As a kid, my go-to source of information was the World Book, a set of Encyclopedias. I also went to the actual library to look for info (for my compelling report on cheetahs – 5th grade wunderkind).
In today’s digital world, where every corner of the internet is filled with advice on what we should look like, feel like, and BE like, we learn to search outside of ourselves for answers. We are flooded with information. Look up anything at all, at any time, and the “answer” is there in second. With this constant source of data (and opinions, and quackery), we forget to look within. If you could see my Google search history, I would shrink into a small ball and never call you again. Google can’t prolly tell me what to do about my existential angst.
Intuition is something that cannot be downloaded. It can’t be found in cyberspace, or anywhere other than in our own hearts, minds, and souls. Intuition MUST come from within and requires a fair amount of self-trust.
But HOW does intuition come in? It’s different for everyone.
Four Pathways of Intuitive Function
Judee Gee, author of Intuition: Awakening Your Inner Guide, takes us through four ways that we can receive intuitive guidance. The four ways are: clairsentience, clairaudience, clairvoyance, and knowingness. Stick with me here: this may be a helpful way to tune in to intuition and to notice how it comes through for you. Intuition is easier to develop if you know how your inner (or higher) self speaks.
Clairsentience, or “clear feeling” is getting intuitive information as sensation and/or emotional feeling in your physical body. It might look like an instinctive response in the body, either a feeling or a movement, or it might come in as a sensation (warmth, cold, tingling, twitching, tightening, relaxing). These physical sensations work by bringing your attention/awareness to what is going on. You might “feel” the emotional state someone is in (you understand their joy, their suffering), or you may become the feeling (like becoming depressed around a depressed friend). Using your clairsentience, you are going to understand the ATMOSPHERE you are in – your BODY is telling you (aka, read the room).
This is helpful to remember in times where you suddenly feel crappy for “no reason” – look and feel around you. This ability helps you monitor your relationship with others and modify your responses. And, it will help maintain balance and harmony within the body.
Example: If someone is angry and not expressing it, developing clairsentience will help you recognize this. You will be able to see that it is going on OUTSIDE of you. Then, you have the power to move away from the person, shield yourself energetically, or address the root issue (if it happens to involve you – usually people just have their own thing going that has nothing to do with us). Now, we can recognize that WE are not the problem; that this tension, this feeling, is coming from the outside.
Clairsentience will help us to discern between our own feelings and another person’s feelings. And then we can get rid of this outside energy or find a way to shield ourselves from it. When I know I am going into a tense or a wild card situation, I often imagine a sort of force-field around myself. It helps.
Developing clairsentience: Work on BOUNDARIES, OK? (This is very hard for me). Set them and hold them. Ground and center yourself in your body (breath-work, meditation, yoga, walking in nature, sitting in nature, getting earth-y). The more you are in touch with your physical body and emotional state, the better clairsentience can work. When you get the hang of it, you can easily discern what is yours and what is not. If it is not yours, shake it off.
Case in point: My little Ray has been going to gymnastics for two years and loving it. So when he told me he didn’t want to go one day, I knew something was up. Turns out sweet teacher Sara was getting frustrated with one of the kids in the class (Veronica, the vixen), and this was making Ray feel yucky.
Ray and I talked about how people have feelings which have nothing to do with us. And that we can “shake it off”. We practiced wiggling and shaking our bodies until he was cracking up. He went back to gymnastics happily and hasn’t had an issue since.
Clairaudience, or “clear hearing” means that you get your intuitive information through words or by actually hearing things. Clairaudience is also known as telepathy, or communication through the mind (cue the organ music). You might hear an inner voice. Or perhaps when you are thinking about an issue, you open a book and the passage you open to is the answer to your question (this happens to me CONSTANTLY). Someone with a knack for clairaudience will be a good communicator – if you can express yourself well, if you can tell your truth, your intuition probably functions via clairaudience.
Developing clairaudience: Speak it! Work on expressing feelings out loud, and put impressions of things and situations into words. Do some automatic writing (see below). Develop your listening skills as well, so that you can hear what is coming through.
Clairvoyance, or “clear seeing” is the perception of truth in a VISUAL way. Clairvoyance shows up as visions, symbolic images, dreams and pictures. This might mean seeing a message in the beautiful art that you enjoy, or in the natural world. I see symbols in my daily life all the time. It is so much fun and truly beautiful. Sonia Choquette talks about birds being a frequent symbol. A friend just told me about Cardinals being a sign from her mom and I was like ME TOO! Birds are messengers!
Clairvoyance helps us to see beyond what our eyeballs see; we look beyond physical matter and perceive patterns and rhythms and even people’s past experiences. This ability is where imagination comes in. If you have a rich fantasy life, this might be your thing.
Developing clairvoyance: Try visualization exercises, find ways to express yourself artistically, use fantasy. Pay attention to your dreams; write them down. Think form, flow, and color. Get into it and believe in yourself.
Remember that symbols, signs and dreams need interpreting and translating. Just go ahead and trust that you are right. It is deeply personal, so no one can validate this truth but your own incredible self.
Knowingness is when we suddenly KNOW something to be true, and we don’t really know why we know (ya know?). It’s like a quantum leap. We must simply trust ourselves.
Developing knowingness: This one is pretty global. It requires all of the practices that we do to take care of ourselves, being willing to play with the Universe, getting in flow, riding the wave. We have to be at One with All That Is. Gee says that we ALL have the ability to do it! She says:
“At this level of expression, we realize that we are intrinsically linked to the creative intelligence of our universe and that we can participate in the expression of that intelligence.”
Example: This morning I was going to my hairdresser and for some reason put my planner in my purse. I never bring it with, it usually stays in my work bag. But I had a sudden impulse (not even a thought, really) to bring it. When I got there, my stylist had to change a future appointment. If I hadn’t had my datebook with, I wouldn’t have been able to do it right then, AND I wouldn’t have been able to do it online because she had to create a spot for me, AND this would have caused me extra time/work to get it scheduled after I left (I know that I need to get a Google calendar situation going but you get my point).
This situation is of course no big deal, but when we start to go with flow in this way, it can add up to a better, easier life. And as we get used to this flow, bigger synchronicities can start to happen.
Intuition is the small stuff (and occasionally the big)
This morning I am paging through a cookbook and can’t find anything that speaks to me for dinner. So I leave the cookbook open and go and do other things. When I come back to the thought of dinner, I look at the cookbook again, and the page is open to a recipe for which I have the EXACT ingredients in my fridge. And looks yum.
And this afternoon, getting ready for nap-time with Ray, I randomly grab a book about seeds. This prompts a discussion with my sweet baby boy about how they had planted sunflower seeds at preschool earlier today! Do you see? Small synchronicities.
I give these examples to illustrate that intuition is often on the small things. We think of intuition like: skies parting, angelic music, sudden insight, ah ah ah aha – for what we should do for the REST OF OUR LIVES. But that is not how intuition works. It is a moment to moment tune-in providing gentle guidance and helping us as we go through our days. Not to say that big input doesn’t come, but that often intuition is just a nudge in the right direction at the right time. And these small tweaks add up. Total snowball effect.
We start listening to intuition, and in so doing we find the road to better. Greater satisfaction, ease and joy. The small stuff also gives us practice for the bigger questions – practice listening to ourselves, trusting ourselves, and living intuitively. Then when the stakes are higher, we will be confident in listening to our higher selves, and able to follow through on the guidance we receive.
To tap into intuition: Be. Here. Now.
Our intuition can help us navigate life one step at a time. But we have to be using it in this moment, or it’s moot, darling!
To get here, now, we have to get back into our bodies. Deep breathing is a great tool for grounding back in. Sonia Choquette (intuition expert and Goddess), has the BEST quick breath exercise to get you back in your body and back in the moment:
Exhale a quick, forceful out breath and belt out a loud, forceful “Ha!”
(you can fist-thump yourself firmly in the sternum as you do it – DEEPLY satisfying, though you may get some looks)
It clears the air and is excellent fun.
Other things we can do to stay Here in the Now: noticing the tangible things in our surroundings, sitting up straight, looking for humor. Once we get here to now, then we can truly see other people, their unspoken debris, and know what’s up.
Also, do a personal check-in to see what’s up for YOU, now. Are you fine? What needs to happen? Do you need to eat? To rest? Even just take a deep breath? From there you can do the next right move to get to where you want to go. Make a sandwich. Lie down. Take care of the crisis, and love it. Thrive on what you thrive on. But always listen.
Sonia, Sonia and Sabrina all do online classes, mentoring, and readings. Check them out!
Using Automatic Writing to gain intuitive insight
Sonia says: write your vibes down. Carry a little notebook with you and whenever you get a hunch or a feeling about something, write it down. We can learn to trust ourselves through experience, and writing things down helps us remember instances where our “gut” was right.
In her book Trust your Vibes, Sonia talks about the process of automatic writing, where you put a pen to paper and write down absolutely whatever comes to mind, without thought for grammar, how it would sound to others, or even coherence.
Sometimes automatic writing can be daunting. We sit there with the blank page and freeze. So Sonia came up with a beginners exercise. She calls it “inspirational writing”. Inspirational writing is when you imagine you are having an active conversation with who she calls your Spirit (or you can think of it as your higher self). Your Spirit knows you better than anyone, so you can just dive right in. No need to explain, justify, or even be interesting! Your Spirit is definitely interested in anything you have to say!
You can ask your Spirit questions or just tell it what has been happening. Ramble on. Next, you imagine your Spirit answering. Don’t think, just write. Sonia says that once you are done writing, sit back and relax for a few minutes. Close your eyes if you want. Feel the Presence. Then open your eyes and read what was written. I get the most AMAZING answers this way. Sometimes I get solutions and sometimes I just get told that I am doing a good job and that I am loved. Sometimes it makes no sense until later. But I always feel better.
Be Flexible: Be willing to PIVOT!
Sonia talks about the need to be flexible and go with the moment. As in, if your “vibes” tell you to do something other than what you had been planning to do, do it quickly and without a lot of thought. PIVOT! Don’t second-guess yourself and don’t resist the wave!
“If you stop to question your vibes or seek an explanation, you might miss the moment and no longer have the opening to continue in the flow.”Sonia Choquette
This is why starting small is good. Changing course on small stuff has small consequences, so you can build from there as you start to gain confidence. Intuition is something that we ALL have and we can ALL develop!
According to Sonia, as you go about your biz making plans, be willing to quickly pivot at any moment if “signaled to do so”. For instance, you might be getting ready to get on a Zoom meeting and have a sudden urge to call and check in on your child. Do it.
On paper this may feel hard – we have schedules! Children! Work! But it doesn’t mean you have to cancel your trip to the Bahamas (though it might), but rather that you should take THIS route home from work rather than THAT one.
In terms of making intuitive “mistakes” – are we still worried about that? Fear not.
This week on It’s All Related, Sonia , Sonia and Sabrina were talking about how what may be true one moment could change the very next. They say that doesn’t mean your intuition was WRONG, but rather that something has simply changed. Our intuition may lead us in one direction but then call us to pivot to another direction. And it could mean just slightly changing course or doing the exact opposite of what you were doing.
6 Comments Add yours
I sound like a broken record. But I *really* enjoyed this post. The early part, where the various types of intuition are discussed reminded me of what I love about (some) poetry–hang in with me here, as you say–to me, great poetry puts into words intuitions, fleeting thoughts and deep emotions, divine aspirations that us non poets can’t seem to find words for. A great poem tells you what you know in your heart with artistry and beauty. Reading about the types of intuition, I felt that same sense of wonder at having something deep being expressed to me that I couldn’t quite put into words myself. In case you are wondering, I seem to do a lot of ‘knowingness’ but you probably already knew that about me…
Another part of the post that seems oh so wise is the section where you acknowledge that engaging in intuitive practice over the “small” things prepares us for knowing how to listen to ourselves, separate our feelings from those of others and trust our “knowingness” feelings when the stakes are high. I agree with this wholeheartedly. Becoming the person who is unlikely to be paralyzed by the big decisions isn’t a magical process, it is the result of developing healthy practices through thousands of small decisions. I read somewhere once that a good life is not the result of one good choice, but the result of thousands of good choices. Becoming more in tune with our intuition is a powerful tool in achieving the goal of making more decisions that are good. Thank you!
Oh gosh, wow. Thank YOU! I love how you liken intuition to poetry – like Sonia does to dancing! That is such a great analogy and speaks to the mystery of life, and how we don’t have to “figure it out”, it just IS. That is knowingness.
Love it. I just have missed that Sonia likened it to dancing. But I agree! So much beauty in the world and in the underlying thread that ties it all together!
So much beauty! And the interconnectedness is so comforting and uplifting.
Thank you for this post! I have been cultivating this for past seven years but like with everyone, always had it to some degree. My only gut check around the pivot piece is to be aware when we are urged to do something different as a means of distraction from something we are actually desiring but afraid to face. It could mean we aren’t ready for that thing but in getting over ourselves to repattern, we must actually face the thing. Like when it is time for me to work on a project that I talk a lot about but is so daunting I notice that I get incredibly interested in that moment in something else or have the urge to call a friend. This is a good indicator that maybe I could break my task up into less daunting pieces but it doesn’t mean the project is not for me. I find we can use these less tangible forces to explain away actual resistance that if faced would be more helpful then butterflying around it. I am a butterfly so this is my reminder and not for the Oxen among us. Thanks again for your thought provoking post!
You raise an EXCELLENT point. I find it hard sometimes to discern if I need to pivot or if it is resistance or fear that is coming up and I am actually meant to keep going. Thanks for bringing that up. I find that a big part of my work around intuition and trusting it is to figure that exact thing out – is this my intuition or is this my ego/fear? Learning to trust but not allowing the cop-out. I am so interested in the concept of re-patterning because I have many fearful patterns from childhood, from culture, and from trauma. I often struggle to even RECOGNIZE a pattern, even though by it’s very nature I keep doing it over and over. And in terms of breaking up a worthwhile project into less daunting pieces, I could not agree more. It’s like don’t do the WHOLE thing, just focus on the NEXT right thing. I am a butterfly, too. I multi-task so insanely that I got to the point of looking up “what are the signs of ADHD” on the Google. I wish I was steady as a rock, but that is not my nature. I flit. I have impulse-control issues. My emotional state fluctuates wildly and seems at times to fly with the wind. I’m always trying to get more earth in there, but sometimes I am so far up up up or down down down that I can’t find it. Where is the ground? I’m spinning.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. It really helps me explore more deeply.