As we let go of the need for certainty we have to cultivate intuition and faith. So how do you practice intuition and faith? Today I am going to focus on practicing intuition then next week I will write about faith.
To cultivate a practice of listening to our intuition, we have to first hear ourselves and listen. Sometimes I think this is the hardest part. Life is so busy and fast paced and if I am not careful and deliberate, I can go days without really listening to myself. I love the practice of “white space” that Brené Brown suggests in the Gifts of Imperfection. She schedules out time in her weekly schedule to do nothing and to check in with herself and really hear herself. I think that if we don’t make the time, it won’t happen. Sometimes for me this happens early in the morning before everyone in the house is awake or late at night when everyone but me is asleep. So what do you do during “white space.” Well at first this quiet space can feel anxiety provoking, so be prepared for that. For me “white space” it is about getting quiet. Sometimes, in my white space I ask myself a question – like “how do I feel about . . . ” or “what should I do about . . . ” And sometimes I don’t ask any question and I just check in with how I am feeling and what I need in that moment. Other times I journal because that is often a way that I hear myself as I see my thoughts and feelings on paper. How do you hear yourself?
Once I hear myself, the next step is to act on what I hear. I have always struggled when people suggest I listen to my gut and go with it. Because let’s be honest, if I listened to my gut everyday, I wouldn’t leave my house and my kids wouldn’t be let out of their rooms. My gut has a lot of fear stories at times. But as I have practiced listening to myself, I have been able to distinguish more often the difference between my fear stories and my intuition. I love the definition of intuition by Brené Brown:
Intuition is not a single way of knowing – it’s our ability to hold space for uncertainty and our willingness to trust the many ways we’ve developed knowledge and insight, including instinct, experience, faith
Intuition isn’t just my gut feeling. It is also checking in with my knowledge and experience. So in the mornings when my gut seems to be telling me that my kids won’t be safe at school today, I also check in with my knowledge and experience. This helps me to not act on anxiety and instead to hold space for all the ways I can know something. I’m not perfect at this practice at all. But I have found that when I listen to myself and really hear me, I end up making decisions that are more in line with my values and that are healthier for me at that time.
Take time at least once this week to check in with yourself and really listen. If it helps, after you check in, journal about your impressions and insights. Then if you are called to some action, take a step toward that action.