How to make more practical use of intuition

There seems to be a growing curiosity around intuition this year, one of many not so subtle clues to me that the world is waking up beyond the manifest, logical, left-brained dominance that has reigned supreme for so long. In one of the online forums I take part in, someone who is a lawyer and, in her own description, predominantly left-brained was asking how she could develop her intuitive skills more and “bring them online” in a useful way and I found myself responding, from my own experiences, without even having to even pause for thought (that’s intuition for you).

So, I thought it  might be worth sharing here what I said, expanded somewhat (even though its been the core assumption of my blog, for many years, that I am writing, predominantly, as an intuitive or someone who takes thorough stock of their intuitive responses to life…but then anyone coming to this blog anew won’t necessarily know that or how distinct this is to a more logic-driven approach). The time is now ripe for more affirmative discussion around why intuition is just so useful and important to all of us, regardless of “career” or other practical standpoint. This trait desperately needs to get “normalised” and brought back into the conversation in a way that prevents its mere mention from being treated as far too “woo-woo” to take seriously and without foundation or proper substance, because we really need this other 50% of our skillset as balanced human beings endeavouring to navigate these tricky times (and when our logic clearly doesn’t hold all the answers).

For me, my intuition stepped in after I had a complete burn out and health crash 14 years ago and, forced to completely stop work, with no forward plan, for the first time in my life, I picked up paints and just let go…no expectations, no agenda, I was doing it as a sort of outlet or distraction to take me “out” of my pain and overwhelm. Not only did this open up the intuitive, non-logic or linearity-serving, part of me (which I had almost completely shut down due to being a highly sensitive, empathic child in circumstances that didn’t often nurture that, followed by a series of traumas and abuse experienced as an adult) but I also found my intuitive voice started talking to me during these long painting sessions which, by then, had become my lifeline. This led to me writing down some thoughts, almost daily (leading to private journalling and, ultimately, public blogging) as well as becoming a professional artist for well over a decade now. The latter was a complete change of career but that label is not really “why” I do it since it is, mostly, a deeply personal intuitive practice required to keep me in balance, and because it brings me great joy to play with the territory of mingling intuition with something more manifest and creative. My artworks often “speak to me” in layers of deeply metaphorical information, not only during the painting process but, typically, many months later, which is why I am seldom quick to part with them, since they often hold messages sent straight from my intuitive guidance.

There’s a great podcast interview of intuitive teacher Lee Harris by Regina Meredith which has some highly accessible advice on how to access and develop these intuitive skills and what that might look like as intuition takes more of an active role in your life. Exactly as Lee describes in the interview, the more my intuition seemed to deliver good advice to me…far better advice than any of the mainstream sources of information I initially turned to in order to try and figure a way out my bewildering health-crash…the more I came to trust it and the rest, as they say is history. So, yes, coming to trust our intuition is a big part of opening the skillset. Perhaps that is why it so often takes a health or some other kind of “crash” to open it up since, by then, we are far more willing to entertain alternative sources of guidance than at times in our lives when we feel we have all our plates spinning.

I am still fascinated by things like cutting edge science and technology, being the kind of person who is just so curious about everything, and I try to stay grounded (very much work in progress…) but my intuitive life is now more real and engaging to me than what presents in 3D, which has been a major life-altering switch around, bringing many beautiful upgrades in its wake. Put simply, I now “see” life through a very different lens, one where beautiful synchronicities take me off on fascinating journeys of interconnectedness. I feel internally informed and empowered by my intuitive connection with source energy (which we all have) rather than relying so utterly on all those other sources of external information that have so many people in a tail spin right now. So, journalling, painting, creating (without high expectations or goals) can be an access point to this source of information since its akin to saying “surprise me, take me where my logical brain can’t even pretend to have all the answers”. Or we can get to it by picking up a pen and some paper and asking a question that Lee always suggests, “what does my soul want me to know today?” then jotting down the very first words that come to us…and then practice that, often.

After that, the process, such as there is one, is to let go, start to trust, develop a rapport, learn the tone and flavour of that particular “voice” compared to other information (top tip: our intuition is never nasty or dark and is often fairly to-the-point and concise). With practice, it all starts to get easier, stronger, more familiar and fluent, our responses coming in within seconds, even when we are in a busy or noisy environment, rather than having to prime ourselves with a quiet spot and enough time to dial in. Or, really what happens is, our preparedness to listen to our intuition becomes more confident and much quicker off the mark, since the information was always there before; but now we are geared to notice and respond to it. So, someone asks us if we want to do something and we feel the uncomfortable feeling in our body that tells us its simply not for us; there is our answer and there is simply no need to go through the long process of accepting, then regretting and, only then, after too-ing and fro-ing with our internal arguments “for and against”, trying to dig ourselves out of it with some sort of excuse.

What can be so noticeable about when intuition takes a seat at the wheel is that things no longer continue along the same-old predictable course. I would never have ever guessed I would be an artist 15 years ago, hailing as I do from a family of scientists, teachers and engineers, and had been running my own “left-brained” businesses for years, followed by working in a solicitor’s firm at the time I had my burnout. The interesting thing is that it was in a hypnotherapy session that I had, right after my health crashed and shortly after leaving work in the solicitor’s firm, that I clearly “saw” myself walk into a gallery and deliver some paintings to a smiling gallery owner when asked to visualise my perfect day…my intuition talking to me…but how odd did that vision sound to me at the time. I wasn’t an artist at that point but was simply trying to work out how to get better and go back to a left-brained job, in fact thinking about starting a new business that would (in hindsight) have led to a whole lot more stress. The very idea of pursing art would have sounded ludicrous to me at the time as the means and practical considerations simply weren’t there, though they later fell into place, and its not as though I left the hypnotherapy session with any intention to pursue it, though I found it all mildly amusing. It was two years later, when (following a flukey encounter with the owner) I happened to have some of my fledgeling art on display in the very gallery I had visualised in that hypnotherapy session, that I was hit with the sudden flash of realisation that what I had foreseen so clearly under hypnosis had just come true, down to the very letter, my art hanging on the very wall I had envisioned it on next to the gallery window…and that, needless to say, was a major breakthrough in trusting my intuition. So, hypnotherapy can be a useful tool in the early stages as it can open you up to the process, but I don’t feel I need a mediator now I have a direct line and that goes for all of us; we all have the same access waiting to be developed.

Going back to the forum discussion on this topic, someone asked why the sharp split between left and right hemispheres; why do people always feel that one hemisphere has “taken over” and must now be ditched in favour of the other and why can’t they work together. I wholeheartedly agree! I have an extremely balanced brain and my strengths at school showed this off to a tee, making it very hard for me to decide what to choose as a life path (the real sticking point here is that we are conditioned to think we even need to make a choice, and so very early on in life). That other pitfall, intuitive skills are not given the same weight or currency as left-brained intellectual ones, are they? Certainly not in my school or family so, of course, we are encouraged to drop the “nonsense” and stick to the hard-nosed “empirical” or risk getting left behind or ridiculed. The truth is, I love art and philosophy, equally love science, knowledge and all things in between, using them fluidly and collaboratively, weaving freely between them all; which stance underpins many of my blog topics, particularly those engaged with the theme of how the masculine and feminine are capable of coming together in a much more harmonious format, leading to a whole new degree of cohesiveness, sacred trust and higher potential. The more I realised this potential “marriage” of traits within myself, taking active steps to develop it, the more whole I became and it is an attitude that has powerfully informed my healing journey as I am always prepared to entertain the best of what both the allopathic and energetic healing modalities have to offer and merge them!

Dancing is great for developing this left-and-right brained “marriage”. When I first started this I could tell, right away, where my strengths and weaknesses lay (just as when I first started to practice drawing or painting with both hands) but those imbalances have now ironed out with regular practice. Using digital methods in my art practice has also furthered the process of mingling left and right hemispheric skillsets, after years of being a painter (which is a much more dominantly right-brain occupation…unless I plan and process and perfect my techniques and subjects to a very fine degree). I now love this new way of approaching my art practice, using computer technology, as a way of intermingling intuition with a more left-brained approach, but I still sometimes long to dive into the relative unpredictabilities of a canvas, the same way as I dive into meditation or dancing in the middle of the day, activities my younger self would never have made room for in their busy and hyper-controlled life. These are all powerful tools for getting to explore your intuition; dowsing is another one but, really, the fullest and most practical integration of intuition can be developed within every day life, simply through becoming aware of the way both skillsets are perfectly complimentary, not at war with one another, and by keeping an “ear” out for the language that intuition will tend to use…subtle feelings in the body, synchronicities, numerical and other patterns, etc. Out of those, the way you feel about something is the most useful and accessible clue of all.

So, does this thing you are considering or paying attention to feel light, liberating, even joyful or does it feel dense, heavy, leaden? There is your clear, intuitive, message right in front of your “eyes” and so simplistic that most people will readily ignore it, to their detriment. Please, forget what they entrained us to pay exclusive attention to for all those years we were schooled into being slaves to one half of our brain: these feelings in our body do not let us down, they speak truth, shining a light on our own personal “best way” forwards, even (perhaps, especially) if the answer is unexpected or the practicalities of it do not, yet, seem to add up (but give them a chance and life may surprise you up ahead, as has happened to me numerous times now)! As experiences arise, learning to listen to our body’s responses, when we are considering a choice of direction or area of focus, even by saying all our options out loud in a de facto voice (as though the decision has already been made) and then noticing “how does this make me feel?”, can get us used to noticing how intuition has something important to say in our lives…and all that remains is to listen to it more often!

About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. A lifetime of "feeling outside" of mainstream...slowly emerging as Asperger's Syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome plus a complex of co-morbid health challenges, being a confirmed Highly Sensitive Person and an INFJ personality type, not to mention born under an out of bounds moon (need I go on) fed into the creation of Living Whole; a self-exploratory blog fed by a wide angle lens tilted at "health and wellness" topics. Meanwhile, Spinning the Light is a free-for-all covering a multitude of playful and positive subjects about life in the broadest sense...written with a no-holds-barred approach. Needless to say, their subjects cross over quite often.
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4 Responses to How to make more practical use of intuition

  1. clivebennett796 says:

    Such a joy to read your posts Helen. I’ve been revisiting some of your earlier one, following threads about birds, birdsong and music and golden energy.

    painting music –
    outside my window
    goldfinch charm

    I’ve been struggling to come up with a haiku about goldfinch and messiaen for a while – but this one sort of popped up.

    A variation …

    painting words –
    outside my window
    goldfinch charm

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Ashley says:

    Helen, the last paragraph has shaken me, as much of what you say IS on my mind RIGHT now! Unfortunately, with me, there is usually a ‘but’ or a ‘however’. I remember feeling many of these things as a child and into my early ‘teens, then by the time I was into my late ‘teens I had changed! Of course, I’m now into my 70’s, just, and somehow it feels as if there are too many layers of life piled on top of me! I will re-read this and take a look at the Lee Harris interview. Keep your fingers crossed! Many thanks, Ashley.

    • Helen White says:

      I think that is wonderful and that’s all it takes, a chink of light and starting to notice. Good luck, not that its about luck…its simply realigning with the truth of who you are and nothing is more natural, its led by good feelings and it can only ever get easier 🙂

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