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thoughts that undermine our intuition

You have intuition. Ultimately it’s a matter of whether you notice it or not. When your intuition is doing its job it keeps life flowing in synchronistic ways. Divinely timed opportunities show up and you say “yes”. You’re invited to do something that sounds amazing but you don’t feel right about it and decline. Your intuition is informing your yes and no. You’re in the flow.

But that’s not always the case. You are culturally conditioned to ignore and deny your intuition. It starts in the earliest moments when you point something out to your parents that they are uncomfortable seeing and they tell you it is not true. When you deny your intuition, life doesn’t feel so easy. You run into roadblocks, bump into things, have to redo what you already thought was done, and find yourself suffering from painful experiences you could have avoided.

The great news is that intuition is a skill you can reclaim and strengthen. It never went away. It simply has been hidden from your view. There are 3 keys to improving access to your intuition.

The first key is to consciously listen. In order to hear your inner-voice you have to press pause on your mind’s analysis of the situation. It sounds simple but it is one of the most challenging aspects of being human, to get the mind out of the way of intuitive information.

Your intuition speaks to you is through body sensations. It lets you know if something is the best course for you or not with feelings such as tightness in your belly, hair standing up on your neck, tension relief, a relaxation of the shoulders or jaw.

To focus your listening, directly ask yourself a question and notice which response causes you to feel a deep peace. You may have butterflies about the decision if it challenges how people see you or receiving outside approval. But beneath that edge you will know it is right for you.

The second key to improving access to your intuition is to clear out conditioning from society, family and past experiences. These influences distort your intuition. They are static interfering with clearly hearing your inner-voice, a combination of the beliefs, needs and fears of those around you. This includes your past experiences that may or may not have truth in the present moment.

To clear out your conditioning follow the guidance in my blog post Make Room For What You Want.

The third key is to overcome your doubt. Doubt undermines intuition. It can be as intense as triggering a trauma like experience that causes you to go blank, not knowing what to do next. Or it can be as unconscious as ignoring your gut feeling to take an alternate route home only to get stuck in a traffic jam.

The way to overcome doubt is to practice acting on your intuition. Maybe you pull up the route home on your phone and look at the traffic to validate your intuitive hit. Or maybe you courageously say what you sense to a friend and discover you are right. The more you practice, the more validation you will receive. Validation will help you gain confidence and clarity.

These 3 simple keys: listen, clear out conditioning and overcome doubt, will help you unlock the door to your intuitive ability. As you trust your intuition life becomes more synchronistic and you will experience less suffering from taking actions that were not true to you.

You might think your family didn’t teach you much about your intuition but they did.  Whether they taught you to doubt your gut feelings by telling you that you were wrong when you voiced something you sensed but couldn’t prove, or they simply were living examples of listening to their inner-voice; they taught you something.

One way I was taught to tune-in to my intuition by my family was through working with my dad on the ranch. There were always projects to do. The list was never ending with land, livestock, buildings, fences and equipment to keep in order.  Dad would often have me and my brother help him when he was working on a project. He did most of the heavy lifting and our job was to keep him in his efficiency-zone by handing him whatever tool he needed next, holding a board in place or plugging in a power tool.

While he taught us how to do things along the way and verbally asked us to hand him the next tool or piece of material he needed early on, over time we were expected to know what he needed next, to read his mind and be one step ahead of him as he worked.  This was also the way his dad, our grandfather worked.  My brother and I learned to either be savvy enough to know what was next in the project or intuit their next step.

We were experiencing non-verbal communication.  As the helpers we tuned-in to what was happening and kept track of the fast pace that activity was moving. We not only were tuned-in to whether a next tool was needed but if it was time to get dad a drink of water.

Practicing awareness of another through observation and intuitively tuning-in to foresee what they may need next was one of the languages of our family.  In the full throws of a project if we weren’t tuned-in it could mean someone got hurt or the rhythm or efficiency was broken. It also insured we didn’t get scolded for being lazy and not doing our part.

Reading or empathically feeling others emotions and translating that into what to do for them is one of the tricky areas where we can either be affirmed or taught to doubt ourselves in a family.  The nice thing about intuiting the material next steps of a ranch project is that it not as dicey of ground as intuiting someone’s emotions and knowing how to respond.

Our families subtly teach us how to use or disregard our intuition.  As we identify some of the ways this occurred in our life, we can use it to reclaim or further hone our intuitive awareness.

Well it Matter in 50 Years?

Natalie —  September 11, 2013 — 2 Comments

At times in life I notice I’m not putting my priorities in the right order. The tyranny of the urgent, whether it’s someone else’s request or something I expect of myself, has me neglecting what I know in my heart is most important… my physical/mental/spiritual health, the people I love, life balance. Two weeks ago my priorities were put to the test. I had a business trip lined up, meetings, airfare, hotel, rental car and my dad was being hospitalized for a blood transfusion with a mystery illness that had been wearing him down for six weeks with fever, fatigue, then stomach pain and lots of weight loss.  I live in Colorado, he lives in Oregon. I intuitively knew his life was in danger when I had seen him last but he was too feverish to realize it, besides no one in Urgent Care had expressed much worry about his progressive deterioration.

That Monday morning I was struggling with what to do, Dad was playing down how serious it was when I spoke with him on the phone.  Should I keep my work commitments or go be with my Dad who I knew was fighting for his life, without a diagnosis?  In the state of emotional stress I realized I needed support to follow through with my desire to drop everything and drive to Oregon. I texted a friend and asked if he would drive with me. When he said yes, I felt a huge relief and started taking action to cancel my business trip that was meant for the next day. As soon as it was decided a big wave of peace washed over me. I didn’t know what tomorrow would bring but I knew that my priorities were right and I would have no regrets.

In moments of crisis, decisions can feel overwhelming and doing what we need to do feel impossible.  It seemed all the tools I had for centering, self-reflection and getting clear weren’t within reach.  I called on those who know me best to be my anchor and remind me not to doubt my intuition.  To ignore my dad’s “don’t worry,” to set aside my clients “I need the demonstration this week,” and choose what would bring peace for my soul.  I had to press beyond my fear of letting others down, be it family or business associates, and lean on the strength of friends.

At my technology job it was one of the worst possible times for me to need to redirect my energy to family. I reflected on the sage advice from my manager Bill at my first job after college, “Is it going to matter in 50 years? If not, don’t stress about it.”  In 50 years it would matter if I was there for my dad and it wouldn’t matter if I postponed my business trip.

When the time came to let work know my circumstances, I received 100% support from colleagues, clients and management.  I felt the grace of their understanding and acknowledgement that we are all human with needs that come before work.

After being quarantined and run through many tests, they discovered my dad had a parasite, one that kills 100,000 people a year and almost killed him, but is curable! What a relief that it was discovered in time.  And while he’s recovering, I’ve been able to be here at the family Ranch for more time than I thought would be possible for me this year; a blessing in disguise.  This is in a profoundly nurturing place for my soul.  I’ve also had time to spend with my mom and brother who are both facing different mystery health challenges, and witnessed many surprising layers of family healing.

I was reminded from this experience that when I feel confused and am struggling to get clear on my intuitive truth, it’s still there.  I just have too much emotion between me and it, to see it clearly. At those times I can call on the people who know me best to help me clear away the emotional-charge and get grounded enough to see.

It all comes back to trust. When I went through my divorce at age 27 one of the big lessons I learned was that intimate love isn’t sustainable without trust. If you don’t trust your partner to consider your needs when they make choices that impact you, it disrupts the flow of love.  Yet the root of trust is in our relationship with our Self.  Recently one of my teachers put it to me this way, “You have to trust yourself to face and work through whatever life presents.”

It is not about the trustworthiness of another so much as trusting ourselves to make a good choice and to handle whatever life brings. An unspoken pain we feel when someone we trust betrays us is Self-doubt. Why didn’t I see that coming?  We may experience love and trust most measurably in our response to others but we first have to trust our Self.  Trusting our Self is an expression of Self-love.

To cultivate awareness and understanding of our intuition we have to start with trust.  It takes trust to listen to the messages from our heart, soul and body, the gut feeling or sense of what is our correct path regardless of outside validation.  We often over-analyze our intuitive insights by stacking the information up next to what we consider as facts; the provable data.

That provable data comes from past experiences, information the world tells us is reliable, evidence bent on helping us feel safe and in control of the outcome.  This logic first approach is a natural survival response, assessing the potential outcome of a choice and our safety in the situation.  Yet it undermines our inner-guidance.

Most of us can reference times in our life where we discounted our intuitive voice and continued down a path that had a less than desirable outcome.  In retrospect we acknowledged that we knew that the path wasn’t in alignment with our truth but something stopped from listening to that voice. We let the facts create doubt, or made a comfortable choice rather than one that was a bit uncomfortable which would have offered us greater ease and less pain in the long run.

Another facet of learning to trust our Self is being able to decipher when we are projecting onto a situation our desired outcome, rather than seeing it clearly. I truly believe that we have aspects of destiny at play in our lives and to meet our soul’s mission we can either do so with ease and grace by listening to our inner-guidance or we can struggle through it resisting the less comfortable path.  We’ll still get there but the journey through the lessons of our soul’s mission is more tiresome and painful when we don’t trust or inner-guidance.

Learning to trust our Self is as simple as listening to our intuitive nudges. Most often our intuition speaks gently to us and we have to slow down and intentionally listen to hear it.  It is not a drill sergeant demanding we pay attention and act in accordance to its directive.  Rather our intuitive-guidance is a resource we can choose to open up to. A partner in the path of life whom we can cultivate trust with just as with any relationship, through experience.

Lake Austin Dock

I was at a local watering hole on the shore of Lake Austin last week, with a co-worker and some of his friends.  The topic of my hearts work, clairvoyant reading, came up in conversation. As has happened many times in my life, my colleagues curiosity set off a peppering of questions, doubts and a challenge. How is it possible to do that?  Prove it!

I was in my last two days of taking a month off from seeing clairvoyant clients to allow spiritual renewal for myself.  Austin was icing on the cake, full of inspiration, a city after my own heart, where you can take a “sweaty yoga” class from 10:30 pm till midnight on Friday night.  It was perfect timing to have my soul’s vocation questioned.

When my commitment to intuitive seeing and healing was affronted with a demand “read me now!” it was tempting to put a wall up, resist the intrusion, just say NO. But I found myself closing my eyes in a packed open-air bar asking my colleague to say his name three times, and then ask me a question.

Explaining the way I see doesn’t energetically answer the question of what it means to be a psychic who doesn’t read the future, rather reads what is blocking people at a soul level from creating what they want in life to help them heal.  Understanding it is more experiential than analytical. When I opened my eyes after 10 minutes of witnessing his soul, moving energy and being in the meditative state, I felt great.  I looked at my colleague and his entire countenance had shifted.  He was softer, had opened-up and no longer doubted. He was still curious but not demanding.

One of the root lessons in my spiritual path has been learning to have healthy boundaries around my sense of intuitive awareness.  Healthy boundaries includes taking time off to renew, saying “no” when we need to, not violating a person’s boundaries by psychically reading them without their consent.  It also means learning to not automatically empathically feel everyone around you and avoiding the temptation heal people who haven’t asked for it.  It means, distinguishing what energy is me and my experience, and what is yours and your experience.

As an intuitive our nature is to sense what is beyond the five senses in the environment around us.  It can be tricky not to take that sense of awareness too far by taking the information personally when it has nothing to do with us.  Or by matching it so deeply we mistake the emotional energy or physical pain as our own.

I responded to my colleagues demand to “prove it” because I felt relaxed, spontaneous and willing to share this part of myself with someone authentically curious.  I also wanted to observe myself reading with permission in the cacophony of a crowded bar and feel safe doing it.  As a younger woman I did not have the trust in spiritual protection to hold my space in that environment.

We all experience intuition in slightly different forms.  Some see images, some hear the voice of guidance, others feel sensations in the physical body, or prophetically see a specific future potential as destined.  Regardless of how we know what we know, there is not a need to prove it to anyone.  Our intuition is a gift of Divine guidance to help us through our personal experiences.

When we share that information with others as a professional we will occasionally be challenged by clients or strangers.  This challenge comes to strengthen our seniority in what we know. The less we doubt the validity of what we see, the more we can smile and be amused when others challenge us with their doubts.

Image thanks to http://performance-rules.com

Last week I was at my osteopath’s Dr. B, who had a student in training assisting the appointment.  As she was examining my back, he instructed her, “Listen to your right brain.  It knows where the spine is out of alignment. See how you’re hand has gone back to the same spot three times. You’ve got to turn off your left brain. It is making you question what your right brain knows.” In my world Dr. B was asking his student to listen to her intuition, to turn off her analytical minds interruptions and validate her sixth-sense awareness.

What was curious to me is that this medical doctor adamantly stated that the disrupted flow of spinal fluid could be felt without any equipment, simply touching the body and listening to the right brain.  He is very good at his work, and yet explaining how he knows what he knows to a student, was challenging in medical terms.

All good healers, whether they are doctors, dentists, psychiatrists or massage therapists actively use their intuition whether they acknowledge it or not.  My osteopath doesn’t think his awareness is of an intuitive nature.  His form of intuitive knowing is innate and he’s spent significant time cultivating it.  He doesn’t realize that it’s any different than the way his student might read a patient’s body.

We all experience intuitive data differently. While the information is the same, the way it comes to us can be a feeling a sensation in our own body, seeing a mental image, hearing a voice that provides direction or simply knowing without an indicator from one of the other five senses.

Dr. B impatiently instructed his student, “Your right brain will give you the yes. Turn off your left brain!” To cultivate confidence in our intuition, we also have to set aside the left brain analytical mind and listen for the yes.  When we are aligned with the intuitive yes, there is a sense of peace that comes even if the information is difficult.

Our sixth chakra (center of head) is where we hold both our intuitive knowing (right brain) and our analyzer (left brain).  The analyzer is trained to process facts, calculate evidence and derive answers.  The analyzer does not do well with information that has no correct answer such as emotions, bodily sensations and spiritual awareness.  That’s not its job.

Yet we try to force our left brain to process all of our experiences because we are taught that logic, science, having firm unchanging answers is the most valued in our society.  Many of the best insights into non-linear challenges come when we focus our attention away from the question and let our intuitive mind, in parallel, process the emotions and senses around it.

Repetitive, creative activities stimulate this, such as jigsaw puzzles, knitting and working in the garden.  We are present yet our left brain is distracted, giving our right brain room to breathe.  It takes practice to follow the doctors’ orders, set aside our left brain and listen to the right. It feels awkward at first, vulnerable.  Yet the more we do it, the more clearly we hear the yes, and the more our intuition informs our every experience.

Photo by Patrick Yuen

Heeding the direction of our intuition sounds wise and like a no-brainer but what happens when our intuition doesn’t give us the answer we want to hear?  We all have subtle agendas behind the questions we ask ourselves. These conscious or unconscious hopes and desires create bias or resistance to the direction we receive and may cause us to negotiate with our inner-guidance.

When we don’t get the answers we want from our intuition we are tempted to change the truth by looking at it from a different angle. Being pragmatic we ratchet up the volume of our analytical mind to overpower the subtler intuitive messages. We cajole, bargain and try to talk ourselves out of what we know, or we outright rebel, doing what we want, only to suffer the consequences.

All of these inner conversations are forms of manipulation or attempts to get what we want even if it’s not the best thing for us.  Crazy yes, but we all do it.  Sometimes not getting the answer we want is simply getting no answer, and having to live in the unknown for longer than we are comfortable.  The inner-critic and task master doesn’t like not having an answer so we pressure the inner-guide to give us what we want and NOW.

The internal conversation that occurs in this standoff can be frustrating and keep our minds spinning in circles.  The worst part is that these negotiations tend to hit is in our blind spots.  We don’t even notice them happening until we’ve missed an opportunity or made a poor decision, based on our agenda rather than our intuition.

When we notice ourselves in a circular conversation that undermines our inner-guidance, it’s an opportunity to step back and take a look at the source of our resistance.  What belief is in our space blocking us from accepting a path that is for our highest good?  Is it fear that we won’t get our needs met, fear that we’ll take a certain path and fail or is someone else’s agenda in our space influencing our choice? It may even be a global or cultural fear influencing us.

Meditation, being grounded and clearing our energy space of outside influence brings us closer to our truth. Examples of these practices can be found in my other blog posts such as The Meditative Path to Clarity, Own Your Space and A Dream Come True, Can You Have What You’ve Always Wanted.  Resistance to guidance from our intuition can be seen as a reminder to align our body, mind, emotions and spirit. To reclaim our energetic space and examine what inside us would prefer to stick with a predetermined agenda rather than take a path that is for our higher good.

The Meditative Path to Clarity

Natalie —  October 12, 2011 — 5 Comments

We all want clarity, to feel solid about our decisions and choices.  We want to know what is best for us.  What path to take.  We realize at a deep level that no other person can give us the answer.  We may seek reflection and input from others, but we are doing so to hear ourselves speak our first thoughts, notice our response to this advice, to see if we agree or disagree and why.

We know there is information available to us that is immeasurable, essence level insight. Stuff we can’t explain even though we try to explain it.  We wish we felt a more solid about to the intuitive guidance available to us.  We want to know we are making choices that will lead to happiness.

Clearly interpreting our inner-guidance is not a skill taught in school or at home.  Often when we have an intuitive aptitude for reading other’s energy it is a result of needing to develop this skill for our own safety or survival.  It can be more difficult to see our own truth when our intuitive skills were cultivated from a point of trauma or lack. To develop clarity we need to remove obstacles to our vision.

There are as many layers of experience influencing us as there are years in our life, some would say more.  When we begin to focus attention on listening to our inner-guidance, it’s like learning to walk all over again.  Our legs are a little wobbly, we let the momentum of gravity move us forward and toss a leg out to balance ourselves, then another. Only learning to trust its support and gain confidence in our body as we maintain our balance with each forward step.

To develop the skill of trusting our intuitive guidance, a daily meditation practice is essential.  This doesn’t need to be an hour with your eyes rolled back into your head and an empty mind.  The type of meditation I refer to is tuning into your energy body for 5 or 15 minutes. I do so every day while walking my dog.  It’s that simple. Focus awareness on the following elements:

  • Grounding Cord – that which connects us to the foundation of the earth, our root extending from the tip of our spine to the center of the earth
  • Cosmic Energy –energy from the spirit realm, flowing down into us from the crown of our head
  • Earth Energy – energy from the earth, it runs up through our legs to join with the cosmic energy
  • Aura Bubble – our personal space as defined by an energy field that surrounds our physical body
  • Center of Head – the space between your ears and behind your eyes where you “see” rather than “feel” intuitively

Tuning into these energy tools and claiming them for ourselves, will dissipate the fog of doubt and help us clean out external influences.   Meditation is an essential form of spiritual housekeeping that allows us to see clearly.  From the
space of greater clarity we can even identify when we need external perspective to get beyond our own blocks. Meditation prepares us for deep listening, the kind that helps us break through the mistof uncertainty so we can align action with our vision to create the life we want.

Dark Night of the Soul

Natalie —  July 21, 2011 — 1 Comment

A Dark Night of the Soul is a period of time or season that many of us on the spiritual journey find ourselves in once or more in our life.  The Dark Night comes unexpectedly through some change or experience that causes us to question all that we’ve known to be true.  It is a time where we find ourselves feeling disillusioned with a temporary loss of faith.  What we trusted appears in a new light to have been temporary and incomplete.  The foundation we’d built our perception of the world on shifted and in that shift we found ourselves unsettled.  What felt meaningful feels meaningless, what seemed solid looks unreliable, what we thought we knew to be true comes into question.

Walking through a Dark Night of the Soul period requires intense resilience.  It pushes our edge, uses every ounce of our psychological capacity for survival. The Dark Night can be triggered by things like divorce, loss of a job, loss of a role or identity we’ve identified with or physical illness. Where it takes us is a profound void that may feel like depression, hollowness, hopelessness, emptiness and doubt.

How do we endure this mental and spiritual struggle? What gets us through the void and back to a point of inner-peace?  I’ve found that, an essential aspect of the healing and growth the Dark Night has to offer comes through the following conscious choices:

  • Acknowledging that the cycle of living in the unknown has purpose. 
  • Calling on our inner-guidance with much more frequency and consistency. 
  • Moving our body to allow the cycle to stay in motion on the physical level. 
  • Seeking support through the council of spiritual mentors who have walked the path before.

These paths of self-care give us strength and help us see that we will make our way to a season of light again.

The Dark Night may feel like a stuck place in our external life or a place where everything is in chaos.  However stagnant it feels or looks in the physical form it is an active season for the soul.  The soul is in chrysalis.  It has gone within and on certain levels may require us to go unconscious about some of the work underway. Transformation, upgrading our soul to integrate all the bits-and-pieces we’ve been encountering in our self-awareness and growth at the deepest level. 

Some of these levels of processing are beyond what we can or are ready to consciously “see” as they transform.  We have to be patient and trust the inner activity.  We have to ask our mind, as it seeks to fix what appears to be broken, the mind that wants a solution, wants answers, to be patient while the Dark Night chrysalis is evolving us from the caterpillar to the butterfly. 

The void has us fear a loss of Self.  It has us feel alone and as if we may have lost all of the ground we had gained through our conscious growth and commitment to self-awareness and health.  In reality there is no loss, at the other side of this deeply challenging soul searching cycle we find ourselves renewed, more mature, with an inner radiance that transcends our prior light.

The Dark Night is a soul crisis.  It pushes us to the full extent of what we feel our soul is capable of handling.  It may temporarily break our spirit but the Great Spirit/God never gives us more than we can handle.  The discovery of our inner strength, the renewal and appreciation for what generates inner-peace for us, makes the journey through the void, the rebirthing of our higher Self, well worth the battles we face when staring at the unknown.

The biggest block to creating the life you want may not be lack of vision or action but your capacity to have it.  Like that old saying “have your cake and eat it too,” if you can’t eat the cake that you spent your time and money baking, you’ve participated in an energy depleting activity. 

When you request something from the universe through visualization, prayer or simple intention and it never shows up, or it does and just as quickly goes away; it may make you doubt your capacity to create or the support of your higher power.  Most likely something is blocking your ability to receive.  Receiving is harder than it sounds.  To receive you must acknowledge your worthiness for whatever has arrived.  And override past experiences that programmed your mind with thoughts like, “That’s impossible. I can’t have that.  It won’t last.”

While considering a goal for your life, use your inner-guidance, your sixth chakra or center of head space, to visualize what you want to manifest.  In your daydreams or journal you can play with design, forming a ‘mock-up’ of the desire.   Focus on the energy you would like to create, such as joy ease or playfulness, more than the form it will take.  From your intuitive mind, look for any conflict between your desire and its possession.  Notice areas of your life where you resist having what you want or where your vision is not grounded in reality.  The power of bringing these conflicts to your awareness will begin the process of moving the block out of your space.  Now visualize a bubble outside of your aura, like a magnet drawing the conflict energy away from your desire.  Once you see all of the energy has moved into the bubble, send it somewhere far away with your minds-eye and pop it.  This will create more space for you to have your cake and eat it too.

Here are some examples of thoughts that may get in the way of having what you want:

  • Attachment to past creations that are out-dated, “Wow, my dream house is for sale and I can afford it but I’ve invested so much time and energy in the house I’m in.”
  • Change, “I wanted this but now that I have it, I feel uncomfortable.”
  • Control, “She has to agree with me or we might as well not have a relationship.”
  • Old identity, “I was poor growing up.  It’s always been hard to make ends meet.”
  • Lack of permission, “Having time to play my guitar is selfish.  I should be helping the kids with homework.”
  • Unworthy, “I really don’t deserve to be happier than my parents, friends or lover.”

If you find yourself stuck in a pattern that is preventing you from having what you want in relationship, work, prosperity or any other area of your life, seek outside help from a trustworthy source such as a spiritual mentor, therapist or clairvoyant reader.  We all have unconscious beliefs and programs at work in our space that are so powerful it is hard to see them, let alone move the energy ourselves.  Finally, commit to replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts through regular affirmations.