Up until the age of 26, I was a very “steady-eddy” kind of gal. I never got into much trouble, I didn’t go far from home, and I was extremely responsible. My whole life, people told me that I was mature for my age because I was the type that was ready to settle down by the time I was 18. I had a house, a bit of land, two cats and a steady office job before I was out of college. It was important for me to follow the beaten path and carve out my slice of the American Dream as soon as possible.
Imagine my surprise, then, when one day I found myself on an airplane one day, on my way to London, England. To get married. To a guy I had met online less than a year before. And had only spent a matter of weeks with in person. I had given up everything I had – sold or given away all of it – and decided to move to another country and start a new life.
People often comment on how happy my husband and I are together and agree that we were meant for one another. When they hear the story of how we met and how I took that big chance, they sometimes wonder how I made the tough decision to go. They ask me how I knew it was the right thing to do. I just smile and say, “Well, I didn’t really think about it at the time. I just knew I needed to go.” It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t go! The rest of it was just steps we had to take to get there.
It was almost the same when a few years later, I knew we needed to move to Scotland. And it was even stronger in 2011 when I knew it was time to come back to the USA and start my own business. Each time, I’ve listened and then ACTED on what my intuition tells me. Each time, I never even considered doing anything else but what I knew I needed to do. None of this has been easy, of course! Moving to new countries is not for the faint of heart. But without a doubt, I know that I can trust my intuition to tell me where I need to be. I know that when I follow my intuition, it takes me further on my path, rather than letting me get too wrapped up in following that well-trodden path that others take.
The inner knowing that I am meant to be where I am, building a business and helping others get out there and do Good in the world, is hugely satisfying. Listening to my intuition to move to London was the very first step on the journey to where I am now, living my dream life. I’ve never been happier! But there was no way I could have foreseen where that decision to trust my intuition would take me.
Now that I know I can trust that voice when it comes (and that I know what it feels like for me – a nagging, burning feeling that just keeps coming back, and often visits me in dreams) it is easier to act quickly when it speaks
When our intuition is honed and listened to, it gets stronger. Just like any other skill we have, practice is necessary to building the skill. And just like any other relationship, the trust between you and your intuition can grow. It can get easier to know what to do when we are faced with big life-changing decisions if we stop thinking so much. Intuition is a feeling, not a logical, analytical exercise. You can spend all the time you have on a great pro’s and con’s list, but this is unlikely to get you any closer to your intuition’s voice. Instead, you have to STOP THINKING!
Allowing that feeling to come through when you have a big decision to make can feel a bit scary. Having a few tools on hand to help you start practicing turning up the volume on your intuition and down on the “thinking self” can be a big help. Here are a few tips:
- Get quiet. Use prayer, meditation, nature, or whatever works for you to help surround yourself with quiet. Spend at least 15 minutes each day by yourself with nothing to distract you. Be quiet and let your mind wander. It’ll take some practice at first, but you’ll find that some interesting thoughts will come if you let them!
- Start small. Our intuition speaks to us all the time, not just when there are big things going on. Try following your intuition for a day just in regards to one thing, like what you want to eat or what you want to do or go. Don’t think too much, just ask yourself what you want and what is right in that moment, and then act on it. See where it takes you!
- Act on it. Don’t let your thinking self talk you out of great ideas and exciting adventures that your intuition whispers to you. These are often scary if you stop and think of them, but have rewards that you can’t get any other way. Taking action is the only way you’ll build the trust between your thinking self and your intuition so that it becomes a stronger voice.
Rebecca Macfarlane is a certified coach, mentor and trainer helping people transition from traditional employment to a new kind of self-employment. She works exclusively with people who want to do Good in the world and who are ready to embrace their true purpose in life. With 15 years of experience in writing business plans and helping public sector organizations be their best, she helps her clients build solid foundations, allowing them to focus on the creative dreaming that they need to do to inspire themselves and others to live a better kind of life.
You can also join her Facebook Community of Do Gooders here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/201815399931140/