Thursday, February 4, 2010

Leaning into Trust

If I had to pick the one thing I've consistently been working towards and struggling with, it is a deeper connection with my intuitive self. Recently, I picked up Clarissa Pinkola Estés Women Who Run With the Wolves, a book I bought way back when everyone was reading it. Based upon the bookmark still in the book, I never finished it. I started reading it again this past weekend and it speaks to me now in ways I realize I was in no way ready to comprehend when I was younger. The one gift of getting older is re-discovering art, books, words that reveal insights visible only to eyes that have seen and experienced more of Life.

Reading Estés, I am uncovering where I am in the process of reclaiming the gifts I believed where closed off to me. Cultivating the ability to listen to and then trust my intuition is my major task in learning to believe in myself as a creative, competent, loveable and loving person. It is comforting to read that one never loses one's intuitive abilities; it is the connection to one's inner wisdom that is weak and needs to be rebuilt. But there still has to be in place some sort of trusting of that voice. My problem has always been discerning which is the voice of fear scaring me away from my soul's dreams, and intuition which is working on my behalf to keep me safe and on course.

So I read this passage with senses alerted: "There is no greater blessing mother can give her daughter than a reliable sense of the veracity of her own intuition. Intuition is handed from parent to child in the simplest ways: 'You have good judgment. What do you think lies hidden behind all this?'" As a daughter and now as a mother, this transmission of trust leaps out at me as The Task that proceeds all others. How to recreate this transmission for myself is the question.

I've read about strengthening intuition by starting small. Driving to work, I gently inquire "which route should I take today?" And then I ventured off my usual route and land smack in the middle of an accident and huge traffic jam. My problem is, I'm not clear as to which voice speaks first and like a dog sitting between two toys, I'm conflicted as to which impulse to act upon.

But I am reminded of the one time when I stayed the course, even when all signs appeared to be telling me to change direction. Thinking about Cowgirl and her centrality in my life, I realize I dwell on her so much because for so long I tried to convince myself that parenting was not the right path for me. When I was younger, I would say "one day I want to have a child ... just not now." "Not now" stretched out over years and then I began to believe maybe being a mother was not a role I wanted to take on. I was teaching yoga, deep into my own studies, loved to travel and I needed and craved solitude on a regular basis. A child just would not fit into my life.

Thankfully, there was a teeny tiny part of me that recognized the deep sadness whenever I would say "I don't think so" in response to the question "do you want to have children?" Wiser women recognized the fear and doubt in my eyes because that is exactly what held me back from embracing the notion of motherhood. I can point to one conversation over tea where the seeds of believing were planted in my consciousness by a dear friend who talked about how parenting would transform me and my practice.

A few years later (because it does take me that long to let trust to sink in) I found myself unexpectedly pregnant. Here was the sign I was waiting for! The universe was telling me the direction to move. Except a few weeks later I miscarried. So what now? Looking for signs, I would say I was being directed towards my original course. Except I ignored those "signs" and decided to follow my heart. And that path was like wading forward into the ocean, wave after wave trying to knock me over. Each step required me to stand strong, affirming "yes, I want this" when everything seemed bent on dissuading me from my dream.

I am realizing intuition is not always a voice that I will hear in my head. Intuition, for me, comes when I act before thinking. I believe the impetus comes from my heart. It is a feeling inside that directs me to impulsively sign up for a course that I've just heard about; say "yes" to a spontaneously offered invitation; run after a person I just met in store and invite them to a concert; lock eyes with a dog or cat and declare "that one!"; or pick up the phone and ask for an application to adopt. Connecting to my intuition is like trying to hold onto a soap bubble: try too hard and it pops. I have to stay soft, open and relaxed.

When I think about some of these moments when I was guided by my intuition, I think "those were a good decisions; what lies hidden behind all of it?" In ever instance, a force greater than myself moved me to act. Looking at my daughter, I realize the only thing that could have conquered my immense fear and doubt was Love. I focus upon her in my art and my writing because she is the most tangible sign of my living Fearlessly. In remembering that act, I am connected with my inner Warrior. I recognize my power and I know I will cultivate a healthy relationship with my inner sage.

Most of all, I hope to teach my daughter to hear and trust hers.

above is a project for the Radiant Goddess ecourse. Together, Cowgirl & I painted with our fingers our expression of Radiance.


  1. When I was 30 I almost had a tubal because i was convinced I was never going to want children. A small part of me thought it was too permanent a choice to make so I waited. Then at 35 I had my first child and at 38 had my second. I'll never regret becoming a mom. It's an amazing experience! (And right this moment I'm listening to my two girls laugh hysterically over facebook posts. One of my most favorite sounds in the universe.)

  2. I believe that intuition is a very deep knowing that sometimes works on levels we can't quite comprehend. It doesn't mean we won't end up in a traffic jam- sometimes that's exactly where we are supposed to be! We may never know why- Honor that voice that guided you there because She was correct (even if the outcome wasn't what you were expecting).
    Blessings, wild woman :)

  3. deep questions and deep searching. Live your way into your answers, remembering that often the true significance only comes with time.

    You seem like a great mom...

  4. thank you so much for this! You are truly speaking my language and it lights my heart up knowing, yet another, seeker. thanks.

  5. Lis ~ I love this post. I have been working on the same thing lately, trying to wake up and let my life guide me instead of me guide it. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with all of us in class.