How can we get in touch with our intuition or our sense of inner knowing?
Trusting ourselves is a huge part of being able to be free while creating. Many of us feel stuck because we can't get passed the fear of creating something or doing something "wrong". People (including me!!) can get paralyzed with the fear of not knowing what to do next. This can relate to the next brush stroke or the next large move in your life.
I think that many of us have so lost touch with our inner wisdom that we are constantly looking to outside sources for what is the "right" thing to do when I believe it's within all of us all the time! The problem is that we don't feel comfortable dwelling in the place of trust within ourselves, in fact, it feels very uncomfortable because we are afraid of making mistakes. So we try to follow all these "rules" in order to get us where we want to go, in our art or in our life. It's safer to choose a path someone else plans or to take a painting class where you just paint exactly what the instructor tells you to.
Don't get me wrong, many rules are beneficial. But once we know the rules, we must also learn to break them and follow the creative voice inside of us that knows our truth and that makes us unique. So how can we get back in touch with that sense of knowing? How can we teach ourselves to be more comfortable in a place without rules or boundaries, but where we are following our own inner guidance?
Many times when people tell you how to get in touch with your intuition, it's the same old "be quiet and listen to yourself" suggestions. But how do we actually do that in a practical everyday way that can train our brain to feel more comfortable in the playful, intuitive part of itself?
Here are few ideas I came up with from my life that all RELY on listening to what you want.
These might sound silly or trite, but I think anything like this is an opportunity to get in touch with what you like, want and need. And those things are all parts of your unique, creative self. Simple, everyday things like these (or you can make up your own ideas) will help us little by little to get used to trusting our gut:
Carve out some time with no plans
We are so busy all the time. Everyone I know is busy. Even on my days off I plan every minute of the day. But lately, I've really been trying to carve out at least a few hours (a whole day would be amazing!) with nothing to do. If you have a day or a morning, wake up and think to yourself...."what do I FEEL like doing?" Your mind will probably be going crazy and want to plan, plan, plan but try not to get ahead of your next step. Once you've drank your coffee or gone on a run or watched Gilmore Girls, think about the next thing you feel like doing....and so on. I know, this seems like such a luxury to most of us. But if you can give yourself just one morning or evening a week where you are intentionally listening to yourself and following your own guidance, it will feel AMAZING, like you've given yourself a gift.
Cooking can be either really stressful or it can be fun, enjoyable and super creative. It can be one of the best ways to practice listening to yourself. Even before I begin cooking I like to connect with how I'm feeling and ask myself what I would LIKE to eat. And it's strange that my intuition kicks in when I'm cooking and I will most of the time have a gut feeling about how much of a seasoning to add or when something is done in the oven, even though I haven't set the timer. This is very strange because for a long time I thought of myself as a terrible cook. But, the more that I began to think of it as an adventure, the more fun it became. If you fail, it's not a big deal, it's a learning experience!
I talk about this a lot in my Finding your Creative Voice Course... shopping is a great way to get to know your Inner Artist. Because if you have time, you can really think about what you like. What are you drawn to? What kind of shapes, patterns, styles are you naturally attracted to. You don't actually need to buy anything. You can just window shop and walk through the store listening to that voice inside of you saying "that is really interesting". Everyone is so unique that we all like different things...that is what makes up your unique self. Following that guidance can eventually translate into finding your own style in your art.
Go to a museum
This is similar to the shopping experience. Go to a museum and listen to yourself and what kind of artists or art you like. Do you know why you like it? What kind of style is it? What kind of colors do you enjoy? Trust that it's ok to not know why you like something...you just do. And trust that you don't have to like a painting just because it's famous. For instance, in general, I do not like art with a soft atmosphere, like most impressionism or things created with pastels. I like bold colors, dark line and intensity. It translates to my own art as well! Finding out what you enjoy about other artists and listening to yourself is so important in finding your own creative voice.
Intuitive drawing, painting, free-writing, journaling or music making
In my classes and workshops we do a lot of Intuitive drawing, painting and writing because it basically trains us to follow our body and inner guidance in order to create in a way that comes naturally to us. If we do this regularly, it help us to trust ourselves and what we naturally create and not rely so much on what we feel like we should be making.
Moving your body to music can be the perfect solution to getting out of your head and into a place where you can trust yourself. Even if you think you can't dance, you can sway or move your body along with the beat and get a sense of your inner guidance leading you. Even here, our self conscious mind can get in the way but if you can try to put that aside and just trust your instincts, it can be really fun. Think about how babies dance when they are just learning to walk! There's so much joy in watching kids just follow that inner voice.
These are just a few practical things that I've notice help me to connect with my inner knowing and intuition on semi-consistent basis. While you are doing them, try to be present in the moment and listen to your body and try to connect at least a little bit with your gut reaction. However faint that voice is now, it still needs your love and attention. The more you listen to it, the more it will grow and nourish you.
What tricks do you have to get in touch with your intuitive side?