Accessing your Intuition through Visualisation and Embodiment

What is your relationship with Intuition?  Do you doubt that you have intuition?  Do you second guess intuition and find yourself plagued with doubt, indecision and confusion?  If you get that intuitive hit, how does it come to you- through words, pictures, thoughts or feelings?  And when that hit comes, do you act on it, or do you ignore it?  Perhaps it scares you, or you don’t like what it says, think it’s mundane or pointless?

Intuition and Transformation

When a coaching client connects to their intuition, listens and takes action, it can be one of the most empowering transformations they can make.  Suddenly, they move from needing advice and support from others, to independence, self-sufficiency and clarity.  Advice and support have their place, but when they stop a person from trusting themselves and undermine their sense of autonomy, they become disempowering.  The client becomes small in their body through lack of confidence, plays small in their life by acting without courage and feels small in themselves by staying inside their comfort zone and resisting risk and failure.

Building trust in Intuition has become an important part of the work I do with clients.  And I have begun to run training to empower people to connect to Intuition, learn how to use it, listen to it and act from that place of inspiration.  In collaboration with Thea Allison and Catelijne Coopmans, we devised a series of five sessions focusing on Embodying Archetypes for Personal Growth.  These were part of the Embodiment Circles Online in 2020.  This blog focuses on Magician.

Intuition and Magician Archetype

The Magician archetype is an excellent way to access these inherent skills and build trust in imagination, creativity and vision making.  Magician is not an illusionist.  It is a transformer and synthesiser that brings things together to create something new.  It creates from the ether, sensing that which is beyond the senses (sight, sound, taste, touch and smell) and bringing it to life.  Magician captures dreams (like the Big Friendly Giant by Roald Dahl), creates vision, senses what is on the verge of becoming and helping it manifest.

One Magician in our modern day was Steve Jobs.  He sensed that people wanted a computer that could be used easily, intuitively, immediately and would not be a struggle to learn.  And so he created the Macintosh and computing, animation, publishing and education have never been the same since (see this article Giving People What They Want Before They Know They Want It for more information). Jobs instinctively knew how to listen to Intuition as do many actors, visionaries, authors, musicians, thought leaders, artists, trail-blazers, entrepreneurs and anyone who uses imagination to create a solution.  Stephen Hawking, Paul McCartney, Lin Miguel Miranda and Banksie are all 21st century Magicians.

How Intuition Speaks

We are all born with the instinct to listen to Intuition.  Many of us unlearn that skill.  Fortunately, you can relearn it too.

Intuition communicates with you predominantly in one of four ways:

  1. Words- your inspiration comes in individual words or phrases. Less often it might come as a sentence or perhaps a stream of words.  If it does flow, it is usually because you are writing it down or saying it out loud in some way.  Once you act on the individual word or phrase, you may receive the next step on the journey.
  2. Pictures- flashes or glimpses of insight come to your mind’s eye. Or you may get a moving image like a film playing in your head.
  3. Thoughts- you’ll get an idea jump into your mind or the thought to call or reach out to a specific person.
  4. Feelings- intuition often speaks through the body. A gut reaction, your heart skips a beat, you feel an urge to take action in some way.  Perhaps you’ll meet someone and take an instant liking, or disliking, to them, without having spoken a word.  Or that urge to eat a particular food or be clear that you don’t want to eat something.  You might be inspired to speak your truth.

Bolts from the Blue

Intuition speaks to us through these means.  Most people have a dominant one or two ways, but we have all four.    The one thing they have in common, is that the insight is usually out of the blue.  It has no reference to what you may have been thinking about beforehand.  To the point where it seems weird or freaky.

As an example, I was at a particularly low ebb one New Year’s day.  I felt lost at that point in my life and was wondering what I could do to change it.  A person’s name, someone I had not thought about in months, sprang to mind.  I reached out to him and he helped guide me back on track.

One of the reasons I work with archetypes is because Intuition keeps bringing me back to them as an answer to my questions in life.  When opportunities for new and inspiring work come up, archetypes come, unbidden, front and centre in my mind and workshops and seminars come together with ease.

I will plan what I am going to say when I present workshops or give seminars, but often the script goes out the window when I get an intuitive push to approach the work differently.  In the moment, I’ll change tack and go with it, because I trust my intuition- at least much more than I used to.  Every time, without fail, I ask for feedback and participants say the material was just what was needed.  When I suggest I could have done it differently, hinting at what I had meticulously planned for the event, they always shake their heads and say what I did was better.  I can’t explain it, but it works every time.  I know it works and I have learned to trust it.

Learning to Listen

There are many ways to cultivate your relationship with Intuition.  Over the years I have practised many forms of spontaneous creative output including writing, movement (dance, martial arts), music, play (such as comedy improvisation or playing with children) and public speaking.

Here are a couple of ways in which you can connect to Intuition from the Embodying Archetypes for Personal Growth series about Magician:

1. Meditation to Access Intuition

One of the reasons you may not hear Intuition is because your conscious, logical and rational mind is so busy, it is a distraction. It’s so loud and consistently active that you rarely if ever hear Intuition.  And the world is a busy and loud place too.  Lots of distractions there as well- TV, internet, social media and so on.  You may not know it, but Intuition is reaching out to you all the time.  For most of us in the modern world, our focus is towards the busyness and loudness of life.  Intuition often does not get a look in.  Sometimes, its messages get through the cracks when there is a pause- like when you’re taking a shower, running, driving, day-dreaming and so on.

If you want to access Intuition more purposefully, take time to remove some of those distractions from time to time and learn to recognise when Intuition is communicating to you.  Ask for the answer to something about a relationship, a business challenge, health concerns, problem solving and Intuition will give you the next step.  This video is a guided visualisation that will give you a chance to connect to your intuitive voice:

Guided Visualisation

The key is to go with the thing that first comes to mind.  Don’t second guess it.  If you don’t like what you hear, don’t waste your time listening out for something different.  It might be scary, mundane, obvious, not glamorous or glitzy enough for you.  But if that is what Intuition says, then that is the message.  So often, Intuition has me stepping out of my comfort zone that feels great once I’ve done it and isn’t as hard as I thought it would be.  Or doing the mundane things like keeping the house tidy or organising my accounts.  It means that I can relax, which feels good and allows me to focus on more important things for my development.  Important things that without that organisation, I wouldn’t have the time or space to do.

Intuition isn’t some woo woo hocus pocus.  It is eminently practical and useful and very often flies in the face of logic, reason and common sense.

2. Embodying Intuition

The Magician in you nurtures your natural ability to go into the unknown, using imagination and intuition to seek new understanding and wisdom to be of service in the world.

Magician can hold itself in the practical, real world, and also transcend the physical to allow valuable information and guidance to come through.

As individuals we access intuition differently. This movement practice, devised by Thea Allison*, uses three different, embodied techniques to access intuition to test them for effectiveness and appropriateness to you personally.

Using the over-arching question What am I here to learn and share? we explored these three embodied enquiries:

1. Transcendence Pose.

We used the Embodied Yoga Principles pose of Transcendence to experience that lift into the higher, into the airy realm of intuition and vision. Standing on tip toe, with your arms straight up, your palms facing each other a shoulder width apart and your gaze going upwards. Holding the question, we used movement to reach out, plucking ideas and possibilities from the ether and intuitively putting those ideas into the body, wherever it felt true to ‘land’ them. Like plucking apples from a tree, or the stars from the sky.

2. Circles

Using circles is an ancient intuitive technique. Create or imagine a circle and define that space to suit your needs, for example, my true vision, or clarity on this project. When you connect with, or step into the circle you will have an experience of how you have defined it. We walked around the edge of the circle, holding the question ‘What am I here to learn and share?’ purposefully imagining the circle to be empty and free of other influences. Stepping into the circle we waited to receive whatever information came.

3. Centring

We went through a simple centring process.  Starting on the external environment by feeling our feet on the floor, standing tall, becoming aware of the feeling of the air on our skin. Moving internally, we noticed our breathing and relaxed our core – eyes, mouth and jaw, down to the belly. With relaxed breath, in this centred state, we asked the question and listened for what came. (Based on ABC Centring technique as taught at The Embodied Facilitators Course.

Intuition is a natural gift that can be practised and nurtured in all of us. We all have aspects of the Magician to call on. The important thing is to find the best way for you to be in the unknown, free of the normal layers of conditioning and bias that direct your thinking, and then hold onto the first thing you get.

To complete the session, we continued walking while considering three questions:

  • 1) Where/how do you experience intuition in your body?
  • 2) What was your reaction to the first thing you got (e.g. reject it, want something more, want something less, doubt it)?
  • 3) What can you do now to make this information useful?

Over to you

How is your relationship with Intuition?  What practices do you have to connect to it?  Were the two offered here useful for you?  What is Intuition telling you?  How will you use Intuition in the future?  If you did use Intuition, how would your life look different in a year from now?  Or five years from now?

We will be creating and delivering further sessions and courses on Embodying Archetypes for Personal Growth.  If you’d like to know more about future content and dates with the interest of possibly attending, please e-mail David at david@potentialitycoaching.co.uk and I will contact you with additional details as we publish them.  Alternatively, you can subscribe to my newsletter on the right hand side of this page.

Pass It on

Did you find this blog valuable and gain something from it? Do you know a friend, colleague or family member who would find it valuable too?  I’d really appreciate it, and I’m sure they would too.  Thank you.

*Thea Allison specialises in teaching people to use intuition and embodiment to create what is most important to them. She put together this simple exploration of intuition and embodiment.

Responsibility- how do you bear it?

How do you view responsibility?  A necessary evil?  Part of the blame game?  Something to avoid at all costs?  When you think of responsibility, do you get a sinking feeling in your stomach?  Or does it lighten you and bring a thrill of what is possible, excitement and potential?

Very often, responsibility gets a bad press.  It can be linked to blame, in that other people can point the finger if things go wrong or it doesn’t work.  Many think of it as a burden that comes with mortgages, job roles, parenthood, relationships.

Others avoid responsibility because they feel the weight of it crushes their creativity, freedom and sense of fun with life.  And there are those that see it as unavoidable, like shackles that hold them back and stop life being fun and exciting.

Embodying Archetypes to explore Responsibility

On a recent Embodiment Circle Online co-hosted by myself, Thea Allison and Catelijne Coopmans, we explored responsibility through the archetype of Sovereign.  We built on the theme that alignment of the body allows you to relax and bear weight more lightly.  And that alignment relates directly to the weight of responsibility and how that burden can be lightened when it is aligned to your values.  Here is the body-based meditation we ran in the Circle:

Responsibility and Personal Sovereignty

Sovereign is a powerful metaphor for your personal sovereignty.  To take responsibility for your own fulfilment, meaning and purpose.  To create the order, structure and stability for yourself and therefore for others so that they may thrive.

You must align with you values if you are to take on that responsibility willingly, openly and with commitment.  As a business leader, to see your colleagues thrive and develop in their jobs and contribute in a way that sees your industry and the economy at large prosper.  As a parent, to witness your children grow and find fulfilment in their own lives.  Or as a manager, to create teams that are motivated and inspired and instrumental in the success of the company.  And central to all that is honouring what is most important to you so that you flourish too.  You are Sovereign of your own life and no one can benefit from your skills, talents and qualities if you are not fulfilled and living life on purpose.

That takes responsibility, a commitment within yourself to stay true to what is most important to you, for your well-being and the well-being of those your life touches.  There is something about bearing the weight of responsibility as a gift that lightens you, inspires you, when you are aligned to your values, meaning and purpose.

Embodying Responsibility

An equivalent alignment in the body would be with the Head (mind), Heart (chest) and Hara (pelvis).  When these three centres align, the weight of the body is supported by the skeleton and the muscles can relax.  Without that alignment, the muscles remain tense and become tired.  Life becomes effortful, and increasingly so as the body tires, weakens and struggles more.

Responsibility aligned to Values

This relationship between alignment of the body and aligning your responsibility with values, meaning and purpose is essential if you are to bear the weight of responsibility without effort and with dignity and wisdom.  Wisdom comes from understanding that there is a great price to be paid if you take action that is out of alignment with your values, meaning and purpose.  Just like when you move your body when it is out of alignment and you damage a muscle or break a bone.  The price is too high for you and those around you.

Bearing Responsibility Lightly

The mantle or cloak, crown and insignia are the ceremonial garments Sovereign wears to represent this responsibility.  Together these garments are a weight that is best carried with good alignment of posture.  Aligning Head, Heart and Hara allows the muscles to relax.  Muscles free of tension allow the weight to drop into the floor.  And because every action has an equal and opposite reaction (Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion), the Earth pushes back against that weight, lightening the body.  No matter how great the weight, the force pushing back will always reciprocate, offering support and bearing the load.  It is universal law.

A person who lives aligned to their values walks with confidence, a lightness and ease in their step.  They walk tall, take up space and have a presence and power that are commanding.  They own their sovereignty and bear responsibility lightly.  Alignment of values shows itself through alignment of body.  An aligned body shows the strength of character to honour values through action.

Values-based Responsibility

In your own life, responsibility will include your relationships, career, finances, bringing up the kids, job responsibilities, upkeep of the home and bills, offering emotional support and helping others thrive.  You also maintain self-care, so that you can live life to the full as well as continue with this responsibility.  If you are to bear these responsibilities lightly, joyfully, with ease and dignity they must align with your values.  What responsibilities do you have that align with your values?  What is the feeling of that alignment?  Energising, invigorating, inspiring?

It is not enough to feel responsible for the finances of the family for example.  That responsibility will crush you if what you do to live up to that responsibility gives you no joy, fulfilment and a sense of purpose.  It is such a common situation for a person to work all hours so that they can provide for their family.  Yet, they are missing their children and spouse because they are working all the time.  They are out of alignment with their values.  The long hours would be more bearable if they had great relationships with their family.

But so often they do not.  They feel lonely and isolated and find themselves longing for the intimacy of family.  Meanwhile, the family misses their presence and they fall short of thriving as a result.  For your own sovereignty, it is important to get that alignment right and find the balance so that the weight of financial responsibility is lightened.

Aligning Responsibility to Values

If your responsibility does not align, can you find a way to do so?

I have a love/ hate relationship with the responsibility of keeping a clean and tidy home.  It gets in the way of my creativity and freedom if I do it too much.  And yet, if I let it slide too long, the mess and lack of calm inhibits the creative flow.  So, I balance the responsibility of cleaning and tidying with the values of creativity and being productive in my work.  What responsibilities do you have that you can align to your values that are currently not aligned?  How might you find a way to align them?  What is the feeling of finding that alignment having been out of whack?  Relief, coming home, relaxing, light, free?

If you cannot find that alignment, can you drop that responsibility?

When new opportunities come my way, I think carefully about whether they align to my values.  There is a factor of time of course.  And there is a question of alignment that gives me energy, vitality and enthusiasm for the work.  Is the opportunity aligned or not?  If not, it will drain me and allow less time and energy for what really matters to me.  So, I let it go.  If it is aligned, it will add to the momentum and energy of my life and so I willingly accept it.  And allow the responsibility of taking it on to lighten my soul through joy and fulfilment.

The bigger your life gets, the more important it is to stay aligned to your values.  That structure, support and order both internally (through Head, Heart and Hara) and externally (with values, purpose and responsibility) are vital for you to maintain your power and vitality.  Without them, your reach, impact and capacity become diminished.  Sovereign is about thriving and creating and maintaining order to do so.  Responsibility can help you thrive, or not.  It all depends on how your responsibilities align with what is most important to your head, heart and soul.

Over to You

What responsibilities do you have that help you thrive?  And what responsibilities drain and weaken you?  Are they aligned to your values? What can you do about those responsibilities that are not aligned?  How can you get more alignment?  I’d love to hear how you are doing with these enquiries.  Please post your discoveries in the comments box.  Alternatively, you can e-mail me if you’d rather keep things private or you’d prefer to discuss what is coming up for you.

Pass it on

If you have enjoyed this blog and found it useful, what in particular was beneficial to you?  Is there someone you know who would benefit from that too?  If so, please forward this blog to them.  They’d really appreciate the thoughtful gesture and it shows them how much you care.  Thank you.

Coping- how would you define it?

What do coping and being resilient mean to you?  What does coping actually look like for you?  And what does it feel like?

For many people, I think there is still the Victorian Britain image of coping.  The stiff upper lip, being a rock, shouldering the responsibility, putting on a brave face and so on.  These expressions all smack of isolation.  They imply going it alone, not sharing with or burdening others.  They epitomise the strong person, be it the father, mother, business owner, manager, leader or carer for example, who always has the answer, doesn’t reach out for help and never shows their emotions.

Behind the scenes, however, all is not well.  It’s just that you’re trying to make it look like all is well, that you’re coping and you’ve got it covered.  So, what is actually going on for that individual when they are putting on a brave face and not burdening others with their problems?

Lonely

Well, from personal experience, it feels lonely.  When you think that you cannot turn to anyone for support, you take on the responsibility of finding the answer alone.  And you might not turn to others for many reasons.  You may feel ashamed for not knowing how to solve the problem.  For making a mistake or not being able to handle it on your own.  Perhaps you’re stopped from asking because you imagine people will think you are stupid, ineffective, irresponsible or incapable.  Maybe you are concerned for the impact it will have on your marriage, career or relationships with your kids, friends and family.  Or even the future of your kids.  And so maybe that makes you feel guilty.  Perhaps you are held back by the stigma of failure or appearing weak?  Shame can play a big part in staying silent and “coping” in quiet desperation.

Stuck

I also felt stuck.  If you cannot go to others for advice or support, it is often difficult to find new perspectives and approach the challenge with fresh eyes.  Therefore, you get stuck in a rut and keep doing the same things and hoping you’ll get different results.  That feeling of “stuck” and perhaps feeling hemmed in, restricted or confined is debilitating.  It makes you tense, frustrated, irritated and anxious, which affect your concentration and focus.  In this state, it can be hard to sleep.  And you may be distracted and distant with those closest to you.  Which impact on your relationships, work productivity and engagement as well as your health and well-being.

You might experience tension headaches or migraines, tight shoulders and chest which could lead to shortness of breath and a sense of panic.  You might have low energy and diminished sex drive.

Defensive

And I was on the defensive.  You’ll tell everyone that you are fine or great and how well things are going.  And with every false truth you utter, a little part of you dies inside.  You’ll try to divert people’s attention away from too much detail so that they don’t find out.  You hold your body tense, armouring yourself against threat or attack, as if by not acknowledging it, the house of cards will not come tumbling down.  Yet, every moment you spend not creating an effective resolution, the house of cards gets closer and closer to collapsing.

That tension you are holding has its advantages.  It stops you feeling the full force of your discomfort.  Which you might also hide by drinking alcohol excessively, over working, keeping your distance (perhaps physically and emotionally) from those most impacted by this situation, recreational drugs, gambling and so on.

Sticking your head in the sand

This is a worse-case scenario.  But, if you notice yourself employing distraction and diversionary behaviour, feeling isolated and any of the possible symptoms mentioned above, you could be in a state of coping which isn’t really coping at all.  It’s sticking your head in the sand.  And while you might be busy doing things and hoping it will all sort itself out, the situation gets worse over time which makes you feel more stuck, isolated, desperate, lonely and defensive.  And so the spiral continues downward.

But it won’t sort itself out.  While you remain stuck, you are stressed, anxious and tired.  Therefore, you are not in a place to create an effective solution to the problem.  That stress and anxiety has your body set up for fight or flight (known as the Stress Response).  Which is actually the opposite of what you need to get out of the rut you are in.

Most people, particularly men, will wait until the final straw before they will reach out to others.  Stigmas, such as “asking for support shows you are weak and not a real man”, mean that people avoid asking for help so much longer than necessary.  So much stress, anxiety and heartache could be avoided if stigmas like this could be challenged.

Coping redefined

So, I’d like to redefine what it means to be coping.  Coping is not desperation or isolation.  And certainly not devastation.  The Cambridge English Dictionary defines coping as” dealing successfully with a difficult situation”.  There is nothing successful about that Victorian Britain definition of coping.  I believe therefore, that coping redefined wants to look more like resilience.

**Which means connecting to four key aspects of your well-being:

  1. Self
  2. Other
  3. Nature
  4. Meaning/ Purpose/ Spirituality

Self

One of the reasons people find it hard to cope is that they may not realise they are struggling.  They lack a degree of self-awareness that means they do not notice they are expressing signs of stress and anxiety.  You may know people who are telling you they are not angry as they yell at the top of their voices.

Mindfulness and embodiment exercises can develop that self-awareness so that you can notice the signs of struggling earlier and do something about it.  Also, the earlier you tackle the problem, the less off the rails you are and so it is easier to rectify.  The longer it is left, the more work you have to do to get back on track.  Which is more stressful.  Engage a little in the pain you are in.  The sensations are full of valuable information that can tell you where you want to head and how to take the first steps.

Other

Having relationships with a wide range of people means you have a broad support network to call upon when you realise you are struggling.  To be resilient it is best to have at least one person you can go to for practical advice, someone else who is an inspiration for you, another who makes you laugh at yourself and the world, a fourth that acts as a mentor or elder, a sexual partner or someone who gives you touch and finally someone who is a listener.  These six people collectively support you in your resilience and your ability in coping.  A single person definitely shouldn’t be all six of those things to you, but someone might cover two, maybe three roles.

Nature

A regular connection to nature is a great resource for coping.  The calm of the natural world will bring you to a calmer state if you allow it to nurture you.  Immerse yourself in the wilds, take a walk in a park, or even walk on the streets and take the time to look at the trees, clouds, the sun, birds and anything else that connects you with nature.  It might take some time for the effect to take hold but, do what you can and notice the impact.

Meaning/ Purpose/ Spirituality

When you are aligned to what is most important to you, you have access to power and confidence that has you working at a much higher level.  Compare that to when you are conflicted, second guessing yourself, confused and consumed with doubt or fear.  The power of your clarity, focus and fulfilment are second to none.  Living your purpose has a hint of stepping outside your comfort zone, discovery and creating something new.  It might feel challenging, risky and a step into the unknown, but here you are alive and vital.

You might feel stress, but it is not overwhelming stress.  It is stress that has you raise your game and perform beyond your expectations.  You feel of use or service in this place, contributing towards something larger than you.  Perhaps giving something that only you can give.  That sense draws you forward while you are oriented towards an inner compass point that feels fulfilling, meaningful and on purpose.

Dealing successfully with a difficult situation

If you listen to your body, it is telling you the answers.  Those urges to speak to someone, reach out for help, take a break and align yourself to what brings you joy are your body saying you need to do this so that you can cope.

When you take the time consistently to cultivate your resilience, your capacity to cope with life’s challenges dramatically increases.  So, rather than trying to cope by shutting down, withdrawing, digging your heels in and numbing the pain and suffering, you can reach out for as many of the resources that develop your resilience as you want or need.  So that rather than be stressed, anxious and tense you can be relaxed and at ease and so more inclined towards creative solutions, cooperation and collaboration.

There is even evidence to suggest that when we are stressed, our bodies release Oxytocin so that we are more inclined to reach out for support from others (the second on the resilience list).  You can listen to a TED Talk about it here.

So, there is no need to suffer.  And there is definitely no need to suffer alone.  In fact, when you get this right, overcoming the challenges and reaching your goals in life can come with remarkable ease.  If you listen to your body, it is telling you the answers.  Those urges to speak to someone, reach out for help, take a break and align yourself to what brings you joy are your body saying you need to do this so that you can cope.

Nothing in nature remains stuck.  Everything is in a dynamic flow that moves, changes, adapts and evolves.  If you are digging in and getting stuck, you are going against nature.  You are going against your nature.  Reach out and help things flow.  The answers come much sooner and the joy of relief more quickly.

Over to You

How are you coping?  What do you do to build and maintain your resilience?  What is your definition of coping?  How might it be different after reading this blog? What will you be doing differently as a result of reading this?

Pass it on

If you have found this information useful why not send the link to a friend in need?

 

** I have taken this information about resilience from Mark Walsh’s lecture on Four Types of Resilience from Integration Training’s Resilience Day on April 30th, 2020.