I’ve just returned home from a fabulous retreat at Ocamora Retreat Center in northern New Mexico. I acquired new skills for leading my life and entered into a network of colleagues and friends who share similar values and a commitment to changing the world through their inner and outer work. But I have to tell you, I may not have attended if I had not listened to my intuition. “How’s that?” you wonder!
Sometime in May, I picked up the La Montanita Coop monthly newsletter. I rarely read the newsletter cover to cover, but this month I did. I was drawn to the article title “BIONEERS: Cultivating Women’s Leadership in NM”. I read it and resonated with one of their basic premises: “…that all meaningful and enduring change begins with the internal work we do to transform our outer behavior.” It sounded suspiciously, deliciously, like what I’ve been saying to my clients and in my trainings!
Despite the parts of myself that said “you don’t have the money” “you’re a white, middle-class gal and they are looking for a diverse group of women” “why do I need a retreat anyway, life is good”, “I’ve had plenty of leadership training, enough already!” I cut out the article and left it on my desk.
Several times during the next week I’d find myself picking up the article, sometimes trying to throw it away, sometimes re-reading it, sometimes wondering about applying; yet it stayed on my desk. One day, I picked it up and went to the website to explore the program. I continued to like what I read, but the inner yakking about why I didn’t deserve to attend persisted.
One day, while working at my computer, I saw the article and spontaneously requested an application. When the application arrived, I read it and feeling overwhelmed, set it aside. Then one morning I simply got up, went to my computer, and started writing the application. There was no thinking involved. Something deep inside me initiated the writing and I simply went with it. Over the next few days I revised the application, had friends review it, and eventually sent it in thinking “they won’t really accept me, I’m just not enough for something like this.”
But they did. And I said “Yes!” Again, not so much by thinking about it, but by realizing that something deep inside me was demanding a “yes!” even though I didn’t know anything about the Bioneers, Toby, Nina, or why I even needed leadership training!
This consistent “nagging” and unfolding of the next action is one of the ways my intuition works (and I suspect yours too!) Intuition needs space and time to be heard. She needs me to listen for her still, quiet voice amongst all the yakking of my mind (that thinks it KNOWS what’s best for me). She will keep insisting and bringing me back to opportunities and people that are life-serving even when I ignore her.
It takes time to develop this particular use of intuition because we are so used to moving through our days with an ongoing “to do” list. It takes a commitment to creating spaciousness between the ongoing barrage of thoughts and feelings through meditation or other spiritual practices. Yet I notice that when I make the time to cultivate my intuition (geez, could that be cultivating my INNER leadership?) all of the things to which I am guided truly serve me – and life.
So, my questions for you this day are:
- How to you cultivate your intuition (inner leadership)?
- What practices do you use on a daily basis to create spaciousness between your thoughts so you can hear your knowings?
- What has your intuition been encouraging you to do that you’ve been ignoring?
P.S. Live in the NY/NJ metro area and want to develop your intuition? Click here to explore a workshop I’m offering August 14, 2010. It’s designed for coaches – and just about every woman I know is a coach of some sort!