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Receiving Guidance

As I prepare to launch a big new project around receiving, I have been especially attuned to its rhythms recently. You know how when you buy a red car, you suddenly see red cars everywhere? Well, as I have been contemplating receiving over the past few months, suddenly so many messages around this topic are showing up in my life in emails and books and things I listen to. Amazing!

Specifically, today, I would like to talk about receiving guidance. Recently, I embarked on a road trip to visit a guy. I met him 8 months ago at Burning Man, and had seen him once since then during a four-day stop off in San Diego on my way to my three-month internship in Hawaii last fall. It was a lovely visit and we had kept in touch regularly for months. I had been excited about seeing him again, and we had lots of fun things planned – including a trip to Catalina Island (which has been a goal for years).

About a week before the trip, I started noticing that I wasn’t that excited about going. In fact, I was a bit unsure. It didn’t make sense though. I liked this guy, had a great time with him before and absolutely LOVE to take road trips. I am no stranger to long drives and I was excited to see some new places. Plus, California is awesome. I sat with my feelings and they didn’t change, but I couldn’t figure out where the reticence was coming from either. Since I had rented out my condo for the month of April in anticipation of this and some other travel, I knew I was going somewhere, but suddenly, I wasn’t so sure it would be California.

I left Denver on a Saturday and made it as far as eastern Utah without a plan. A great camping app shows me campgrounds near my location, and I found a nice place to pitch my tent for the night. The next day I got in my car and pointed it west, but I wasn’t on the road two hours before I got a strong message to stop. I pulled off at a rest area and walked in the grass for a while, laying in the shade under a tree to be still and listen. I had planned to stop off in Death Valley National Park on the way, and now, I was getting the distinct feeling that I wasn’t going to make it that far.

I searched my app, and found a beautiful campground nearby. When I arrived, I set up my hammock in the shade and promptly spent the rest of the afternoon in it reading, contemplating and doing some work. I was somewhat agitated for a few reasons, not the least of which was that I had no idea why I was suddenly unenthusiastic about this trip. In fact, I was kind of pissed. After months of anticipation and excitement and planning on both our parts, what was causing this ambivalence? I sought more details and understanding, and they were not forthcoming. Eventually, I surrendered to the feeling, trusting that my inner guidance had my best interests at heart even if I didn’t know the reasons why.

Nervously, I called to let him know what was going on, even though I couldn’t give a “good reason” for delaying, and possibly bailing. Fortunately, he was incredibly understanding and patient, telling me that my well-being was more important than any plans we had (which hadn’t progressed to making reservations or paying deposits anywhere thank goodness). This made it easier for me to surrender to my guidance and trust it to keep giving me good information and direction when I needed it.

The old me would never have done this. Once I had made a commitment, I was going to follow through no matter what. I would have ignored my intuition, thought of all the reasons that this trip made sense, throwing lots of logic into the equation and pushing down my “feelings.” I would have made the most of it, and perhaps it wouldn’t have been so bad. However, my sense is that the more we ignore or disregard guidance, the less readily it comes to us in the future. Maybe the harder it is to hear or understand. And sometimes, it gives us more and more compelling messages if we ignore the initial ones – flat tires, car troubles, accidents perhaps. Now that I was receiving clear guidance, even if it didn’t make “sense,” I wasn’t about to go against it.

I followed advice that I give to my coaching clients, “You don’t ever have to do anything you don’t want to do ever again.” I explain that there are always two options: 1. Change your mind 2. Change your attitude. Often we don’t feel like doing something we have previously committed to. Sometimes a change of attitude does the trick. We go anyway, fake it till we make it and end up having a great time, meeting someone cool or connecting with a new business opportunity. Other times, we change our minds, and when we do so with integrity (communicating with our hosts in a timely and responsible manner, finding a replacement, rescheduling, etc.), it is rarely a problem.

I am so proud of myself for listening to my intuition, even though it wasn’t until nearly a month later that I actually understood more of what was going on around that trip. I was able to let it go and enjoy myself immensely for two weeks in the beautiful spring weather of the desert southwest. I got up each day without a plan and allowed my intuition to send me off on that day’s adventure. It was amazing, fun, relaxing, joyful and productive (I did lots of great research, writing and planning for this upcoming project). I also had my longest stint to date of sleeping on the ground – 12 nights out of 14 were spent in my tent – only two in a row in the same spot.

What does your intuition tell you? How does it come through? Is it a feeling, a knowing, a voice, an image, a dream? Do you listen? I would love to hear from you on my Facebook author page about messages from your intuition.

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