27 ways to practice living intuitively in a modern world
Intuition. The art of I just know it. "But you can't know the future, it's impossible" people say when I talk about intuition. And they are right, of course. We can't know the future, even though we get strong feelings about it. However, intuition is so much more than premonitions and the future. Intuition is knowing what is right and what is wrong. Intuition is living in pact with our spirits and the larger force of life. Intuition is listening. Deep.
And you can't learn to live intuitively from reading this post. It's like learning to ride a bicycle from reading a book. You need to practice. Stop your hectic life for as long as you need to tune in to your spirit and listen, truly listen, to what it's telling you. Then you need the courage to follow your instinct, not your (often very convincing) mind. It's hard work, but the benefits are enorme. Learning to trust your instincts and live intuitively can transform your life. Suddenly you're living with the stream, not against it. Suddenly your able to connect more closely to others because you are connecting with yourself. Slowly, and suddenly, you'll feel whole.
"I guess that I see intuitive living not just as a benefit, or a way of becoming happier, but also as a solution to a myriad of problems. Living intuitively is the answer to the invisible question that we ask every minute of every day that we find ourselves in silence: what should I do now? What's my next move? How can I be good, and live well? Why am I here?" - Kathryn Hogan
YES. Being connected to yourself is the solution. It will be beneficial to us, but as you'll notice below living intuitively means living in pact with nature. What is good for us is good for the earth, the animals, the plants and everyone around us. There's no doubt about it. And doesn't it feel good? Your deep connection with yourself will have a ripple effect that will change the world.
"What's good for us is good for the Earth too. It's proof if proof that we're needed, that we belong here. We're supposed to be here. We have a divine purpose here." -Kathryn Hogan
"Hey. Don't feel bad. It's just like learning to walk. Every human does it, even though it's hard! At first, they keep falling over, even though some part of them intuitively knows exactly how to do it. Their first successes are uncontrolled. They just trust their feet, just like you have to trust your mind. Then, with practice, the steps get easier, your muscles grow, you gain balance and confidence and the next thing you know, you're able to walk anywhere you want."
- From Wild Land, by Kahtryn Hogan
27 ways to practice living intuitively in a modern world
•• Intuitive nutrition ••
Eat what makes you feel good
Focus on how you feel after you have finished your meal, not while you're eating. Do you feel better after eating a huge bowl of pasta, or after a salad? Do you feel better after drinking coffee? Or water? I'm not saying one thing is better than the other, I think you already know (from within, not because you've been told) what is best for you.
Learn to eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full
This is a huge step towards living in touch with your intuition. Taking time to really feel and care for your hungers will make you much more tuned in to your natural self. Eat slowly and notice how you feel. Does your sense of hunger change? How does it feel like? How does being full feels like? To stop eating when you are full means listening to your needs and attending to your own well-being.
Drink before you are thirsty
Most people don't feel thirst before their bodies are already dehydrated. Learn to listen to thirst signals, but make it a habit to keep a water bottle near at all times. Having water available will make you automatically grab for water every now and then, keeping your body hydrated and awake.
Grow your own food
This is a great way to live in pact with nature! If you're short on space, try a hanging garden or even some potted herbs. If you don't even have window sills (like me), I find that sprouting mung beans, lentils and chickpeas is a wonderful way of growing healthy and tasty food at home.
View yourself as a part of the circle of life
Try to picture yourself as a part of the circle of life. Think about where your food, products and water comes from and take note of where your waste ends up. Try to give as much back to the land as you receive. This is where reduce, reuse and recycle becomes meaningful and intuitive.
•• Living an intuitively active life ••
Focus on the energy and sparkle you get from working out
Much like with food, do the kind of exercise that comes naturally to you and which feels good! Focus on how you feel - while you're in motion and after you finish. For me, I find that dance, games and running gets me in a really positive flow, while sitting on a stationary bike doesn't feel good at all. How is your body meant to be moving?
Listen to your body's signals
This should really go without saying - listen to your body when you're working out. Is it telling you to give a little extra today? Or to take it nice and gently? Working out in sync with your body is vital to avoid injury.
Work out in nature
Living an active life outdoors is a great way to tune into your spirit and feel the life force flow through your veins. Hiking, biking, running and playing feels great when it's done in nature. If you live in an urban area - go to the nearest large park. If you live in more rural areas - climb a mountain! I guarantee it feels better than running another 20 mins on that threadmill.
•• Intuitive Rest ••
Rest with wild abandon
When you feel tired, let everything else be. It doesn't have to be for long, or for forever. Just tune in to yourself now and then and listen to your priorities and values. What is more important for you right now, rest or work? Don't try to find the answer by thinking, try to see if you can feel it.
Go to bed when you're sleepy and wake up when you're fully rested
Feeling sleepy at 8 pm, and then you force yourself to stay awake. Come bedtime at 11 pm, you're wide awake. Does this sounds familiar? Going to bed and waking up at a set time is something we're taught while growing up, and it is often counter-intuitive. Make it a habit to go to bed at any time you feel sleepy say between 7 pm and midnight. The same goes for waking up. Most people will wake up when they are fully rested, if they make sure they set aside enough time to sleep every night. Try it for a week and feel the difference!
Follow your natural rest cycle
Every living thing has a natural rest cycle, including us humans. Think about how the seasons move, and how seeds are resting before they come to life. In our busy lives, we have collectively forgotten how our natural flow feels like. Have you noticed how you have seasons of natural productivity and creativity - and seasons when you're forcing yourself to produce, create and grow? On a large scale, these seasons may be long, or they may be short. Your rest cycle might take years to complete, or days. On a small scale, sleep is a big part of your daily rest cycle, but have you noticed other times too? Late mornings and/or afternoons are the times when my body needs rest. Early mornings, early afternoons and late evenings are the times when I'm totally energized. How about you?
Focus on your breath
Your breath is a good indicator of your overall well-being. Are your breaths deep and relaxed? Or shallow and stressed? Listen to what your breath is telling you. Do you need to slow down? Or can you push yourself forward? Taking time to breathe deeply, every now and then can mean a lot to your overall sense of calm and control.
Meditation is a great way of getting closer to your true self and to nature. Just start with sitting for ten minutes a day. Let go of any expectations and see if you can just notice your thoughts. Who are you - who is this person that is noticing your thoughts? Personally, I find that I get a clearer sense of who I am, unrelated to what I think.
•• Intuition and yourself ••
Learn to recognize your values
Try to spend some time on getting clear on your values. Do you value efficiency? Or rest? Maybe both? Do you value kindness over your own boundaries? This exercise is great to do in a journal. When you get clear on what your values are, it is easier to intuitively follow them. You probably do this already, but getting aware of the process can make it all feel more meaningful and true.
Stand up for yourself gracefully
Intuition is knowing when to say no, and when you can move your limits. Learn to feel it in your body - are there any particular situations where your body tells you to stand up for yourself more? Doing it all with grace will make it feel so much better.
Listen to your limits when you give of yourself
Most of us feel great when we're helping others. But sometimes, we continue to give long after we've practically run dry. Try to use your intuition when giving. When do you give too much? When do you have more to give? Try to listen to your heart on this matter, but make sure you don't fool yourself. It often feels so good to give that we ignore our own needs!
Be kind to yourself
Kindness has strong connection to our intuition. We tend to be kind to people when we instinctively feel that they are good, that they want good things for us and when they are kind in return. The other way around, we instinctively reject and withdraw from people that we sense are bad for us. Why is it then that we so often aren't kind to ourselves? Take a moment and feel if your intuitive feeling towards yourself is rooted in limiting beliefs.
Let go of attachment to outcomes
Try to do things that intuitively makes you feel good. It is so easy to be guided by the outcome of an action, and when it doesn't happen we feel bad. However, if you let go of your attachment and just follow your heart, you will feel much better and your results are likely to change too.
Don't listen to negativity
Negativity is a huge part of our modern culture, but it hasn't root in nature. Gossip, comparison, talking behind people's backs, competition and devaluation are all a part of our lives even though we know it's not good for anyone. It's counter-intuitive! Look at nature, do you compare flowers too? Or reject a kitten that looks a little different and weaker than the rest of them? Listen to the part of you that knows right from wrong, good from bad and have the courage to stay true to who you really are.
•• Intuitive decision making ••
Listen for that voice within
When faced with a difficult situation, we often try to look for answers outside of ourselves. We ask for advice, search for facts, try to determine probability and weigh the pro's and con's. However, sometimes it might be just as effective to look within. How do you feel about the different options? Does any option give you a good feeling? A bad feeling? It's well worth it to look within in addition to getting clear on the facts and probable consequences.
Do what makes you feel vibrant
When faced with two or more options, do what makes you feel alive, joyful and vibrant. What gives you energy? What drains you? Again, focus on yourself and what your body tells you, not what you should or should not do.
Take the action where you feel the most resistance
When faced with different creative options, go for the one where you feel the most resistance. This is your spirit's way of showing you that your work is important. Again, listen to your emotional reactions and your gut feeling. Isn't it true that the scariest creative work also is the most rewarding? See if this holds true for you, or not. Maybe you're different?
•• Intuitive relationships ••
Follow your natural boundaries
Boundaries in relationships can be hard, especially when you're living together. Try to follow your heart on this one too. When do you need time alone, without your partner? When is it important that you spend time together? Are you having a healthy balance in your relationship right now? If not, what needs to change? Again, try to answer these question without solely using reason. What do you feel?
Being present has a lot to do with intuition. When we sense safety and comfort, we are more easily able to stay present and truly listening to our partners. However, if we're feeling unsafe (perhaps because we fear intimacy) it is harder to stay present and in the moment. This also works the other way around - being present with each other often feels intuitively good. It feels true. Do you agree?
•• Dreaming intuitively ••
Listen to that voice within
Dreams are highly intuitive. Why do you want what you want? We often can't explain, and often we shouldn't. It feels good to just want something for no good reason. What do you dream of? Try to move through all the chaos, conflicting needs and other people's dreams. What do you really want?
Making dreams come true is a matter of personal growth. I don't think we can feel the rush of success, joy and happiness of being there, doing it, without growing as humans. Making dreams come true is wonderful, but it can also be very overwhelming. Change is hard, no matter if it takes a positive or a negative direction. Try to listen to your instincts when you work toward that dream. It's okay to go slow and steady! Stop for a moment and see if you can feel where you are in this right now. Do you move too fast? Or can you speed up?
Follow your passion
I bet you've heard this a thousands times already, but it's not repeated for nothing. Do what makes you feel good, do what comes easy and do what gives you joy and happiness. However, it's not easy to figure out what our passions are if we don't look within. Looking outside ourselves, trying a lot of different things, asking for advice, reading helpful (or not so helpful) blog posts - it won't get us any closer to figuring out what our passions and dreams are. Instead, try to look within. Are you sure you don't already know?
Do you consider yourself an intuitive person?
This post was inspired (and brought to you) by…
I am a passionate reader - fiction, non-fiction, fantasy and classics. Short books and the heavy ones - I always have at least two books with me at all times. I also write a lot (you know that already) and I correct papers at university level. I don't claim to be the best writer in the world, but writing and reading is my thing. And I LOVED reading this book. As in, I want to read more! I want to read it again! I want to read a sequel! I want to read everything that Kathryn writes! This post is sponsored, but my feelings are the real deal. Check it out!
Kathryn Hogan is an author and environmentalist living in the beautiful Canadian Rocky Mountains with her two dogs, cat, and handsome forest-tending husband. Her first novel, Wild Land, was published in 2011 and is available on Amazon - in paperback and for Kindle. Kathryn also has a rollickingly hilarious website and fascinating blog, which you can find at www.kathrynhogan.ca.
To learn more about Kathryn, read an interview with her here.