Intuition – Time To Trust It

These are big names people, I mean very, very important people.’ Kind of a playful Trumpish lead into this subject of Intuition but conversely I want you to grasp that this is no lightweight subject. Albert Einstein, Jonas Salk, Steve Jobs and Richard Branson all believed that intuition was more vital than logic.

Albert Einstein

Caroline Myss, the five-time New York Times bestselling author and renowned speaker in the fields of human consciousness and the science of medical intuition said ‘Though many people think that being intuitive is a gift, that view will one day be considered as preposterous as thinking that being born with a sense of smell or taste is a “gift”. Your intuition is an inherent sense that develops in you just as you develop eyes, ears and your other senses. The challenge today is to understand how your intuitive nature communicates with you, as your intuitive sense is as continually active as all your other senses.’

Caroline Myss

My intuitive sense communicated with me fifty plus years ago with a voice in my head, as redolent of majesty as an old man with a beard sitting on cloud, who gave me instructions to do something creative every day, did not matter what but that it should be something I had never done before. I was galvanised into action. My intuition led me to the final creative stage in recovering from trauma and ill health.

Science now shows a gut decision, intuition, or hunch is not something fanciful — it is based on a depth of experience that stems from our unconscious. Our intuition or gut feelings come from deep in the brain in a region called the insula. Evidence from MRI scans shows that the insula is the cornerstone or wellspring of social emotions.

Steve Jobs

In 1949 Einstein said ‘Intuition is nothing but the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.”

Malcolm Gladwell, writer for the New Yorker, and no slouch when it comes to researching and penning definitive factual work, certainly would not dispute the great man’s words. But he was determined to investigate where modern science was in the study of intuition. In a nutshell he found that intuition is all about the brain rapidly slicing empirical experience and knowledge to prompt — “blink”– the intuitive message. He summarized these findings in his book ‘Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking,’ published in 2005. 

Okay, you say, you have convinced me that intuition is real and valuable but what has it to do with me being stuck at home, worrying about health of myself and my family, about money and the future. 

I have learned that intuition can be trusted to guide you to what is best for you. Whether it is simply planning how to have a productive day in isolation, to exercise, to be creative, what is best for your health and even how to be less fearful of the future. 

Richard Branson

You have heard that little voice before I am sure, or had some sort of coincidence that you know is a gut reaction. To activate your intuition, find somewhere peaceful, close your eyes and ask your question. Relax if the answer doesn’t pop into your consciousness immediately, trust that it will. The more you practice asking your intuition, the more answers will come. Sometimes in the form of symbols, sometimes a bit cryptic but you’re the creator of these and you will able to read them. 

Finally and fittingly I have chosen the man who saved generations from polio, Jonas Salk to have the last word. ‘It is always with excitement that I wake up in the morning wondering what my intuition will toss up to me, like gifts from the sea. I work with it and rely on it. It’s my partner.

Jonas Salk

Rest Your Mind On The Good Stuff

In my book A Journey of Creative Healing I tell my story of how as a young woman, widowed with two infant children, I was diagnosed, with an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis.  I had suffered random episodes of symptoms for a few years before these became too obvious to ignore.

Intuitively I rejected the diagnosis.   I felt that my illness was a reflection of traumas and challenges in my life and that my illness was a physical and emotional breakdown.

To dismiss the diagnosis over fifty years ago was not difficult as little was known of the disease, unlike today, there was no swag of information, no range of medication, very few support groups and no follow up evaluation by health professionals to consider how I would cope as the disease progressed.

Instead I focused on a daily creative project, it did not matter what, or how big it was, or how perfect the results were I just put my heart and soul into doing something creative every day.

I have always been convinced this intuitive step of not defining myself as the diagnosis was central in empowering the other simple common sense steps of acceptance, rest, quiet, gratitude and creativity to weave their healing magic.  This year I have been in remission for fifty-five years. 

 I am equally convinced that had I accepted the diagnosis and rested my mind on being a MS sufferer, my story would have played out in a very different fashion.

Today’s medical advancements are a far cry from the 1960’s and state of the art technological equipment provides as with a reliable and accurate diagnosis. Conclusively we see diagnosis is key to today’s successful management of that disease.

And it would be foolhardy to dismiss a diagnosis today.

Receiving a life-changing determination of what ails you focuses the mind keenly on the specific diagnostic definition.

But I still believe that it is counterintuitive to actually DEFINE yourself as the disease.  By define, I mean try it on for size, see that it fits, then live and breathe 24/7 being a ‘…………… sufferer.’

‘Words are seeds that do more than blow around. They land in our hearts and not the ground. Be careful what you plant and careful what you say. You might have to eat what you planted one day.’- Unknown

Define comes from the Old French word ‘definer,’ which is a variant of Latin meaning bring to an end, finish, mark the limit of. Our words have energy and power, especially ones that flag our suffering.  Quantum physics (way beyond my pay grade but I trust the science) say we are energy that attracts like-minded energy.

So be careful what you wish for or rather where you put your focus.

By necessity as a patient your life is focused on coping with treatment, medication and medical appointments.  But you can balance this with practical steps to change your focus

  • Make a determined effort to re-focus on doing what you love.
  • Daily – find somewhere quiet and encourage your imagination to see yourself content and in good health.
  • Practice gratitude.
  • Avoid stress.
  • Banish the word from your everyday language or say ‘you are holding space for………’   
  • Ask family and friends to keep the word to a minimum. Ask them instead to actively visualise you as healthy and content.
  • Listen to your intuition and act upon it.

And when you able, in this wretched journey of ill health, have the courage to re-define your illness as a blessing seeing your sickness as simply the body and spirit’s way of saying ‘time-out’ to rediscover and renew you.

From this place you are no longer in conflict with the disease, and I have found, as many others have too, that when you get out of its way the body invariably knows how to heal itself.

 

Poles Apart

Those who have read my book A Journey of Creative Healing know that I put a great deal of value on listening to my intuition.

A couple of years ago I committed to write 75 days of a daily intuitive FB post. Today I got that inner nudge again to write as the muse or intuition directed. I found a quiet spot in the winter sun to quietly ask for guidance – ‘what do you want me to write?’

‘Intuition is perception via the unconscious that brings forth ideas, images, new possibilities and ways out of blocked situations.’    Carl Jung

My intuition gave me  a vision of a large pole stuck mid center of a space and the words ‘going round and round the pole.’ Vexing to say the least. But I did visualise myself doing exactly that — going around and around the pole.  ‘So what am I supposed to learn from this,’ I ask?
87706685The pole is seemingly immoveable, too tall to jump, too solid to push aside and there is only one way that I can get past it – is by going round it. I see it as something ugly —  a pale concrete column dominating a space while understanding this is an essential part of a building’s construction. I am irritated with my muse as she has set me a thankless task. I mentally tell her so. ‘Poles are poles,’ I say ’nothing more than holding up a roof, so what is the point of this exercise?’
My vision of the concrete column morphs from a pillar to a totem pole, carved exquisitely with its story of lineage, cultural beliefs and important events. I am intrigued with its significance. It seems that each figure on the totem pole represents a part of a story.A-Corbis-42-24133246_nlilf7
Carved from the cedar tree, totem poles are monumental sculptures that recall the characteristics of the clan or an historical event.
My perspective is changed —  here is the comfort of quality, tradition, art and lofty ideals embedded in my ‘pole’ vision.
An idiom springs to mind like ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover.’ My moralistic little pest of intuition has set me on my heels again. But she is not finished with me yet – ‘what is obvious about this Mary?’
‘Well,’ I answer smugly, ‘ it is obviously the way we look at things, we can either see it as an obstacle or an opportunity.’
‘Yes it is Mary —  but reflect again,’

‘The pole or obstacle is you.’

You can make a choice to embrace it and make it an intrinsic and artistic expression of yourself,’

‘Or you can simply go through life trying to go round it.’

images

 

Creative Journeys

mummy
My parents and I on a summer holiday 1952

 

In my book A Journey of Creative Healing I tell how I believe  that committing to a creative project every day, come rain or shine, helped heal me from multiple sclerosis.

When that intuitive message came to do something creative everyday it made total sense as I had learned the joy and satisfaction of being creative from an early age.  My mother was the ultimate creative,  and an eminently kind gentle soul – I was her shadow,  I loved her beyond the widest ocean, higher than the sky and all of the tea in China!

My grandfather was a self-made man, he was an importer of coffee and dried fruits and conservative to the bone, which meant he did not believe in women working. Instead, Mummy learned to sew a fine seam, make all of her clothes and hats. She loved hats and wore clochethem well, so much so they became her signature dressing, ‘choose the hat first darling and the decision on the rest of the outfit falls into line.’

imagesWhen eventually my Grandfather gave permission for my parents to marry after seven years of ‘courting,’  in setting up her first home she rebelled against the heavily Victorian style of the house of her childhood and embraced the 1930’s cutting-edge-fashion of art deco. She was an avid collector of Clarice Cliff, the legendary ceramic artist’s pottery.  In the Blitz, we lost our home and everything in it.  Later when we lived with our grandfather, his house was hit by a V1 doodle bug and again all we had were clothes we stood in.

make do and mendMake Do & Mend’ was a government catchphrase during that time and my mother was very good at. She found a semi-detached house to rent and once again created a stylish home. There were no quarterly household item collections, there were no flea markets and furniture was scarcer than hen’s teeth with everything rationed. But she begged borrowed and made make-do-&-mend into an art form. Today’s home-stylists  would have adored her as she was the Queen of renovation.  She bought the old, tired and worn back to life;  recovering threadbare chairs and settees, French polishing scratched and dull furniture to a glowing patina and painting the house inside and out.

lampshadShe especially loved the spill of lighting from table lamps, overhead lighting was never used, and graced all of her many lamps with her hand-made pleated chiffon lampshades. She was equally at home in the garden and our small colourful blooming patches, both front and back, were the envy of neighbours.

She was a good cook, and when her father died and left her a small inheritance she set pinkup a small café. Immediately her morning and afternoon tea concept was a winner, people loved her sense of style, pink bone china for tea and for coffee, the first of its kind shatter free glass cups and saucers. Soon the market demanded luncheons and she started her day before sparrow twitter preparing, baking and cooking and achieving a regular sixty covers a day for lunch and a steady morning and afternoon trade.

She smoked, a pack of cigarettes a day, but elegantly like a glamorous heroine out of a forties film and died too young. She was a casualty of the English class system,  she identified herself as ‘upper middle class’ and fought to hang onto to this label throughout her life. Sadly if she had been asked to define herself her first priority would be ‘I am middle class, but upper middle class,’ instead of saying what a magnificent all-round nurturing Goddess that she was.

New Beginnings

It is by logic we prove, but intuition that we discover.’
Leonardo Da Vinci

L11905786_790074207784822_3394131547593915784_nittle voice of my Intuition what will you give me to write about today?

‘New Beginnings.’

Umm – New Beginnings. I see your reasoning it being New Year’s day.

‘Yes but what else is obvious about New Beginnings Mary? You know when I softly speak you should always look for the obvious in my message.

Well, New Beginnings obviously means something is ending. Right?

‘And?’

Well, to end, to leave, to finish and turn your back on the old can often be a painful uncomfortable process.

‘Do you think change needs to be painful Mary?’

I think if you want to make serious life changes it needs the impetus of the stone in the shoe. Without it one would continue on in the same old way. Pain is the crucible that facilitates change.

‘Like the phoenix rising from the ashes?

Yes, that is it. The painful work of letting go of the past is always rewarded by unparalleled, uncharted and beyond our wildest imagination New Beginnings.

Use Your Intuition for Podium Recognition

imagesIntuition is the gut feeling or insight that we all experience, but too often we allow our intellect to overrule the ‘sotto voce’ in our heads.

Many emergency workers whose job it is to keep people safe, trust their intuition inexplicably and act upon it immediately without questioning.  Like the story of the firefighter, who dousing a seemingly easily managed fire, knows instantly at gut level that he has to get out of the building.  He makes it out just in time to witness the building’s massive collapse and its eruption into a blazing inferno.

Intuition is an immediate knowing, a first flush of thought before the intellect tries to reason it out. It provides us with a sense of knowing that this is the right or wrong course to take, the decision to make or the person to trust or distrust.

Albert Einstein, a believer in the power of imagination and intuition said  “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.  We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift”.

6In public speaking, intuition will unfailing guide you to a greater speech and a more dynamic performance.  Use intuition to edit your speech and guide your choice to pick the holistic memory chunks or prompts to keep you on track at the lectern.  Use your intuition to measure the response of the audience so that you can refine or add to your words if needed.  At question time let it direct you diplomatically in your response to each of the questions

Encourage your intuitive ability  by choosing to become more aware of that gut feeling, that small voice in your head.  Challenge yourself to identify  who may be on the caller on phone when it rings or when standing at a bank of elevators ask which one will arrive first.  So at first you maybe wrong – but the more you practice the intuitive message becomes undeniably evident.

 Mary Atkins – Author of the definitive self-help guide to public speaking  Finding Your Voice – ten steps to successful public speaking.    Available in two editions  (same content but different covers) throughout the world and now on Kindle.

finding-your-voice1

Or you can purchase the book direct from me $A25 plus postage –  go to Contact Me on this website.

 

 

I Want What She Has – Charisma

UnknownCan you transform a person from a pedestrian, competent speaker into a compelling charismatic orator? The answer is yes you can.

For the past thirty years I have trained food professionals and media celebrities to find their voice, worked with keynote speakers to hone their presentations, adjudicated school debates, organised food and wine conferences with speaking and entertainment programs that left the audience wanting more and produced live cooking shows using the talent of Australia’s leading chefs and celebrities. As the author of Finding Your Voice – 10 Steps to Successful Public Speaking and an award winning speaker I can say, without false modesty – I know what it takes for a speaker to light up the auditorium.

Is it enough  to articulate well, present your facts logically and perform capably? With preparation and practice any speaker will become a competent speaker. An audience will appreciate these speakers’ efforts but will this adequate proficiency stay with them?

Don’t you want the audience to leave the building with your name on their lips and your message in their hearts?

This magic ingredient that lifts you from the mundane is your style, your brand, your charisma.

First lets look at how charisma (from the Greek meaning gift) is defined by others who have a vested interest in understanding this characteristic. Research from psychologists, talent scouts and even a high-powered charisma coach showed that there is no chutzpah fairy Godmother at our birth randomly waving her DNA wand – ‘here Norma Jean and Oprah a bucket-gene-full of compelling-appeal for you gals but none for you lot.’ They agreed that charisma can be a learned behaviour.

Common characteristics they identified were:

  • Emotional expressiveness – in other words allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
  • Empathy with others – socially sensitive
  • Exuding joy and warmth
  • Being present in the moment, being in the flow
  • Confidence
  • Stand firmly in your power
  • Mirroring others body language
  • Accepting your introversion or inadequacies
  • Voice – a measured tempo and lowering your intonation at the end of the sentence.

So the promise is –  if you practice standing chest out, shoulders back, arms wide you are seen as powerful. If you practice being in the moment, being socially aware and caring you will be flagging your empathy. If you accept your inadequacies and use visualisation techniques to boost your moral you will overcome and be centred and strong. If you risk telling others a secret or a weakness you will have emotionally connected with another. If you mirror others body movements then they will like and trust you. And if you train yourself to lower your voice, present in a measured way and put warmth in your voice from a smile on your dial you will have achieved the holy grail of panache gravitas – yes, yes, yes  – charisma.

To me the most important things in this worthy research is that when you have the courage to accept your shadow and light and  be vulnerable where all barriers are down, firm in your stance of bugger what the world is deciding about you – you are authentic. You have no need to fudge emotional and social expressiveness and sensitivity that becomes a taken. You will be in the present. You will naturally stand in your power and your voice takes on its own dimension of authority.

Consider comedian Billy Connolly who exudes high-octane charisma as he invites us into his fragile world. Even though his language would normally offend we don’t mind in fact see it as part of his charm as we rock and lock into his brand of humour. This man is no oil painting there is no glossy image, he looks as though he could do with a good hair and beard trim but we don’t care he gives us unfettered admission into his spirit. His transparent spirit of mischief and joy, making light of his foibles and life wounds connects  us at a deep level of consciousness.

Is it worth the risk of being true to yourself? You betcha. Just ask any speaker who has crossed the divide between platform and audience. ‘It is like holding the audience in the palm of your hand,’ said one speaker glorying in the joy of connection.

finding-your-voice1

 

*Want to know more?  Read my previous post  ‘The Path to Your Real Self’

* For Millennials  – substitute Russell Brand for Billy Connolly!

 

 

 

 

The Path To Your Real Self

Nature-WallpaperAt first the search for your Real Self can be imbued with an ambition to be more than you think you are. Not content with being a mere mortal but wanting to project yourself as a super person. I have a friend whose verbal tag line is ‘I don’t do ordinary – I do excellent’ which, would be seen in the world of commerce as commendable. But authentic self is about the simple act of being, living what you love, without the constraints of trying to achieve. The egotistical ways of wanting more, being more will need to slough away for you to live the authentic you.   Simply by being you become a beacon to others. I prefer to embrace ‘I DO DO ordinary, but I live it extraordinarily well.’

The intention of seeking your Real Self causes the ego to go into defence mode to keep you safe in your status quo; it only knows the well-worn path of your trampling belief system and its hunger to be recognised. And like any good defender of its perceived realm it will create strategies to slow you and stop you from reclaiming your authentic sovereignty of your Real Self.

Asking yourself ‘what do I love?’ is the key to finding your Real Self. For some this question will easy, they have always known from childhood where the direction of their true gifts lies. But for others whose truth has been in hiding it will need more persistence. Whether the initial answer comes easily or with a dedicated effort the repeated practise of asking ‘what do I love?’ intuitively rather than intellectually will get you there.

Why intuitively? Any intellectual deliberation will always be permeated with our default thinking. By setting our intention to receive intuitively we are tapping into our own reliable source of truth.

Before you dismiss receiving an ‘intuitive’ answer as something new age, bordering on flaky, consider the following. Leading scientific and philosophical thinkers of our time valued intuition above intellect. Evidence of this may be found in telling quotes from Albert Einstein (‘The only real valuable thing is intuition) Henri Poincare, Frank Capra, Jonas Salk, Immanuel Kant, Lao Tzu, Steve Jobs and many others. But Robert Graves, poet, novelist and critic put it most succinctly – Intuition is the supra-logic that cuts out all the routine processes of thought and leaps straight from the problem to the answer.

 We have all heard about the fireman whose insistent inner voice commanded him to get out of the burning house moments before the flaming beams crashed to the spot where he had been standing. A powerful  illustration of intuitive guidance that is available to us if only we will listen. We can tap into our intuition any time but most of us dismiss that patient quiet voice of guidance or action.

Purposeful intuition is accessed best in a quiet, still environment – meditation or a time spent communing with nature. I like to put myself in an imaginary circle. I see the circle as a sacred space. Silently voice your intention to serve yourself and to receive. At first the mind likes to throw up all kinds of dross – simply observe and acknowledge, as you would clouds moving slowly across a sky.

You will find Intuition delivers answers in different ways; you may get a symbol, a song, a feeling, a written word or a clearly spoken message in your head. Occasionally the answer might not come at that time but will come later in a synchronistic manner that defies ignoring. If the answer is obtuse look at what is obvious about this, what it might mean to you, if you’re unsure ask for more clarity. But the more you practice, answers are more easily read.

The question ‘what do I love?’ seems simple but we are multi dimensional beings who delight in many things from a hug from a loved one, a picture of a baby, coffee with a friend, a favourite book, good movie or a walk on the beach. Some characteristics of things that you are good at may give you direction but you will need to sift through these to elicit the most powerful connection. But frequently asking the question ‘what do I love?’ will plumb the depths and breadths of the real you.

finding-your-voice1There was nothing original in the title Finding Your Voice my self-help guide to public speaking book . Variations of ‘finding your voice,’ ‘having a voice’ or simply ‘a voice,’ are well known metaphors and cliché for living your truth. But my unwitting and decisive choice of naming it Finding Your Voice proved to be the open door and ongoing breadcrumb trail to who I am. At first the answer was generic – ‘a writer’ but as I kept asking the question I saw that it was leading me down paths that I had never considered. Giving me temerity to write a novel, speak up for what my heart and muse perceives as social injustice or  simply a desire to share a travel adventure. And wait,  I know there is more ….. I just need to keep asking ‘what do I love?’

Come Spoon With Me

William_Archibald_Spooner_Vanity_Fair_1898-04-21
William Archibold Spooner

My Intuition, in a quiet moment, delivered the message that I should write a stunning blog or did I hear  blunning stog?

Spoonerisms? cue the chud, of course I rationalise, they have all the hallmarks of a fun blog or it should read ballmarks of a glun hog. After all how much  do I love to cheekily spoonerise when driving past a truck –  thats a trucking fig buck. Yes, I shout,  go help me sod this is going to be the pun fart of my blogging career to date.

The Rev. William Archibold Spooner, was born in 1844.  He was a not the most handsome of men. A very small albino man, with poor eyesight and a head too large for his body. Some wit might unkindly liken his looks as plain as a dobbers rog. But clever, oh so clever his mercurial brain raced ahead and his tongue could not keep up, especially when he was agitated and so began his art of switching words around.

When Spooner had to give the toast to the visiting Queen Victoria, he excitedly said ‘Three cheers for our queer old dean.’ His delightful gaffs spread over into his ecclesiastical duties, officiating at a wedding he was heard to say to the groom ‘son it is now kisstomary to cuss the bride.’

I bet his congregation flocked to his services in the hope they could add to the list of his slip ups – our shoving leopardsope in the hole and the list goes on.

Well tis time for me to shake a tower and chew the doors and so that’s it for my blunning stog – just swort and sheet. Hopefully

 

Left brain Right brain

Neuroscientists found that when they dumbed down the analytical side of the left-brain hemisphere – the right brain, which provides us with insight or intuitive responses, was clearer sharper and demonstrated enhanced creativity and innovation.

It seems that simple steps like brushing your teeth with your weak hand, travelling a new and different route home or eating foods that you have never tried before will stimulate and improve our overall brain development.

But can we improve our insightful  thinking (what I would call creative intuition) without an attendant neuroscientist zapping half of our brain with electrical impulses to temporarily still our left-brain’s predictive course of thinking?

Can we grow our well-spring of creativity?

When I write, I’m single-minded, totally focused, in the zone. If I was in an MRI scanner I’m sure it could be seen that both sides of my brain would be contributing.

But the most valuable moments of creativity for me frequently occur after  I have had time out.  After I meditate, take a walk along the beach focusing on the ocean, reflect on a good movie, or take an adventure break by going somewhere new.  Seeing things as though I was seeing them for the first time. The light bulb moments come when my brain is not busy with the grey chatter of the day or  my  treadmill thinking. They come when  my neurons are having a break from firing along their well trod pathways.

For a few years now I have deliberately practiced developing my intuitive ability. At first I found it hard not to indulge the analytical side as it could and still can be extremely persuasive in the case it presents.   But over time and many personal development courses I have found ways to disengage the finger wagging left brain and increase the  ‘yeh baby’  creative moments.

Inner ChildThis is where this picture on the left plays its part.  Meet little Me, aged four’ish.  My inner child.  I see her shy but triumphant smile as she tries to ride her older sister’s bike.  I identify with her trusting quality of innocence; she simply does not recognise that she is not big enough to fully reach the peddles  to make the wheels turn. She is in the moment of loving being able to ride the bike unconcerned that the bike will remain stationary.

My inner child image is my express route to my intuition. I visualise  her proudly sitting on her two sizes too large tricycle and this  curbs  my busy left-brain. In this quiet well of connection I set my intention to receive whatever guidance  I need, may be its a plot snag or a character’s flaws. As I continue to focus on this specific image of my inner child I find I experience once again  her  moment of elation and feel her joyful innocence. It creates the same mind flora as  the aftermath of time out but with more purpose. I find my intuition gives up guidance and answers like slices of golden toast in a pop-up toaster.

A mental image does not have to be a picture of you as a young child that is just my way of leaving the wallpaper behind and soaring to different places. For you it could be something from nature, a loved pet or any  image that allows you to identify with a joyful experience and importantly captures that feeling of innocence – seeing things as though you are seeing them for the first time. 

It is a simple technique but so effective. Similar to developing any part of our muscular system it requires regular practice to access it at will and determination to trust what you receive.

Try it I think you will be amazed.

.