Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Intuitive Listening

An important feature of engaging your inner wisdom is paying attention to what you know at your core and engaging it on a conscious level.  However, sometimes we can listen on an unconscious level.  It's called intuitive listening and basically, we do things without really understanding why we do them - trusting your gut.  At some point, if we consciously engage our inner wisdom (that core), we realize we have done some intuitive listening, because as we become consciously aware of our thoughts and actions, we connect the dots between unconscious and conscious ones.

You may have heard "intuitive listening" used in a variety of ways, perhaps likened to body language, tone of the voice, and other non-verbal communication signals.  I would argue that picking up on those types of signals is perceptive listening, but not intuitive, because you're doing it on a conscious level.  Others describe intuitive listening the way Chantel and I present engaging inner wisdom, by opening yourself up and being receptive to what's going on around you and inside of you.  Again, that makes it conscious and not intuitive.  If you type 'intuitive' into Google, here is the definition you get:  using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning.  That is why these definitions of intuitive listening are not accurate, because they are being done consciously.

Following on the defined meaning, I present intuitive listening as being something we do without understanding why.  At the same time, that undertaking will be beneficial to us at some point in the future.  Many of us will automatically think, "Well, I have done a lot of stupid things in my life that I've learned from and haven't repeated.  I've made the links."  That is not exactly it.  Let me give you a personal example, so you can see the difference.

My first recognition of intuitive listening happened about three years ago.  My daughter and I were making friendship bracelets and I chose blue and black as my colors.  These are not colors I would ever choose if I thought about it, but for some unknown reason, these were the colors it had to be and I worked frantically to finish it, though I had no idea why.  An hour after I completed the bracelet and tied it around my wrist, my brother called to tell me that our mom had passed away.  As I hung up the phone, I looked at the bracelet on my wrist and realized what the colors meant to me - black was mourning, blue protection.  I took a deep breath and smiled, knowing I had made the bracelet to help me manage my mom's death.

Not only did that bracelet, which I call a Tied Totem, help me deal with her passing, it set in motion the creation of one of the tools that I use in my retreats and with my coaching clients.  In fact, I have developed an entire color system relating to emotional characteristics and traits that I use not only to create the totems, but in a few of the creative exercises I lead.

Another similar instance happened last week.  After several months without one, I felt it was time to wear a totem again, though I couldn't say why.  I chose green and purple, representing focus and strength, respectively.  The day after I made it, someone I love very much received very good news at work, ensuring he will have a job for as long as he wants it.  I, however, have been struggling with my career not growing as quickly as I'd like, so not only did the totem remind me that I am strong enough to be happy for his success, but also that I have a plan on which I need to focus for my own professional well-being.

Now that I have shared my intuitive listening story with you, I hope that you can think of a similar experience you've had, where something you've done without conscious reasoning has benefited you and that you'll feel comfortable sharing it with us.  If you can't think of anything, here's your chance to give intuitive listening a try.

Practice Engaging Your Inner Wisdom
Let's practice trusting ourselves when we don't understand why we are doing something.  Keeping in mind the meaning of intuitive, (using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning), over the next two weeks, if you have an urge to do something innocuous or a little out of character, but you aren't sure why, just go with it and see what it unleashes in you.  Let us know how it goes.

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