5 Ways to Discover and Nurture Your Intuitive Voice

5 Ways to Discover and Nurture Your Intuitive Voice

Intuition is seeing with the soul. - Dean Koontz

“Gee Allyson, sure you wanna do this?” my co-workers said as I prepared to quit my job.

I was a tenured “direct hire” for the U.S. government, which meant iron clad job security for life. But despite my gold-plated healthcare insurance, the job felt light years away from my heart’s true calling.

I trudged to work every morning to the subway surrounded by trench coats, humming to myself, “The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah.”

By most standards, it was a commendable job working for the U.S. agency that administered foreign aid. The job gave me the opportunity to serve others, but in a paper-pushing sort of way, not the impactful way I truly wanted.

So, when a new job opportunity at a nonprofit came along, I took it even though I had dueling voices in my head regarding whether this job would solve my problems.

Within a few short weeks at the new organization, misery crept in. My new boss told me I had not lived up to my references, and the work was even further away from my heart’s desires.

Months passed, the new job got worse, and I felt an incredible urge to walk away from work life altogether.

But what would I do? I yearned to pursue my life’s true calling, but I wasn’t sure what my calling was. All I knew was I hadn’t yet found it.

So, I decided to set out on a mission to discover my purpose in life, and I hopped on an airplane to eat, pray, and love my way around the world. I took six months off work to travel and to find that special thing I was meant to contribute to the planet.

I submitted my second 2-weeks notice in less than a year, packed a suitcase, and flew to Dublin.

I traveled through Ireland and Scotland, and by the time I arrived to Spain guilt and anxiety gnawed at me because I hadn’t found my calling, and I was running out of money.

I woke one morning in Madrid completely stuck. I didn’t want to look forward, and I didn’t want to look back. The only direction I could turn to was the silence of the present moment. And in that silence I found a voice in my head: the voice of my intuition.

The voice had always been with me, but had been intertwined with the voice of my ego telling me that I should be afraid, I wasn’t good enough, and that I would fail.

I discovered the intuitive voice was a clear guide of love, telling me I was always doing my best. It was from this point that I began following that voice.

In the months to come I forged a new relationship with my intuitive voice and learned to trust it even when it led me down dark paths. With the voice, I knew I’d always be able to ride out the fear until I found the ray of light on the other side of whatever challenge I was facing.

The voice guided me to my next three jobs through three different countries on two continents, doing work I’ve loved. It also guided me to do what makes my heart sing – writing, storytelling, and peace activism – and to serving others in a way that feels impactful to me.

Finding my true calling hasn’t hit me like a ton of bricks in a great, “Aha!” moment as I had hoped, but with each passing day my vision becomes clearer, my path narrower, and my surrender greater to the voice of my higher self guiding me forward.

The following are five steps to finding your intuitive voice and having the courage to listen to it:

1. Recognize your intuitive voice.

For most of my life I didn’t know the difference between my ego voice and my intuitive voice. We all have both. The key is to learn to recognize the difference: the ego voice will act like an inner critic, using negative self-talk to say you’re not good enough. The intuitive voice will act like an inner guide, uplifting you and putting a positive spin or life lesson to every challenging situation.

2. Manage your voices.

When the ego voice is rattling negative thoughts in your head, bring awareness to that negativity, turn those thoughts into floating clouds or falling raindrops, and breath. Then without judging yourself, release the negativity. This will clear the pathways for your intuitive voice to guide you to the thoughts and actions you should be having and taking.

3. Cultivate your intuitive voice.

The best way to allow your intuitive voice into your life is by quieting your mind from its ego-based clutter. One of the most effective ways to do that is through a daily meditation practice. Even as little as 5 minutes a day can have a powerful effect of clearing the pathway of your intuitive voice.

4. Keep Your Moleskin Nearby.

Your voice of intuition will come through for you with life-changing insight when you least expect it. These juicy gems of insight can feel as if a key piece of your life puzzle has just been solved, then to be forgotten 30 minutes later. Always write it down. Better yet, keep a journal where all your intuitive insights are in one place.

5. Your intuitive voice knows better than your mother.

The voice of your intuition is a piece of your higher self. Sometimes that voice will guide you down paths no one else is on, and everyone in your life, including your mother, will caution you to take the safer route. Always stay true to your higher self, because no one on the planet knows what’s better for you.

Remember, your intuitive voice may not take you in the direction you want to go, but it will always take you in the direction you need to go.

What have you done to cultivate your intuitive voice? Has it ever guided you to a dark and scary place only to give you exactly what you needed in the end?

Photo by martinak15

Allyson Stroschein

Allyson Stroschein is the off-the-beaten-path life traveler and peace activist behind Shanti Pax, a blog that combines peace activism with personal growth to offer tips for peaceful living so you can be AT PEACE during your day and ADD PEACE to the world. Learn more at ShantiPax.com, and connect on Twitter.

24 Comments

  1. Hi Allyson
    I am in that place right now in relation to a decision I have to make – caught between the two voices, constantly trying to brush that ego voice aside and let my intuition shine through. I find writing really helps me to recognise and let go of egoic thoughts. It requires being honest with myself about what I’m really carrying round in my head, but once they’re on paper I can see them for what they are, and often they’re just plain nonsense!
    I found your article very helpful – clear and reassuring, and you have encouraged me to keep trusting my inner guide. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for the comment, Hazel. You’re absolutely correct that writing down the dueling thoughts helps to provide clarity. The other tip is to put the decision making aside, clear your head, go to the gym, do something you love, and just allow the answers to come to you. The universe will often provide a sign or some clear insight will find a way into your life.

      Reply
      • Hi, I like your article and I can understand it. I think that the intuitive voice is God speaking (a God of love) who communicates with everyone. I think the critical or selfish voice is evil spirits or our own damaged conscience. I know it sounds weird or extreme but it fits with my experience. I’m a Christian and I think that God speaks to everyone and it’s our choice whether to listen or not.

        Reply
  2. Such a great article, I absolutely can relate to this – there are so many times my intuition has guided me towards my heart’s true desire – it just feels right in my gut even if it’s a bit scary. And when I haven’t followed my intuition and instead gone with the ‘right’ thing because other people agree it’s ‘right’ too, I end up feeling bad afterwards and I’m realising more and more now that I’m so much happier when I follow my gut and that I just need to trust it and have faith.

    Reply
  3. Hi,
    Maybe it’s just where I am today (a bit down), but I read your article with some jealousy…I presume that you are unattached, and childless, although I could be wrong. It is much easier to follow your intuition in that state, and go on an ‘eat, pray, love’ journey, than it would be for a married mother of 2 in her 40s! Reality is, I can’t risk the ‘safe’ route I am on, as it is important for the chosen life of children & marriage (that, and I am an accountant, which means I am conservative from a risk-perspective).

    So in this situation, I find myself not at all content with my job, but am really not sure I can risk it to find my true calling, which could jeopardize the financial safety I believe is a requirement for my young family.

    Having said all that, I will try to follow your steps, and see if I can somehow improve my situation in less drastic ways.

    Reply
    • Judy, thanks so much for the comment. You are completely right that in fact most people are not in a position to just pack up and travel for six months. The brilliant news about living an intuitive-based life is that you don’t need to. If you’re like most giving mothers I know, you probably spend most of your day caring for the needs of others. I encourage you to spend a few minutes a day (or more if you are able) tending to your needs: finding quiet time to journal, meditate, and allow your intuition to guide you to make subtle adjustments to allow more peace into your life. Sometimes a subtle adjustment in your day-to-day living can have a powerful impact.

      Reply
    • I’m totally with Allyson on this, Judy.

      My 1-year-old and my wife won’t allow for a multi-country trek to go find myself, but they did allow for some personal development courses that I took –> which caused me to find my vision & purpose –> which caused me to start finding an hour or two between / after / around my work & family obligations to start building the future I know I’m called to live.

      And it’s happening . . . my “job” and my Vision are now equally part-time, and I’m on the way toward full-time Vision! You can do this, and listening to your intuition in the ways Allyson suggests is exactly where it all starts (in my experience, anyway).

      Thanks for an awesome article, Allyson.

      Reply
      • Amazing comment, Brennan. I too am in the process of transitioning from my “job” to my vision. And I find that the more I’m riding the vision wave, the better and more meaningful my job feels. Your example of balancing inner soul seeking and family responsibilities is wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing. Many (myself including) can learn from it.

        Reply
  4. I really appreciate the comment, Nav. Faith is such a huge part of living a life guided by intuition. Sometimes my intuition guides me to the strangest places, and it always feels like a miracle when everything works out in the end better than I could have ever hoped. It’s a daily process and evolution to let go and trust. Remember, no one knows better than your gut when it comes to guiding your life.

    Reply
  5. Very much like “Conversations With God,” when NDW here’s his intuition in his own voice…which by the way is how I hear mine. I’ve got my insights going back seven years. And by the way…I don’t always follow them. But it’s remarkable how that intution has unconditional love for and acceptance of me. My fondest wish for everyone is to find their own. :)

    Reply
  6. Great comment, Larry. I always listen to my voice now on the big decisions, but am still working on doing so for the small ones (which are also important). But I couldn’t agree more or have said it better, “Intuition has unconditional love and acceptance of me.”

    Reply
  7. i AGREE ABSOLUTELY WITH YOUR VIEWS, ALLYSON. Intuition speaks in soft and subdued voice which is often unheard or not recognised in the constant clamour of ego voice. Intuition is the voice of our inner self whereas ego voice speaks for our superficial self. Intuition seeks to take me towards fulfillment. Ego voice makes me choose a path which will win approval from others.I may , however, meet resistance if I follow my intuition as I would be following a path which does not exist.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for this comment, Mahavir. You are so right in that the ego voice often involves remaining on the path that everyone else is on. I encourage you to stay true to your inner voice, even if you’re creating a whole new path.

      Reply
  8. I love your post – and I love my Moleskin – or any other beautiful notebook.

    I would like to add that for me, writing is a great way to get in touch with my intuition and to sort things out so I do it a lot – not only to record good things to remember but to discover them.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hello Leopold the Leopard – I love your name. Thank you for your kind words on the post. I adore Moleskins. I am looking forward to purchasing my 2014 agenda!

      Reply
  9. A great post Allyson, thank you for sharing. One of the keys for hearing the voice of my intuition is to keep bringing my attention into the present moment – if my ego mind is referring to the past or the future then it brings up fear and urges conformity. I like to take just a moment to get present before starting anything – the car, the computer, breakfast, a walk etc. because I know that if fear is present, I’m not. And I have to be still enough to hear my intuition… it whispers whereas my ego shouts.

    Reply
    • Lorna, thank you for raising such a key point that I didn’t highlight in this article. Living in the present moment is a hugely important aspect of living an intuition-based life. It’s something I work on every day, and I love how you take a minute before starting a new aspect in your day with coming into the present. I also find that my yoga practice really helps improve my focus on the present moment.

      Reply
  10. Dear Allyson, a BIG congratulations for taking that brave step for change. Did you notice how swiftly things changed for you to support your mission? It’s amazing how opportunities flow towards us when we decide to move from a place of survival to creative orientation as you have successfully achieved.

    I have a friend who has taken a similar journey. She sold her house with all her homely comforts, and left a secure job to travel around the world. She has spent the last two years living in Mexico, Australia and is now moving Thailand to teach people English.

    She has always finds a way to connect to the right people (by following her intuition) in order to find new loving homes and the jobs that support her journey. She is living an adventure everyday and has grown her talents through her singer/songwriter performances. You maybe interested to find out more about her story on my website.

    Thank you for sharing this amazing story and keep doing what you love :)

    Paul

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Paul. I checked out your website, and I love your mission. After my vision started to come into focus I went through a period of, “I’m not good enough or talented enough to make that happen.” When I started to gain confidence I hit a period of, “Why aren’t things happening faster.” Now I’m learning to just allow and in allowing things seem to easily fall into place as they should. It’s all part of the journey. Thanks to you for everything you’re doing to help people discover their creativity.

      Reply
  11. Truly insightful post, Allyson! I believe that learning to distinguish between our ego-based thoughts and actions, and our higher self, our intuitive voice is something that spans over a lifetime. For, me the biggest challenge is to actually listen to it, because the intuitive voice is a silent, soft one. While the ego is loud, it always makes sure that it is heard!

    Would love you to check out my 3 steps on how to awaken your intuition: http://www.purposefairy.com/65586/how-to-awaken-your-intuition/

    Reply
    • Hi Ashton, I loved your article (and just tweeted it). I loved how you highlighted the importance of relaxing. I think sometimes a problem or decision can grip us so hard that the voice of our intuition gets lost. But you’re so right that it’s best to go for a walk, do something that makes your heart sing, exercise, and allow the answers to find you. Thanks so much for the comment.

      Reply
  12. You and I are kindred spirits. I have been in that place and come to the same conclusions as you. Beautiful message. I wanted to just follow up on the above comment that mentions the obligations that may not allow a person to “take 6 months off.” I was a single dad of three very young daughters (widowed young) and had my plate full for 25 years. I understand not being able to just drop everything. The secret to recognizing your intuition is that it always guides you to things that you are passionate about. unfortunately we often suppress all of those things trying to be the “perfect” dad, mom, husband, wife, etc. You may not be able to quit those important activities, in fact, you would be miserable if you did, but remember your passions are gifts given to you to find happiness in this life. Meditation definitely helps uncover those passions, the secret is make sure you do something you are passionate about every day, even if it is only for a few minutes. In fact, some days you may not be able to take the time to participate in something passionate. I have found even finding a quite moment and visualizing the activity will improve my joy, almost as much as participating in the activity. Kind of amazing.

    Reply
    • Hi Jack, I LOVED this comment. In fact, you (and Judy and Brennan) have inspired me to write a follow-on post about finding your true passion when you can’t just disappear for six months. Your outlook is inspiring (indeed we are kindred spirits). I love the idea of doing something you feel passionate about every day – even if only for a few minutes. Thank you so much for sharing.

      Reply

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