It’s been a while now since the world has gone mad with the cult of personal growth and development. Messages like “you can do it”, “you can be anything that you want”, “just dream it and it will became true” permeate all communication channels, online and offline.
There is an unprecedented rise in number of people who work as personal development coaches, mentors, trainers, with a twist of spirituality, law of attraction and fervent followers of the “inner voice”.
I couldn’t have possibly remained inert to all of this, especially as I have always been passionate about self awareness, crafting a life of fulfillment and finding sources to boost my courage. I became extremely immersed in this movement, and for a year I was riding a wave of excitement, of inspiration, of giving up structure, saying goodbye to my “hyper rational mind”, leaning in to my emotions and intuition. And yeah, I have done (almost) all — attended a ton of courses, workshops, retreats, built my own Shaman drum, bought my own Yoni egg, reconnected to my Wild Side, you name it.
But after a while, it seemed like I got all the juice out of this way of being. I then had a really hard fall, from the universe of synchronicities and chances I didn’t have to work a lot for, back to the realm of everyday life. With obstacles, slow or no progress, and with the emotional impact of all my outrageously courageous decisions finally catching up to me. I found myself exhausted, struggling with panic attacks and a mild, but persistent state of sadness.
I was shocked to see that with all of my personal development and spiritual journey, I did not really know myself. Shocked to see that all my meditation practice was not really to bring awareness and be in the moment, but to escape in a magical land of positive energies and Divine Help that did not require for me to work that much.
As I look back now, not only to this part of my life, but even looking further back into my past — I feel really relieved that I did not go through with so many of my ideas and inner hunches.
If I had indiscriminately listened to my “inner voice”, I would have jeopardized an incredible and solid relationship for an intense fling.
If I had indiscriminately listened to my “inner voice”, I would have ended up exposing myself online and in live interactions in ways that weren’t really representative of myself.
I see how sometimes I have ended up doing the wrong thing. Gave up mid-way because things didn’t feel “exciting” anymore. Relied way more on serendipity than on solid, consistent, not that exciting work.
And this is all an invitation for me to be much more discriminate with what I consider to be my Intuition, or my Wise Inner Voice. I have learned not to take big, massive decisions in moments of peak enthusiasm or dire stress and disappointment. To keep things for myself sometimes. To be really aware of the reason why I decide to share my story with someone or in a certain environment. To let an idea settle for at least a couple of days before committing to it.
Amazingly, I have learned that taking massive, impulsive action is many times just a mask of fear. A coach I admire said something I really stand by and noticed by myself: “the opposite is the same”. What looks like overconfidence is actually just a mask of insecurity. What looks like “this is what my Intuition tells me to do and I need to follow up on it right now” may simply be a desperate attempt to fight against our fearful, postponing nature. It may be a counter-reaction to the inner feeling that this is not a great idea after all. That it would not withstand the scrutiny of detached analysis, that’s why we feel like we need to do it as fast as we can, before second thoughts jump in.
What is this thing that we really call Intuition? When should we follow it and when should we be willing to consider an opposite course of action? One thing that helps me sort out the “good kind of Intuition” for the one that bypasses awareness is this: if I feel really anxious about it, if I feel like I can’t wait, if I am not willing to consider, even for a moment, not doing it, than maybe I should hold my horses a little while more.
In development and personal growth, as well as in so many other things, sometimes the best path is that of simplicity and small steps. The long road is the shortcut. The path — if anything like that actually exists — requires moment to moment awareness. Accepting to see and deal with the mess in our closets before we yell out that “I’m healed!”, before we start preaching and selling the Secret and the Ultimate Solution we have found.
And while I am grateful for my Intuition and excitement, I am also grateful for the still, seemingly more boring inner voice that says “not yet”.