Do you trust your instincts, the little voice that makes every fiber in you vibrate “YES!” or “NO!”? Do you trust it all the time, unconditionally? Or do you second guess your gut? And are you ever wrong?
I do, and I have been wrong, and I’ve also been so right. What is this gut that we can put such faith in?
We could talk about your enteric brain, a second nervous system in your digestive system whose "aberrations are responsible for a lot of suffering."
Or we could mention the plethora of traditions that employ digestive metaphors to the gut. Just look at ours-
Butterflies in the stomach
Something negative eating away at you
I’ll have to digest that idea and get back to you
But really, when we get down to it, a gut feeling is a whole body experience, that doesn’t have to be very logical, and that has been responsible for at least a few adventures in all our lives.
Our experiences play into our gut feelings. We meet people and learn about them, which informs us when we next meet people. We have accidents or terrifying near-misses driving cars, which inform us the next time we’re in traffic.
Our brain also plays into this, very often in a negative manner. Giving ourselves time to think about a choice or a situation or whatever has frequently led me to a wrong decision (or what I’m now calling “learning opportunities!”)
My emotions seem to spend a lot of time in direct conflict with my instincts- or rather, I notice this conflict more clearly after my instinct has been overruled. I find it pretty easy to think about and analyze my feelings, but find it very hard to stop long enough to clearly analyze my instincts.
This difficulty comes up most when my instinct is telling me something I don’t want to hear. When I’m all in agreement- head, heart and gut- it’s no problem. But when my gut throws up a red flag, it’s easy to let my feelings and my thinking trample it.
But here’s the fabulous part- we can practice using our instincts!
Start in small, non-important ways to ‘get the feel of it’:
Think about conversations from your day- did you said something without thinking that turned out to be the perfect thing to say?
Sit at a red light and try to guess who will start picking their nose.
On the Witch Camp forum there's been a thread discussing Intuition. One Camper said, "just close your eyes and notice what comes up... Once you think you've got something, notice if your body relaxes or tenses. That will be a clue. Feeling a lightness in your energy might also give you a clue. Eventually you'll find a pattern."
Work your way up to bigger things:
When you’re walking, spend some time focused on your gut, and turn down a side street or take a different path just because you felt something. Then notice what’s around you, and maybe you’ll see something new or exciting.
When you’re thinking of a friend, call them or send them an email. Or try to anticipate what the next person you see will say to you.
Start noticing all the happy coincidences around you, and know nothing is a coincidence. Your instincts already knew!
Edit: The day after posting, I came across this in one of my favorite blogs, Remedial Eating. Spidey sense indeed- it seems the instinct to think about our instincts right now is widespread. Coincidence?
"It is hard to know, sometimes, when to retreat, and when to plow ahead. When to double down, give it your all, go Nike *rah-rah* and just do it. And when to mindfully step away. I tend to be all about noses and grindstones, packing it in, piling it high, but am learning, I think (I hope), to trust my Spidey sense a nudge more. At least to tune in. At least not to turn it off, swiftly and automatically. Progress."
Fun Fact: I'm an herbalist and a movement coach. Not a doctor, or a pharmacist, and not pretending to be one on TV.
This is a public space, so my writing reflects my experiences and I try to stay general enough so it might relate to you. This does not constitute medical advice, and I encourage you to discuss concerns with your doctor. Remember, however, that the final say in your wellness decisions are always yours- you have the power to choose, you are the boss of you.
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