My last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Many changes are afoot and it feels like I’ve been walking through a bridge leading to the great unknown. It is very exciting but it can also be unnerving. One thing that keeps coming up during these days of wonder is: trusting my intuition. In fact, it is thanks to me paying attention, that I’m able to continue on this journey, learn from my experiences and actually enjoy the process.
Many of us over years of experiences have put our intuition to the test. Some of us have just about abandoned it all together. Why? The funky feeling in our gut can be the last thing we want to pay attention to. It can mean that we need to make that one-eighty turn and that just feels daunting. Life is complicated as it is and catching ourselves in the midst of a busy life only to realize we’ve been doing things wrong or engaging in something that’s not particularly good for us, is a lesson in humility.
But changes don’t have to be bad. Or that difficult. Especially when they are for the better. Often, it is the idea that we need to pause to take an inventory and change course is scarier than actually making the shift. You see, I believe that you already know what’s good for you. You’ve just been disconnected from that intuitive feeling. A life that is nurturing, pleasant and calm, should feel pleasant and calm in your stomach. If it’s anything but, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at what’s happening?
Here are a few lessons life’s served up for me in the recent weeks, and how I choose to handle them.
When things get too heated, I simply withdraw. I surround myself with the company of YouTubers who post videos on the subjects I’m exploring, and my journal. Pen and paper. And coffee. Writing in free-flow each morning to get down to the essence of what I feel has been a life saver. It helps to get things moving again, even if slowly at first, and bring on that sparking sense of clarity, like sunlight on the snow. It’s okay not to feel okay. In fact, it is a requirement in order to make things better! When we are alone, we can dig deep and find out who we are and what it is that we want. We can see where we end and where others begin, so it is a good opportunity to set boundaries. If others have a problem with you getting your time alone, asking for it will show you who are those people who lay a claim on your time. Of course if you are a parent or a business partner in a startup, your alone time might be more limited. But do do it. Alone time is a great way to let all the chaos settle, for your body chemistry to normalize and for a new plan to naturally emerge.
Do something new, or do the same thing differently.
One of my favorite ways to shake things up is traveling. That is not always accessible or affordable, but even taking a walk to a new park in town can do the trick. Resetting our brain away from hardwired routines can have a truly refreshing effect. I’ve been really fortunate lately to have been able to visit new places. Between a wedding, a visit with my parents, checking out new states and natural vistas and now visiting a new continent (I’m writing this post from Africa), I’ve fed my brain with so many new impressions, it is easier not to dwell on the things that have not worked out in my life. Operating from a sense of wonder, I’m seeing my past challenges as blessings in disguise. It’s easier to extract learnings and blessings this way. It’s also easier to see the next steps. When the future beckons and pulls us, the past loses its iron grip.
Let your mind be blown.
Every so often, we get blessed by an epiphany. It’s a moment when we either get a massive injection of new information, which changes our worldview on the spot, or something we believed in is proven false. In either case, our old paradigm is turned upside down and our intuition strengthens. Lately, I’ve had a row of such realizations and my brain was close to short-circuiting (thank God for the gut, a.k.a. ‘second brain’). One of the last lessons deals with the culture of the country I’m visiting. Tunisia is a Muslim country. Yes, many of the women here wear heavy garb and most cafés are visited by men only. However, I am yet to encounter any hostility on the streets or otherwise. In fact, people here can’t go out of their way enough to accommodate. They smile, they wave and constantly want to give you things. Everyone is very respectful, more some than in some western countries. What we’ve been exposed to in the media has been a horrific picture of these people. After graduating college with a degree of communications, I threw away my television and never looked back. Question the media. Do your own research and better yet — see it for yourself!
I hope I didn’t go off on too many things in this post. If you get one thing from it, may it be this: learn to trust your feelings. Check in with yourself often and don’t be afraid to make changes in your life, if your gut is nudging you to do it. It will save you time, and it can even save your life.