Recently I have been away in Bali, the first week in Ubud on a course for yoga teachers learning how to teach yoga online, the second week in Canggu practicing yoga in some great studios, trying out all the vegan cafes/restaurants, and learning to surf.
After a few days of surfing, I made the transition from using a beginner soft-board to a hardboard. I was nervous about doing so for I had thought to myself, “If that board hits me it’s going to hurt!”, but as I wasn’t completely new to surfing I decided it was time to take the plunge…
For my final day in Bali, I had a yoga photoshoot booked with a talented photographer called Jake Paul-White, one of the teachers running the online yoga course. For a while now I’ve been keen to get some pictures with him having seen his work, so I was very much looking forward to it.
A perfect plan was laid out, I would head to the beach for my final surf, have an hour turn around to get ready and then meet Jake for the photoshoot. However, in the morning I woke up with a bit of a stiff neck and also knew that the waves were going to be pretty big (probably too big for me to surf). So I felt it might be better for me to stay at the retreat center, have a massage, enjoy a bit of pool time, practice yoga, get ready leisurely, and then head off for the shoot. No drama, no rush, no stress.
But in my head, I thought “No!” I should head to the beach and stick to the plan. I had already paid for the surf coaching sessions and most importantly I didn’t want to miss out on catching my last few waves. On the drive to the beach, a guy in our group started talking about some surfing horror stories, and my intuition started to speak louder, saying that perhaps I should just relax on the beach instead. When we got to the beach and I saw the big waves, my gut instinct was not to surf. I even said to my friend “I might not go in as I didn’t want anything happening to me before the photo shoot.”
Once the ocean calmed down a bit the coaches decided to take us into the white water (broken waves), instead of the green waves which I had been riding all week. As beginners learn in white water, I thought “Great! That’ll be easy, I’m going in.” However, this white water was strong, messy, and high, plus I was still new to surfing on the hardboard, which is far less stable than the big soft boards.
I took one wave to the shore, it was wobbly but ok, so I went to take another, this time the wave knocked me off before I was able to pop up. Within seconds, I felt a massive whack on my forehead. I soon realised I was bleeding, the impact was so hard it split the skin. This resulted in me being taken to the medical center to have stitches. At this point, I was still thinking optimistically that the photoshoot could go ahead. After I was bandaged up and took time to breathe on the journey back to my accommodation I surrendered to the fact that I had to cancel the shoot.
I said to myself “I knew it, all the signs were there, I should have trusted my intuition not to surf today”, a little voice had been trying so hard to tell me all day, but I ignored it. So much for my perfect plan. Fate is such a strange thing and maybe this is exactly how things were meant to turn out. Although it was a painful and frustrating experience, what I took from it was a valuable lesson to trust in my intuition. Far too often we listen to our head more than our heart. I am fully aware of this mind trap so usually try consciously to observe what my gut feelings are telling me rather than my thoughts, and sometimes ego. But as we all know this is often easier said than done, as we try to control things so they turn out exactly how we want them to, as opposed to connecting to subtler, wiser messages and flowing forward in the direction they lead us.
I find practices like yoga, meditation, mindfulness, chanting (mantra), being silent in nature and other spiritual practices a great way to quieten the mind so we can more easily connect to our inner voice, our inner truth, and inner knowing. Our emotions are our inner guidance system and we could benefit greatly from listening to them more. If something doesn’t feel right, acknowledge it and find a way to work through it or move on from it. Likewise, if something feels right and in your heart of hearts you believe it to be good for you then it probably is. But, remember what felt great for you last week may not be so great for you the next. In a way it’s simple, we can find the answers within us if we listen with open hearts and without judgement and not overthink or complicate matters.
I believe the times we ignore our intuition are when we don’t like what it is telling us, or the inner conflict between heart and head confuses us, or when we want the outcome to be different from where and what it is guiding us to. In this instance, we have to build up the courage to honour the messages we are hearing within and follow our individual wisdom regardless of what our mind is saying. There’s a purpose for intellect and ego, and also one for feelings and emotions, and a time and place for both. It’s our personal responsibility to start understanding when it’s best to listen to either one.
Take some time this week to observe your own patterns between your thinking brain vs feeling body. Meditate upon this. In what area of your life do you find these internal conflicts arise? How do they present themselves and how do you deal with them? As we have a greater tendency to be in our head and our thoughts too much, I encourage you to drop into your heart and explore some of the practices I mentioned earlier that help me hear my intuition clearer. Begin to trust your feelings more and see where they guide you.
I hope you find this exploration of trusting your intuition beneficial and feel free to send me a message if you have any questions or if you want to share your own stories with me, I’d love to hear from you.
Love & Peace,