast, to choosing your outfit for the day, to selecting a song to listen to in the car. You can practice listening to your intuition with small tasks, in order to understand how it feels when you have to make larger decisions relating to your health, your lifestyle and your career.
There will always be times when you question your intuition. There will also be times when you go against it and look back and wonder why. This is all part of the process and it isn't something to beat yourself up over.
We are all constantly flexing our intuition muscles in order to find our way through the complicated trails of life, intuition doesn't prevent bad things from happening or stop the struggles, but it does help you find a little more ease and a beautiful flow through sometimes rough waters.
Find just one way to flex your intuition muscles today, and see where it takes you.