"You're listening to your intuition." These were the words I heard recently from a mentor and for once in my life, I finally believed it.
But how did this happen? What finally lead me to this place of listening to my intuition?
Deep down I always knew it was there, but uncovering and trusting my intuition didn't happen overnight — it was a long process and even oftentimes a struggle.
Here are seven ways I've learned to uncover and trust in my intuition:
1. Identify and release your core-beliefs.
We all carry around "core-beliefs" about ourselves. They are formed from the time we are born and continue to be shaped by circumstances, our environment, the interactions we experience growing up in our home, etc. And these beliefs like nothing better than to rule us. It's like we're strapped alongside an alter-ego kamikaze pilot who is hell bent on taking us down, even though we're begging to stay above the clouds and soar.
Identifying what we "think" about ourselves, feeling and moving through the negativity, the pain, and accepting everything that has happened to us along the way, allows us the opportunity to move forward and start trusting our intuition.
2. Let go of childhood hurt.
Like many people chugging away in this world, my childhood was far from perfect. There are the great memories and and the not so great memories. Now that I'm a mother of three myself, I can look back and appreciate how difficult it is to raise kids (even though they bring us so much joy).
I've learned to love and accept my parents for who they are and have gratitude and respect for everything they've done for me. Letting go of "blaming" my parents for my adult choices was so HUGE! Do what you need to do to let go of your childhood hurt. If you don't, it will only hold you back in all areas of your life and continue to snuff out your innate ability to trust in your intuition.
3. Listen to your gut.
Intellectually most of us know what this means: Follow that voice in your heart, listen to your gut, the answer is within you.
It sounds simple, but for me it was developed over time by allowing myself to evolve and move forward, instead of wallowing in self-doubt. I remember so many instances in my life when I quashed my gut's opinion and did what I thought I was "suppose" to do, instead of what I knew in my gut was right.
Most often, my choices didn't net the best results and then I'd waste even more time fretting over why I had made that stupid decision in the first place. Trust in the gut — it knows best!
4. Find meditation in unlikely places.
I started with "walking meditations" which suited my passion for being outdoors, and now I can sit quietly for a few minutes on my little cushion on most mornings. Sometimes I sneak in an opportunity to meditate on the subway, while waiting in a doctors office, or on a park bench while my dog plays in the grass.
What I love about meditating is the space we find in between, where one thought has ended and another one hasn't quite yet begun. We can rest, reflect and rejuvenate in that natural, quiet space. This is where understanding, clarity and compassion are born and nurtured. It's a safe space to get to know yourself — to sit in the stillness, to tune into what is within. Regular meditation, wherever you do it, keeps our intuition fresh and present.
5. Forgive self-harm.
We've all got our own form of self-harm (over-indulging, isolating, boozing, etc.). But the biggest harm we do to ourselves is by staying stuck, staying ignorant in our beliefs that we aren't worthy. When step away from self-harm — when we begin to look at ourselves with compassion and forgiveness — we begin to let down the angry guard that wants to punish us and instead, fill up that space with loving, mindfulness.
We can now begin to tap into our gut on a deeper level.
6. Break the bonds of attachments and resentments.
For years I couldn't easily part with things like old books, junk stuffed in a drawer, a tangled mess of costume jewelry, and most importantly, anger and resentments I'd let fester and grow. I was hanging onto the feelings that were attached to these things.
When we release our grip on deep-rooted resentments and attachments, we give ourself permission to fully let go. We begin to create the space we need to relax and trust ourselves. We begin to listen to and to rely on our intuition.
7. Come home to yourself.
It's easy to get into the habit of compulsively searching, seeking, and rushing from one thing to the next, to keep ourselves distracted from uncomfortable feelings. Stop running away from yourself and instead, run toward yourself. Trust that you hold the answers. When we feel at home with ourselves we begin to feel safe in the world and we start to listen and pay attention to our intuition.
Wherever you are is home.
The bottom line is we are all a work in progress. It takes patience, practice and a willingness for self-discovery, but once you awaken and connect with your intuition, anything is possible.