As an Italian who had the opportunity to live in Asia for 25 years and then relocate to Barcelona, where I currently reside, I feel blessed and like a global citizen.
My recent decision to live between Barcelona and London, whilst maintaining my connection to Singapore through my work and network, has given me the chance to transform into a commuter. Not only between countries but also within cities, exploring and observing.
When I travel, I like to enter my ‘observer role’. Observing gives me the opportunity and freedom to be open, curious and able to connect with what surrounds me. Observing also gives me the chance to receive and understand facts around what I see, according to my values and gut feelings, and then evaluate what those mean to me and what I want to do about / with them.
I’m becoming increasingly more aware about the importance of being and acting from my body and not just my intellect and my heart. Our intellect and emotions represent ego and no matter how much work you can do to defuse the ego, they can fail at times because they are parts of ours, and we are human.
I’ve learnt over time that when it so happens that my intellect or heart take over and give way to my ego, I mustn’t give power to my inner critic or my inner child. I’ve learn to reach a deeper space in those moments, instead connecting with my soul, leading spirit or true self (depending on what you choose to call it). In this blog, I’ll refer to this as my intuition. The only space from which I trust the decisions I make because it’s a space of love and responsibility. It’s a space that we’re all in contact with at birth but seem to disconnect from during the course of our lives, as we transform from teens into adults. It’s a space of wisdom within each of us that we seem to forget is pertinent to our personal makeup.
We grow up, into ‘responsible adults’ thinking that we’re becoming more loving and more wise, but blind to what we’ve left behind because of fear and life experience. That wise, loving and responsible centre of ours is what we truly are underneath it all.
I wanted to share an experience I had the other week when I was commuting in London. I had a meeting with a client in High Street Kensington and so planned my route via the District line. At East Putney station, where I began my journey, I checked the schedule and it’s final destination so I knew which train I had to get on (the District line takes different routes). As I arrived at the platform, the train that would bring me to my destination arrived. I knew it had to be the train to Edgware, and it was. Everything would have gone absolutely smoothly had this niggling voice within me not intervened and said, “Elisabetta, you should probably ask someone before you jump on the wrong train. Stella said to be careful not to take the wrong one”.
Naturally, I followed the niggling voice (the one we’re typically told to listen to by our teachers, parents, pastors, gurus and friends) and stopped a nice middle-aged man to ask him if this was the right train to High Street Kensington. He seemed as though he was on his way home from the office and he politely informed me that I would need to change trains at Earl’s Court to actually be on the right train.
I spent the whole time on the train engaged in a funny internal dialogue with myself that sounded a bit like this: “Well, the guy said I had to change, but the train I’m on is definitely going to Edgware so therefore he must be mistaken. But, he’s from London so maybe I’m mistaken”. My eyes were fixed on the tube map on the train and this was reassuring me that actually I was correct in my assumption. I was on the right train and my visual and logical experience corroborated this, which reassured me that I should trust myself. The dialogue continued for a while though, until finally I concluded I should follow my gut and external cues and stay on the train which was clearly going where I wanted to go.
I looked back at the guy a couple of times, who sat close to where I was standing, seeking more affirmation from him. My inner conflict hadn’t fully subsided… my body was telling me to not only ignore what the man had told me, but ignore the ongoing inner doubting that was happening in my mind. That inner voice that wasn’t able to trust was the voice of my ego, some people call it the mind. The ego voice I know today may often still deceive me despite the work I’ve done on myself because as mentioned before, we are human beings.
By the time the doors opened at Earl’s Court, I would dismiss what the man said and instead follow my guts to stay on the train. But as the train slowed down I found myself gazing back at him again and he gestured frantically to get off the train because this was my stop. “I need to go to High Street Kensington”, I reiterated to him. My gut was telling me he might have made a mistake and thought I was saying South Kensington, which would have required me to get off the train. His body language and voice kept enforcing that I needed to get off the train now.
So what did I do? I doubted my intuition, gave power to the energy-sucking dialogue I’d just endured and listened to what the man advised me to do. I ignored my body’s impulse to stay on the train and my inner voice conceded to the powers around it. Not trusting our intuition, or sometimes not feeling/hearing it at all, can be the result of having lost connection with it for many years. No matter how much evidence is presented, we’re in this habitual state of not trusting our gut, that we simply forget that it might be right. We all lose that strong connection when we grow and transition, and those who go through domestic violence, abuse, wars, trauma or bereavement risk detaching so deeply that they might never be able to repair it.
So, the result was that I got off the train. Still now, the overwhelming feeling I had of confusion is so tactile. I was puzzled. I knew I was supposed to listen to myself, but I hadn’t. I was frustrated with myself. Then I did the only thing I could, which was breath and tell myself, “Ok, it’s Done now. Get on the next train and see what happens”.
Only 5 minutes later I realised that getting on another train had been a big mistake. I’d listened to a stranger, who might have unknowingly been confused himself, as well as my ego that doubted my intuition. I neglected the inner voice that came from my centre my intuition, even though my body’s impulses were signalling strongly to listen to it. This whole experience showed me that I’m able to be fully present in the experience of my body, differently to the past where I felt totally disconnected and gave me a sign that my intuition guides my actions (when I let it!). We disconnect from the wise part of us and trust our mind / ego because we’ve been (mis)informed that it knows best. In reality, it can be our biggest hindrance because it is conditioned by our environment, surroundings, and limiting or disempowering beliefs or convictions (as it was in this case) and therefore could be conditioned negatively depending on our background and past experiences.
Of course, I was frustrated with myself but I found compassion within and realised I hadn’t made a mistake but learnt a valuable lesson. The experience led me to write this blog post today and share my very human intellect vs. intuition experience. “Elisabetta,” I said to myself, “you might be late (therefore imperfect) now… and yes you might need to wait and be patient by getting off at the next stop and going back the way you came. It’s annoying… but also a wonderful chance the Universe has given you to develop what you most want: focus and a slower pace”. Slowing down and focus were new facets of my life I wanted to develop this year and in fact each had a spot on my 2018 vision board.
I didn’t deny the inner emotional turmoil, I said yes to it. I recognised the lesson that I could learn here and transformed the negative emotions I had to experience using my breath and body, finally surrendering to the experience before me with no self-judgement. Victory!
So, what did I learn?
To trust and listen to my intuition, my gut feelings. Doing this is allowing true wisdom to rise from within and acting from deep inside. And when I can’t do so, as it so happened on this occasion, avoid resistance and self-judgement. Instead, surrender to all that is and say yes to the experience and the lesson it has brought. It might not seem that way at first, but the reward for doing so will be amazing and you will be allowing magic to enter your life.
Steps to Connecting with your Intuition
- Ask yourself how important it is for you to learn about yourself on a deep, 360 degree level.
- Take Dr. John Travis' Wellness Assessment to become fully aware of yourself and your wellness.
- Combine this with 1-2 sessions with a life wellness coach, who will help you assess where you are and which 1-2 dimensions of the 4 (intellectual, emotional, physical, relational) to target in order to gain more awareness and self-autonomy.
- From there you can decide the cognitive, physical or emotional further learning you can do such as podcasts, reading, workshops & retreats and mindfulness.
header image by Jeremy Bishop
The following blog posts go into more detail on some of the topics and themes touched on above:
The Power of Language: Was It a Lesson or a Mistake?
If what I've written has resonated with you and you think I could be the right support for you, feel free to get in touch and schedule a Free 30 Minute Consultation by clicking the button below.