One of my clients, who wants to better know and trust her intuition, had an aha moment in a recent session:
Reacting to a strong emotion is not the same as following intuition.
She figured out that a PAUSE is important if she wants to get past a reactive emotional stance to the wisdom of her intuition.
Buddhist nun, Pema Chödrön, is a master of the pause. In her book, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, she writes, “It all comes through learning to pause for a moment, learning not to just impulsively do the same thing again and again…The result is that we cease to cause harm. We begin to know ourselves thoroughly, and to respect ourselves.”
Allowing, naming, and feeling emotion as sensation in the body is a big part of what I help clients with, and is key to healing pain, fatigue and other chronic symptoms. We unlearn the prevalent notion that, unless delightful, emotions are pesky little things to control or ignore. Instead, we take time to welcome and get to know them. What is the emotion there for? Is an action needed? Does it just need to be seen and comforted? Every emotion has a purpose, but the purpose is not always immediately obvious.
Believing every thought we have is wildly exhausting and unhelpful. Similarly, while acting on a strong emotion might feel good in the moment, it’s not always the healthiest or wisest next step.
My client realized that she frequently blows right past a gut feeling, then ends up angry and reactive (and doesn’t feel good about it later). This is very human and relatable and nothing to beat herself up over! She identified the need to pause, to see what her gut is telling her. In so doing, there’s another whole world of wisdom at her fingertips.
If increasing your ability to hear and trust your intuition is important to you, take time to get still and tune into your inner world. Honor your emotions, then settle in deeper…past the mental chatter, beyond the desire to please others, underneath the inner critic. With practice, you’ll reach that sense of knowing that feels like home.