Have you experienced synchronicity? It’s those coincidences in life that feel significant. When a bunch of unrelated people start talking to me about the exact same thing and I never brought up the subject, I start to wonder if the universe is conspiring to tell me something. I feel compelled to listen.
This story begins two weeks ago when I went to a continuing education seminar that was put on by my local chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. As part of our yearly commitment to being in the group and our professional designation, members must attend a certain number of approved educational seminars. Most of these seminars educate us on things like product categories and how to design. For instance, we might learn about a new performance fabric for upholstery or the technology behind a new modality of cooking.
One of the speakers at the seminar I went to a couple of weeks ago presented information about trusting your intuition. I’ve been attending these kinds of seminars for a long time and I’ve got to tell you that intuition is an unusual subject for a continuing education course for designers. We’re creative but needing intuition to design kitchens and bathrooms seems like a stretch. Or so I thought.
The speaker explained how a big engineering company had requested this very subject for a seminar at their headquarters because the leadership in the company believe it’s so important to trust your intuition when you’re problem solving. They relied on the intuition of their engineers to figure out where to start looking when a problem occurred.
If an engineering firm relied on intuition during the work day then it didn’t seem so far fetched to me that kitchen and bath designers would want to use their intuition. We divided into small groups with people we didn’t know and found out our intuition about each other was somewhat uncanny. Perfect strangers had very good intuition about me after only a few minutes of interaction. I had great intuition about them as well. We talked about how important this is to make sure you’re working with the right clients and the right team. It’s important that you pick up on the spoken and unspoken nuances of each project.
Fast forward to the next night when I’m interacting with a bunch of people within a Facebook group and one of them starts talking about intuition. He was equally surprised when I shared my recent experience on the subject.
Later in the week I attended a self defense class and the instructor allocated a good deal of time to talk about trusting your intuition. It turns out that trusting our intuition is a huge part of staying safe. When something feels wrong, we need to heed the signals in our own bodies. When we don’t trust our intuition, we second guess ourselves and give the predator time to get into our space. A big shout out to blackbelt instructor Lori Lara for her empowering and inspirational presentation. You sealed the deal for me to talk about intuition today.
I’m no stranger to synchronicity. It’s affected me in the most profound of ways. The day I met my husband I was actually on a first date with one of his friends. We all went to the beach together. After that day, I knew I didn’t want to go on a second date with his friend but I was smitten with my future husband. I wondered how I might see him again.
Fortunately, the universe brought us together the following weekend. We ran into each other at the Hollywood Bowl attending the same group picnic. The third weekend we ran into each other at a beach party. In case you haven’t visited, let me tell you that Los Angeles is a very spread out place. The idea that happenstance would keep throwing us together in different places throughout this huge city is hard to fathom. I felt the universe was trying to tell me something. Thirty years of marriage later, I’m really glad I listened.
Intuition is like GPS tracking for your second half only better. It will help you enjoy each day of your journey a little bit more if you'll tune into it. It’s like using your instinct to navigate your way to a very important place.
Your second half is incredibly different from your first half of life. In the first half you’re kind of on autopilot. The school years are pretty much mapped out for you. At some point, you stop going to school and find a job. Hormones are racing and finding a partner is a priority for most of us. Eventually, we want to nest and life becomes all about creating the home and the family we long for. There’s hardly time to think during some of these years as we’re caught up in trying to stay on top of our family’s needs.
Then all of a sudden you roll into your second half. You poured so much of yourself into your family, your job, the schools and sports teams… and volunteer work. Now you’re an empty nester with a lot more time on your hands. Your home is quiet. Your job isn’t as satisfying as you think it should be. You’re thinking to yourself now what? It’s time to craft a new lifestyle.
Becoming an empty nester hit me hard. On top of everything, my husband had changed jobs and we ended up moving to the beach. I credit my intuition with helping me figure out my next steps through those years.
My own personal experience showed me that intuition is absolutely critical to designing your second half. In these podcasts I’ve shared how to keep checking in with yourself. I’ve talked about getting out of your head and into the wisdom of your body.
Today I want to talk about how you can tap into your intuition and trust it to help you design your second half.
This is a good time for me to tell you about a freebie I created to help you tap into your intuition as you design your second half. If you want to add more joy, connection, and fulfillment in your second half, you’ll want to make sure you’re tapping into this internal GPS system. I have some fun reflections that will help you recognize your intuition. Get this funsheet at here.
So what is intuition anyway? People refer to it as your gut reaction. I refer to it sometimes as a full and happy heart. Sometimes I say my insides are smiling. Your intuition is a physical knowledge center apart from what’s going on inside your head and your brain. Your intuition hints at profound feelings deep inside you that you can’t completely explain. Like maybe the first time you saw your beloved dog or cat. Now when you gaze into the eyes of your pet, you feel feelings of happiness. Can you remember why you picked that furry creature out of the litter? Something spoke inside you to help you select your pet and it was probably your intuition.
Whether it’s a hint of a feeling or lots of energy bubbling up from inside you, intuition can lead you toward a more authentic life. If you’ve ever felt exhilarated at the sight of a magnificent sunset or a majestic mountain range you know the feeling of energy bubbling up from inside of you. You might feel mesmerized watching pounding of waves on the shore or the flickering flames in a fireplace. I know people who get that feeling when they see a hummingbird outside their window or butterflies in a garden. That feeling of overflowing joy fills most of us when we see a beloved child playing gleefully.
Many of these feelings come from deep inside ourselves. Maybe they’ve been there since we were young children.
When we encounter something new in our life, we can tune into our bodies and see if our bodily reaction is one of expansion or contraction. If we feel a small amount of joy, we should do more of that thing. We shouldn’t analyze it in our head.
Intuition isn’t your brain or your brain’s reaction to something. You have to discern and focus on the feeling inside your body, not the dialog in your head. It’s not fear coming from your head. It’s more primal-in your body.
Have you ever been approached by someone and the hair of the back of your neck stands up? Or your gut gets tense for seemingly no reason. Your gut is telling you something your mind and your logical reasoning cannot.
You may not feel like you have intuition but all of us have intuition. It’s running in the background. The question is do you pay attention to it? Do you listen to the nuances of your body? Do you check in with yourself throughout the day? When you’re feeling that overjoyed feeling inside your body do you make a mental note of what you’re doing that’s linked to that feeling so you can do more of that type of thing on another day?
You uncover your intuition by checking in with yourself to explore how your gut and your heart and your insides are reacting to things. A lot of people have intuition but they just don’t listen to it. They ignore it. They’re busy with other things. Those movies playing in our mind are really powerful. We have to disrupt what’s going on in our mind to listen to our intuition. Yet our intuition may be more powerful than what’s in our mind.
Your intuition has a high probability of being correct. It’s an extremely helpful tool for designing your second half. You want to do more of the things that spark your inner joy. The only way to figure out what sparks your inner joy right now is to try different things and observe your inner reaction. I’ve talked a lot in other podcast episodes about taking baby steps. What I mean is that it’s good to try something new in a small way. Then you should check in with yourself. Ask yourself if your heart and your gut feel okay doing this new thing? If the answer is yes, take another small step in the same direction. If the answer is no, think about how you might pivot and explore a slightly different way of going about your new way of living. You get to adjust the next small thing you do based on whether you felt an expansion or a contraction inside your body when you experienced that new activity.
If I take a walk at sunset and I feel expansive and happy inside, then I want to adjust my calendar so I can take more walks at sunset. If I go out to dinner with a certain friend several times and I always come home feeling depleted, tired, or unsettled inside my body, then I need to rethink the amount of time I give that friendship or the way I’m interacting with that friend.
In contrast, let me tell you about last night. I went to a friend’s house. She moved recently and it was the first time I was in her new space. The lighting was soft and glowing. There was a candle on the table in front of us as we talked that gave off a hint of pomegranate. Instrumental music played in the background. It wasn’t overpowering us when we talked but it wrapped the silent moments in softness.
There was no clutter but her home didn’t feel sterile. Instead, I felt like I could really look at every piece of art, every family photo, every book or object. There was a thoughtfulness in the composition of every sightline.
As a guest I could choose among different seating experiences. Some chairs were low and deep, some provided more support for your back. Of course the hospitality matched the environment with delicious hors d’oevres and drinks.
The home matched the countenance of my friend. It was an outward extension of her authenticity, her quiet strength of character, her warm acceptance of me into her life.
If you want to unlock the intuition inside yourself and start living more joyfully, I encourage you to get the wonderful tool I’ve created just for you and this episode. Doing some inner work to reflect on our lives and to become more aware of our inherent wisdom is powerful. It will propel you forward. This is a gift we give ourselves. The tool I’ve created is free for you. I hope you’ll take advantage of it. You can get it by clicking here.
You can’t rush intuition…. You may have to take some baby steps doing something new before you can check in with yourself to see how your gut and how your heart feel.
What if you keep checking in with yourself and you don’t really feel anything inside yourself? This is so important to know about as you design your second half. If most of your day is flat lined, it’s time to experiment with doing some new things because if most of your day is flat lined, it probably means you’re stuck in a rut.
Life is for living my friends. This is never more important than when you are in your second half. There’s definitely a message out there in the world that if you’re over 45, you’re over the hill. There’s a message out there that we should all try to look like the perfect faces on the covers of the fashion magazines.
I want to rally all of you to unleash your own wisdom! Unleash from what conventional wisdom says—that we’re over the hill. We have so much to offer in our communities and in the world. But first we have to unleash the wisdom —the intuition—inside us.
You have to become quiet to recognize your intuition…. It’s not the loud voices in your head. It’s not an argument.
It’s not wishful thinking. Wishful thinking is coming from your head, not your gut.
It may come over you all of a sudden like an unexplained flash of insight or a feeling of rightness.
It’s a knowing from inside yourself. It can provide you with instant clarity about whether you’re drawn toward something or repelled from it.
Keep going toward that thing you’re drawn to. Don’t be afraid to redefine yourself and your purpose. Your second half of life is a powerful stage for making a difference in the lives of others. It’s a powerful stage for change—in your own life and the way you can serve others.
You can play small. You can stay in your head. You can keep things as they’ve always been. You can keep your life flat. Or you can play big. You can listen to your intuition as you try new things and redefine your second half in a more authentic way.
All of us have this power within ourselves.