I would not be alive today if it wasn’t for my grandma Margarita. This was before I was born and my dad was only a little boy. My grandmother’s school where she worked as a teacher organized a riverboat cruise on Labor Day in mid-spring.
The weather was sunny and everyone was excited about going on a little trip with their families. Grandma was crossing the shaky walkway to board the boat when she suddenly decided that she did not want to come.
She turned back taking the kids with her despite protests from my granddad and all of the family friends. But my grandma was adamant that she did not want to go. An hour later the boat ran aground and capsized in the middle of the swollen and freezing river. The safety back in the 60s was nowhere near what it is today. There were not enough safety jackets and good swimmers on that boat.
Many people including some of our family members drowned. I will never know what went through Margarita’s mind when she decided that she did not want to go. But whatever it was I am forever grateful.
Intuition is something we often ignore because it is easily confused with cold feet or illogical thinking. Most people are familiar with inner voices in their heads and those are usually considered to be a part of our personality. They take 5 common forms as discovered in this study – Faithful Friend, Ambivalent Parent, Proud Rival, Helpless Child and Calm Optimist. It is like having a whole support team in your corner.
But there are different types of voices that demand our attention. Filmmaker Bill Bennett heard the loud inner voice telling him to slow down and saved him from a collision with a truck. Inspired by the event Bill went on to study intuition capturing his story in a movie.
Intuition will also communicate in a nonverbal way through your body. This is important for people who do not have internal dialogue at all. But if you give your body a chance to communicate with the conscious mind it may help you to navigate the ever-changing current of life. Tinhat alert! My open mind suggests that maybe unlike minds our bodies do not perceive time in a linear fashion and can predict the future.
If you don’t feel anything at all and are envious of the lucky six sense owners there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Intuition just like dreams is something that everyone has but may not be aware of it. As with any skill you can develop it with practice.
As intuition signals are often subtle creating space and reducing noise is important. When walking through a park it’s hard to see and hear all of the creatures living there.
However, if you spend 10 minutes sitting still on a park bench birds will come closer, wind and trees whisper their melodies showing you much more. Relaxation exercises, meditation and quiet days can help with that.
I find that intuition works best for me if I take time when making a big decision. This is because I often get excited about the opportunities and feel compelled to take an action. Unfortunately hastily taken first step may not be the right one as I have proven to myself many times. Choosing the wrong peanut butter is not the end of the world but I want my gut feeling to give me the green light for important decisions.
I generally get an inkling of something going wrong but because I am a risk-conscious person in my default state. I remember my dad saying – “Plan for the worst, hope for the best”
In my case, no-go signs present themselves as nausea or a feeling of weight on my shoulders. For others, it is a feeling of anxiety or unease about making a decision that goes away once they listen to the voice of intuition.
If you are a left-brain dominant person and prefer to see the world through the lens of logic your inner voice may be quiet. There are a few ways you can heed the signs the subconscious is showing you.
Carl Jung wrote about archetypes and how certain traits of human behaviour or events are common in any society. Victories, defeats, moments of happiness, queens and kings, wealth and health are indefinitely present in human lives though may be called or look differently.
This idea is similar to lego block shapes. While the assembled kits look different upon closer inspection they all have the same essential parts that function and look similar to make construction possible.
Tarot card values are loosely based on typical events and personalities with a mystique twist. Rather than a divinatory device the cards can be used for uncovering the subconscious mind. Psychologists used the Rorschach test in a similar way asking someone to describe an ambiguous ink blot to get insight into a person’s mind. You can use the same approach by using basic spreads and interpreting the meanings of situations using intuitive reading.
For verbal types, you can try sharing a challenging situation with a friend. Because we are often too close to see the forest an outside observer has a far clearer picture. This is different from seeking advice or guidance. Simply ask your friends to reflect on what you shared. The subconscious mind will be giving away clues on the right direction in your own language.
While intuition is an amazing tool that you should develop it is also important not to confuse it with your brain trying to preserve energy. It is difficult to discern between inner chatter and a legitimate warning sign from your intuition. Skipping gym sessions multiple times in a row or frequently bailing on your friends at the last minute is probably not your intuition but a lack of an established habit or commitment.
For those who are prone to see the worst-case scenario in every situation by default, it will help to establish a baseline. For instance, if your friend stops messaging you for a week there is no need to go into panic mode if this is normal behaviour. But if it is someone that genuinely good at communicating then maybe it is worth checking on them.
In most cases combining both logic and intuition will yield the best results. Our cognitive biases and preference can distort your decision making process. Buying a house or moving to another city for work can make anyone anxious which can be mistakingly read as your gut feeling telling you something. However, if the numbers and expert opinions tell a different story this may be the excitement of the unknown and getting out of your comfort zone.
I hope this writing inspired some ideas for you. Until next time stay kind and curious.