Olive Von Topp
Accessing Your Knowing
It's okay to want more AND it's also okay to not know exactly what it is you want. Maybe you just know that you don't want this. And that is a good place to start from. If you don't know what exactly it is you want, here are a few suggestions for how to start exploring it:
1. Get Quiet
This is a tough one, but super important to getting closer to knowing what you want. There is just so much noise in our lives. So many distractions, so many things vying for our attention, so many messages telling us what we ought to want and how we ought to behave.
In order to get some clarity on what you actually do want, you're going to need to create space to cut out some of the noise and actually get quiet.
Whether it be meditating, avoiding your phone for large stretches of time, walks in nature, etc.- you're going to need to find space to shut a lot of it off so you can be alone with your thoughts.
And not the thoughts you were programmed to believe, your actual deep knowing. Your intuition. A feeling. The voice that is telling you "there must be more than this".
2. Notice Where "Should" is Showing Up
When you go to get quiet, you will of course battle a lot of thoughts telling you what you "should" do. These are not your intuition or deep understanding, these are the thoughts you have been programmed to believe.
Notice them. Write them down even. Get curious about them. Challenge them.
If you're trying to decide what you want and the word "should" comes up or "what would so and so think"- know this is not your voice. This is not your inner guidance of what you really want. This is the shit you have been programmed to believe. The shit that keeps you small and accepting "good enough". Notice it. Acknowledge it. Get quieter. Go deeper.
3. Pay Attention to Your "Yeses" and Your "Nos"
Close your eyes (well, read this and then close your eyes). Think of a time in your life when you were a yes. A full-bodied- fuck yes. Whether it was a relationship, a job, a move, or a risk.
Whatever it was, you were all in. As you recall that in your mind, what is happening in your body? What sensations do you feel? How would you describe it? Are there colours, sensations, temperatures, etc? What is it that tells you this is a "YES!"? Now, if it feels safe enough to, do the same with something you were a hard "no" to- whether that be a relationship, job, life change, etc. What does that feel like? What are you feeling in your body? What is it that tells you this is a "no"? Pay attention to these sensations. Write them down. Practice this exercise regularly. Remind yourself that you do in fact know- you have in fact known in the past when you are a yes or a no. And even if you don't exactly know right now what you want- you possess the ability. You may have already figured out what you DON'T want, so can you practice trusting that when the right thing comes along- you will know.
4. Reconnect to Your Body
This is a tough one and takes lots of practice but since our intuition is something that is FELT (and something we have been socialized out of trusting), not thought, we need to be able to be in our bodies to feel it. And I acknowledge that for many of us, our bodies haven't felt like safe places to be, so this work can be really layered and tough. And some of us aren't ready to be in our bodies, and that's okay too. But if you are ready, what are some ways you can start trying to be more in your body?
Are there ways that can help you connect to your body?
Dance? Yoga or some type of movement activity? Breath-work? Somatic Experiencing?
Even something as simple as listening to your body's cues when it is telling you things and then accommodating those said needs can be huge. So for example, when you're tired, resting. When you're hungry, eating. When you have to pee, using the washroom.
These may seem small and insignificant but these are the places we begin to re-establish that connection and that trust with our bodies. Anything that helps you be in and connect with your body is going to be helpful in accessing your intuition.
5. Get Bored
Sometimes I don't think we allow ourselves to get bored often enough. We are so keen to fill in the blank spaces that we don't have time to think. Or be. To let ourselves get bored. Creativity is born out of boredom.
So, similarly to removing distractions, allowing ourselves to get bored opens us up to being able to sit with ourselves and our tough questions and feelings. And sometimes some really good insights emerge.
6. Embrace the Messy
It may feel super uncomfortable not knowing, and that is okay. Can you lean into that a bit? Can you just practice accepting that things are uncertain right now and maybe a bit uncomfortable and lean into that?
Sometimes life doesn’t fit into neat little boxes and the sooner we accept what is, the less suffering we will experience. On the topic of messy- I like to do some “messy” writing. Stream of consciousness stuff where I don’t worry about how it will look or if someone read it or even if it makes sense.
I just start with a thought “What do I want?” and go from there, writing out everything that comes up no matter how “small’ or “silly”. You can do it until you’ve exhausted all answers or even to a timer. What comes up can be super illuminating.
7. Practice Self-Trust & Self-Compassion
Remind yourself that you have figured things out in the past and you will figure them out again.
Know that no matter what happens, you will have your own back, as you always have. You take care of yourself. You show up for yourself. You've found answers and found your way in the past. You will do it again. Sometimes even writing a list of times you’ve had your own back or done hard things or shown up for yourself can be really helpful in reminding you that you will figure it out. And even if you don't have the answers or know right now, can you offer yourself some compassion? This is hard work, we've been trained out of our knowing, and sometimes it is going to take some time to access our own inner insights. No matter where you’re at, it’s okay. If you just know you want more or are unsatisfied with your life. That’s okay. You don’t HAVE to do anything with that. And if you do want to make a change but you aren’t sure what it is, that’s okay too.
We don’t have to know everything immediately all the time with certainty. Try these things over and over until you start to get some clarity. It may not come as an “ah-ha”, it may come in small pieces of information.
However it comes, know that you are strengthening your connection to your own insights and that you will eventually figure it out.
You always do.