Archive for February, 2009

Navigation Tools for Life, Part II, Accessing Your Internal Guidance System

February 5, 2009

I’ll admit it: I take an Autie Mame approach to life, experiencing it as a wonderful banquet. And I am sometimes perplexed by those who turn their backs on that banquet. I suspect that one reason some people shun the banquet is that all those choices can be overwhelming. The banquet may be full of savory food, but making good choices can be daunting as you navigate your way through it.

In my last post, I suggested a very simple place to start: centering and grounding. But suppose you’re at that banquet. You have remembered to center and ground. Now what?

There are many tools to access your internal guidance system. Again, I’m in favor of simplicity. If you are going to make sense out of your internal guidance, then being able to discern an internal “yes” from an internal “no” is crucial. The brief suggestions on how to do that I am giving here are actually a slightly modified version of what can be found in my book, Living the Dream–A Guidebook for Job Seekers and Career Explorers.

  • First, realize that the internal “yes” and “no” are not accessed through your rational/logical thinking process, but are more likely to be found in your sensory system. So get out of your head and into your body.
  • Think of a time when you made a decision to do something, were confident that it was the right decision, and had an outstanding result. To the extent possible, time travel back to that place and fully embody it with all of your senses. (If you insist that it has never happened before, time travel to a point in the future when it is happening.)
  • Now, identify where in your sensory system you know the decision to go forward is a good one. Do you feel a sensation in some part of your body? Do you see an inner image? Hear something? Does your sense of smell or taste kick in? Note that.
  • Using the same time traveling technique, return to a time when you made a decision not to do something, were confident that it was the right decision, and have been forever grateful for your choice. Again, fully embody it and note which part or parts of your sensory system are providing you with the understanding that this is not something you should do. Make a note of it.
  • Now, using the information on what an internal “yes” and an internal “no” are for you, test it out. You might want to test it against something you know to be true and for which you have a strong emotional pull (“I love my cat, Stubbie,” for instance), then against something you know to be false and around which you have some emotional tuggin (“I have not the slightest concern about my 401k,” might be a good one right now).  Alternatively, just try it out on ordinary things in your day like which route to work is easiest on a particular day.
  • Pay attention to the spontaneous appearance of that “yes” and “no” in your life. The more to pay attention to your internal guidance system, the more it will guide you.

Are there other ways to access the internal guidance system? Of course! The one I have just described is a simple way to begin to hone your skills. Am I suggesting that no thought can be trusted, that you must only rely on your sensory system? Absolutely not! But I have discovered, over time, that we humans can bamboozle ourselves easily with our heads. It is vital to have a sensory system check. The rational/logical thoght process is great, but it does not serve us well when we’re looking for higher guidance.

But here is something else to try. Begin to pay attention to the fleeting thoghts that enter your mind, seemingly out of nowhere, that have a distinclty different tone to them than the usual internal chatter (which is more ego-involved). You might have the sudden thought to call your best friend, take a hike instead of go to the museum show you’d planned on, check out something in particular on the Internet–whatever. Listening to and following up on those fleeting thoughts can be very instructive. (Just be sure to use appropriate discretion.)

You have an internal GPS system. You might as well take advantage of it. It can make navigating life’s banquet more delicious, not to mention easier on the stomach.

I would love to hear how you experience your internal guidance system.



copyright 2009 by Melanie Mulhall