How many times have you looked back on a situation and thought about a different path your life may have taken if you had trusted your intuition and signs from your body?
Whether we realize it or not, our body and our intuition are constantly sending us messages – knowing how and when to listen is the key. Listening to these signals helps us to be authentic, healthy and connect with our life purposes. The body and intuition are sources of deep “knowing”, unconditional self-love, acceptance, and protection.
I often talk about a concept I call the “feather or the sledgehammer”. If we are tuned in to our intuition, we only need to be tickled with a feather to become aware of what our bodies are telling us.
This means resting when we start to feel tired, rather than when we are ready to collapse; speaking up or leaving a relationship before the frequent verbal arguments become physical abuse and we have already moved in, had children or gotten married; and changing our diets when we start having stomach aches, rashes or headaches, rather than after we develop a full blown, debilitating illness. Events like serious accidents, chronic illness and abuse can be examples of being hit by a sledge hammer. Since they are much more devastating signals that can cause long lasting damage, they are much more difficult to ignore and can take substantial time and energy to heal from.
Signals from our body and intuition can take many forms, such as: words you hear in your head, dreams, injuries, physical or emotional symptoms, spiritual symptoms like not feeling grounded, wondering about the purpose and meaning of your life, and a yearning for a deeper connection with nature or faith. They can also include the feeling in the pit of your stomach when a situation or person feels dangerous, when a job doesn’t feel right, or when you don’t feel settled when looking at a new house or apartment.
Unfortunately, when people do not listen to themselves, the situation can turn negative, and as a result they may feel that they aren’t capable of trusting or connecting to their intuition. But, this isn’t true. When they look back, they often realize that they chose to ignore or push down what they heard. It can be frightening to pay attention to these thoughts as it would have meant standing up for themselves, possibly hurting someone else’s feelings, or doing something they had never done before. However, I have observed many occasions when the consequences of not listening have turned out to be much scarier and damaging than the fear they were trying to avoid in the first place.
How to listen to your body and your intuition:
- Allow your feelings. It is natural to try to avoid or push down fear, emotional pain, anger or grief. But, when you do this, you push down your power and try to override your intuition.
- Accept that you are not in control of everything. Control is a product of fear, and sometimes, a lack of ability to trust yourself or handle difficult situations. Our agenda is not always what is best for us or the people we care about.
- Allow Spirit, God, a higher power, your intuition, etc. to take care of you and guide you. Be open to these messages.
- Trust your body and connect with it. Trauma can be stored in the body, thus, we may cut off our bodies to avoid reliving it. Chronic illness and pain can also cause us to cut off our bodies.
- Practice mindfulness and grounding so you can be present, rather than living in the past or the future. Journaling, writing to your intuition, and spending time in nature can be great ways to do this.
- Be open to messages in many forms. They might be words, pictures in your head, or physical symptoms, but they also might come in the form of songs you repeatedly hear, butterflies, people you meet, classes that come up on your social media feed, messages in oracle cards and more.
- Keep track of the messages you receive, perhaps in writing, and what happens when you trust and follow the messages.
Being authentic can be frightening or confusing, especially if we were not encouraged to listen to our intuition or express our opinions, personal style, sexual orientation, or interests as young people.
Nevertheless, I believe that our body and intuition will always let us know when we are off track and betraying our true selves. The sooner we learn to recognize these signs and to stop pushing down the messages we receive in our heads, the less frequently and severely our bodies need to get our attention with illness and accidents and the faster we can heal.