WE DON'T KNOW HOW
We tend to be chronically unpractised. From an early age we are often encouraged to outsource our decision making. We are taught to seek answers from outside ourselves and follow rules set by external authorities, thus minimising or silencing our own sirens and guides. Our reward for conforming outweighs the whispers of intuition.
We learn that other people’s compasses are more commendable than our own, and that logic and reason are golden gods. Any audacity on our part to actually attend to our intuitive knowing may well be met with disdain or rejection from others, the internalisation of which teaches us to associate shame with what we know to be true.
The big T. Our trusty but undesirable constant companion – trauma. Sometimes tip-toeing, sometimes stomping on our nervous systems, trauma ruptures our mind body connection. It creates a relentless static on the line, a muffled, scratchy signal, making communication complicated and difficult.
Not only can our heads be really fucking loud, drowning out the sound of intuition so it’s nothing more than a strangled gargle, but we can erroneously perceive threats that just aren’t there.
A traumatised brain will misread its environment, misinterpreting people and situations as threats and concocting thoughts, feelings and stories rooted in these misinterpretations. A bodily experience of fear may therefore not represent truth, just a re-enactment of old narratives interwoven within our bones – the fear in our fascia.
CONFUSE FEAR WITH INTUITION
We can frequently confuse fear with intuition. So how do we navigate the quite frankly fresh hell that is this terrain? It may be easy for some, but if you’re anything like me, this process of disentanglement can be one looong learning curve. If I’m wanting to say no, is the negatory resounding in truth or reverberating with fear? How do I know which no?!
As humans our choices are often deeply entrenched in fear. Our instinct for survival and safety reigns supreme, so fear tries to remove obstacles that may burst our bubble of self-protection.
Saying yes to fear may therefore feel comforting, but it actually closes us off to life. We feel transiently relieved, protected from potential triggers, but this is not intuition.
Fear forms a Machiavellian cloak over our internal guidance system, all under the guise of keeping us safe. Instead we are left feeling constricted and disempowered.
To differentiate the two, see that fear furloughs stillness – it is impregnated with obsession, anxiety and mind chatter. Intuitive information is conversely clear and calm. It will feel like an opening.
WE SEEK FAMILIARITY
We may also find our internal vision obscured due to the sheen of wishful thinking. It’s a blurry line but a big difference.
With wishful thinking we can convince ourselves that what we want is actually going to happen. Our all-consuming desire for a particular outcome clouds our discernment and fleetingly silences our doubts. But this is faith, not intuition.
Oscillating between believing it’s going to happen and fear that it won’t is indicative of wishful thinking. As the quiet hum of intuition can feel joyful and expansive, so too can the whirlwind of wishful thinking.
Not only is noticing these subtle shifts sometimes troubling, but actually honouring the petition to our soul – that can be even more difficult.
We are often taught from a young age to sacrifice authenticity for attachment, subconsciously choosing adherence to other people’s opinions and expectations over our own so that we may receive love and approval. This patterning rarely vanishes on its own. As adults we can still make this same sacrifice.
If the guidance of our gut is steering us against the tide, we may well ignore it. We’d rather receive love and approval for the presentation of a veneered version of ourselves, than risk rejection or criticism if we were to be our authentic selves.
Intuition in its essence is indeed wondrous. The deep knowing within our bones that something just feeels right, without the need for analytical thought or dissection. But learning to trust it, to decipher its often indecipherable whimper, can be wildly bewildering. It takes practise. Alot of it. And introducing an abundance of discernment.
Recognising we can be so indomitably influenced by our past dancing on our present can help to distinguish our current truth from tangled old tales. By breathing into our fears we can spiral through them into an oasis of intuition. By affectionately paying attention to our internal whir, we get to glide through life a little more gracefully, a little more joyously, a little more expansively. The slope of the uphill trudge almost certainly starts to diminish.