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“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life…Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” ~Steve Jobs
Did you ever have a feeling or an inkling that something was going to happen and it did, even though there was no logical reason to believe it would? Or make a great decision based on an instinct rather than factual evidence? I’m sure it’s happened to you, just as it’s happened to most people. Whether it’s a gut feeling, a mental visualization, goosebumps when you’re thinking or discussing a specific goal, or messages you interpret from your dreams (which happens to me quite frequently). everyone has these moments of clear insight that cannot be explained — this is your intuition.
Every person on Earth has intuition, but you may have a difficult time hearing its voice, or in other instances, you may hear it but choose to ignore it. Without the support of facts and the “rule book,” you can doubt your inner voice and be led astray from your path by the opinions of others.
Intuition is the natural knowing; the still, small voice, the voice for truth. Gandhi said, “The voice for truth is as loud as our willingness to listen.” And honestly, you don’t have to understand how it works. Just like driving a car or turning on a light, you don’t need to understand the inner workings of a car engine or how electricity works in order to use them.
In 1998, I found myself making a major life decision — should I remain in a well-established, well-connected, and enjoyable life in San Francisco, or take a huge risk, sell all of my furniture and large belongings and move to New York City without a job or an apartment? I was craving an adventure, an up-root of a life that was wonderful, yet static…but how could I take that risk? Although I felt in my heart that it was the right decision to make, I was also uncertain and terrified.
I began to waver and gave way too much power to what others thought and said, and I started to doubt my ability to turn such a dramatic change into a success. But this period of uncertainty led me to dig deep and focus on my own small, still voice and I was able to tap into that voice, my intuition. This process eventually brought me back to MY path.
I took the challenge and decided to do it — and I’m so glad I did! Within a week, I had a high paying consulting job, an amazing apartment with a view of Central Park, renewed friendships (even a library card!) and a brand new life that was better than I could imagine. Listening to my intuition paid off.
In an article on Intuition on Huffington Post, the writer cites Francis Cholle, author of The Intuitive Compass, who believes that, “In order to make our best decisions, we need a balance of intuition — which serves to bridge the gap between instinct and reasoning — and rational thinking. But the cultural bias against following one’s instinct or intuition often leads to disregarding our hunches — to our own detriment…
We don’t have to reject scientific logic in order to benefit from instinct. We can honor and call upon all of these tools, and we can seek balance. And by seeking this balance we will finally bring all of the resources of our brain into action.”
In another article on intuition on the Zenful Spirit site, the author writes, “Perhaps the biggest reason that our hunches are often more accurate than our deliberate guesses, is because our subconscious has more information to draw upon.
The conscious mind is only aware of a fraction of all that our senses actually take in. There is an unconscious “filtering” process always going on, that decides what information is important to the task at hand, whatever we are consciously focused on at the moment. All the rest is screened out as irrelevant. But our intuition draws upon that unfiltered data, connecting dots that we didn’t even know were there.” Although there are a few conclusions in the article that I don’t necessarily agree with, this one is right on point.
Here are a few ways that make it easier to tap into your own intuition:
Take a Beat and Keep Calm:
If you're uncomfortable about making a decision or taking an action step but can’t figure out why, don’t assume that there isn’t a reason. When your mind is calm, your connection to your intuition is greater than when it’s in turmoil. Hit the “pause” button and focus on something else until you reach a calm state. Take the time to reflect on possible reasons and try each out. Meditation (check out my post, Let’s Get Physical…and Mental?, for a simple way of meditating), yoga, and other mindfulness practices can be an excellent way to tap into your intuition. Nine times out of 10, you’ll get to that “aha” moment.
Be aware of, not only your thinking but also your physical state. When you’re uncomfortable with something, it can manifest as a physical symptom: nausea, agitation, sleeplessness. You may miss these warning signs, but the more you pay attention, the more likely you’ll realize that the same symptoms appear over and over again when you’re ignoring your inner voice. Intuitive people learn to listen to what their bodies are telling them and pay attention to that feeling in their gut.
You should also pay attention to your dreams. Both dreams and intuition come from the same root — your own subconscious. According to the article in the Huffington Post, “When you dream, you’re receiving information from the unconscious or intuitive part of your brain. If you’re attuned to your dreams, you can get a lot of information about how to live your life.”
Stop Trying to Force Your Results — Slow Down!
In the current environment of multi-tasking and the continual bombardment of information from the digital world, it can be quite difficult to focus. So many people are in such a hurry and impatiently want the answers right now, if not yesterday. They then try and force their results, but honestly, by doing that, the more slowly things will go. It’s always best to let it happen organically and allow the outcomes to unfold in their own time. It’s also pertinent to understand what you can control and what you can’t. As the old adage goes: you need to accept the things you cannot change, have the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Here’s the caveat:
This awareness takes work and focus. It’s a continuing practice, but it does become easier and easier to accomplish as you continue to do it. Also, when you become more conscious of the power of your intuition, there can be a tendency to think that now that you’ve tapped into it, your life is going to be absolutely perfect. But life is life — full of peaks and valleys. So, it’s important to see the overall scheme of things and not isolate the bad times. Because how you muster through the low points, will enable you to enjoy the high points even more.
In the end, your inner wisdom, your still, small voice, your intuition is always there. All you have to do is calm down, slow down, and pay attention.
Cooking for Joan
I didn’t truly start cooking until I was in my late 20s/early 30s, so before that, I was always a guest at dinner parties rather than a host, bringing a bottle or two of wine rather than a cooked offering. At the time, I had a scathingly brilliant idea for a PBS cooking show, Not Cooking with Chris. This was way before the Food Network or the Cooking Channel and PBS was the only place that aired these programs.
I won’t bore you with the details but the show concept revolved around other people’s dinner parties where I would drink wine, sit on a stool in the kitchen, wine glass in one hand, a wooden spoon in the other, and I’d ask questions of the chef and offer up oh so clever and witty commentary.
One evening at one of these dinner parties, a PBS producer of these types of shows was in attendance and I enthusiastically pitched my concept to him. Not surprisingly, his enthusiasm for my project was lukewarm at best and, alas, my cooking show career came to a screeching halt before it even began.
Although I didn’t host dinner parties at the time, I was very fond of hosting cocktail parties. As one friend commented, “that Chris really knows his way around a vodka bottle.” Along with an array of cocktail options, I usually offered pre-made nibbles, crudité, and the perfunctory cheese platter. But I also had one cooked dish up my sleeve — roasted garlic. It became so popular, that my friends asked me to bring it at every occasion. I consider this recipe my gateway drug into the world of cooking!
I served the roasted garlic on a slice of French baguette, accompanied by some Cambozola cheese and mango chutney. The combination is divine — nutty, savory, creamy with that tangy spice from the chutney — yum! Give it a try at your next gathering!
Roasted Garlic, Cambozola, & Mango Chutney Appetizer
Prep Time: 10 min | Cook Time: 40-60 min | Serves: 20 | Difficulty: Easy
- 3 heads of garlic
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- French baguette, sliced
- A large wedge of Cambozola cheese
- Jar of Mango Chutney
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F
Using your fingers, peel away all the loose, papery, outer layers around the head. Leave the head itself intact with all the cloves connected.
Trim ¼ inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves.
Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves.
Add salt and pepper to taste on top of the bulbs.
Wrap the garlic individually in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
Begin checking the garlic after 40 minutes. The garlic is done when a center clove is completely soft when pierced with a paring knife. Even once soft, you can continue roasting until deeply golden for a more caramelized flavor — check the garlic every 10 minutes. Exact roasting time will depend on the size of your garlic, the variety, and its age.
Let the garlic cool slightly.
Press on the bottom of a clove to push it out of its paper.
Pre-assemble the appetizer or create a “do-it-yourself” platter.
To serve: spread a garlic clove on a slice of bread, followed by a layer of cheese, and finish off with a dollop of chutney.
**Roasted garlic can also be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.
**Intuition Series: image courtesy of agsandrew