I remember when I was younger, I used to read my horoscope. I’m a Piscean and it used to say that I was psychic and that I could see things other people couldn’t see.
I was really frustrated. I wanted to be able to do things like telekenesis that I read about in the library voraciously.
Mum would roll here eyes.
When I started teaching, I noticed I could see what the kids were going to do before they did it. They used to say; ‘How to know I was going to do that miss?’ and I would just shrug. I talked to mum about it, mum said; ‘Everyone can take that’. So that was that.
But, it turns out, not everyone can.
Mum could do that, she could sense what was going on, read the room and the feelings of the people in it; what was unspoken, and she could see into people. But she didn’t see it as anything special so we never talked about it.
So what is it?
I now think intuition is the ability to tune into and read the subtle cues in someone’s face, voice, and body and to interpret and consider what these might mean in relation to the situation and to any other knowledge I have about the person or that group. I trust it increasingly as I get older.
I also trust my gut; if something feels bad, it probably is. The more aware I become my own bodily responses; tightening muscles, heart rate rising, feelings of dis-ease or wanting to move away from, rather than toward situations are clear indicators to me that I now pay attention to.
I learnt it the hard way. I ignored my body’s signals about people and places that weren’t good for me or safe. I rationalised, made excuses and found explanations for situations and people rather than walking away. It never ended well.
We live in a society of the rational and empirical. We like evidence and proof. The quiet voice within is often dampened or ignored.
But really our somatic intuition and our rational assessment serve us best in partnership. So I might get a strong intuition or pull towards buying a farmhouse in Tuscany, but my rational brain talks to me about timing and about finances. They work as collaborators.
When I was podcasting with Lilith she told me the story of how she and her whole family moved countries based on her intuition and a series of synchronistic events is. She had a strong sense that she needed to move, although there was no rational indication at the time of why that should be the case. In fact, moving country also meant moving her children and their education as well as her husband’s business, a fate many others would consider to be too enormous. However, together they all discussed the possibility, thought about solutions and benefits and worked out together how to make it work.
They have all flourished.
I am increasingly thinking of this as ‘intuitive living’, where we are drawn by a sense of energy towards something and then we engage a rational mind to help plan and finance, and create those possibilities. It is not something often spoken about in schools, colleages or work instead we train our young to follow the treadmill of school to university, the mortgage ladder, promotions and business plans; all of them are linear and concrete. There is the illusion of safety in following the same path that society would like us to, going to school, going to college, getting a job, having a family, working to support them, retiring and then, and only then, you can relax just for a short period of time before your body starts to fail you. If you are lucky.
It takes courage to say; ‘No, I’m not going to live that way, I have a feeling that this is where I should go even though I don’t really know how to get there, even though it means uprooting people, even though it means leaving things that are perfectly good.’ It is the heroes journey from the known into the unknown, and we often emerge with new knowledge and wisdom to bring back into the tribe.
This intuitive pull seems to be a real theme in all the podcast conversations I am having. People being drawn to something, saying yes, even when they feel they can’t or don’t how to, they say ‘yes’ anyway and try to make it work. Maybe this is why people I’m talking to on the podcast find so much joy in their ‘thing’, because it is the thing that they have created in their way, by following their intuition.
If there were an equation, maybe it would be:
Intuition + reason = energy + action = joy
I wonder if that’s true.
To listen to the podcast with Lilith Flanagan you can click here or below.
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