5 WAYS TO FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS (ACCORDING TO SHAMANS)
5 WAYS TO FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS (ACCORDING TO SHAMANS)
In life, love, business, & everywhere, really. *Get Your Sh*t Together Week*
By: Karin Eldor
Photography: Jake Rosenberg
We hear it all the time when faced with a decision: “Follow your gut” and “do a gut check.” Tbh it’s reassuring to know that our guts can guide and help us decipher between right or wrong/thigh-high or ankle bootie (or both?)/hard pass or YASSS.
But how do we actually harness our sixth sense and make a decision before swiping right or signing on the dotted line?
We consulted two of our favorite experts on the topic: Colleen McCann, fashion-stylist-turned-energy-practitioner-slash-Shaman at StyleRituals.com, and Eva Gajzer, former fashion, beauty, & advertising consultant turned Conscious Brand Strategist as Founder & CEO of ONENESS.
Before you dismiss this as woo-woo juju, take note: These mystical, energetic feelings are legit. There’s actual science behind following your intuition, as the gut is referred to as “the third brain” (along with the head and heart). McCann firmly believes “we all have a sixth sense, can identify bad vibes and ‘tap in.’”
Here are five ways to ensure you’re feeling good vibes only before passing GO.
1. PRACTICE MEDITATION & MINDFULNESS
Chalk this up to yet another benefit of meditation (in addition to decreasing stress and anxiety, and increasing focus and memory retention). Turns out that “even 10 minutes a day of quiet time in a meditative state can make a huge difference in one’s life,” according to McCann.
She explains: “If you are like most people and can’t turn that hamster wheel of a brain off to relax, then start training your brain and body by listening to guided meditation. P.S.: Headspace is a great app for that.”
Engaging in stillness and mindfulness can eventually help activate and awaken your intuition. So much so that, according to Gajzer, becoming present is her first step in decision-making.
“Connecting with the breath is my go-to. From there I set intentions to make the best decisions for the person, business, and planet that needs support. My intuition from there is pretty much on fire. Keeping my third eye open (the third eye is located in the space between the eyebrows and is one’s center of intuition) is vital to the work we do, and this exists through my morning practice—which includes praying, intending, practicing Kundalini, and meditating for about 30 minutes or more—and training in Shamanism with Dr. Peter Bonaker, Clairvoyant training, Magical Awakening, and Reiki.”
Gajzer asserts that we all have “the gift.”
“IT JUST COMES DOWN TO TRUSTING THAT IT EXISTS AND SETTING ASIDE TIME TO STRENGTHEN THESE SPIRITUAL MUSCLES. MEDITATING AND PRACTICING SOME YOGA ARE GREAT FIRST STEPS.” —EVA GAJZER
2. TRY ACTIVE VISIONING
Next step: active visionsing. According to McCann, “This is like meditation, only you are not trying to zone out or relax. You are on high alert looking at all the details that you are sensing through the process. You can do this with music or in a quiet place, whatever works for you. Close your eyes, and imagine everything about the specific situation: For example, walk through what a first day at the (potential) job will look like, imagine where that business opportunity will take you two years from now… Sense into what your reaction is during this exercise, and take note of that. What feelings come up? Joy, fear, trust, anxiety, excitement, success, etc.?”
“YOUR BODY, MIND, AND ENERGETIC FIELD ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO GIVE YOU A HEADS-UP ABOUT THE SITUATION. LISTEN.” —COLLEEN MCCANN
3. TUNE IN TO WHAT YOUR BODY IS TELLING YOU
Our bodies are giving us all kinds of signals, especially in matters of the heart; it’s up to us to pay attention.
“Your physical body can be your greatest ally and the ultimate barometer to saying YES or HELL NO. When you look at someone’s photo when deciding to swipe left or right, meet for a first date, or are physically intimate and something just doesn’t feel quite right, trust what your body is telling you,” McCann explains.
These are some of the signals you may experience if you high-key want to cut your date short:
“(You might feel) a sinking, sick, or anxious feeling in your stomach. Or something in your gut might be telling you it’s not a match, even if you can’t pinpoint the reason.”
McCann continues: “Your body can also show signs of physical reaction like anxiety, headache, rashes, feeling ill out of the blue right before a date and having to cancel, or you might not like how the person smells… These feelings can also manifest themselves in the form of UTIs, yeast infections, etc. Your body is saying, ‘Hey there! This isn’t a good fit.’”
Gajzer agrees: “I’m highly sensitive and, having had Crohn’s disease since I was a 7 years old, I trust my gut like no one’s business. If my belly gets in knots or feels uncomfortable, I listen up since I know it’s telling me something.”
4. FLEX YOUR INTUITIVE MUSCLE (PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT)
We haven’t simply reached peak mysticism; there are scientific facts behind the gut-brain connection.
This article, “Gut Feelings—the ‘Second Brain’ in Our Gastrointestinal Systems,” in Scientific American explains it best:
“This mind-gut connection is not just metaphorical. Our brain and gut are connected by an extensive network of neurons and a highway of chemicals and hormones that constantly provide feedback about how hungry we are, whether or not we’re experiencing stress. That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach after looking at your post-holiday credit card bill is a vivid example of the brain-gut connection at work. You’re stressed and your gut knows it—immediately.” (Same.)
The trick to flexing your intuitive and energy muscles is like working your physical muscles. “You must use them and practice often,” McCann tells us. “The more you flex your intuitive muscle and the more fluid it becomes on the daily, the more ‘fit’ your intuition becomes and you can come to rely on it as part of a healthy lifestyle.”
5. DO A TAROT CARD READING OR USE A CRYSTAL PENDULUM
Sometimes we simply need a sign to validate our decisions, so if you want to take this a step further (and you don’t have a Magic 8 Ball handy), McCann’s go-to tip as a Shaman would be a tarot card reading around the question or decision at hand, or working with a crystal pendulum to get some clear “yes” or “no” answers. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, then see a licensed energy medicine practitioner for such services.