I’m writing this post by hand in bed. Sitting at my computer in my office wasn’t working for me, and I felt that if I changed my location and switched to pen and paper I’d be able to write. I knew instinctively that doing so would help me with this post, so I happily acted on that instinct.
So far so good!
This post is on a topic near and dear to my heart. As most of you know, one of the things I work on with people is intuitive eating. This is highly transformative process that allows people to reconnect with their hunger, fullness, and internal sense of what really nourishes them.
As you can imagine, what nourishes us often goes beyond food. Figuring out what food really nourishes us can be just the beginning of a deeper process of finding out what other aspects of our lives really nourish us. In fact, if you take a deep breath right now and ask yourself, “What nourishes me?” you might be surprised by some of the answers you receive. Relationships, work, our homes, spirituality, exercise, hobbies, etc. can all be incredibly nourishing.
This process of listening in to what you want and need, and acting upon it, is what I like to call intuitive living. The more you act upon that voice inside you that pushes you toward what you really need, the more you feel like your life is really yours. This process is incredibly rewarding and worthwhile, so I’m going to break down the technique for you here.
How To Get More Intuitive
Step 1: Ask – Step one is asking yourself questions like, “What is nourishing to me? What would be fulfilling for me? What would be fun or enjoyable for me right now?” This is a process of learning what you need, what makes you tick, what makes you feel satisfied with your life.
Step 2: Listen – In order for step one to work, you have to be willing to hear the answers. You have to allow yourself to be okay with everything that comes up, even if what comes up involves major, possibly scary life decisions. Just stay open and respect the answers that come. The more willing you are to listen, the louder and more crystal clear your internal intuition will become.
Step 3: Act On Information (Even/Especially The Small Stuff) – This step is often the hard part. This is the part where we take the information we gleaned in step one and take some action. Sometimes it’s easy to take action – like when your gut says it would be nice to go see a movie and you have a free afternoon and the movie theatre is a block from your house. It’s important to act on these intuitive messages as much as you can, even if it seems nonsensical. (For example, I have finally learned that when I drive somewhere, I should go the way my instinct tells me, even if it seems out of the way. When I don’t, I always encounter more traffic and problems than I expect.)
Sometimes, though, it’s much harder and more complicated to act upon your intuition. It can involve more planning, like a career change, or more emotional readiness, like ending a relationship. (Believe me, I’ve been there. It only took me about ten years to act on my gut feeling from the first semester of law school that working full-time as a lawyer for the rest of my life was a really bad idea.)
Mindset Shift: Prioritize Your Desires – In order to really live intuitively, you need to prioritize your desires. You have to prioritize nourishing your soul. There are going to be days when you’re confronted with conflicts like staying at work or following your desire to go to a yoga class. In fact, probably nearly every day, you’re going to be confronted with a cascade of shoulds and the question of how and where and when to displace them with what you intuitively feel is right for you. More and more, as you work through this process, de-prioritize the shoulds.
Being In The Flow
When you practice intuitive living, you automatically feel more in the flow. You’re in the right place at the right time more often, you talk to someone who gives you the answer to something you were questioning, opportunities come your way that align more with what you want.
Here’s an example from my own life. About 15 months ago, I was interviewed by Autumn of The Beheld blog (the post didn’t appear until more recently.) Around the time of the interview, the blog featured a post about how she’d completely stopped using shampoo on her hair. I was really intrigued by it, and sort of wanted to do it, but rationalized reasons why I just couldn’t. Nearly a year later, I finally decided to act on my intuition and try “no-poo” and now, three months into it, I really love it. It took a lot of investigating into how to do “no-poo” right, and in the forums I found on it I also found a lot of people who use only body art quality henna to color their hair. I’d been coloring and highlighting my hair for about 7 years, but my scalp was always irritated by commercial hair dyes, even the ones that were supposed to be more natural. Henna is a little complicated, but luckily Amanda of Love Your Body Detroit is an avid henna user and ended up providing me with great tips on henna. (I have it happily plopped on my head as I write this.) Once I stopped using shampoo, my commercially produced body washes felt too harsh on my skin, so I started using natural soap, and my skin and I are so much happier. Finally, going “no-poo” also lead me to get rid of a lot of the hair products that were cluttering the top of my dresser, because when you don’t use shampoo you can’t use hair products that cause build up. I found that I really liked using less products and having less products cluttering my space. I wanted to declutter more, but I felt like I needed support in changing my mindset on what to keep and what to let go of. Then, about three weeks ago, seemingly out of the blue, my client Nadira mentioned how a book called The Joy of Less had helped her and her husband pare down their possessions and create lots of wonderful space in their home. I bought the book and it helped me immensely. And while this is an ongoing project, I can happily say that I’m writing this to you from my significantly decluttered and spacious-feeling bedroom.
In other words, listening to my intuition about not using shampoo put me on a trajectory that led to a lot of lovely changes in my life. Of course, if I hadn’t listened to it, I’d probably be okay, but I wouldn’t have gotten to enjoy the happiness that less irritated skin and a less cluttered apartment has brought me.
I would love to hear about your experiments with intuitive living. Please let me know how it goes in the comments section below or on my Facebook page.
Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/free to get your free download – Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining! And, please join her and twenty of the biggest names in HAES(R) and Fat Acceptance at the Body Love Revolutionaries Telesummit!