On Intuition: An Awakening (or how I learned that anxiety is not a weakness)

Living inside your body is hard. If you’re prone to anxiety or any other kinds of hyper awareness and discomfort, you could develop pretty harmful habits just to survive. It may feel like this supreme weakness. Why do I feel this unbearable jolt of electricity when I hear the phone ring? Why do I jump to 1,000 horrible outcomes before anything even happens? Why is my brain broken?

Well, this kind of hyper awareness kept our ancestors alive when the dangers were far more threatening than a shitty text or an overbearing boss or client. When that freak out feeling happens, and a bear is attacking, that shot of adrenaline keeps you alive. It's how our ancient counterparts managed to survive, reproduce, and pass on those gene. I repeat: Feeling anxious is how we once survived. In the modern world, however, it’s really freaking inconvenient, definitely, but it’s not weakness. It’s the reason you’re alive at all.

On the days I feel good, I almost feel silly about all my little worries. All the little boxes of doubts and hang ups and years of conditioning that kept me quiet and scared and sad. But on the days I feel bad, it feels like I’m falling down a serrated crack into the center of the earth, into a part of myself that is empty, that is a black hole, that will never end. That feeling, that gripping and tension in every muscle fiber of my body, that’s resistance. That’s the supreme discomfort of not listening to your body. 

When your feelings are routinely dismissed as trivial by parents, teachers, lovers, friends, it’s easy to feel the initial pinprick of a bodily response and say “NO THANK YOU.” But that never works. That leads to built up tension. Shoulders that hike up to your earlobes. Lower back pain. Knots in your calves. Tendonitis. Tension headaches. Yup, all that repression has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is definitely inside your body. Yikes. 

 The High Priestess and The Queen of Cups ask us to listen deeply in The Fountain Tarot.

The High Priestess and The Queen of Cups ask us to listen deeply in The Fountain Tarot.

What does all this have to do with intuition? Well, in being so uncomfortable and therefore disconnected from our bodies, we lose that guiding compass that lives inside us. If you hate the feelings within your body, it becomes easier and easier to dismiss it completely. Have you felt yourself shut down, block out everything around you, feelings, sensations, words? Like viewing the world through a fishbowl lens, looking down on yourself as if you were a hovering spectre, or as Get Out so succinctly put it, from the “sunken place”? 

I have found that the times I feel the most uncomfortable, the times I could really use a drink or a pint of ice cream or whatever substance is your go to (this includes sugar and TV), those are the times my body has been begging me to pay more attention. To stop masking these feelings with rolls of duct tape like the pacifier I clung to as a child until my mother told me the pacifier factory burnt down all mine melted int he dishwasher to wean me off. Sometimes our internal mother needs to step in and say, “no, now you listen.”

Often when a client asks me a question, they are either asking the wrong question or they already know the answer. It’s just hidden behind other messages. Messages from society, our upbringing, the many faced internal selves who have their own ideas of what good and healthy look like. Today we are so over stimulated. So burnt out. Constantly connected. Constantly on overdrive. Maybe the remedy isn’t more of something, something new, something better, upgrade 3.7. Maybe we need less. Less noise, less notifications, less busy-ness, less metrics. Maybe we can ditch the Fitbit and listen to what our bodies are saying.