Intuition is a tricky and powerful thing. We all have it. We are all connected to it in some way or another. Listening to your intuition is a skill that you can learn, just like other skills in your repertoire. Perhaps you are a fabulous artist or musician, knowing how to paint or how to play the piano are skills, just like listening to your intuition.
It wasn’t until I was in graduate school in Cambridge, Massachusetts studying to be a therapist that I made the connection that my intuition resided in my gut. My supervisor at one of my internships would have me do these exercises where I would close my eyes and feel into my belly. What was my gut literally telling me? Honestly, it was telling me big things.
At the time, it was telling me that I was incredibly unhappy and to get out of Dodge ASAP! I was in a relationship that was beautiful and unhealthy. We were both at a place where we couldn’t meet each other with our full potential.
That feeling started in my belly and transitioned into visions of me standing on a mountain top in Alaska bellowing a silent scream. Alaska was a safe place for me, and my parents were there.
Before I went to sleep at night, in the freezing cold Boston winter, I could see myself driving up to the top of a mountain, in the summer time, in Alaska. The journey up the mountain in this red car was treacherous and full of bends in the road. But I had to get up there. And then, at the top I would stand on the edge of this massive mountain and let it all go. Wind in my hair and the sun on my face, I felt free. I would fall asleep to this image. And I had no idea how to get out of the current situation.
Trusting my gut, and being brave to leave that relationship (and to leave Boston for Alaska the following summer) was the first time I’d ever really understood what falling into the unknown might be. And boy was it unknown. I would be alone and scared. But I would be me, and I would have all me. Not a version of me that was living a life I didn’t want to lead. My intuition kept letting me know, with feelings in my belly, and visions and dreams that what was true for me was not what I was currently living.
Your intuition can guide you on the big things (like leaving a life behind for something that might be more true to you) or it can guide you on the little things too (like does my body need me to give up gluten). It can guide you in your friendships, your work, your relationships and honestly whatever part of your life you want.
Today I want to share a few ways you can tap into your own intuition and trust your gut more.
First, find out where your intuition lives in your body. Likely it's a combination of a physical sensation and what occurs in your mind. To do this, get into a quiet space. Sit or lay down. Close your eyes. Take in a few deep, filling breaths. Settle into your body. And then ask yourself, where does my intuition live? Where do I feel my intuition? What is pulling at me when I think the word “intuition.”
For many people, their intuition lies in their stomach. That’s why the phrase “trust your gut” is so powerful. Your stomach is your second brain and computes your emotions on a much more basic level. What that means is your brain (which has all those thoughts, and can try to discern things from a practical state and get in the way) can’t get in the way of what your primitive second brain says.
And then, once you start noticing what your gut is telling you… start to recognize your feelings and the images that pop up in your mind. You know that story I was telling you about visualizing moving across the country to Alaska and yelling at the top of a mountain? I was also experiencing a TON of feelings during the days that I could try to ignore. Ones like rage, anger, wanting to run away, heartache, fear, love and grief.
Do an intuition check on EVERYTHING. Start practicing this question on every single decision you make “What does my gut say?” And while sometimes your gut will say “Skip work,”and you’ll have to decide best decision! But, what you are doing when you start asking yourself these questions is seeing where your intuition lies and what your entire body and soul is saying to you. And, if your gut is saying “skip work” the next question for yourself is “Why? Why do I want to skip work today? Am I tired? Am I running away? Am I not interested in seeing someone today? Do I hate my job?” From there, you can make a plan of action. Dealing with feeling tired might mean getting to bed early that night and making a plan for better sleep. If the answer is “I hate my job” you can start to play with the idea of doing something different. What would that feel and look like?
Pull out a piece of paper and free write. If you are open to it, ask your Spirit Guides for their guidance. I am huge fan of this, and just started learning about my own spirit guides in the past few years. If the idea of “spirit guides” feels like it doesn’t suit you, perhaps get in touch with your own higher power. The Universe, God, Spirit, whatever feels good to you. For me, my spirit guides are separate but connected to the universe and God, and sometimes they get a bit feisty in what they want to tell me, especially if I haven’t been listening.
If you are open to asking your spirit guides for support, get settled in your writing space, take a deep breath with your eyes closed and say in your mind “Spirit Guides, I’m here and ready for your guidance.” And then just start free writing. See what comes out.
If this seems a bit too woo for you, do the same exact thing, but without the spirit guide component. Breathe in and say, “Intuition, I’m here and ready for your guidance.” And then see what comes out onto the paper. Don’t think too much as you are writing… just write!
Here’s something you might run into, and I totally want to support you through this… because sometimes our intuition can tell us scary things. So, what if your question is this….”Katherine, but what if my intuition is telling me to do something big, like leave a partner or quit a job or stop doing something I am currently doing.” So, my biggest piece of support around this is to listen, and trust that you will move or act in whatever way you need to act when you are ready. If it is a BIG thing, maybe some support through a trusted friend, professional or time on your own is the way to go.
Give yourself lots of time, lots of processing and lots of understanding before doing anything drastic. I am definitely not a jump without a net kind of person, usually and even when I moved to Alaska, I had my parents to back me up and help me transition into what I needed to do. Also, to be honest, I didn’t do anything for a while but feel miserable.
Your intuition is your biggest super power when you start to understand what she or he is saying. Whenever I don’t listen to my gut, I definitely fall in some way or another.
If you loved reading this blog post or listening to the podcast episode, I'd love to know! Please head over to @love.katherinephifer on Instagram and let me know what you thought or leave a 5 star review in iTunes!