Don’t think it, feel it

This weekend I have started to get back in touch with my intuition.

Here’s how it happened. I was sitting outside on a deck on the Isle of Wight overlooking the sea. My friend said to me “Anne, I don’t think we’ve got to the root of your fear yet.”

It was my second day there. I had already opened my heart further than I think I ever have, but it still wasn’t far enough. I had another step to take.

“Where do you feel it?” she asked.
“Here.” I put my hand on my stomach. “I’ve felt it here all morning.”

I’d had a slight feeling of nausea every time we got close to my emotions.

“OK, well put your hand there. Really connect with it.”

She sat opposite me. Close. In my space. She looked into my soul and asked

“Anne, what are you scared of?”

My brain went wild.

“What is it? What can I say? What’s she going to think? What’s the right answer? Oh my God, how am I going to answer this?” I closed my eyes and looked down into my stomach. Slowly the voices fell away as I focused on my tummy, the feeling within. The feeling was growing. Everything went quiet as I listened. For what seemed like the first time ever, I truly listened.

I opened my eyes and looked her straight in the face. “Dying. I’m scared my heart is going to explode. Dying is pain.”

And that was that.

My deepest darkest fear was exposed. At the root of everything I was afraid that dying will hurt me and everyone around me. That’s why I have worn the badge of ’not good enough’ so loudly and proudly on my chest. If I’m not good enough then my dying won’t hurt anyone. They won’t miss me. If no one loves me no one will hurt when I’m gone.

Sounds a bit daft doesn’t it? Just writing it now makes me realise how silly, arrogant, childish, ridiculous it is. But it was there. It was the truth I have been living for so long. Since my teenage years this fear has been driving my behaviour, my relationships, my self-image, my life.

“Is there a paradigm that might serve you better?” I was asked. I looked up to the sky. I could see it all, how we are all connected, how past, present and future are all one, how every soul that has ever lived and will ever lived was there, absorbed in the energy of life.

“Dying is release.” When we die, we’re not gone. We’re still here. Everything is around us and everything is within us.

And with that, everything changed.

I finally knew what it was like to come from love not fear. I could look at other people and think “I love you” instead of “don’t come near me. I’m scared of you.” I come from love.

And here’s the thing.

When we listen to our intuition, it doesn’t come from our brain. There was nothing conscious going on with me when I heard what my heart was telling me. It wasn’t a thought. It was a knowledge that came from deep within my gut. And all I had to do was hear it. The words were out before my brain even knew what was going on.

There is some science behind it.

There are many theories, books and guides on our capacity to feel as well and think and what that means for us. Philosophers, scientists, biologists, psycho-analysts, psychologists, spiritualists and neurologists have all postulated the difference, why we have both capacities, how they work and what benefits they bring us. I have recommended Steve Peter’s The Chimp Paradox before as I think it explains the difference between thinking and feeling and how we can make the most of both capabilities really well. The whole discipline of Emotional Intelligence is based on us being tapped into our emotions and our intuition, knowing when to listen to it and what to do with it.

I have experienced this before.

When I write, when I really get into the flow, nothing conscious seems to be going on in my brain. The words seem to flow straight to my fingertips from my gut. At some point my brain kicks in and tells me whether I like what I have written, whether it captures the emotion I am trying to express, but when I am creating it my brain doesn’t get directly involved.

And the same with this. We know all the answers that serve us best. It’s always in us. We just sometimes forget how to listen. We let our brain get in the way, judging our thoughts and feelings before we have even realised what our desire is. Moving us away from it — protecting us from risk, exposure, vulnerability. But when we open ourselves up to that, that’s when the magic happens. That’s when we connect with everything around us, we tap into our full potential and we realise our heart’s desire.

When we don’t listen to it, it doesn’t stop, it just gets quiet. It gets drowned out in the noise in our heads. But when we start to connect with it again, each time it speaks its voice gets louder. It gets quicker, easier to hear.

And when we can do that, when we can tune into our gut or our heart, listen to our inner voice, we can do anything.

Take 5 minutes.

Sit down, relax. Close your eyes. Ground yourself with your feet firmly on the floor. Rest your hands on your lap, palms facing up to the sky. Take some deep breaths.

Now ask yourself a question. One that you don’t know the answer to. Just a small one, doesn’t have to be big and important.

What do I want for tea?
What shall I wear when I get home?
What do I want to do tonight?

Then listen to the first answer that pops into your head. Can’t hear it? Ok. Keep going. Try to still your mind — ignore the noises, the questions, the analysis. Put them down. Just listen. Until you hear.

Don’t worry if it takes a while the first time, it took me about 5 minutes to hear myself. Just keep going. And you’ll hear it. A little whisper.

When you hear it, remember it. and ask it again, next time.

Try this exercise — listen to your heart.

This is easy — just keep repeating the above exercise. Practice listening to your heart, for the small things, and the for the big things. Get used to hearing what you WANT, not not what you OUGHT, or SHOULD, or MUST. Tune into your desires. And follow your dreams.

This was originally published on 8th June 2015, at, under the Commuter Coach series. The website is no longer active so I’m republishing it here.

At theslowcoaches we live to 4 principles of slowing down, tuning into what you need, determining your gifts that you choose to give to the world and living life to your own design. We are in service to others, helping them do the same.