101. How to Lean Into Your Intuition
Welcome to the Empowered brain, the only podcast using science, psychology and coaching to help you rewire your brain and create a life you love with your host, Dr. Vanessa Calderon, a Harvard grad physician, master coach, and mother of two.
High school sweet friends, welcome back, Episode 101, leaning into your intuition. All right, so what we're going to do today is I'm gonna share my own experience with all of you about intuition, and my spiritual journey. And then I want to walk you through a few steps to help you start to access your own intuition.
So the reason why I'm talking about this is that your intuition is always going to be your North Star, it's your inner knowing, and it's how you know that you are on the right path. So it's really important for you to continue to stay connected to your intuition. Alright, so let me quickly share a story with you, which is my own spiritual journey.
So here's the thing, I have always kind of been a spiritual person. And I was raised kind of in a house where religion really mattered. And we were the kind of family that went to church all of the time. And I knew from a really young age that I didn't believe in the dogma of religion, I remember when I was five, and I was in Sunday school. And the Sunday School teacher said, yeah, you can only go to heaven if you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. So I was Christian. And I was like, Wait, hold on a second. What about all those people that never get to hear because they're not Christian?
Like all those people that live on remote islands? And I remember asking, and then she says, Oh, no, don't worry, everybody gets to hear. I was like, what, that doesn't make any sense. from a really young age, I kind of knew that. I didn't really fully, you know, buy into the dogma. But I've always been really spiritual. And I was always really also afraid and insecure to talk about my spirituality, outside of like a very close group of people. Because I was so afraid to be judged, I was afraid of it sounding kind of woo-woo. And people being like that woman's crazy. And so I wouldn't really talk about it, which meant I was hiding it, which meant I was afraid of it, which meant I didn't lean into it. And I didn't really get to access it to its capacity. And, you know, it's not a surprise, because I had always been so attached to this idea of success, and success being sort of linear, you know, I would do really well in high school, I would go to the best college, then I would go to the best med school, and then I would become a physician.
And then I would continue on that path, I would become a physician leader than a hospital administrator, and sort of kind of follow what had been done before me. And because I was doing that, I ignored my intuition, it would tell me, you know, I remember when I was matching into residency, it said, Hey, you don't want to be an anesthesiologist. And I felt that inside and they knew it. But I, you know, based on fear and pushing my intuition aside, I matched into anesthesia anyway. And I landed about one year as an anesthesiologist before I switched to emergency medicine because that's really where my heart was. And I've done other things.
Similarly, you know, I stayed in my physician Administrator role for longer than my intuition told me, you know, it was time to switch, but I was so afraid. And so I ignored my intuition. And I stayed there longer. And, you know, I say that to all of you. Because, you know, a lot of us make decisions based on fear. We are so afraid of the other outcome, that we stay in jobs that we don't love, that we stay in relationships that don't make us happy. Because we're so afraid of the other side, even though there's something inside of us telling us, it's time for a change. It's time for a change. And in my space, you know, especially as a physician and a scientist, talking about spirituality wasn't always something that was really well regarded or well respected. Because people would always say, Well, what is the research say? Is there any research behind that? And this is what I've come to understand now that I've been doing this work for a very long time over a decade, that the scientific community which I respect so much, they are doing research now on things that have been working outside of the Western world for centuries.
They are doing research on ancient wisdom on things like meditation, and gratitude. They're publishing studies on why that stuff works, so I guess, prove it to the skeptics or the people that are animals that have analytical brains that need the science, you know, so It's great that they're doing the research, and the entire field of positive psychology, which is a current field being studied now where you can go and get a Ph.D. And it's all based on ancient wisdom. It's all based on empathy and compassion and gratitude and meditation. Guess what, that stuff has been around forever. And I love that Western medicine is going out to do scientific studies on this. But what I've learned is that you know, the Western world is proving things that have been working forever. And for me, it just kind of fueled this thing inside me where I was like, Okay, well, intuition has also been working forever. And being more connected to my intuition has been, for me, one of the most powerful things. Alright, so I'm going to share one more story about how intuition can sort of be life-saving. So I've shared this story with a lot of people. But I think it's really helpful about what happens when you really lean into your intuition. And speaks to this idea of, there are things that you just cannot explain in the world with Western world with science, you just can't explain it.
So, you know, when I started really leaning into intuition about three or four years ago, I was doing it by journaling every day. And I was super connected. And it was the first time in my life that I had felt so connected to, you know, a higher source inside of me this higher power, this intuitive power, and COVID had shut the world down. So we were all working from home. And we had our kids at home because schools had closed. And my son was about three and a half or four-ish, I think three and a half before when this happened. So he was still taking naps. So we have a nanny downstairs with our daughter. And our son has taken a nap. And my husband and I are working from our offices. And my office is way down the hall. And it's I know, it's his nap time. And I was about to go out to go for a run. But something inside me said, hey, just hold on a second, just stay a little longer. So so I just like sat in my chair and I kept doing work. And all of a sudden, I hear I thought I heard a scream.
But I had my headset on. And I have this noise-canceling headset that I use. But I thought I had heard a scream. So I get up off my desk and I was like, I wonder what's going on. And I gonna just check in my son's room, I just opened the door because maybe it was him. And he's on his knees on the bottom of clutching his throat and his lips are blue. And he had swallowed a quarter. And there's no way it could have been him that screamed because he couldn't even breathe. So I get on my knees immediately. And I yell for my husband. And I put my finger in the back of his mouth. And I performed this technique and I you know, swept the quarter out of his airway. And I get them to breathe again. And I'll just stop and say it was terrifying. Walking into that room and seeing that was terrifying. And I saved his life. You know, I got that quarter out and I saved his life. And he lived in was fine. And we swept the entire house for beads and coins and everything immediately after that. And we had a lot of education about not swallowing things. But um, but afterward I was like, who screamed, and nobody said that they screamed, there was nobody who screamed.
So I fully believe that because I was in touch with my intuition. And because something inside me told me not to go for the run, and that I stayed. And that something inside me triggered something, I heard something and there's my first instinct was my intuition was to go check in my son's room, that I was able to go in there and save his life because he wasn't breathing. And had I waited? I don't know how long he would have been able to sustain that, you know. And so it's a wild story that I share with all of you because I just firmly believe that intuition is incredibly powerful. It really supports us in making decisions that are aligned with our path with our professional our personal with our spiritual path. And it will always guide us in the right direction. And in that moment, it definitely guided me in the right direction.
Alright, so let's talk about how you access your intuition. How do you access your intuition? So for those of you that like processes and steps, I'll go through this step by step. So the first thing is, you have to know what intuition feels like in your body. What does it feel like to know the right answer for you? What does it feel like? So, a good way to do this is to think about when you know you're not making the right decision, what does that feel like? And when you know you're making the right decision, what does that feel like? So for example, let's say you're at dinner, and they brought up dessert, and you know that you don't really want the dessert, you don't want to have the dessert. What does that feel like in your body? So for me, when I know intuition is guiding me when I know the answer is no. Right underneath that my sternum, so like, right at the pit of my stomach, I have this feeling there, I get this gut feeling where it's like, nope, the answer's no, you know, that's how I know that I shouldn't have a second dessert that I'm full that I should stop eating. There's something inside me something inside my body telling me it's time to stop. So what is that for you? So think about it right now for yourself.
I want you to visually envision yourself sitting down to eat. And I do food because it's kind of universal, that use us as an example because everybody has that example of not wanting to have that extra dessert. And knowing that it wasn't the right thing and doing it anyway. Alright, so when you're sitting down to have a meal, and that dessert is being offered to you. And you know, you don't really want it, where do you feel it in your body? If you feel it right underneath your gut, wherever you feel it, that's your intuition telling you, that's not the right thing. So step one is knowing what it feels like in your body. Okay, step two is practicing it. You want to practice it, and you want to start practicing it with small things like this small thing like your dessert, not having that second serving of something, or listening to your intuition when your body's exhausted. And you know, you really just need to rest instead of pushing through that and trying to get some more things done off your to-do list. Maybe your body's telling you it's time to rest, maybe that's your intuition.
So, so step one, know what it feels like in your body. Step two practice. So how do you practice one, the first thing I want you to do is I want you to just open your mind and be open to listening to your intuition that said, Just be open to listening, instead of being afraid that you're not going to be able to feel it, instead of being afraid that you might make the wrong decision. Instead of any of that. Just be open to listening. When you change your mindset in your brain, and you tell your brain, okay, I'm going to be open, I'm going to be open to this happening. All of a sudden, it's a whole waterfall effect that supports you, and doing what it is you say you're going to do. It's kind of how intention works. It Prime your brain to do what you tell it to do.
So be open to listening to your intuition. So once you listen to it, and you feel it in your body, you practice, okay, so step one, know what it feels like step two, be open to listening to it. Step three is practice. So when your intuition is telling you to do something, do it and see what it feels like. And here is step three, you want to have your back no matter what, you want to have your back no matter what. Because the biggest fear we have when it comes to trusting our intuition is that we don't trust ourselves that we're gonna make a mistake we're afraid that may be what we're thinking, maybe what our body's telling us is the wrong decision. And so we don't listen to our intuition, because we're so afraid. So instead, and what are we afraid of, we're afraid that we're gonna mess up. And that if we mess up, we might be mean to ourselves. And this might not be super conscious in your mind, but it might be subconscious.
You might say things to yourself, like, that was so stupid. That was so dumb. Why did I think that was a good idea? And that's actually what we're afraid of. Because if we ever made a mistake, and we always treated ourselves with love and self-compassion, like it's okay Vanessa, make mistakes sometimes don't worry. It might be easier to make mistakes when you're lying to yourself than when you're mean to yourself. So you want to have your back no matter what. You want to trust your intuition. You want to make that decision, and then have your back no matter what, whatever the decision is. You agree 100% That it was the right decision for you, no matter what that was the right decision for me. Because the only thing that makes a decision wrong is our believing and thinking that it was wrong. That's the only thing that makes a decision wrong this is believing or thinking that it was wrong. So you want to lean into your intuition, trust it and have your back no matter what. And the one other thing I will just share with you to help those of you that feel really disconnected from your body or your intuition. A really good way to start getting connected is by journaling, being connected to your own thoughts and feelings, and having a regular journaling routine.
Being connected Do your own mind and body and having a regular journaling routine really support you and increase that intimacy with yourself. And it will really help you in accessing your intuition. So again, an intuition. Intuition is a gift that we're all born with. It's our guide telling us that we are going in the right direction. And when we are in tune with our intuition, with our inner knowing, it will support us in ensuring that we are on the right path. So remember, be open to listening to your intuition. Lean into what it feels like in your body, practice it and start with small things and have your back no matter what our rights we friends love you all and I will see you next week.
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