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This photo was taken the night Mom and Dad met. They saw each other across a crowded room, turned to their companions, and said, “That’s the one I’m going to marry.” One month later, they did marry, and they stayed married, devotedly, 55 years, until my mother’s death from cancer in 2020.

This story fascinated me, and I asked Mom to tell it again and again. 

How did you know?” I begged. If I understood the mechanism, I figured I could repeat it.

She simply smiled and said, “I just knew.” I accepted this. She was my mother. She and Dad still loved each other, so just knowing must be true, real thing.

The Gifts of Intuition

Belief in intuition – just knowing – turns out to be one of my parents’ greatest gifts to me. Because I believed in it, I looked for it. When I felt it, I allowed myself to be guided by it, then believed in it more. The strengthening spiral of looking, finding, trusting, acting, crediting, looking, finding, trusting, etc., has given me –

Clarity at key moments. It worked not just for recognizing my husband (you can read that story in “Recognizing Love”, but for recognizing vocations (“Calling” and “Weaving the Strands Together”), giving birth (“Learning to Birth”), and becoming a better parent (“Learning to Listen”).

Trust in myself. Because intuition has guided me so reliably, I trust myself to know what to do, when. I feel, as Martha Beck says, for what wants to happen. If I feel nothing, I know the thing isn’t ripe yet – the time is wrong, or I need more information. 

Faith in my decisions. Last week I wrote about doubting your doubts instead of your goals when things get hard. Well, this week a goal got hard for me! I wondered, “Do I really want this?” The answer was a memory of the moment the goal was made: I just knew I wanted it. I felt a wave of peace, and my doubt melted away. I adjusted my expectations of what pursuing it would entail and carried on.

How to Just Know

None of this is to say I’m infallible – far from it. It’s that intuition is such a big part of how I know what to do, I wanted to share tips on how to recognize and befriend it.

Yes, befriend. Intuition is like a kid who wants to be your friend but is shy. Make the first move, softly, and keep encouraging. 

Please bring to mind something you would like clarity on, perhaps a goal you’re doubting or another kind of decision you’re mulling. Ask your question and – 

Recognize – 

  • Intuition is quiet and gentle. It does not yell, so quiet yourself and listen. Its messages are kind, sometimes offered in words, like “Rest,” or, “Go for walk,” and sometimes in images, such as memories or visions.
  • Intuition feels good in the body. Sometimes lightning bolt-good, sometimes warmer-good. Regardless of the intensity, it feels light, expansive, and grounded.
  • Intuition provokes positive emotions. You will feel peace tinged with other positive emotions, sometimes subtle, like relief or contentment, and sometimes powerful, like joy, love, awe. 

Befriend – 

  • Friendships grow with intention and attention. So, set an intention to develop your intuition and pay attention to it. Look for it. What you look for, you find. Take a chance and trust and act on its message, then notice the results and give intuition the credit. Crediting encourages you to keep looking, finding, trusting, acting, and crediting again in a strengthening spiral.

What is intuition exactly, and where does it come from? Honestly, I don’t know. But its gifts have been too clear and miraculous for me to doubt that, even when you don’t understand the mechanism, sometimes, you just know.

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