A few months ago I finished up work for the day and decided to head out for a walk before I went to acupuncture. As I walked by the clinic I thought, "maybe I should go inside and see if they can fit me in early." But instead, I kept walking - I had my reasons.
Twenty minutes later I returned to the clinic to find my acupuncturist walking around outside. It turns out I was fifteen minutes late!
She asked, "How are you doing, Ariana?"
"OK. I guess the universe is giving me an opportunity to learn to forgive myself." I revealed as I felt upset about mismanaging my schedule.
Being gracious (and because it wasn't like me), my acupuncturist fit me in anyway.
I thought of this story while working with a client who was having a hard time forgiving herself about a mishap at work. It wasn't just the mistake she was upset about. There was a voice inside of her that issued a warning she did not heed months ago. Now she was dealing with the stressful aftermath as a result.
That's the voice of our intuition or inner genius, it allows us to hear the Knowing. We are connected to that part of ourselves when we possess knowledge we cannot explain.
In her book, Untamed, Glennon Doyle observed, “The Knowing feels like warm liquid gold filling my veins and solidifying just enough to make me feel steady, certain.”
When I'm connected with the Knowing of my inner genius, I feel a lightness in my body. The lightness is even present when I'm dealing with hard or heavy things, these seemingly polar opposites coexist. I often experience a peaceful, calm quality that's also enlivening (sometimes I might interpret it as scary). And I feel a softness in my belly and heart.
The Knowing of our inner genius is subtle. It's easy to dismiss. It doesn't have the same booming effect as our egos or inner critic. These tend to be loud while sewing intense fear and doubt. The understated nature of our intuition makes it easy to ignore or suppress.
But while our intuition is not as blatantly obvious, it has a way of persisting. This is visible when we find ourselves unable to sleep at night due to a worry. Or struggling to experience calm and peace while meditating. It's as though our bodies are the conduit for our inner genius to prevail and the persistent discomfort is a sign we need to quiet the monkey brain chatter and listen more deeply within.
Meanwhile, our inner critic feasts on feelings of stress and gets louder to quail the Knowing from our inner genius. Feelings of overwhelm and stress reinforce the need for our egos to run the show and come up with an answer. And our intuition feels like this distant and inaccessible place, a remote tropical paradise we can never arrive at but so yearn for.
This game of tug and war between our inner genius and inner critic is not only exhausting. It seems to persist with tenacity the more we are faced with uncertainty. Whether it's because of COVID or we are waiting for test results from the Doctor or are in limbo getting adequate direction for a project at work, there are countless ways we come face to face with uncertainty throughout the year.
In those moments, our inner critic likes to take us down counter-productive rabbit holes. Be it numbing or worrying or ridiculing ourselves or blaming others or fixating on what's wrong. We run the risk of entering into downward spirals driven by fear that keeps us small by quailing the wisdom of our inner genius.
These are the times we need the Knowing of our inner genius more than ever. But without practices for connecting within and managing the intense feelings that feed fear, we become lost to ourselves.
Cultivating a daily practice for connecting with your inner genius establishes the pathways for redirecting our inner critic when triggered. Purposeful practices like meditation, Heart-Focused Breathing, journaling, or yoga offer a consistent way for centering oneself. And then, when we need to reground after our worries take flight, the methods for doing so are right there, available to us.
Sometimes our efforts at purposeful practice start to feel more rote and less impactful. That's what was happening for my client. She wasn't experiencing the same level of peace and serenity from meditation and yoga as she once did. So she stopped doing them daily and her feelings of stress and overwhelm grew. At the same time, she became excessively critical of her practice, even calling it pathetic.
I recalled my own botched experiences and the wisdom I received from my inner genius, which helped me rise above the fear and doubt. I encouraged her, "Perhaps all of this - the stressful work situation, the struggles with your meditation practices - are offering you an invitation to forgive yourself."
She paused and breathed deeply as she took in my words. "Maybe. But how?" She asked.
I shared more about my own experiences. "When we struggle to find peace from our practices like journaling or meditation or yoga, that's when we are given the opportunity to really deepen in doing this work and usher in profound, positive change. And it starts by turning off the pressure valve. By no longer expecting things to be a certain way, and instead cultivating the same kind of compassion you show your child when they are hurt, for yourself. What if, struggling with your practice to listen within is an invitation to stop judging yourself and start loving yourself?"
With this reframe in mind, she shifted her approach with her practices for listening within. It became less about forcing things to be a certain way and more about allowing her feelings while responding to whatever came up with compassion. And the more she did that, the more clarity she gained to address the challenges she faced. As a result, she experienced more peace and ease instead of stress and overwhelm because she was consistently listening for the Knowing of her inner genius.
To connect with my inner genius, I routinely create space to quiet my overly active mind and cultivate a sense of peace within. I like to start my day by meditating with my Inner Balance Trainer then journaling. Throughout the day, I’ll practice Heart Focused Breathing or go for walks in order to move beyond the chatter of my monkey brain and listen to the Knowing of my inner genius.
When was the last time you listened for the Knowing of your inner genius? What if you called on your inner genius to craft meaningful goals for 2022? Check out the 2022 Annual Planning Workshop and learn how to listen within to create the change you want to experience this year!