Photo: Noel Alva
We love featuring vital perspectives on the Luminary Blog from inspired and knowledgable women who are committed to cultivating vibrant health, leaning in for connection with themselves and others, and courageously sharing their own unique gifts in a world that needs their engagement and voice. This week we are featuring Dory Hacker, LCSW and her insight into how to connect with and empower our innate inner wisdom. We hope you enjoy this luminary woman’s words on intuition as much as we do. With love, Cara & Amber
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Bob Sample, inspired by the words of Albert Einstein
Dear souls, let’s talk about how wise we are. We each have within us the amazing gift of our intuition; a powerful source of inner knowing that can provide indispensable guidance for navigating our lives. Our intuitive voice informs (and transforms) our health, relationships, and our sense of meaning and purpose. Too often this gift of insight goes unrecognized and underutilized. Life can come at us in such a flurry that we sometimes find ourselves acting without wisdom and heading in an unintended direction. So let’s talk about how to harness this incredible resource to empower every aspect of our lives.
THE GIFT OF INTUITION
Have you ever had moments when you “knew” something, but didn’t know how you knew? Or had a hunch about a person or situation that you later discovered was right on the money? Or how about a dream or image that you realized correlated with something going on in your life? Most importantly, have you sensed that something about your health or wellbeing was trying to get your attention?
This is intuition: the subtle and not-so-subtle sense of knowing without hard evidence.
At times, the information we get feels like a gut instinct about the environment around us. At other times, it feels more like a message from something bigger than us. And perhaps it is. Intuitive vibes come in all forms including body cues, waves of emotion, synchronicities, songs, random thoughts, and a simple sense of clarity. This information may come as a wisp of an inkling or as a charging bull. Some messages are more symbolic, and others are concrete. Regardless of their form, they require us to slow down, get quiet, and listen carefully.
EMPOWER YOUR INNER KNOWING
Cultivating an intuitive practice is like building a muscle; the more you practice, the more you tune into your inner knowing voice, the more skilled and ready you will be to receive messages and make use of them.
STEP 1: Open up to Receiving Information
The first aspect of developing your intuitive power is in the receiving of information. Here are some tried and true practices to consider when developing and accessing your inner wisdom:
- Move – Shake off tension and built up stimulation through exercise, dancing, yoga or stretching. I have found being in nature is very conducive to increasing my availability for information. Regardless, loosen things up and practice tuning into your body.
- Slow it down – Whether you are alone or in the midst of your busy day; take a moment to get very quiet in your mind and body. Slip into a relaxed state with slow, deep belly breaths. You can experiment with various mindfulness practices, or just sit and observe your body until you feel quiet and clear.
- Ask a question to focus your search. Consciously open yourself and your heart to receiving guidance.
- Tune into your body – Our wisdom often signals us through body cues; do you feel light, clear, settled, warm, dull, disorganized, or disconnected? Try to name and track subtle impressions, sensations, imagery, and thoughts that arise.
- Quiet the rational mind – Temporarily suspend the faithful servant of logic to let the sacred gift of your intuition have a chance to speak. Be sure to integrate the spice of logic back in as you formulate a plan and act in step 3.
STEP 2: Consider the Meaning in the Information You Receive
The second aspect of intuition is in making meaning of the information we receive.
- Keep a journal – This does not have to be fancy. In fact, a small notebook that fits in your purse is ideal. Jot down recordings of environmental and body cues, synchronicities, significant dreams, meaningful interactions or symbols that come your way. The very act of recording can help you develop your accuracy and highlight patterns that help you make sense of them over time.
- Observe your emotions – If the information you get is emotionally charged, it may be a trigger rather than an insight. That information is still very important, but experts in the field say that our truest knowing most often comes with a sense of calm clarity. Insights are also usually in sync with our deepest values.
- Let the information simmer – Sometimes things don’t make sense or seem impossible. That’s okay. Give your hunches time to develop. Sometimes the most powerful insights come when information is simmering in the background.
- Pay attention to your habitual interpretations – It helps to continue getting to know yourself– your limiting beliefs, your “shoulds”, your projections and automatic interpretations based on the past.
- Watch out for the internal denier. That little voice that gives all of the reasons why the information is invalid. The one that says you are not ______ enough to fulfill that vision.
- Discuss with a trusted friend – Those who know us best may see the symbolic connections or patterns from the outside and can help us interpret their meaning. And our most supportive allies will empower us to move past those pesky doubts and “shoulds.”
STEP 3: Honor and Act On Your Inner Knowing
Intuitive living is not just tuning in and making sense of it all. Our power to live whole-heartedly lies in our power to act on what we know. We have to respond! Sometimes taking action requires great energy and courage. This is about having faith in and honoring ourselves. And by doing that, it can greatly reduce the chance of regret later. It is much easier to live with “I made the wisest decision I could with the information I had,” rather than, “Darn it! I had a feeling about that, but I ignored it!”
- Practice trusting your intuition – Try it on for size. How might you act if this the information this inner knowing is providing you right now was “true”? How would acting in that way impact your life or the situation? Would taking acting on this information make your life better or worse? Having faith in your intuition will deepen your ability to make the connections needed for interpretation.
- Take time to remove the internal barriers – Make room for difficult thoughts and feelings, get support, and nurture yourself as you work through and move past limiting thought patterns.
- Check in with the experts – Once you get a message, it can help to take the next step with further exploration. Certainly, if the message is about your health, make an appointment with a trusted health professional who will take your insights seriously.
- Initiate communication – If you get a hunch about a relational dynamic, or a work situation, initiate healthy communication to verify. Often we can feel that “something is up,” but we don’t always have the information to know what that something is.
- Honor your visions – Give your visions time and space to further develop. The big, beautiful vision that seems impossible to actualize may be more available to you than you think. If you are not ready to take action, take the time to play with it in your journal, dreaming with your friends, or talking about it at work. There may just be an door out there waiting to open for you!
- Just do it – For those easy little knowings, sometimes we just need to listen and do. If our body tells us that we need to move or stop eating those chips; or if we just know in our hearts that a certain relationship has to change or end; or if the opportunity we have always been waiting for shows up at our door; these are the times where courage and self-honoring are most required. Our daily actions are the fabric of our lives.
Honor your visions and sacred callings. Trust in that inner compass. If you pick up signals or insights about your health, a situation, or a relationship, embrace them! Explore what they have to teach you. Truly honoring that genius within you may be the impetus for a transformational conversation, healing your body, or a beautiful life change.
You are wise. So much of the time, we know what we need to do. Be true to yourself and empower others to do the same.
Dory Hacker, LCSW is a therapist and clinical trainer in Portland, Maine. For more than twenty years she has worked with children, adolescents, adults, individuals and families, all with a particular focus on repairing and nurturing relationships with oneself and with each other. She works to educate and empower educational systems and social service projects in the area of building resilience in children and communities with a trauma-informed approach that includes the critical need for providers to embark in impeccable self-care practices to sustain themselves and improve their services. She has had a life-long passion for empowering people to live and speak their truth and find authentic connection and communication in their relationships with others.