I’m stuck in the middle of a long, very dull managers meeting around an oval executive table and my relatively new, spunky boss (whom I happen to like) is so passionate about presenting her next project that I’m starting to sweat. That project involves me, and I can feel the weight of it already building on my shoulders.
I look around, and I feel like running. I want to get up right then, leave all my work binders and belongings on the table and just run. Run to sweat. Run to feel free. Run like someone left the gate open and I was able to sneak out and just be wild. Meanwhile, I am doing my best to make sure no one knows that I am silently, internally losing my cool.
Truth is, I’m doing very well at my job. But I feel claustrophobic, like I’m suffocating. How did I get here? Why does my gut yearn for something else? I was given a rare opportunity to work in this place, not to mention, that it pays the rent! Then, just weeks after this meeting, this happened:
Boss: “You are doing such a great job, Will.”
Me: “Thanks.” I smile, always grateful to be acknowledged.
Boss: “And, you really need to leave.”
Me: (Sound of crickets) Head tilts like a confused puppy. Heart rate increases.
Boss: “In many areas you do this job better than me, but your spirit isn’t in it. You’re dragging us all down. Truth is, you deserve better, and so does our team.”
How could she see it? I had been revealed, and I felt absolutely naked. Concurrently, I also felt vindicated—my gut had been gnawing at me for months, years really. How did I get to this muddled moment?
The master says: “Listen to your instincts, to that still small voice in you, and the answers to what which you are seeking will come.” The student says: “Uh huh, my goal is fitness but that voice is telling me to buy a bag of potato chips and eat the whole damn thing - how do I know which impulse to listen to?”
At times, listening to our gut instincts can feel murky at best. Is there an easy way for us to master tuning in to our intuition? Yes, in fact there is.
Take the Apple Cart Challenge
Not long after this incident, I was in a teacher training workshop with one of my favorite LA yogis, Erich Schiffmann, author of Moving Into Stillness. After listening to many students complain about the difficulty of deciphering intuition messages, our teacher suggested a technique that would help us. The technique is deceivingly simple, and will stay with you forever once you give it a try.
Our teacher clarified that there had been a time when intuition seemed to perplex him. If he wanted to master intuition, he would need to start somewhere. But where, and how?
One day, standing in front of apples at the market, he decided he would not move from that spot until he got a gut feeling about which apples were best for him that day. Green or red? Juicy and sweet or tart and tangy? Regardless of what decision is in front of you, if you wait long enough, you will feel something, a yes or a no. In time, this becomes easier and the glimmer of feeling more clear. He explained that he learned to do this with each choice at the supermarket, then later, with larger life choices.
If you want to master listening to your intuitive voice, start small and take what I’m calling the Apple Cart Challenge. Once you begin to make small choices by tapping into a flow of intuition, bigger decisions begin to flow, too. Give it a try. Ultimately, the ease with which you access your intuitive gut instincts will increase. All you’ve got to lose is a few moments in front of some produce. What you have to gain is mastery of that still, small voice that will be your guide for the rest of your life.