Imagine you had a very dear friend…
And each morning, that friend came to you with a request for support. Please help me, for I have been faced with hardships. Please help me find my way through to the other side. And because you loved her so very much, each morning you would oblige.
You gave her the best of you – your ideas, your advice, your insights. You even gave her an understanding of the best next move to make. And imagine your advice quite good. It was sound, simple, relevant and useful in solving the very problem she was facing. But there was a problem. Although each day that friend would leave you full and ready, she would never act on any of the advice you had given. Instead, the next day she would come back seemingly empty again, and ask you for more.
How would you feel?
It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? A friend told me this story last week and something about it struck me deeply. Between friends, this behavior would not go on for long. At some point, were I in your shoes, I would likely stop giving advice and start asking a few questions.
Why haven’t you taken any of my advice?
Are you so confident that you must stay stuck where you are, that you’re unwilling to try something that might help?
At some point the relationship might begin to break down.
Except… let’s just say for a moment that friend is you.
And the all-knowing, ever generous advice giver is your God. Or your own body. Or that mysterious creature you call your intuition.
Do you see where I’m headed here?
Let’s be honest for a moment. When was the last time you asked – your body, your God, or your intuition – for help… and when the answer came back, you didn’t listen?
This week I’ve been researching intuition. It was prompted by a number of events, not the least of which was the coming of my thirty sixth birthday. For the past few months I’ve been feeling a lot of self doubt. Years ago a wise woman told me that my soul purpose would not become clear until later in life. It sounded true, and it gave me comfort at the time.
But lately, all I’ve heard myself asking, “so is it later yet?”
What I realized in this exploration was…
#1 I haven’t been very kind to myself in the past few months, and
#2 it all starts… as usual… with the body.
For example, I love to dance. Yet in trying to grow my new business, I’ve relegated movement to the back seat yet again. Yes I am an embodied leadership coach. Yes I teach corporate executives the “soft” skills I’ve cultivated for years by listening deeply to the wisdom of my own body. Yes I get people up and moving every time I speak.
But have I really made enough time in my own life to keep cultivating that wisdom – to stay tapped in deeply enough to write a fresh blog for you each week?
Another example – I’ve been discounting my intuition in one very critical location. For the past six months it’s been telling me that it’s time to write a book. (Maybe two). And yet this gift of advice has gone unacknowledged, except when shared shakily to a close friend with a tinge of embarrassment and shame at my own audacity.
Why do we do this?
What if it wasn’t my idea – good, bad, right or wrong – but the advice of a wise and good friend? No doubt I would say, “Thank you. Do you think so? Will you help me? Maybe I should!” Instead I was investing energy and time talking myself out of it. Sabotaging and shaming, in my favorite and practiced ways. And looking for love in all the wrong places, from marketing experts, other authors and business coaches – does anybody…
anybody… know for sure if this is a GOOD idea? Please?
What I’m finding this week – which I already knew, but had forgotten – is that intuition and self love go beautifully hand in hand.
When I say YES to the wisdom that comes to me from my “gut” in a moment of insight, doors begin to open and, funny enough, I begin to like myself more as I walk through them.
What does it look like in practice?
Q: Body, how can I get home from New York an hour early.
A: Get in a Taxi.
Q: Body, the taxi is taking too long.
A: You’re right, just get on the train.
Q: Body, where should I get off?
A: Penn Station.
Q: (upon arriving) Should I get off here?
A: No, keep going to the Bolt Bus stop.
Q: (upon arriving) Body, the Megabus is closer. How about the Megabus?
A: No, the Bolt Bus.
“Ah yes,” said the conductor. “We do have one or two empty seats. We’re departing in three minutes. Go ahead and board.”
This week, I invite you to practice self love by following the wisdom of your own intuition.
Whether you locate the source of the gift in God, in your body or in another higher form of knowing doesn’t matter. The practice itself is about deep listening, trust and a willingness to let go of control for long enough to surrender to the ride.
In your movement practice, see if you can unhinge for a moment (or longer) from your thinking mind as you move. Whether you are jogging, dancing, swimming or riding a horse, drop your attention down from your head to your gut. Ask your thinking mind to take a back seat for as long as you can stand it and listen. When an impulse comes, follow it. Practice at a time when the stakes are low – when nobody is watching, or when the outcome doesn’t matter much – so that you can feel comfortable fully surrendering to the ride. Practice with an intention of goalless exploration. What happens when I listen?
Try closing the gap as much as possible between impulse and reaction. I feel, I do. I know, I act.
Can you train yourself to move by instinct, one moment at a time?
In life,the practice is much the same, though the stakes may be higher in some cases. Again, start small. First and most importantly, challenge yourself to take the time to ask. Body (God, higher self etc.)… should I take the train or the bus? Speak up or hold my tongue? Experiment with the small things as a way of building your muscles for the big ones.
Is she the right woman for me? Will I really be happy if I take this job?
As you practice this week, I encourage you to pay particular attention to the sensation you get when you make a choice that you cannot fully explain, and it goes well.
That is you, listening.
In those moments – no matter how long or short they last – you are on the ride, and you are perfection.
And there is gold in that.
Honoring your inner voice,