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Making Friends with Your Reptile Brain (Part 3)

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Body Sensitivity Is the Door to Intuition
Part 3: Making Authentic Choices

When intuition first speaks to you, it’s in a language that is preverbal, nonlinear, and often so deeply sensual that you can’t even hear the little voice or see visual images. Yet your body is speaking volumes––just not in a language you immediately recognize. To develop intuitive skill, you need to be able to decipher your body’s information cues, to know quickly and directly, without taking time to “figure things out.”

Making Authentic Choices

Tonight you may make dinner for yourself or go out and choose food from a menu. What will you eat? How will you know what to pick? Perhaps instead of having what you usually have, you might question your body. “Body, what’s your feeling tonight about fresh lettuce? Tomato soup? Pasta with cream sauce? Steak and potatoes?” Let your truth and anxiety signals inform you of your body’s preferences, and see if you can pick up on the most subtle signals. Maybe your body would prefer a handful of crisp, cold radishes or half a grapefruit.

Perhaps you’re thinking that you “should” move from an expensive house you’re renting, and 1) find a less expensive neighborhood locally, 2) move out of state, 3) get a roommate, 4) get a studio apartment, 5) try to buy a house, 6) move back in with your parents. As you ask your body about each option, your stomach contracts, you get a headache, you want to take a nap, you get nervous and irritable. What is your body telling you? Perhaps it’s not time yet to make a decision. Can you let it be for now?

Maybe you’re job hunting and you’ve turned up several possibilities for work. Each one looks feasible to your mind, in a variety of ways. One job will let you use your people skills, another will pay more but you’ll be stuck at a computer all day, a third option will give you a chance to be innovative and work with a team of creative people. When your body responds, it gives you instant feedback: imagining sitting at a computer gives you a pain in the neck. The job with people skills feels lukewarm; there’s no tension yet no real excitement either. The third choice, working with the creative team, makes your body sit up at attention and almost salivate. What are you going to do? Will you override your body’s direct knowing with “yes, buts” about not making enough money, or not knowing anyone there, or never having done this before, or not thinking you have enough talent? Or can you trust that your body will give you an answer that’s just right?

Exercise: Validating Your Body
Several times this week make a point of noticing when your body sends you a message. Maybe you instinctually pulled over to a slower lane on the freeway and just ahead in the fast lane is the debris from a blown-out tire. Or, perhaps you got a sense to leave the house ten minutes earlier than you normally would for an appointment, then encountered an unexpected delay on the way—and were right on time for your meeting! Thank your body out loud, and pat or stroke it tenderly, like you would a favorite pet.

Discriminating Nonverbal Information
Nothing in life is really that complicated, especially from your body’s point of view. For the body, it’s always just a matter of one moment, one piece of information, one motivation at a time. And in each moment, there is just one choice, one solution that’s a perfect fit. In the next moment, the choice may be different, so don’t be impatient and jump ahead. You’re not there yet. Anticipating future choices is a fruitless waste of time. When you need intuitive guidance, relax. Ask the body’s key question: What’s most interesting and crucial for this moment? Let that answer lead to the next most interesting thing. Choosing to work with the creative team might lead you to take a new training program the company offers, which gives you a new skill set, which leads you to greater confidence, which leads to a promotion, which brings you new clients, who offer you an opportunity to start your own business.

Exercise: Your Body’s Key Questions

1. Get quiet, centered, and breathe. Ask your body: What are you most worried about right now? What would you like to feel reassured about? Wait expectantly, and a “knowing” will begin in you, perhaps with feelings, sensations, images. Write about your body’s preoccupations and what you can do to help relieve these concerns. In what specific ways did your body make the answers known to you?

2. Ask your body: What are you most excited about right now? What activities would feel the most rewarding and engrossing? Wait expectantly, and a “knowing” will begin; notice feelings, sensations, images. Write about your body’s most real motivations and what you can do to help manifest these experiences. In what specific ways did your body make the answers known to you?

You may have noticed in the previous exercise that as you paid attention to your body you became aware of subtle sensations and perhaps had fleeting, ghostly images that all blended into an instinctual “knowing” that couldn’t be traced by logic. The answer just popped up into your awareness like the answers in the window on one of those magic eight ball toys for children: “By all means,” “Highly unlikely,” “Try again later.” Perhaps your body was concerned about having enough protein to function properly, since you’d only had coffee and a sweet roll for breakfast, and during your morning meeting it gave you an image of a chicken breast sandwich, complete with the experience of smell and taste. You got a strong hankering and couldn’t wait to take an early lunch break and rush over to the fast food restaurant.

Or your body may have transmitted to you that it was most excited today about creating a new flowerbed, and it released to you a feeling of “hunger” for the feel of soft, well-turned dirt, for the moist smell of the nursery where you’d go to buy plants, for the thrill of the colors you would combine, and for the pure enjoyment of being in the sunshine and fresh air. You might even have had glimpses of the design of the bed, the placement of the flowers and how they might look in a year’s time. And yet, all this probably came to you in such rapid sequence that it seemed almost simultaneous, with little separation between ideas, sensory triggers and images. Because of the body’s shotgun-style, nonverbal way of communicating, we often miss its messages, especially if we’re caught up in purely mental preoccupations.

To help make your body’s intuitive messages more conscious, you might develop the habit of talking with your friends about “interesting perceptions I had today” or “interesting similarities I found between experiences I had this week,” or asking, “What do you think this means?” Assume that you have the right to feel “at home” in your own body, that you do not have to live with even the most subtle levels of discomfort.

You might become conscious of the data in the tissues of your body by simply having conversations in your imagination with various parts of your body. Personalize your belly, or the bottoms of your feet, or your thyroid. Let them tell you what they know about life. Make an agreement with yourself that the moment you notice an anxiety signal, you’ll stop and discover what the message is. Make it a way of life to keep your body clear of blockages, ignorance, and negativity. Follow your truth signals!

Practice dropping below the surface of your normal daily distractions to find a deeper, more direct experience of knowing. Cultivating the habit of including your body in every decision-making process, even trying to feel your cells talking, will help you honor your body as a living being. By respecting its innate consciousness, and “conversing” with it, you’ll have a reliable source of intuitive guidance and a new best friend.


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