At the heart of what so many people I know yearn for is… connection.
Connection with others in peaceful, loving ways.
Connection with meaning, purpose, and joy.
Connection with nature and our beautiful world.
Connection with spirit (in whatever language or framework resonates).
Connection with stories and possibilities that matter and lift us up.
Connection with the best in ourselves.
The last one, I think, is the crux and the kicker.
Coaching clients often show up feeling disconnected from themselves, in subtle or significant ways. One woman explained, “I know this may sound weird, but I feel out of touch with myself.” Other people comment, “things are ok, good even… but something’s not quite right in my (life/marriage/job/home/etc…), and I want to figure out what that is.”
When they dig down, people express longing to connect more deeply to their inner wisdom and to orbit around that powerful centre.
I believe we all sense intuitively that when we’re in a state of (loving) connection with ourselves, it’s easier to be kind. To be gentle. To make decisions we feel good about - or at least, can live with. To laugh and cry and be soft and tender and messy, not so rigid and tight and bound up and isolated. To feel inspired. To focus on what matters most and say no to the rest. To accept ‘what is’ while also taking action to create ‘what could be.’ To take risks that feel vitalizing and brave and expansive (even when parts of us are completing freaking out!). To handle the crappy stuff with more grace and resilience.
What I also hear, experience, and know is that it can be difficult to experience connection with our inner wisdom amidst the din of daily life.
Your kid just puked all over your lap (with your work clothes on!).
The dog has a parasite and needs to go to the vet.
Your boss asks you to stay late, again.
You’ve been scrolling on social media for...oops, where did forty minutes GO?!
Making dinner feels like a truly herculean task, and the house is a freaking disaster.
The demands, the chaos, the fray – they never really stop, right?
So, where the hell exactly are you supposed to find the space and conditions to ‘get in touch with your inner wisdom?’
I’m not gonna lie. It’s not easy.
Heck, even if you manage to check one thing off the list, it often seems to come at the expense of another: you got in a morning run, but damn it, now you’re running behind to get to work on time. You prioritized an evening meditation practice, but then you’re up late packing the next day’s lunch, and you wake up tired. Argh!
So, how do you cultivate this so-called ‘inner wisdom’ on the regular, in a way that’s realistic, do-able, and fits in an already full life?
Well, here’s what I’m noticing, for my clients and myself:
Forget big, wildly ambitious goals.
Instead, claim and commit to teeny, tiny acts of loving self-discipline. Small steps, like:
Take 3 conscious breaths once a day (close your eyes, try it right now, and tell me that doesn’t feel awesome!).
Schedule appointments that keep you in touch with yourself: a heart to heart with a friend; a session with a therapist, coach, or health practitioner; a dance class.
Put a timer on before you start screen scrolling. Protect time that would have gone into that vortex for attention to your inner landscape.
Read one page from a wisdom-nourishing book before you get out of bed each morning.
Set a timer for 5-15 minutes. Pose an important question to your inner GPS system (Yes, I promise, you have one! More on that in future blogs). Let yourself write freely.
Lie down, be quiet, and rest. Even just for two minutes!
Pay attention to what activities cultivate a quality of presence to yourself. Reflect on what rituals bring you most alive and get creative about weaving them into the tapestry of your life - ideally, on the daily.
Equally notice what helps you pause periodically to pull attention from the compelling allure of the external world in order to pay full attention to what’s happening within you. (It’s easier said than done, with so many superficial sound bites and glossy visuals overwhelming us).
But I argue it’s so worth it. If you slow down more often, get still and quiet and listen:
What whispers inside you are waiting for your attention?
What are your feelings murmuring to you?
What guidance is your gut providing you?
What sensations is your body offering you to drop into and learn from?
And it’s not just the practice or small step itself that matters, when it comes to cultivating inner wisdom. Simply creating an intention is significant. Honouring a commitment to yourself is powerful (no matter the scale of the action). As you practice a consistent ritual, you build trust and faith in yourself and your capacity to set priorities and boundaries in many different areas of your life.
Teeny. Consistent. Follow through.
Are you already practicing some ritual that keeps you anchored in yourself?
If yes, give yourself a freaking high five and KEEP GOING!
If not, what’s the best bang for your buck kind of activity you could do daily to nurture connection to yourself?
There’s only one person you’re going to spend your whole life with.
That’s you, of course.
So, make the time for yourself.
You have a treasure chest of wisdom inside of you.
Get in there, and enjoy it!