I didn’t think the day would come when I’d have to admit that I’ve been watching wayyy too much ‘Gilmore Girls’ lately, but today is going to have to be that day. With the show’s arrival on the Netflix scene, and my desperate desire for my childhood to be that of Rory Gilmore’s, how could I resist watching episode after episode until 1am nearly every night for a week until I am imagining having witty banter with my dog and thinking about her trust fund? Enough, I say. Time to reflect, time to teach, time to spread a little light. Time to follow my intuition… that’s been telling me to turn off the melodramatic sitcom and write.
Perhaps you’re the type of person who doesn’t believe in “intuition”, maybe that sounds a little woo woo for you… but you can’t deny that there have been moments in your life where you had a sense about something. The feeling that something wasn’t quite right, or maybe that it was completely right, but seemed logically incorrect. Perhaps even times you acting without thinking, but like something was sort of moving through you, on your behalf.
My brother, Jeff will tell you that I’m a silly granola crunching, hippie, who howls at the moon for believing in my intuition, but he will also tell me about these hunches he has… like when he’s walking through the woods, gets a “feeling”, looks up, and there’s the deer. We are talking about the same thing in different language.
This “sensing” that most of us get from time to time is almost primal. You pick up on the energy of something; some indescribable thing moves or inspires you to take an action or land on a decision. The concept of following your gut doesn’t just pertain to hunting or hippies, I hear this term thrown around all the time in management, in car buying, in relationships, we use our “feelings” to justify many things. But how do you know when this is your intuition and not just the things you think you should be doing? My guess, if you get really honest with yourself, you can begin to differentiate the difference for yourself and start leading a more inspired life.
Here are a few things I’ve found to be true about intuition vs. thoughts:
- They come on in an instant, without warning and you don’t necessarily know how you got there
When my sister asked me to move out to the West Coast with her, my stipulation was that I’d move anywhere north of Santa Barbara. We had so many awesome cities to choose from, but one day the only city we were talking about was Seattle. We didn’t fight about it, we didn’t freak out, it was like the decision had already been made. The fact that our focus was to be on Seattle had developed virtually from thin air. Both of us actually found it quite ironic because we’d visited Seattle in the previous year and hadn’t found anything too special about it.
- You act vs. Analyze
When my brother had a sense in the woods to look up and saw the deer, he didn’t first think about why he should look up, he just did it. After my sister and I landed on Seattle… We thought about other cities, but didn’t even apply for jobs in other cities. (That’s a lie, I applied for one, but didn’t hear back.) When you’re inspired by your intuition, you get the feeling that you must act.
Often in my job searches or even boyfriend searches, I wouldn’t force myself into doing anything. If I didn’t feel inspired to apply for a job, or put myself back out on the dating scene or to write… I wouldn’t do it. This way, when I would do these things, I met the opportunity with the best energy I had. When I was motivated and feeling positive about it, when I just knew the timing was right. Nothing about following your intuition should feel forced.
- Your intuition would never put you or anyone in harm, danger, fear, or anxiety
That spark of intuition you get, even if it is guiding you away from something dangerous, should never invoke anxiety. I’m not talking about the thoughts you have after the initial intuitive download, but the actuality of it.
I was jogging around Lake of the Isles one day last summer and I was going to run past this couple walking, instead, I chose to hang back behind them and take a little break. It’s not like I really needed to, I don’t know what stopped me from jogging around them but all of a sudden about 10 feet in front of us a Jeep drove right up onto the sidewalk, through the park and back down onto the street. Whoa… If I had jogged around them, that truck totally would have hit me! It was like watching a “what if” episode of your life right in front of your eyes.
Now, after that I was a little freaked out, but the initial feeling of hanging back behind the couple and not running ahead didn’t cause me any sort of anxiety. If it is truly your intuition speaking, it will not be coupled with a feeling of anxiety, the anxiety may come later from our ego…
- Trust through the fear
In order to strengthen your intuition, or at least to strengthen your listening skills to it, because I promise your intuition is quite strong and constantly telling you things, you’re just not always listening and obeying… You must start to trust it. There will be many things that come up when you start to listen and trust your gut feeling. People might not understand why you’re choosing to make the choices you are and that’s fine. They’re not living your life for you, so it’s ok that they have their opinions.
After I’d made the choice to move to Seattle, there were tons of things, especially in my own mind, my ego, telling me I was insane. “What if you don’t find a job and have to be one of those Bikini Barista’s who wear pretty much nothing to make dirty old men coffee? What will people think of me? What if you have no place to live, what if Luna can’t come with me? What if Luna hates the move and is sad and unhappy? What if you don’t make any friends? What if all of your employees hate you? What if you’re not as good at your job as you think you are? Why are you leaving the security of the life you started in Minneapolis, with the people and money you have?” Those were just a few of the terrifying thoughts I had while on this journey. Not to mention the thoughts others had.
Now that I’ve made it through those, I have a great job that I love, and am settling into Seattle… I’m still not sure what I’m doing here, but it feels like exactly where I’m supposed to be. I had to trust my intuition through that fear. Fear will never go away, but it will try to hold you back from living your life fully and when you can push through it, there is something magically peaceful about living a life that is your own.
I’m sure if you look back, you can pick out a few instances where you knew something was going to happen, you had a feeling, or you didn’t listen to your gut and things didn’t quite pan out for you. The energy of the universe that created stars and planets and mountains and oceans moves in all of us and can guide us easily if we are willing to pay attention and follow it’s direction.