you’ve got the power: 5 practical ways to tap into your intuition
RANDOM RUN-INS WITH NOT-SO-RANDOM INSIGHTS
I was sick of being tired, and tired of being sick. I had scored my dream job–assistant editor at a top-earning Canadian magazine.
It wasn’t all I’d dreamt it would be. Scratch that. It was all I’d dreamt it would be, it just didn’t feel like a dream. I wasn’t sleeping, wasn’t digesting food, wasn’t at ease, wasn’t happy. My anxiety was through the roof. One day I saw an ad in the magazine for a health and wellness company. I felt a tingling in my spine all the way up to the top of my head. I called the number, sent an email, met a dark-haired woman who hired me practically on the spot. I was out. I was free.
I had a thriving copy-writing, communications consulting business, where I scored new clients nearly always by word-of-mouth. I was teaching yoga, too (I’ll always be teaching yoga, too). The work was full-time. I wasn’t full-filled. I got an email from a friend, a forwarded job posting for an online yoga company. Work from home, be part of a great team, share the benefits of yoga, 15 hours a week. My mind said, “It’s 15 hours a week. Where would you find that time to add that to what you’re doing? And it’s not enough to replace what you’re doing.” My body and beyond all that said, “You should go for it. Good things will come from this.” I sent an email, met a strong-as-iron, gentle woman who hired me practically on the spot. Soon I was working every day for what I love. I was in. I was still free.
I was in line at the airport security check. It was long. I spotted the one to my right–much shorter. I took two steps over, looked back at the desk I had been originally headed for, and felt that I should stay put. I stayed put, the man at the desk for the line-up I was going to switch to shut it down, and everyone headed to the back of my line.
I was co-conducting an interview. After, my colleague asked me what I thought of the candidate. I felt that she would leave soon, had a visual image of her walking away. My mind asked me if I was crazy–the girl was perfect! I said I thought she was great and we should hire her. (I was tired of looking.) We offered her the job. She accepted. The next week she sent us an email with her apologies: she realized her heart wasn’t in it.
I was about to cross a street, had taken one step off the sidewalk and was lifting my other foot. The image of a dark grey sedan careening around the corner flashed through my mind. I paused. The dark grey sedan careened around the corner, narrowly missing my foot.
The stories go on. And yours might, too. If they don’t, and if you’re thinking, “What kind of woo-woo juju is this gal on?” then feel free to move along. If they don’t, and you’re thinking “I don’t care if this is woo-woo juju, I want some of it,” then feel free to read on.
Intuition isn’t weird, unusual, or strange. We’re biologically hard-wired to be able to know without knowing. That is, we can understand something and have knowledge of it without thinking we do. We take the knowing out of our rational mind. We go beyond it.
FACTS ABOUT INTUITION
The August issue of Oprah magazine has a comprehensive article on the scientific basis of our intuitive instincts. Here’s some facts worth noting:
1. Our bodies send us signals long before our mind catches on. Sweaty palms, a subtle increase in heart-rate or blood pressure, tension in our stomach, shoulders and throat.
2. We can see with our eyes closed. Fact: People who have gone blind because of brain damage can often still navigate an obstacle course.
3. Few wild animals were killed in the tsunami that crashed around the Indian Ocean in 2004. Researchers surmise they were alerted by sound waves or ground vibrations. Researchers also state that humans have this ability, but have stopped paying attention to it in today’s busy, distraction-laden society.
5 WAYS TO BOOST OUR INTUITION
1. Meditate. A 2005 study found that people who meditate had more gray matter in the brain regions associated with sensitivity to the body’s signals and sensory processing.
2. Do a somatic, mind-body practice. Yoga works here, but any physical practice done mindfully, where you become increasingly attune to your body’s signals, will work, too.
3. Trust your in-sight. Images that flash across your inner vision can be gone in seconds, but like in my case with the careening car, can also save you for the rest of your life. Paying attention to these images, combined with your awareness of your body’s signals, can lead to a smarter decision.
4. Practice mindfulness. Simply practicing paying full, conscious attention–to whatever you’re doing–can help develop your mindfulness muscle. This is the muscle that will enable you to tune into subtle environmental changes–like the wild animals who survived the tsunami–so you can survive your next meeting with your unpredictable boss.
5. Build your intuitive muscle. Take a somewhat inconsequential activity and practice using your intuition. For example: While grocery-shopping, and looking for a particular item, see if your instincts can tell you which aisle it’s in. Or, when observing someone, let yourself go with your gut in terms of what that person might be feeling at the moment, and interact with them based on that, rather than what they are consciously projecting. Or close your eyes and take a walk–in a safe space.