Food for thought - following your intuition

How often do you find yourself needing a wee? Not just in general, but more specifically at a time when you're busy at your desk or running around, or halfway through cooking scrambled eggs and so you hold off until you can barely contain yourself? If we're really honest, it's likely most of us would say we put it off when we appear to be doing something more important.

This simple example is one of the many ways we have learnt to ignore the signals of our body on a daily basis, quite possibly without even realising it. Life-centred business coach Kate Northrup has a motto that comes to mind: 'Body first, Business second'. This idea is based on the proof that we are far less productive when we don't take necessary time out for ourselves - including a loo break!

I invite you to start noticing when you ignore your body's simple signals; to drink some water and stretch your legs when you notice the call to do so. By starting to respect these simple bodily signals we may begin the process of tapping deeper into our intuition that always exists within us, but that most of us have learnt to manipulate or control.

I'll use the example of a social occasion. I can't count the number of times I've dragged myself to the pub - my body yawning and in need of rest, not beer - just because I don't want to miss out or because I've committed to someone. But last weekend I got halfway to a friend's party and noticed a ball of anxiety in my stomach at the thought of all the things I needed to do the next day. I wanted to be fresh, rested and clear-headed, not tired and groggy. I stopped and looked up at the glow of a lamp post, shrouded by the wide leaves of a pavement tree that clapped gently in the breeze.

The tree made me feel calm and my stomach suddenly eased. The prominent physiological affect of that calming image versus the worry-inducing thought of a night out made my decision easy. For the first time ever, I walked halfway to a social event and did a 180 turn straight back towards home, solely based on the way my body felt. In Shakti Gawain's book Developing Intuition, she says: 'The more you feel your body and listen to the signals that your body is giving you, the more it helps you get connected to your intuition.' My body's signals couldn't have been clearer, and as soon as I began to walk home I felt at ease.

As mentioned in Shakti Gawain's book, the body is just a conduit for our higher intelligence, and if we listen to it, it can act as a barometer to the world around us. In this way we might learn to tap into the power of our intuition. Our bodies may lead us to make choices we might not usually make, giving us a surprise when we feel called to leave an inappropriate conversation when we'd usually grit our teeth through it, or put down our pen to get up and use the toilet. But the body often knows what we need far better than our thinking mind.

It takes practice, but the benefits of leading from the power of our body's intuition are endless. But one step at a time, we can start by going for a wee when we need to.