Understanding Intuition and Gut Instinct

“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.”  ~ Oprah Winfrey

There is an unseen force that lives within each of us, and that connects us all.  We are energetic by nature, and that energy can guide us if only we can tune in to it.  One of the simplest ways to do this is by learning to honour our intuition.

There are many ways to do this, but today I’m going to focus on one: gut feeling.  Gut instinct or feeling is a primal response hard-wired into every human.

Gut feeling really does come from that area of your body – your abdomen.  It’s not a mind-based wisdom.  It doesn’t come from your heart.  It comes from that primal genetic material that is encoded and passed from parent to offspring.  In humans that is your original eight cells, which are located near your solar plexus. It is also the wisdom of the many bacteria and other organisms that live within the gut itself. We are not just our own consciousness. We are a whole co-creative biosystem that has evolved with an instinct to keep ourselves safe and to guard against threat.

So how do we tune in to this?  It’s easier than you think. Gut instinct does not use words or images.  Gut instinct uses emotions, and rockets along our central nervous system, which can also produce physical reactions.  It operates in 3 modes – neutral, forward and reverse. Some people call this the ‘sixth sense’. Some call it ‘intuition’.  Whatever the name, I’m sure you’ve all felt it and are familiar with it, whether you honour it or not.

In ‘forward’, we literally feel that we want to move closer to something.  We feel good about it.  We feel excited, happy and positive.  We can’t explain why, we can’t find the words for it, but we KNOW that something will work, that the person is good or honest, that this situation will be for the best, that this job/car/person/product/idea/food is the right choice.

In ‘neutral’ we feel indifference. There is no strong emotion or physical reaction either way.

In ‘reverse’ our gut is telling us to back away.  We feel unsure or uncomfortable.  The warning bells go off.  If it’s a mild response, this is where our brain often kicks in and invalidates our emotion (that can happen in ‘forward’ situations too!) by persuading our logical mind with rational thoughts and justifications.  In a strong response we may feel anxious or ill, we want to move back from this job/person/situation, we want to get to safety or a neutral space.  We can’t say why but we KNOW this won’t work well, this person can’t be trusted, something is wrong, it’s going to end badly…

This basic instinct is like a muscle – the more we use it, the stronger it becomes.  If we learn to trust it with the smaller things, eventually we’ll be able to hear and honour it with the bigger things.  This can be especially hard for people who are governed by their mind, which is why I recommend starting with small things that have no big ramifications in your life.

Here are some examples you may be familiar with:

  • Driving to work you suddenly feel like taking an alternative route.  You ignore that instinct and a minute past the turn-off you get stuck in a gridlock that makes you late. If you’d gone the other way you would have missed the traffic snarl.
  • In the supermarket you are drawn to a special: roasted chicken and a vast tub of coleslaw.  You really want to buy it, but that’s crazy.  There’s only you and that’s so much food.  You don’t buy it, and when you get home your sister and her family have arrived and that chicken and coleslaw would have been perfect…
  • You meet a guy, and your immediate reaction is one of dislike and distrust.  Everyone tells you how great he is, so you brush that initial feeling away.  Down the track your instinct is proved right when he turns out to be not-so-nice or trustworthy after all.  You kick yourself because you KNEW it all along!
If you’re a Star Wars fan you’ll know that Master Yoda, the great Jedi has much to say about the Force.  Here’s some of what he told Luke Skywalker…

“My ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us… and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this… [nudging Luke’s arm] crude matter! You must feel the Force around you. Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock… everywhere! Even between the land and the ship.”

If Luke learns to master the Force, as other Jedi have done, the Force can provide access to even higher levels of awareness and intuition.  Yoda explains, “Through the Force, things you will see. Other places. The future…the past…old friends long gone.”

Animals don’t question that Force.  And because of that they are guided in incredible ways.  They trust their instincts. This youtube clip illustrates that energy and trust.  It’s magical…

Postscript: I’m a channel, and often that connection informs my writing. It means I sometimes write about things I don’t consciously understand or remember, which I then go and google (welcome to my life!) to find out their meaning.  That’s how I found out about the eight cells.

The Power of a Father’s Love

Image from womenselfprotection.blogspot.com

 “Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third.” ~ Marge Piercy

One night, in the middle of 2010, I was on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. It was late, and we had been asleep for some hours. The room phone rang, waking us up.  When  I answered there was no-one on the end of the line. I hung up, groggy and disoriented, turned over and went back to sleep.

The phone rang again.

Again I answered it. No-one there. I hung up, cranky to have been woken a second time.

For the next two hours the phone kept ringing. Of course there was no-one on the end of the line. In frustration my husband pulled it out of the wall.

Then my cell phone rang. In the middle of the ocean. Miles from having any sort of reception. I fumbled for it and then gave up in disgust as once again there was no-one on the line.

And then had a realisation.

“Someone’s trying to contact me,” I said to my weary and shaken husband. We both knew what I meant.  A psychic thing.

“I’m going outside to do a meditation,” I told him. Wrapping a robe around me I went out onto the balcony and perched on a sunlounge. Soon I was deep in meditation, asking for guidance around what had just happened. Nothing came for a long time, and I pulled my robe closer as the air cooled before dawn.

Image by Thinkstock

Suddenly in quick succession I saw a single vehicle accident on a country road as a series of jolted images – sliding, rolling, slamming into a tree. It was so real I could smell the metallic tang in the air, the dust, and the blood. It was as if I were in the driver’s seat, and then somehow I was standing there, beside the mangled car. Steeling myself, I bent to look through the window.

A moan came from behind me.  I whipped my head around.

I knew his face, but I couldn’t place him. He looked so lost, so broken, and I found it very hard to breathe. It came to me slowly. He was the husband of a client.  I’d never met him, but I’d seen his photo, maybe two years before. The same man was standing on the road. With a sickening feeling I understood.  He was dead.

I don’t do dead people, I thought to myself, feeling panicked. Come on guys, I don’t DO dead people.

It all went black. Like the lights going out in a cinema. My husband was shaking my shoulder. “Come on honey, you’re freezing.  Come inside and have a shower.  We’re meeting for breakfast in half an hour.”

I shook my head. “I can’t do it. Can you meet them?”  We were supposed to be breakfasting with friends, but I was hollow, shaken and distressed. And I knew I still had unfinished business somehow.

Ben gave me one of those looks. Loving, understanding, unhappy all at once. “You okay?” he asked.

“Not really.”

“No. Neither am I. That was the freakiest thing. What’s going on?”

“I don’t know. A  car accident I think.” I felt terrible for Ben.  Here I was on holidays and I was still working, my world affecting his, intruding on what was supposed to be a well-earned break.

After Ben left I took a warm shower and then dressed and settled back into meditation again, propped up in bed with the blankets over my legs. This time my entry back into that strange space was unsettlingly quick.

The man was where I’d left him, pacing up and down on the baking bitumen beside his wrecked car. “I need you to call my wife,” he said.

My heart began racing. Nicole, none of this is real, I told myself.  “You’re dead,” I said stupidly to the man.

“Yes.” He calmed down. “But it’s okay.”

In fact he was calmer than me. I was still feeling the horror and trauma of his passing.

He put his hand on my shoulder and a warmth flooded through me. “Call my wife. Not about me,” he added, “it’s about our daughter. Our youngest daughter. Please.  It’s urgent.”

I nodded yes. What else could I do? A picture flashed into my mind of a tiny baby girl, perhaps a year old. She was shallow breathing in a small crib. I felt a fluttering flooding feeling in my chest.

Father and daughter – by Emilia Pawlikowska

“My daughter’s dying,” he continued. “It’s her heart, she’s got a hole in her heart. I can see it now. She was sleepy all the time, and losing weight, and our family doctor said she was fine.  But we still thought there was something wrong. She just wasn’t thriving. She was fussy and wouldn’t eat. And then she began to have blue fingernails. So my wife took her to the hospital. The doctors there sent her home. They said she was just cold.”

“Please,” he said again.  “I can’t reach her. I can’t reach my wife. I tried, and then I thought of you. You have to call my wife and get her to take our daughter to the hospital. She needs to go right away. She needs to make the doctors understand. My wife will listen to you. Call her!”

I snapped back into my body abruptly, my open eyes trying to take in our room. Lurching off the bed I opened my laptop, scrolling through my old emails.  Finally I found her name and the contact details she’d submitted via my website. I checked my cell phone. There was one bar of service.  I stepped back out onto the balcony. There was land sliding by us. My signal managed to get a little stronger and I dialled the number with a shaking hand.

It was one of the hardest phone calls of my life.

But because of a father’s love and persistence a little girl was able to have open heart surgery, and now can lead a healthy life.

I spent the rest of my day sitting on the balcony, looking out over the ocean and being grateful for solitude. My darling husband told our friends I was unwell, and gave me the space I needed to pull my head back together.

And the next day Barcelona opened her arms to me, and I gave myself over to her healing charms.

Image from betcheslovethis.com

The Unexpected Phone Call

Image from gentogenym.com

I’m in Brisbane this week doing psychic readings. I don’t normally take phone calls on my office phone – I let them go to message bank and my wonderful PA, Nicky, deals with them.  But today, as I was sitting at my desk the phone rang, and I picked it up without thinking.

“Hello,” I said automatically, “this is Nicole.”

There was a moment of silence on the line and then someone cleared their throat. “Um, Nicole, could you come downstairs a minute?”

I hadn’t heard the doorbell ring. The dogs hadn’t barked. But I went downstairs anyway and opened the old stained-glass door.

A young man stood there. His mate sat in a car out on the street, the motor running.

“I’m Pete,” he said.

But I knew that already, although we’ve never met.

Both our eyes filled with tears. He is older now, but I recognised him from photos I’d been shown some years ago. We moved towards each other and embraced.

Pete. The son of one of my clients. Judy lives in Melbourne, but she has come to many of my courses, and I’ve know her for years. As mothers do, she’d shown me photographs of her family in some of our consultations.

About six years ago I was eating dinner one night when I got a blinding headache.  I excused myself from the table, and went and sat in the lounge-room, closing my eyes against the glare of the lights. In the darkness a wave of nausea and panic came over me. Huge emotional pain. These aren’t my emotions, I thought to myself.

I felt a familiar feeling that I often get when I am channeling. It’s a feeling of disconnect from me, and connection into something else. My heart began to pound, and the nausea and panic increased. In my mind’s eye I peered down at a pair of hands, (the perspective making it look like they were mine) knotting together a length of rope to make a noose. I felt myself begin to hyperventilate as I deeply connected into the mind of a troubled youth.

Oh my god, I thought. He’s going to kill himself.

Somehow I knew that it was real. As his eyes looked up I saw a noticeboard above a student desk. A photo of a pretty young girl was pinned in the middle, and I knew that this was the reason for this young man’s actions.  His eyes came to rest on a photo tacked in one corner amidst all the other papers. A family photo.  And in that photo I recognised Judy, her husband and children.  In that instant I knew. I was in Pete’s bedroom.  I was in Pete’s mind.

I raced upstairs to the office and yanked open the filing cabinet, desperately searching for Judy’s details, spilling papers everywhere. Then I ran to the phone and called her home number.

She was so surprised to hear from me.  She told me to wait because she was about to take a basket of folding upstairs, and then she could talk to me from the study where we could have a bit of privacy.

Trying to keep my voice steady, I asked her to put the washing basket down and go up to Pete’s room.

“Why?” she asked.

“Just go. Please…”  I urged.

What happened next was awful. Judy kept making small talk as she walked upstairs and then dropped the phone and I heard her screaming. Her husband came running. “Hold his legs,” he yelled. “I’ll cut him down.” As the scene played out I was watching it as if I was floating in a corner of the room. I heard his sister screaming. Then I heard Judy’s husband tell her to call an ambulance.  The phone went dead…

I didn’t know what to do. I burst into tears, and told my concerned husband what had happened. Good man that he is, he gave me a hug, made me a cup of tea and put me to bed.

I didn’t hear from Judy until a few days later. Pete was going to be okay, although he would remain in hospital for many weeks, and under the care of a skilled therapist much longer. My call had saved his life.

And here he was today, six years later, standing on my doorstep.

After the longest, most soulful hug, he pulled away. “Thank you,” he said, gazing into my eyes. “I’m a  teacher now,” he added as he turned to leave. “And I’m getting married in September.”

I couldn’t speak, I was so choked up. I nodded instead. And in an instant he was back in the car, and away down the street.

Living as a psychic is sometimes hard. I cannot turn off from what I am, or from this flow of information, and often it impacts my life in ways I don’t enjoy and can’t control.

But to hold this young man in my arms today, to feel the life-force in him, to know his gratitude for a second chance…    that makes it all worthwhile. ♥

Making Friends with Fairies

I remember when I first started to channel. This was twenty years ago, and I had read the first chapter of a book called Opening To Channel by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer. Of course I was so eager to begin I never did read the rest of the book…

My sister dutifully guided me through a process, I made connection, and thus began a wonderful relationship with Rollo, one of my beautiful Guides.  Over the next few years I trance channelled many amazing BEings. Friends who had heard what I did would come (often bringing their friends!) and sit in our living room on nights when we would do a meditation and then I would  connect and channel for an hour or two.

What was most exciting for me, all this time ago, was that some of the BEings I channelled I had never heard of, and my sister would race off to the Library or New Age bookshop the next day and come home saying “I found them – they’re real!”. In those early days, when I felt so awkward, the positive validation that I wasn’t making it all up was very welcome. Thanks Sissy!!!

When this was all very new, I needed a person to ask me questions once I was in trance. I was aware of what was said through me, but it was like sitting in the back of a big auditorium, far away from the speaker.

So you can imagine my horror, embarrassment and surprise the day I heard my voice become high and squeaky, and I began to talk like a five year old girl high on red cordial and too much sugar.

“Hello. Who are you?” my sister asked, totally unfased.

“Oh hiya hi hi,” said this crazy little voice. “I’m Sokli.”

“And where you you come from, Sokli?” asked another friend in the circle.

“Oh, I’m a fairy,” she said. “I come from just over there (she named a piece of tangled trees and shrubbery not far away.)  Fairies are very geographically specific, you know.”

I felt myself cringe.  I was mortified.  How would anyone take me seriously?

But do you know what?

Sokli held everyone’s attention as she dished out earthy remedies, made everyone laugh and smile, and helped with everything from pet questions to general human health.

She was adored.

I have now worked with Sokli for twenty years, and she has become a firm friend. She has campaigned tirelessly for people to remember and honour fairies, and for us to love and honour nature and the earth. She’s bossy, funny, rude, cheeky, loyal, and totally passionate.

You can see her in the photo of the old teak tree at my front door at the farm at the top of this post. She promised me she would let herself ‘show’ so others could see her too.

I see her quite differently. When she’s moving she looks like a bright ball of energy whizzing around (she has lots of energy – that whole fuelled by red cordial kind of thing!). But when she is just hanging around, talking and sharing, she looks like the picture in the top left corner of the Art Journal I worked on yesterday (minus the wand…)

I’m co-writing a book with her right now called Things Fairies Know by Sokli A Real Fairy and her friend Nicole.  The title was her idea.

 

I look forward to sharing it We look forward to sharing it with you when we’re done.

And now a message from Sokli, just for you:

Hi, hi Hi!!!!!!!!!!!! Hello. I’m very happy to meet you and I want you to know that Fairies are real and we are kind of like Angels except Angels belong to Humans and the Skies and Fairies belong to Animals and Nature and the Earth. I know Angels are very popular right now but please don’t forget about Fairies. We can still all be friends.  Maybe today you can smell some pretty flowers, or watch a bird in the sky or sit on nice grass. We’ll be all around you, and if you’re kind and patient some Fairies might come over and say hi. Thanks for listening to a Fairy. We love youuuuuuuuu. Love love love.  Bye for now. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

Dealing with Psychic Anxiety

Over the years I have come to recognise a certain set of feelings, to which I have given the name ‘Psychic Anxiety’. It’s a very unpleasant sensation that can last from an hour to a couple of days, and it is one of the least fantastic aspects of being spiritually and energetically sensitive.

Oh, don’t get me wrong.  It’s not unbearable, and in fact I have worse feelings related to psychic work at times, especially if it involves violent crimes and dead people.

The biggest problem with psychic anxiety is this unshakable feeling of dread and unease, that sensation of icy chills and ‘something crawling over your grave’ as my Nana calls it.

People who are psychic, or sensitive, generally feel the highs and lows of life more acutely. I like this diagram below, because for me it represents the differences between me and someone who is less sensitive.

Image from http://www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk

Most people live in the middle of the red and green lines, and can go to the high or low of those fields, but may seldom do so. They also usually have a greater physical resilience, a robustness to them.

Energetically sensitive people are represented by the blue line.  We feel and react to energies both above and below those regular red and green bands, although we may also live somewhere in the middle of our band of felt frequencies most of the time. Sensitive people are just that – sensitive – and without the robustness of some other folk. We may act with great robustness for a while, while we are needed or need to get things done, but that sort of energetic output is always at a price.  And sometimes that price is high.

The blessing of sensitivity is that we can feel, see, connect with and know some wonderful and amazing things. It is easy for us to tap into creative flow, to feel love and gratitude, to notice things around us and with the emotions of people around us, and to get high on life…

The difficulty is that sometimes it connects us into those low energies, and this is a painful experience on a soul level, tough emotionally and sometimes physically hard as well.

Usually if I get a psychic message or connection out of the blue (in other words I’m not consciously inviting or controlling it) it feels like this – a big bang on an otherwise normal day:

Uniform sine wave excitation graphic from opensees.berkeley.edu

I get a sudden flood of images, sounds, sensations, feelings, knowledge – all flooding me with a great intensity.  It’s momentary, it passes; although the information will remain, the emotions and energetic kick dissipate quickly.

Psychic anxiety is different.  It’s like an unseen hand rachets up the control knob.  I can’t turn the emotions and energetic kick down or off, but I am also given no information. All I have is the feeling, sometimes so strong that it wipes me out in the same way a severe migraine might. Like an old TV with no image on the screen, cranking out a discordant sound that makes you want to cover your ears or run away screaming.

I know that certain things affect me.  When there are polar shifts I end up flat and exhausted, a little depressed, and often with big hormonal swings.  When there are solar flares I feel restless, unable to sleep, irritable and wound up tight.

But this, this is different.  And I’m grateful it doesn’t happen too often. It’s always tied into great disaster, injustice, cruelty, suffering, death. It’s either building up to happen, or happening as I feel it.

In the days to come the news may let me know what it was all about.  That’s how it was for September 11, the Bali bombing, the tsanamis in 2004 and again last year in Japan.

Sometimes I find out years later – a massacre in Kosovo, in Iraq, in Rwanda…

Sometimes I never find out at all.

So I ride it out.  I keep myself away from crowds.  I swim in the ocean.  I sit under trees, walk in the rain, spend time in the gracious and calming company of my cows.

When I feel stronger I meditate.  I pray.  I light candles. I flood the world with love.  It’s all that I can do. A tiny flicker of light in what can seem like a sea of darkness. But I do it anyway and hope that somehow it helps.