How do you do it?

I don’t think of myself as an expert on intuition. BUT, I have more than 15 years of experience in developing, exploring, and enhancing habits for tuning into and listening for inner guidance. It’s part of how I live my life and how I operate in business.

Our inner guidance system can communicate with us in multiple ways, for example:

  • A physical sensation in your body. It might be a tingly sensation of some kind, tightness in a particular area, or a feeling of excitement, to name a few possibilities.
  • Seeing things in your mind’s eye, hearing words spoken, or having the answer present in your mind as a ‘knowing’.

For me, it’s often a combination.

My inner guidance has nudged me for some time to write a blog post about the most common question I get, but I have held back.

It has taken me some time to understand why.

“How do you do it?” is a seemingly straightforward question, but what the questioner is really asking is:

  • What’s my process for tuning in?
  • How do I experience inner guidance?
  • How do I interpret the information that I pick up?
  • How do I know I can trust it?

Once I recognized these questions lay within the seemingly straightforward “How”, I realised what was holding me back—addressing those questions isn’t the most helpful place to start! 

If you are serious about getting to know your inner guidance system, you’ll find that two elements are foundational: 

  • Consistent practice
  • Avoiding pitfalls

#1: Consistent practice. There are no shortcuts. 

My family loves playing golf. My brother started playing at age 10, and by the time I gave it a whirl in my early 30s, he had been playing for almost 20 years and had a handicap of 0.2 (close to professional level). When I said I admired his skill and talent, he said “Well, with lots of commitment, dedication, and practice you get results”.

Yep, the only way to get to know your intuition and inner guidance system is to practice, practice, and practice some more.

Here are four suggestions for getting to know your inner guidance system:

(1) Identify how your inner guidance system is communicating with you.

Ground yourself by closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths, then putting your left hand on your chest and your right hand on your belly. Ask inwardly to be shown a physical sensation to a Yes and a No in response to a series of questions. This may feel strange and counterintuitive, but you’ll be surprised at what you will pick up on. Note that there is no right or wrong way for how your inner guidance system communicates with you. Your way is your way.

One of my first experiences of inner guidance involved feeling a tingly ‘squeeze’ around my upper arms. To better understand this tingling sensation, I asked a myriad of questions to see when I would feel the squeeze. I started with questions where I knew the answer was a Yes (for example, “Is my name Maria?” and “Am I Swedish?”). I observed the physical sensation in response to each question asked. I felt the same sensation with each Yes, then flipped to questions with No answers and noticed a different sensation. (My No is a felt sense of vacuum.)

I’ll be honest; it took me some time to trust the ‘squeeze’ as I was worried that I might be making it happen at will. But whenever I tried to make it happen, I never felt it. 15 years later, I am still unable to create this sensation at will.

(2) Try Resonance Mapping.

Created by a friend of mine, Jeff Vander Clute, Resonance Mapping is a way to prioritise things on a list, to identify the next most aligned step or area of focus, using inner guidance.

The first time Jeff and I did this together was in a pub on Whidbey Island near Seattle, Washington in the USA. At that time, he had a gazillion work-related projects that he could engage with and support. But, there wasn’t enough time in the day to meaningfully support them all, so we set out to create a resonance map to see which projects carried the most resonance.

Jeff did a brain dump of all his options on a piece of paper. Using our tools for listening for inner guidance, in this first iteration of the process we just used ‘+’ and ‘-’ to identify where we felt some resonance. Each of us made a list and added a ‘+’ or a ‘-’ next to each option. We then compared our results to see which options we had both given a ‘+’ to. A clear list of front runners emerged. This made it super easy for Jeff to decide where to engage.

Soon thereafter, we started using a scale of 0–10 instead of ‘+’ and ‘-’, to identify which options carried the most resonance. This brought a helpful refinement to the process.

I mostly experienced resonance as a knowing combined with seeing the number in my mind’s eye. Sometimes, if I was unsure, I would go through the 0–10 scale and check each number. When I felt the squeeze, I knew that number was a Yes. (An alternative supporting or back-up method is using a pendulum.)

I recently asked Jeff how he experiences resonance. He said his Yes initially felt like a glowing or tingling sensation in his spine, often accompanied by a knowing. A bit later, his Yes signal became a sense that his head was leaning to the right.

Over time, I have experienced how powerful and empowering it is to tend to the options with the highest resonance first.

To illustrate, I did this quick resonance map of some of my current high-level projects, using a scale of 0–10:

    • SOULFULLY YOU™ Card Deck Pilot (6)
    • Inner Guidance Blog – this one! (10)
    • Inner Guidance Workshop (4)
    • Inner Guidance Circle (2)
    • LinkedIn Newsletter (6)
    • SOULFULLY YOU™ Card Deck Launch (2)

Resorting the list from high to low shows me where to place my focus first:

    • Inner Guidance Blog – this one! (10)
    • SOULFULLY YOU™ Card Deck Pilot (6)
    • LinkedIn Newsletter (6)
    • Inner Guidance Workshop (4)
    • Inner Guidance Circle (2)
    • SOULFULLY YOU™ Card Deck Launch (2)

A resonance map is a living thing. The above doesn’t mean that the lower resonances aren’t relevant, it just means that they aren’t the most relevant next steps in this moment.

For example, I’m preparing to launch the SOULFULLY YOU™ Card Deck pilot. But my first focus is finishing this blog. After this blog is published, other items on the list may rearrange themselves; I will revisit the resonance map at each major stage to see if things have changed. Because the card deck is nearly ready to launch, for example, the card deck pilot may shift from 6 to 10.

Although a high-level resonance map like the one above is very helpful, it is more beneficial to break items down into smaller stages, tasks, and choices to get a more refined list to work from.

(3) Use card decks such as tarot, angel, or oracle cards to strengthen your connection to your inner guidance.

If you are interested in working with cards, let me know and I’ll add you to the waiting list for when the SOULFULLY YOU™ card deck is available. Being soulfully you, is a great way to deepen your connection to your inner guidance.

(4) Find someone you can practice with, ideally someone who knows, trusts, and uses their inner guidance system, so that you can help each other with your plans and lists of questions or inquiries and then compare notes.

Having the same (or similar) result from more than one person for a specific option, question, or opportunity, is a stronger yes than just one person’s guidance. We call this “co-sensing”. If there is a discrepancy between Jeff’s and my results for a particular opportunity, we’ve learned that it means more information is needed. We then explore whether the question or option needs rephrasing, or to be broken down into smaller chunks if the initial question was too broad.

It’s important to remember that your guidance system and the way it communicates with you will develop and evolve over time. This has been both Jeff’s and my experience.

#2: What to look out for to avoid pitfalls.

The main question here is, “How do we know that we can trust the guidance we get?”

With practice, you will learn how your innate inner guidance operates and learn how to trust it. I trust mine implicitly, but that doesn’t mean it was that way from day one. I’ve learned a few lessons, sometimes quite tough ones, along the way.

Inner guidance helps you obtain the easiest way to a fast Yes or hard No to a question, decision, opportunity, or query. Your inner guidance gives you access to information beyond the thinking mind and helps you find the path of least resistance and greatest benefit.

It also helps you venture beyond what you already know, in ways that basing decisions on experience alone cannot. 

So what can go wrong?

In my experience, the main pitfall to be mindful of when we tune into our inner guidance is attachment to outcome.

When we have an attachment to the outcome, we are looking for, or want, a certain answer. For this reason, it is important to remove personal will when we listen for inner guidance, i.e. we need to let go of any vested interests.

An attachment to the outcome muddies the waters, clouds the sky, and obscures the wisdom and guidance available to us. 

More concretely, having an attachment to the outcome means placing boundaries or limitations around the inquiry or opportunity based on personal will, desire, and lived experience. It keeps us within the confines of what we already know.

With an attachment to the outcome, the subconscious mind is in the driver’s seat. The subconscious mind wants to keep us safe, so it will colour answers to make sure they fall within parameters known to us already. (In NLP language, the information is filtered and distorted.) 

Removing attachment to outcome isn’t alway easy, but it is a crucial component when communicating with your inner guidance. The most efficient way I have found to accomplish it is to come from a place of forgiveness.

When we come from a place of forgiveness, we release any judgement that we may carry about a situation, person, or circumstance. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that I always agree with that situation, person, or circumstance. But it does mean that I accept that people around me are doing the best they can with what they think they have access to at that time. I let go of “shoulds” and “should nots” and meet them where they are.

By practising forgiveness, I am removing myself and any personal judgement from the equation. Doing so creates a clean slate of sorts and minimises distortion. I get clearer answers to my questions, answers I can trust.

In summary:

Building any skill requires practice. When my brother told me that his 0.2 golf handicap was a result of commitment, dedication, and practice (knowing that he spent 20 years honing this skill), I felt a bit deflated. That said, as I spent the following three seasons working on my swing, chipping, and putting I noticed consistent improvements.

In the process, I acknowledged what I was capable of, started to recognise existing talent and experience, and began to appreciate that with practice, anything is possible.

When I think back over the past 15+ years, during which I have gotten to know and hone my inner guidance system, I marvel at where I find myself today and the life I have created for myself. I feel empowered, strong, and capable.

And something I have never said before: I feel unstoppable.

I’m going to close with a bit of a mind-bender…

…Acknowledging, accepting, and appreciating your interest in how your inner guidance system is communicating with you, is a sign that you are responding to inner guidance. 🙂

I am considering creating a workshop for learning about and exploring inner guidance. Would that interest you? If yes, let me know by adding your contact information here:

Who is Maria?
Maria is a guide for Soulful Leaders. Her skill lies in inspiring, empowering, and uplifting values-led individuals who are tired of keeping their natural gifts separate, who want to uplevel their contribution and impact by consciously combining logic, soulfulness, and spiritual freedom in business and in life.