It can be hard to live an intuitive life. It’s not all roses and rainbows.
When I meditate, a magical unicorn doesn’t suddenly appear in my mind’s eye to whisper what I should do next with my life. Truth be told, most of the time, nothing appears except lots of annoying tasks and to-do’s.
When I get personal knowledge about someone in an instant, I often wonder, “Why do I need to know this?”
When I see/hear/or do something and the little hairs on my arms, neck, and back stand up, I often ask, “What does this mean?”
When I’m doing mundane things like weeding in the garden, brushing my teeth, or folding laundry, and a call to action comes through, I think, “Was that my intuition calling or just one of many random thoughts?”
There lies the conundrum. Just because I notice or listen to my intuition doesn’t mean that I understand it. As my energy healer Heidi has told me before, “Sometimes, you won’t know why your intuition told you to do this thing until you get through it and look back on it in hindsight.”
Before we go any further, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about intuition.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines intuition as “the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference.”
The first part of the definition of intuition appeals to me. The power to attain direct knowledge or cognition? Yes, please!
But I find the second part challenging. To gain this knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference? This is when I second guess myself, try to apply logic to situations that don’t call for it, and then use my head instead of my heart, which more often than not, leads me to actions that don’t serve me.
Living an intuitive life has not been easy. It often doesn’t make sense. Still, I try my best to follow my intuition. Because when I don’t, things inevitably go wrong.
I’m learning that living the intuitive life requires trust, faith, discipline, and tons of patience. I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t born with these things. Having grown up in a dysfunctional family and oppressive society as a woman of color, I’ve experienced distrust before understanding trust, developed discipline and patience through challenges and opposition, and tested my faith many, many times in order to finally believe in it. My life has been made up of thousands of experiments, both good and bad, and everything in between.
Even now, working full-time at my newish job (it’s been seven months now) while also trying to keep up my writing life and indie publishing business makes me wonder, is this what I’m supposed to be doing?
On my most challenging days, I think about chucking it all, but my intuition tells me to have patience and keep going. Some days, staying put is the hardest thing to do. But here I am. Still writing, still working, still trying to remember, the path is the gift.
I’m curious. Do you follow your intuition? If yes, what has it told you lately?
Peg Cheng is the author of Rebel Millionaire, a guide for how to retire as a millionaire even if you make a modest income, and The Contenders, a novel that asks, can enemies become friends? She is also the proud owner of Plaid Frog Press with her husband Marcus Donner. Born in Southern California to Taiwanese parents, Peg currently lives in Seattle, Washington.
Photo by Mathew Schwartz.
So nice to hear from you! Yes, you have said everything I too think about living the intuitive life. It is hard, hard to know when it’s intuition or ego or fear. One has to be mindful and aware, always. I almost wrote vigilant but that carries a connotation for me that involves never relaxing. I prefer mindful.
I so appreciate your truth telling which involves both the negative and the positive in the telling. Not the black and white. We have to hold two divergent thoughts about a matter, siding with neither one as the truth. Rather that these divergent ideas, together make up the truth.
I am returning slowly to my writing after years of not wanting to. I credit you with that. When I intuitively signed up for your Fear & Writing course with Portland Literary Arts a few years ago. I thought I don’t want to write anymore so why am I signing up for this course. Ha Ha! Intuition in action.
Hang in there, girl! I miss our tarot writing sessions. Hope one day you and Anja will bring them back.
Stay you even in the busy-ness of a job. I have allowed myself many times to lose myself in the job and let my creativity go underground. Not that I think you will, but just in case you might find it hard to hold on, I say hold on!
Peg Cheng says
Lysa, reading your comment was like trudging in the desert for miles and finally reaching a tiny town where the first person you meet offers you a smile and a glass of clear, beautiful water. Thank you for your kind words, for letting me know that you can relate to my post, and for the encouragement to keep ahold of my creativity. I will hang in there and I won’t let it go underground.
I’m so glad you listened to your intuition and took my Fear & Writing course. Anja and I may very well teach another Tarot Writing Prompts in the future. So glad we met. Stay tuned and thank you again!
Intuition led me here–wondering what you’ve been up to–and I remembered there was a weirdly concrete example of intuition in my life today.
Lately, I’ve been experimenting with running to work. It’s about 4.5 to 5.5 miles from Hillman City to my job in SoDo, depending on the route. I was late getting out today, so I decided I’d head north to the Beacon Hill light rail station and take the train from there. Better half a run than none.
But when I was going to turn down Rainier, something told me to keep heading west. Okay, I thought, I’ll just take a slightly different route to the train, maybe Chief Sealth Trail to Beacon. Long story short, I decided/was gently pushed to stay on the trail, turn on Columbian Way, and try a short but tricky route that involves crossing a freeway offramp to catch a narrow path to a flight of steel stairs that end up on Airport Way. I hadn’t done it before, and it was a bit confusing: at one point I found myself climbing over some concrete lane barriers to get back on route when it looked like I was going to be running the wrong way on the West Seattle bridge. (Kind of dreamlike, in a Matrix-y way.)
Anyway, I found the stairs, got back to earth, and then had to push hard on the flats to get to work, darting through yellow lights. I was sure I’d be late, but with a final sprint, I punched in exactly on time, threw an apron over my running clothes, and got to work.
But I don’t want it to come off as intuition vs intellect. While running, I was also thinking about the distance and my ability to run–I’m not that fast–to see if it was even possible. Intellect’s answer: maybe, if you really push yourself. Intuition: this is part of what you want from running, a physical, measurable challenge to rouse you out of your comfortable routine. So here it is: a hard, immediate deadline, with consequences. Go.
Maybe the relationship between intuition and intellect will never be simple for me. But perhaps what Lysa says above applies here, that the divergent ideas together make up the truth.
Peg Cheng says
Great running story, Edgy! Whoa, you made it to work just on time. That’s amazing, especially after all the twists and turns, and Matrix-y moves!! Thank you for sharing your latest adventure and being honest that the relationship between your intuition and your intellect will never be a simple one. I quite agree with you about your last thought. “We have to hold two divergent thoughts about a matter, siding with neither one as the truth. Rather that these divergent ideas, together make up the truth.” Hats off to Lysa once again.