Following My Intuition
On the last morning of 2018, I carved out some time to reflect and look forward during a sweet little date with myself. That morning I got fully ready, dressed up a lil bit, headed to my favorite coffee shop, and spent several hours disconnected, just my notebook and me. One of my best habits of last year was to write out my favorite moments and memories from every single day. Some days I got a bit behind, but I managed to successfully record something from every day, and slowly and fully reading back through each and every moment of joy on the last day of the year filled me up like crazy. (I also record all my travels for the year along with highlights from each trip and getaway – another practice that brings me immense joy).
*Quick note for anyone interested in creating your own daily “Joy Treasure Chest” practice: For starters, I love it because it’s so doable – literally takes less than a minute per day. No big writing goal to have to tackle. When I would forget for a few days, I used my calendar and photos to remind me what I did that day and wrote the memories from there. Obviously I would record any big moments or happy things that happened, but some of my favorite memories to re-live were when I got really specific with a moment or feeling (i.e. “Seeing my coral toes popping out of the water while floating in the ocean” [in Sayulita]) because I’m instantly transported right back to that very moment and remember exactly how happy I was right then. So if you can, try to remember to capture the small and specific detail-oriented moments along with the big ones too.
Reading through these records also reveals patterns for me – what the things were that consistently brought me joy (turns out I should never regret money spent on manicures, candles or yoga because of how often those were mentioned). And the further I zoomed out in order to reflect on the things I did well in 2018, or that I was proud of myself for, or the ways in which I embodied my word for the year (BRAVE), I realized a deeper, consistent thread throughout my year that I believe made the biggest difference in my life: I learned how to listen to and follow my Intuition.
A few years ago I used to consistently listen to Jess Lively’s podcast (The Lively Show), but found myself becoming disinterested when she would continuously mention “writing to your intuition” or tell others to “ask their intuition” anytime they had a question. She was following her intuition and flowing throughout Europe, using her Inner Voice to guide her to each next action or travel decision, and that vibe just didn’t resonate with me (at that time in my life). My equivalent was praying or asking God for direction, and while I felt I was given specific answers at times, I mostly just released my prayers and waited to see how they would be answered eventually. I would say that I wasn’t doing the best job in the listening and receiving department of my prayer life at the time. So I stopped listening to her podcast at the time and didn’t pick it up until earlier this year when the chapter I was at in life made it so this practice began to resonate with me way more deeply.
For those unfamiliar with this practice or form of praying if it’s easier for you to call it that, I’ll give you a brief overview of it: Most simply, it is the act of sitting in stillness and listening. Listening to the place in your body (such as the gut or the heart) that you receive wisdom and direction from. You might already have a name for it: Intuition, Inner Voice, Holy Spirit, Divine Wisdom, Gut Reaction, Sixth Sense, etc. You know it’s separate from your own thoughts (the mind or ego) because the words come from a deeper place, they’re accompanied by peace or excitement, and they begin to follow similar themes in your own experience and in others. It takes practice to learn how to quiet our minds and to tune into that voice, but over time it gets easier and easier.
Start by sitting in a comfortable place, close your eyes, take one or two deep breaths, and you can even place your hands on your heart and your stomach if you’d like to ground yourself with that. Ask a simple question from your mind, then wait and see what comes up for you. It might be a single word or it might be a string of words together. You can try this practice while journaling, where you write down questions and write the answer you feel you receive. But you can also just do it in the stillness of your mind and body.
I believe we hold so much wisdom and guidance and truth and custom-tailored instructions made just for us right within our beings. I believe there is a loving Force at work in our lives and in the universe guiding each of us if we make ourselves open and available to it. And I believe that practice is the key to living a life that’s full, fun, exciting, peace-filled, and sprinkled with so much magic.
While I think this discipline can be used for any level of questions, from “Why can’t I let go of this person?” to “What career should I be pursuing?” to “What should I do right now?” to “What should I get for dinner tonight?”, lately I’ve been delighting in turning to my Intuition for smaller, task-based questions. Constantly asking, “what should I do right now?” Since my days are way more flowy and less structured lately, it’s real easy for me to get overwhelmed and not know what step would take me closer to the direction of where I’m wanting to go. So that simple question of asking for my next step is really helpful. Sometimes it tells me to write, sometimes it tells me to work on a newsletter, sometimes it tells me to take a walk, or to eat a specific snack haha. But it always ends up being the right thing for me in that moment – to get me in a good place emotionally, or to start chipping away at something I’ve needed to work on. I also think it’s easier to start with simpler questions like this when just starting out on this practice.
I’m nowhere near an expert at tuning into and following my Intuition, but I am absolutely delighting in the process of learning how to, and being open to where it leads me. Of course this isn’t a magic genie-type situation, perfectly clear, and fail proof every time. It takes time to learn that voice, and sometimes answers only unfold slowly and over time. But I believe there is great adventure and deep healing, freedom, and love awaiting all of us if we can learn to be still enough to hear it.
*If you want to see more examples of peoples Inner Voice answers, check out this post on Jess Lively’s Instagram where she has people share their answers to “What would you have me do next?” She has several other Inner Voice Q & A’s on her page recently too*