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

I invite you to imagine that you’re a sailor who has embarked on a long voyage.

Before you left, you packed well. You gathered all the provisions and equipment you needed. You made sure to bring your compass. Now that you’re on the journey, you’re having ups and downs. Sometimes, the sky is blue, the waters are calm, and you feel great. Other times, there’s a stormy sky, and you fear you might capsize.

One day, you wake up and realize you’re lost. You don’t know where you are. Suddenly, you realize that after a few days of sailing along, you stopped checking your compass. It’s been right there in your pocket, but for some reason, you stopped paying attention.

Scary, huh?

The bad news is, you’ve gone way off your course and need to turn around your ship.

The good news is, your compass is right there where it’s always been, and with a little bit of remembering how to use it, it will help you get back on track.

Your intuition, speaking through the wisdom of your body, is your compass on your journey to following your calling.

Following your intuition may sometimes require the energy and dedication it takes to turn a huge ship in the midst of a storm. Other times, you can coast, making small course corrections to align with the smaller callings that arise in every moment.

So, what is intuition, anyway?

Intuition is a felt sense of inner knowing about your next steps forward.

At first, your intuition can arise as an unemotional, almost imperceptible whisper, free from bells and whistles. A gut feeling. Calm and matter-of-fact. A deep and quiet “Yup… Nope… No, don’t go that way… Yes, go that way.”

If you ignore your inner guidance for too long, however, the inner “no” can get really loud. At first, a “no” might feel like really not wanting to do something, having a hard time sleeping, Freudian slips, forgetting appointments, or feeling irritable, tired, detached, bored, or just plain “ugh.” After a while, not paying attention can lead to depression, anxiety, angst, illness, pain, and chronic procrastination. The messages can grow louder and louder until they’re unbearable.

One reason people often don’t pay attention is that intuition’s messages can feel unexpected, unbidden, and unwelcome. Intuition can turn your whole life upside down, and it doesn’t justify itself. Sometimes, we may not want to know what we know.

The good news is that living in alignment with your intuition can feel really, really good. A “yes” can feel like being in great health, losing track of time, experiencing a natural high, feeling a quiet warmth and lightness inside, or sensing energy coursing through your body, fully alive, awake, excited, and in the flow. When you move in the direction of your intuition, you may feel a sense of things lining up inside, energized and reassured.

Intuition speaks through the body.

Your body is an extraordinarily sensitive navigational system that can give you surprisingly accurate information about what you need or how to respond to a situation. Every cell in your body is continuously tracking what is happening internally and externally and informing the rest of your body about what it needs to be well. All of these signals come together to create a felt sense or a not-yet-articulated inner knowing.

The problem is, at first, intuition can feel hard to trust.

We’re all born with the ability to access the wisdom of our bodies. It’s our birthright.
But over time, many of us withdraw from the rawness of our emotions, suppress what we feel, and even forget that we ever had this ability. You may have been told at a young age to stop crying, that you were fine when you felt sick, or that you were just making things up if you had a creepy feeling about a grown-up. Living in a family or a culture in which your needs and feelings are denied and devalued can make it feel unsafe to stay open.

Western culture values linear, precise, well-packaged thinking. We’re taught to believe what we perceive with our ears and eyes and disregard the rest. We’re surrounded by the message that being vulnerable will make us lose credibility and that our thoughts are more valued than our emotions. In response to our socialization, most of us learn to habitually escape to our heads. The body’s knowing can feel vague and take time to access, and it takes courage to slow down and attend to our sometimes messy feelings.

By paying attention to the feelings and signals of your heart and gut, over and over again, you will strengthen your ability to use your inner compass and learn to trust the messages it is sending you.

I invite you to take a moment and write your responses to the following questions—

  • When in your life have you felt as though your gut or your heart or just some inner knowing was sending you a strong message?
  • Did you follow the message you received?
  • Why or why not? What happened as a result?
  • What conditions help you to hear your intuition?
  • What helps you to trust your intuition?

Reflect on any new insights you’re taking away from this journaling practice and the article. And, when you’re done, I’d love to hear from you—

What helps you to tune in to your intuition?

Please share, and I will make sure to respond!

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