Some of of the intuitive steps on my path…
I broke up with my high school boyfriend at 16 because I had a feeling. I had NO IDEA why I did it at the time, but the feeling turned out to be – I’m meant to go away for school, and I wasn’t going to be held back.
I applied to one college that I visited once and knew no one (out of 2000 students in just my class). I just *knew* I was meant to go there. I met my life partner, and best friends of 18+ years.
After graduating, I felt deeply (DEEPLY) lost. I had planned to apply to PhD programs – one of my Women’s Studies professors asked me, ‘why?’, and I didn’t have an answer. She also told me that she would pay for her two year old daughter’s college before her PhD loans were paid off. And I interned for a therapist (she was a LCSW) who was one of the most cruel, miserable people I’ve ever met. Seeing her weirdness and misery scared me – I associated it with her profession.
I felt lost for two years, and then I was diagnosed with cancer, and that changed everything.
While surviving cancer treatment (a very invasive surgery + brutal chemotherapy – and I was one of the very lucky ones with a good prognosis), I lost connection with what I really wanted (I believe because I was terrified to ‘lose everything’ again). It felt like I was in a fugue/grief/dissociative state for 12 years, and I DIDN’T KNOW IT. [I will have much more to say about this in the future but what I will say right now is: I didn’t have the tools to deal with what was happening when I had cancer – to my body, in treatment, within my family, with my life plans. It was nearly impossible to survive, and my mind did the best it could to protect me by entering this state. But now, on the other side, I feel like I lost 10-12 years of time. I had the sense that time was passing, but it didn’t feel real. It is very difficult to explain this unless you’ve experienced it.]
While going through chemotherapy treatment (yes, I lost my hair, eyelashes, and most of my eyebrows – everyone always wants to know!) I felt a calling to pursue my creative interests. Which interestingly, I had more or less ditched when I left for college – I did not see anyone making a living from creative work growing up and I believed I needed to get a ‘real job’ and be a serious adult. I took a single art class in college, because I had to fulfill a humanities requirement.
Living through chemotherapy gave me A LOT OF TIME to think, ponder, and consider. It was the first time in my life I got really quiet, and in that space I heard the pull to “not get a desk job” when we moved to Texas, and pursue a creative career. I had no idea how to do this, or what it would become, but I blurted it out and followed through.
I became a passionate, multi-medium creative. I realize now that I love learning + mastery more than a specific medium. I thrive when I let myself express an idea through whichever medium fits the idea best. I’ve followed this path with dedication, met + connected with creative communities, and have had lots of opportunities (over a looooong period of time – 12 years).
I came to a crossroads – I felt uncertainty about ‘what’s next’, which I think was related to feeling disconnected from my desire, and I deeply believe it is imperative that we get quiet when we feel uncertainty about what’s next – this is our intuition nudging at us. I heard about a coach training three different times in one week, and I signed up the following week. I had zero plans of changing my work focus – I just felt called to learn. I started right as the pandemic began, and without knowing it, entered into a deep three year transformation (I’m still here!).
I learned about the brain, mindset, how our subconscious works; I continued therapy, coaching on deep stuff (purpose/desires), 🍄, hypnotherapy, tapping, silent meditation retreats – anything and everything that I encountered and felt called to.
And where they’ve led me today…
I’m as ‘in it’ as ever, but I feel more myself than I have in a decade+.
I’ve shedded who I think I ‘should be’, achievement for achievement’s sake, caring about what my path looks like (to others, that it looks how it ‘should’).
I think I’ll talk more openly about this someday, but this year has brought four major personal tragedies (and other minor ones) that have shaken me to my core. They snapped me out of being ‘good + nice’, and doing what I think is expected of me.
We all have reckonings if we are really living, participating, and engaging in what life is presenting us with.
And don’t get me wrong, they fucking suck to live through!
But they fundamentally change us, and I wouldn’t go back if someone paid me to. Even if I got to avoid what I’ve lived through this year (and in my past). Suffering brings an offering to gain awareness and compassion. It can deepen us in ways we could not otherwise.
All of this – feeling humbled by life but extremely alive and in touch with what I desire – is what’s possible when we follow an intuition-led life. A life we could never plan – one that is bigger and better than we could imagine for ourselves.
At times, it feels like you’re in the ‘spin cycle’ – getting stretched and rung out and you can’t possibly take anymore.
But this is where we discover ourselves – who we REALLY ARE. It’s where our character is developed. Where we earn resilience. And we need those qualities – to become ourselves in a world that trains us to become what is expected of us. To exist in an unfair world and make our work, our mark, our legacy. To take on conditioning as we develop, and then bravely shed it (when you have the calling and feel ready!).
Through these personal tragedies, I have reconnected to myself. To 22 year old me, who had huge goals, plans, and desires (she knew exactly what she wanted).
I’m making plans. I feel that direction again. These tragedies (that I did not think I could survive at times – one was tolerable but the way they piled up was unbearable) snapped me out of the fugue state I was in. Where the only thing that mattered was personal achievement – I didn’t care even a little bit about what it cost me personally (this is no way to live, btw). I was shaken so deeply that I was snapped out of it by some of the deepest suffering I’ve experienced – some inflicted and some by letting go of what I knew wasn’t ‘for me’ anymore.
It takes bravery – one shaky step at a time. It takes self-trust – you often don’t know where you’ll land. It takes discomfort – no one likes being in an unknown space, and I believe you’re in one until you learn everything you’re meant to. And mostly it takes intuitive listening – orienting towards yourself, rather than all the (LOUD) voices outside you.
This is a process AND a practice – and it is available to everyone (yes, even you).
Interested in hearing more examples of how what creating an intuition-led life looks like?
I recorded an podcast about exactly this (and it covers different things than this essay). Listen here: