Intuition Chronicles: Success Revealed in the Rearview Mirror

Intuition Chronicles is my tracking system where I document the internal messages I receive and the results of heeding or ignoring them. I’ve shared a variety of my learn-the-hard-way stories in previous posts. Ugh! Happily, this is a success story, but I didn’t know it till months later. Since the outcome of following hunches isn’t always immediately apparent and can easily be overlooked, I’ve found that having a record to review is a great teaching aid. 

While I do learn quickly by experiencing the inconvenience, discomfort, or expense of discounting inner guidance, I prefer to learn the easy way! I don’t always know until later that I’ve had a successful intuitive encounter, so I keep track of the nudges that don’t seem to make sense as well as the hindsight-activated realizations that I unknowingly acted on a nudge. I can use all the experiences for learning.

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In December 2019, I got a wild hair to buy allspice essential oil. I didn’t know why and had no clue what I’d do with it. Some exploration online taught me that it’s an antiviral spice and combines nicely with several other antiviral herbs and spices. I purchased the lot and made a batch of air purification spritzers for my home and office and to share as gifts. 

It wasn’t until the following spring that I recognized that “wild hair” purchase as an extrasensory “knowing”. It didn’t come in the verbal format I’m accustomed to. I never heard a voice in my head saying, “Buy this; you’ll be glad later.” My attention was inexplicably drawn to the product and I felt an urge to buy it. When antiviral oils became hard to come by in 2020, I was extremely grateful I had an adequate stock on hand, and the epiphany blossomed. If I didn’t have an active practice of recording intuitive messages, I likely would have never perceived this as a victory.

This is when people usually point out that they frequently have sudden desires to buy items and wonder how they can tell the difference between impulsive shopping and an intuitive hunch. Valid question! Who doesn’t get urges to spend money out of the blue?

I have a two-pronged answer to that. A) Keeping track in a journal makes it easy to look back and say, “Aha! I was guided to do xyz and that proved incredibly helpful in the future. I’ll pay attention the next time a message like that appears.” Or, “Yikes, I regret spending all that money on something so frivolous. Next time I’ll be more mindful.” B) My intuition speaks to me calmly, but firmly, without any sense of desperation, whereas impulsive shopping can feel like I absolutely must have this thing or else I just won’t be ok. My intuition knows that I’m already ok and isn’t trying to prove my worthiness to me; it’s trying to make my life and my calling easier. Both the quality of the message and the act of mindfully recording it help me discern the difference.

I know that learning to recognize and interpret subtle directives from the metaphysical realm can seem daunting. At first there might be some confusion if the memo was issued by the soul or the consumeristic conditioning we’ve all been exposed to. To add to the complexity, there are a variety of ways intuition can communicate. Sometimes my eyes are mysteriously drawn to an object. Other times I get clear verbal instruction, have a gut feeling, or just know that I need to do something. Synchronicity is another guiding factor and too big of a topic to address today. (More on that in a later post.)

The more I’m tuned into the intention to receive and decipher guidance, the easier it is to notice it. Just like learning a language or instrument, we get better with practice. Even if you don’t feel confident following through on your intuition just yet, you can build your confidence by making notes and beginning your practice today. Soon you’ll be fluent in this new language.

The Intuition Chronicles: Cell Phone Edition

Welcome to the series detailing my personal journey of intuitive development. So many students ask me how they can learn to connect to their intuition that I decided to dive in to this complex and fascinating topic.

I keep track of the intuitive messages I receive in order to help strengthen my listening muscles. Hindsight is indeed 20/20.`One way that I learn is through contrast. When I ignore a nudge and experience unpleasant consequences, it highlights my desire to avoid future unpleasant consequences and activates my willingness to comply. 

Intuition is constantly speaking to me. It’s my job to pay attention and take action. Free will allows me to override the messages I get, and sometimes stubbornness gets the best of me. When I record results, both positive and negative, I have a map that helps me move forward in the direction I wish to go. I think these particular episodes, as cringeworthy as they are, will be particularly effective at making my point.

Intuition: Bring your phone. 

Me: I’m just going to the next room. I’ll be fine without it for now. 

15 minutes later, entrenched in a project, my lap covered in layers of notes and books, thinking… I need my phone, why didn’t I just bring it? 

This has literally happened dozens of times over the years! These incidents have been an annoyance, but hardly catastrophic, which is why it took so many repetitions for me to learn. Just take the darn thing when instructed to do so! Intuition can make my life easier, even in small ways; but only if I listen.

Intuition: Move your phone. 

Me: No way! I’m going to need it any minute, I’ve learned my lesson. I’ll just let it charge while it sits on the table next to me. 

30 minutes later, tripping over the cord, and praying the screen hasn’t cracked when it crashed to the floor. ARGH! Fewer applications of this lesson were needed. Intuition wants to help me avoid needless disasters, large and small.

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Intuition: Don’t use that pocket. 

Me: Whatever. I know it’s not a secure pocket, but I’m in a rush. It will be fine.

2 hours later, where is my phone? Did it fall out in my friend’s car? What the … bleep… she’s gone on a silent meditation retreat for the weekend and is notoriously bad at responding to messages even in real life. I won’t even know for sure that it’s under her passenger seat for days upon endless days. GAH! A minor crisis, all things considered, but an inconvenience intuition tried to help me avoid.

Intuition: Don’t use that other pocket. 

Me: 

3 minutes later, whoops! The phone falls in the toilet and now I must purchase a new one. Pocket lesson learned after two applications. Minor crisis, major expense, could have been avoided.

Intuition: Put your phone in your pocket. (Seriously!)

Me: I’m just going to let it charge for a few more minutes. 

45 minutes later on a train, dependent on my phone to connect to the world whilst traveling for 8 hours, realizing it’s still plugged into the socket at my friend’s house. Pocket lesson variation, learned immediately. Major inconvenience, could also have been avoided!

This is how it goes for me. My intuition is rather bossy. It tells me what to do to avoid pitfalls. It tries to guide me towards my highest good and frequently my ego argues with it. Ridiculous! Looking back, it’s obvious to me which voice I’d prefer to follow going forward. 

It’s easy to overlook these nudges when I’m not paying attention. It’s impossible to overlook when I’m tuned in. When I start the day by activating an intention to receive and understand soul messages by applying Reiki, even for just a few minutes to anchor this goal, I’m much more likely to catch on. Keeping a record of messages, received and ignored, helps me to be more aware the next time a message comes through. 

This is the equivalent of practicing scales for musicians or conjugating verbs for language learners. It provides the foundation necessary for a more nuanced experience in the future. In this case, I’m learning to recognize and trust my inner voice. It never steers me wrong and my life would be so much easier should I just follow instructions!

Spirit is Not One-Size-Fits-All

In this humorous video, Sonia Choquette delves into the different personalities of the human spirit. It can be really helpful to have this type of clarity so you don’t bother turning to a go-get-’em type person when you really want a hug and vice versa.

I recognize myself as part earth and part water. I guess my spirit type is mud, although she doesn’t present that as an option. You might think mud is rather unappealing, but it’s certainly useful for holding things together. It’s definitely messy, and difficult to control. Like me. 🙂

I think many of you will enjoy watching this, if only for the chuckles. And some will really find the concepts presented to be helpful for understanding yourself as well as creating future strategies to meet your unique needs.

Freestyle Homemaking

I recently moved into my own apartment after years of sharing a variety of houses with a variety of roommates. If you can recall the last time that you moved, you know that there are dozens of necessary decisions to turn a space into a home. It’s easy to go on autopilot and simply make the same choices your family of origin or the status quo would make. Ever the rebel, I get a kick out of doing things my way.

For starters, my kitchen drawers are rather narrow and long. My utensil organizer is much too wide to fit. I did a brief search online for something suitable and found nothing. Having much bigger fish to fry, I dumped all the silverware in the drawer and called it a day. My friend who was visiting at the time agreed with me that the spoons and forks don’t need to be segregated. Over a month has gone by now, and it’s simply not an issue. (Mom, I know you’re itching to scour the Container Store or Pinterest for a more civilized alternative. There’s absolutely no need. Truly, I like it this way!)

There’s a built-in microwave above my stove. It takes up a large amount of space, particularly given the limited cupboards generally found in an urban apartment. I knew right away that I wouldn’t use it (haven’t for nearly 20 years) and that I needed to find a way to reclaim that territory. Now, it’s my tea cupboard, housing loose leaf teas and the various superfoods that accompany them. Since many are stored in tins or canning jars, I’ve unplugged the microwave to prevent accidental explosions. I’m rather pleased with this solution! It sure makes teatime more streamlines.

While shopping for a shower curtain, I noticed that an additional plastic layer is recommended for inside the actual curtain. What? Why? I dug my heels in and resisted purchasing extra, needless plastic. Maybe I’m less active in the shower than other people, but so far, not a drop has escaped. Who says you need two sheets of material between the inside and outside of the tub? Martha Stewart? The Plastic Coalition? No thank you. I’m doing just fine with one.

By far, my biggest purchase was an organic mattress that I’ve been drooling over for a few years. I spend more time in my bed than anywhere else, so it’s a good investment in my future health. The cost of the mattress itself was more than I would have spent on a traditional set up, so for the next few months, my wonderful mattress will rest on the floor until I can magnetize a frame worthy of it. I get that this might not be an option for people with mobility issues, but for me it makes a whole lot more sense than going into debt and paying interest on something that is much more of a want than a need. (You can also see the corner of the sheet that is temporarily acting as a curtain…)

Learning critical thinking skills in college was perhaps the most valuable lesson of all. I’m ever so grateful that I have the capacity to question everything, even the small things and the deeply ingrained things so I can make the best decisions for me. I can’t remember how to conjugate German verbs or do advanced math, but I am able to examine costs vs. benefits and customize my decisions to precisely suit my circumstances. It certainly made this transition easier, but also enables me to make bigger choices about my health, lifestyle, and overall value system.

It’s very empowering to lead my life from my own inner compass rather than simply doing things the same way everyone else does. Please consider joining me by thinking outside of the box. Heck, let’s just eliminate the box altogether! Start with something small, like a kitchen drawer, and see how liberating it feels. Before you know it, you’ll be freestyling it all over the place.  

Urban Adventure Meets Ancient Wisdom

Last week I headed downtown for a change of scenery. I don’t get out of the neighborhood very often these days and I was getting a bit antsy. The bar for excitement is set pretty low right now, so I’m choosing to call this excursion an “adventure”. It’s all relative, right?!

I met a friend for an outdoor chat and then set off with several free hours and no agenda. Naturally, I was drawn to find some yummy treats on this journey. 🙂 I splurged on an organic, gluten-free, vegan cupcake that was almost as heavenly as sitting in the sunshine somewhere besides my porch for a change. Not the greatest photo, but it isn’t all that easy to balance a very dear dessert in one hand and snap a pic with the other in the middle of a public park!

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This delight inspired a tour of my other favorite dessert dispensers, and I’m sad to report that two had closed down over the past year. Sigh. But my spirits remained high because I was out of the house and had no responsibilities; so a-wandering I went. I allowed curiosity and beauty to guide my way. I’ve always found the colonial alleyways of Philadelphia to be charming, so I meandered, trying to avoid the busier streets and absorbing the essence of the hidden nooks and crannies of the city.

Which is how I stumbled upon this interactive installation, courtesy of the Mural Arts Philadelphia program.

The Atlas of Tomorrow by Candy Chang. Photo by Steve Weinik

I was perplexed that passersby kept passing by without a glance! We city-folk can be like that sometimes. But as I stopped to read the instructions and took a spin of the wheel, others began show interest. Number 17 came up for me. That’s my birthdate and chosen numerical talisman, so I wasn’t at all surprised when it popped up out of 64 possibilities.

“THE NOISY MAN: if you want to be heard, adapt to the changes of this world. Examine your opinions and prejudices. Power lies in meeting the needs of others.” This was the message conveyed by my spin on this intriguing wheel.

Exactly what I needed to hear! It was more potent after allowing a sense of wonder to navigate my adventure and after discovering the closed restaurants, which had apparently been unable to adapt to the changes of this world.

The universe is full of magic and beauty if we only pay attention and follow the guidance of spirit. I’m reminded of Joseph Campbell’s famous quote, “Follow your bliss.” Well, this path of bliss via healthy-ish cupcakes and charming alleys led me to a surprising gift and reawakened my intention to let my spirit guide the way. I can’t wait to see what appears next!

Leave the Red Zone, by Dr. Rick Hanson

My inbox is quite the mixed bag today! There’s an astrology report announcing super-intense cosmic energies and a weather forecast predicting a major winter storm in my area. All this on top of so many people already struggling with cabin fever. Massive snow seems to bring out either the very best or the very worst in Philadelphians. Some people gladly shovel their neighbors’ sidewalks and others get aggressively proprietorial about parking spots. All in all, I’m expecting a very interesting next few days!

If you find yourself stressed out, overwhelmed, frazzled or irritable, you might enjoy this blog by Dr. Rick Hanson. He outlines some simple techniques for cultivating inner calm despite outer chaos. Stress has major physiological affects which can negatively affect one’s health over time. I can personally attest to the beneficial results of these methods. The more consistently I apply them, the happier I am.

Whatever the world is throwing at you, there’s help to be had for minimal investment of time and effort. Safe, easy, and free plus the side effects of improving focus, relationships, and overall wellness? It’s a no-brainer for sure!

Efforts Rewarded!

I’m accustomed to strangers telling me their life stories. Dr. Judith Orloff’s book, The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, is helping me to understand that my compassionate presence attracts people needing compassion. As you might imagine, listening to the problems of people, lots of people, some of whom I’ve never met before can be somewhat draining, if not downright exhausting. So I’ve been working with energetic techniques to protect myself (thank you Dr. Orloff!) and to shift this pattern. Guess what? It’s working!

This morning there was a man sitting in front of my home, apparently supervising work on the house across the street. Conversation went from “Hello” to “Beautiful morning, isn’t it?” to “This is great weather, my allergies are practically gone.” At this point, I’m poised to bolt as historically this type of statement was followed by a lengthy description of symptoms and suffering. Really. It happens to me. All. The. Time!

Or, it used to. 😉

But this gentleman, with a sparkling smile, went on to tell me about a plant remedy. A holistic concoction that has helped with his asthma, allergies, arthritis, and various other aches and pains. Something I had never heard of, and sounded completely bizarre. (Normally I’m the one saying such things!) How refreshing!

I suspect he was sent to support my transition by acting as an indicator that I’m on the right track, and that assistance comes in all sorts of unexpected packages. Fascinating! Because of the grounding and shielding practices I’ve been using to protect my energy field, I was able to enjoy a random interaction with a stranger rather than heading for the hills.

I’m sharing this here in case anyone else tends to attract emotional dumpers or drainers and has yet to learn that there is hope beyond moving to a deserted island. I doubt that I’m forever free of hearing about people’s problems and ailments, but it is encouraging to have a different experience after making an effort to attract different experiences! I really can’t say enough about how useful this book is. If it can help me be less vulnerable out in the world, I’m guessing it can help you too.

“We’ve got it so good and it’s still hard.”

I was struck by the wisdom of these words overheard at the farmers’ market the other day. It’s been a rough 10 months for most of us. Pretending that it isn’t hard just because others have it harder isn’t particularly helpful. I often hear people who have the privilege of a safe and comfortable home, plenty of food on the table, and good health downplay their struggles, knowing that others are suffering more.

It’s nearly impossible to take action to improve a situation if you deny that it exists. Acknowledging that it’s hard to be separated from loved ones or restricted to one building, no matter how lovely it may be, is the first step to creating solutions- compromises probably, but something that can at least begin to fill the gaping hole where hugs from grandchildren and travel used to reside.

Admitting that these times are hard allows us to fine-tune the adjustments we wish to make. It allows us to draw on the resilience that is present, although possibly inactive, in everyone. Most of us haven’t had to endure any sort of lasting challenge like this, but our ancestors survived World Wars and The Great Depression. Clearly we come from hearty stock or we wouldn’t be alive today!

“We can do hard things.” Another sentence crammed with wisdom, this one from Glennon Doyle’s Untamed.

I’m not suggesting to exclusively shift your focus to the difficulties you are facing. Thoughts are powerful things and it pays to choose them wisely. But just as ignoring the “check engine” light on your dashboard will not lead to a perfectly operational vehicle, neither does avoiding your feelings lead to wellbeing. Just as the light is meant to motivate a visit to the mechanic, noticing your emotional state can propel you to getting the help you need.

Somewhere there is a balance between wallowing in self-pity and disregarding an unpleasant truth. Allowing ourselves to accept what is real gives us greater power to create change. Freeing up all that energy of projecting a shiny façade enables us to see more clearly how we can make the most of what we’ve got and how we might be able to assist those who have less.

Wherever you are on the difficulty spectrum, I wish you greater ease and comfort. If you’re in a position to lend a hand to another, please do so. There’s very likely a food bank or shelter or agency in your area that’s overwhelmed by demand or a neighbor who could benefit from a small act of kindness. I know from personal experience that you’ll feel better if you do and your efforts will ripple outward into the world.

Yes, it’s hard. Fortunately we can do hard things.

Help for Empaths

I’ve been revisiting the tools and techniques in The Emphath’s Survival Guide; Life Strategies for Sensitive People over the last few months. As the fear and anger in the collective realm continue to escalate, I’ve been finding a need to step up my protective mechanisms.

Judith Orloff, MD says, “Empaths have an extremely reactive neurological system. We don’t have the same filters that other people do to block out stimulation. As a consequence, we absorb into our own bodies both the positive and stressful energies around us.”

If you’ve ever been scolded for being “too sensitive” or commanded to “toughen up”, you might be an empath.

If you’ve ever wished you had armor like Ultraman, you might be an empath.

If strangers tell you their problems and people dump their emotional garbage on you and it feels like being slimed by ectoplasm, similar to what happened in Ghostbusters, you might be an empath.

If you’ve ever wanted to move to a remote forest with no neighbors, well that’s probably a human thing, but if you’ve actually looked up properties in Alaska and learned how to make your own candles, then you might be an empath!

The good news is that once you understand that there’s nothing wrong with you, that sensitivity can be a blessing, that there are ways to protect yourself that don’t come in a bottle or loaded with sugar, you can take action to cultivate your wellness. In these pages, you’ll find great wisdom to help you navigate. I sure have!

Simple Wake-Up Practice to Influence Your Day

I recently posted about my morning ritual, an elaborate and highly personalized, somewhat flexible routine that I designed to maximize my well-being. I’m following that up with a simpler, yet still very effective, technique for those who cringe at the thought of devoting so much time to a daily practice. I will reiterate that it doesn’t really matter what you do, just that you do it with consistency. There are countless approaches to health and healing. Choose one that suits you.

I’m a huge fan of Dr. Rick Hanson’s work. He teaches practical tips for maximizing well-being based on neuroscience. If you’re interested in starting your mornings off with an easy strategy for “growing the good” based on research and facts, I highly recommend this blog post.

“There is a traditional saying that the mind takes its shape from whatever it rests upon.” Why not make a choice to rest your mind on something positive to get your day going on the right foot? I look forward to getting his free newsletter every week, and this particular one really hit home.

Enjoy!