“ Never Apologise for trusting your intuition - Your brain can play tricks, your heart can blind, but your gut is always right.”
Some call intuition an inner guide, gut feeling, internal authority. Wikipedia defines the word intuition as ‘a phenomenon of the mind, describes the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason.’
For me, intuition is like coming home and listening to that small voice within.
As children, most of us had a strong sense of intuition, yet we seem to lose it as we get older. Most children have a strong feeling of people who feel safe and situations which don’t feel right. We stop listening to our inner voice because we begin to reason with it, argue with it, and our rational linear minds want concrete proof.
In recovery, it seemed as though my intuition started to wake back up after the fog began to clear in my mind. There was a small faint voice inside me and nudges mainly trying to protect me saying things like, “Don’t do it, don’t go there, it's not good for you.” I first ignored it, argued with it, and questioned it. I made A LOT of mistakes and created A LOT of misery in my life, NOT listening to my inner voice.
Often our intuition doesn’t seem to make sense “in the real world.” The naysayers will push your - "oh my god am I crazy" button? The naysayers might ask you, “Really, how are you going to do that? What if it doesn't work out? How could you quit your job and start your own business? Most businesses fail the first year.” They try to stop you in your tracks and put their insecurities on you.
If I listened to my mind instead of my inner voice, my head often went to the worst outcome. It would say things like, “If you do that, you will end up homeless with cats crawling all over you.” I’d ask myself if this were true what would be the worst outcome. One time when I left a very lucrative job to open my own business because my soul was calling me to work with women. I knew I wanted to, but I was afraid I’d starve to death and have to live in the streets. I thought, okay if I have no place to live maybe I could live in the basement of the home where my ex-husband, his wife, and their two young children live. Perhaps they will let me eat their leftover food they give the dog. I could always stand on the street corner and beg for money - those people seem to do alright, some even have dogs!
I realized I was making up stories which were not true and decided if I were going to make up stories, I might as well make up a good story. When I was writing my first book, I had a few people who had the gall to say, “You know, very few people get books published and especially first-time authors.” There was a faint voice inside my head telling me they were wrong and to keep writing. I decided when I heard the negative voice I would visualize a naysayer, and hand them over my doubt since they were so good at believing the lie. I kept following the voice that told me ‘you are on the right path, keep going, I’m here with you, ignore the naysayers.”
When you are first trying to take direction from your inner voice, you are probably going to argue back and forth with yourself. When you are aware of this, you might feel like you are psycho. Don’t worry because most people who are psycho, are the only people who don’t question if they are psycho. It might sound like this. The inner voice says,”Go this way.” Head argues and says, “what do you mean to go this way? It's that way!” Inner voice nudges a bit stronger, “Go this way.” Head says, “You have got to be kidding me! It’s the other way.”
The inner voice is a solid, no bones about it, voice. Intuition doesn't yell. It’s a definite “knowing sense.” At first, you might want to check out what this voice is saying with a trusted advisor because we can make all sorts of mistakes. If it’s a big decision to make, its best to not act quickly. Get quiet and sit it with it for awhile.
Being afraid of making mistakes is why some people don’t listen to the inner voice. News flash, you are probably going to make a few mistakes. Welcome to planet earth! I like to think of the word, mistake as a mis-take. Kind of like driving to a destination. Maybe I missed the exit, but I can always turn around or take another road. Often when I have missed an exit and chosen a different path, I have found fascinating people, beautiful scenery, and yes a little lost at times. Taking the ‘road less traveled’ can be scary but never dull!
For many years this small voice kept saying "write a book, write a book." I’d ignore it and say to myself all sorts of things like: "I don’t know how to write a book, no one will read it, it’s a waste of time, I don’t have time." The loudest voice of all screamed, " WELL, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? AN AUTHOR? NO WAY, NOT YOU. OTHER PEOPLE ARE AUTHORS- NOT YOU!" But the voice got louder and more consistent. It was like a nagging child who wouldn’t give up. So I gave in and started writing with no real plan. I just started putting pen to paper.
I remember driving across the Portland bridge and listening to my doubting voice. I called Anne Lamott crying “is this a stupid idea? No one is going to read my book! Am I wasting my time? Anne gently said “All of us authors have thought that from time to time. Writers write, so keep writing.’ I dried my eyes, took a deep breath, and continued my writing.
When I finally had done enough writing and put a book proposal together, I decided to send it out to three publishers. My “pinch-me-am-I-dreaming” fantasy was to have Hazelden Publishing accept my proposal. When I listened to my head, that loud voice came back “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU? No way will the number one publisher of recovery books even take a look at your book.” But there was that quiet inner voice telling me they were going to accept my book. I didn’t dare tell anyone what this because I was afraid they laugh at me and say “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?”
When Hazelden Publishing called to tell me they wanted to publish my book, I broke out in tears of joy with confirmation knowing the quiet inner voice was right all along, and I was so grateful I listened.
We all have an inner voice calling us to greatness. All we need to do is get quiet to hear it and take small steps towards the calling.
Leave me a comment below. I'd love to hear your stories, thoughts, and ideas.
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With over eighteen years of personal and professional experience, Rosemary O’Connor has helped thousands of people recover from addictions via her speaking engagements, workshops, private coaching sessions, and media interviews.
In response to the unaddressed needs mothers have in recovery, Rosemary wrote A Sober Mom's Guide to Recovery - Taking Care of Yourself to Take Care of Your Kids (Hazelden 2015).
She founded http://www.sobermomsguide.com, which offers resources and support for mothers in recovery and those interested in recovering from addiction.
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