Many unexpected gifts come at midlife and beyond, and one of them is a deeper trust in ourselves. After all, we’ve been living in our bodies for a long time – who knows us better than we do?
I believe intuition plays a part in our deeper trust. You just have to listen. You have to trust your gut.
Midlife in some ways is similar to adolescence. Unlike previous generations, most of us see many years ahead filled with infinite possibilities and new beginnings. When intuition is allowed to speak, we can narrow our choices to ones that nourish us and allow us to grow.
Leaving an unfulfilling job, selling your home, relocating to another part of the country, leaving an unhappy marriage, venturing into marriage and making health care decisions are just some of the issues that arise at midlife.
How does your intuition factor into your decisions? Do you believe your intuition’s messages have value? Where in your body does your intuition present itself – your gut, your heart or elsewhere? Which speaks louder – your head or your heart? How do you use this information when making a big decision?
As a holistic nutritionist, my work with women who want to eat well and take better care of themselves is intrinsically linked to intuition. When you know yourself on a deep level, you know what you need, and that includes food.
You connect with your body to know how much is enough. You know when your body is energized by the food you eat and when your food choices make you feel sluggish or inflamed.
When we talk intuition, we use the term “gut feeling.” For most of us, the intuitive feelings we get manifest in the belly. Have you ever said, “I just can’t stomach that,” when you encounter a situation that doesn’t feel right for you? We instinctively know what is right for us – or wrong – we just have to learn to honor it. Our intuition is a reliable guide.
Tapping into your intuition takes practice. You need to get away from your “thinking” self and get into your “feeling” self. I have an exercise for you to try:
Find a 15-minute time span where you are sure you won’t be interrupted. Fill a water bottle with warm water and lie down on your bed in a darkened room. Place the water bottle over your belly. With no preconceived notions of what might come up for you, lie there and just be. Feel the warmth of the water on your belly. Let your mind relax and trust it will give you whatever insight you need.
It may be nothing but relaxing or it may be profound. All you have to do is be there.
After you do this, take some time to reflect on your experience.
Work with your intuition. Noted gynecologist Dr. Christiane Northrup suggests intuition becomes more powerful after menopause because we no longer put energy into our cycles, freeing up energy and focus. Life has its rhythms and intuition is a powerful rhythmic element of later life.
It’s what leads many older women to make major changes.
In my late 40s, I felt restless in my career. I was a telecommunications manager at Harvard Medical School and though it was interesting work, it did not feel authentic to me. What drew me to accept the position was the idea that I’d be in the midst of some amazing medical minds, as I thought I had an interest in medicine.
But what slowly emerged for me was that medicine was not what interested me; it was healing that had meaning for me. I wondered how we heal. How is it different from medicine?
These feelings emerged from deep inside me and led me to study Chinese medicine and holistic nutrition. The more I studied, the stronger I felt that this was my authentic purpose or calling. I resigned from my job at Harvard. I listened to my gut 20 years ago and have not had a single moment of regret. It was truly my intuition that allowed me to trust in this life-changing decision.
When it comes to making decisions, do you trust your gut? Do you have a story you can share? How has your intuition influenced your life and the choices you make, both large and small? Let’s start a conversation.