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Intuition will save your life, can you access it?

Intuition. It’s the best piece of armor in anyone’s self defense arsenal.


Everyone’s Inner Warrior (yes, you have one!) has feelers out into the world like the stands of a spider web. Intuition reads when intuitions-webdanger hits those strands. Your conscious mind could be clueless about the impending emergency, but intuition picks it up in a flash.

In my previous Think Like A Black Belt articles on this subject, many people commented to me that they weren’t sure about their “inner knowing.” They couldn’t tell if their intuition was talking to them or if the impressions they were receiving were just deep-seated worry.

I recently ran across a great explanation of why some of us don’t trust our gut instinct. In her book Bird by Bird, author Anne Lamott spends a chapter explaining intuition from a writer’s point of view. In it she notes:

“When we listened to our intuition when we were small and then told the grown ups what we believed to be true, we were often either corrected, ridiculed, or punished … If you asked innocently, “Why is Mom in the bathroom crying?,” you might be told, “Mom isn’t crying; Mom has allergies.” Or if you said, “Why didn’t Dad come home last night?,” you might be told brightly, “Why Dad did come home last night, but then he left again very early.” And you nodded, even though you knew these were lies, because it was important to stay on the adults’ good side … So you may have gotten in the habit of doubting the voice that was telling you quite clearly what was really going on.”

Lamott believes intuition is an important ingredient for writers. She adds, “You get your confidence and intuition back by trusting yourself, by being militantly on your own side … you get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind.”

This is true in self defense as well.

With her deft humor she adds that intuition may need coaxing “because intuition is a little shy.” Her remedy is to realize intuition comes and goes at first and may wilt from too much forcefulness, “So try to calm down, get quiet, breathe, and listen. Squint at the screen in your head, and if you look you will see what you are searching for …”

broccoliLamott also  advocates finding a name or metaphor for you own inner sight. The author — being the odd sort she is — calls hers “broccoli.”

As a martial artist, that doesn’t quite cut it for me! Maybe “my animal self” or “my inner guide” or “my Gandalf,” but not any names of vegetables!

How about you? Can you think of a name for your intuition that will give you a better handle on it?


Thank you for visiting and learning about self defense.
If you think others can benefit, please pass it on!

Lori Hoeck

Photo credits: Top cybershotking and  Carolyn Coles

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Erin Lakai September 10, 2009, 7:42 am

    Wow, this is very interesting. I hope I can start strengthening my two kids’ intuition before I crush it! 🙂
    Thanks for the help.

  • TrinaMb September 10, 2009, 11:35 am

    I have learned/am learning to listen to and trust my inner voice. When I recognize it’s authenticity I share it with my children to encourage them to listen to theirs. I tell them when I lsitened and it’s outcome, and if I’ve ignored it and the result of that, hoping to illustrate the many ways they can be intune with themselves. If I had to name mine, I would call it Owl, for the admiration I now give it for its wiseness, and the dissmissive way I’ve treated that wiseness in the past.

  • vered - blogger for hire September 10, 2009, 4:03 pm

    I’m not too big on intuition I’m afraid. I was raised to be “logical.”

  • Family Matters September 10, 2009, 6:14 pm

    Well, I’m no martial artist, but I think intuition serves in every part of my life, be that dealing with people or even finding problems with my computer.

    @vered dear, the way you write and the sort of following you have, you may not realize just how much intuition you do have.

  • Lori Hoeck September 10, 2009, 10:22 pm

    Hi Erin,
    I’m sure you will spur them on to some great discoveries about intuition as you “… calm down, get quiet, breathe, and listen …”

    Hi TrinaMb,
    I like that name!

    Hi Vered,
    Intuition is a part of you and you are already on your way to discovering its fullness.

    Hi “Family Matters,”
    True. Intuition is a fiber of life, not just reserved for self defense.

  • Davina September 14, 2009, 12:34 am

    Hi Lori. I’m one of the folk who wrestles with whether I’m listening to my intuition or if it’s just fear. I had an ah ha moment though when I read that part about intuition needing to be coaxed in relation to “bad” parental guidance or experiences. Without knowing why, something about that made sense to me. Thanks for shining that little glimmer of light.

    I bet Vered has mother’s intuition.

  • Lori Hoeck September 14, 2009, 4:09 pm

    Hi Davina,
    I bet Vered does, too!

    So glad the glimmer peeked through. That means you are taking steps in the right direction.

  • janice September 15, 2009, 8:49 am

    @Vered – You just need to rename it and reframe it! As Lori explains so much better than I can, intuition is so entwined with our learned, ‘logical’ analytical processes that it’s hard to separate it sometimes. Is it pre-historic and animal and in our genetic make-up or is it something more spiritual and universal? Who knows. But we all have it. We just differ in the amount we strengthen it, access it, trust it and base our decisions on it.

    @Lori, I feel like I’m back in a friend’s kitchen – I’ve missed TLaBB! Bird by Bird is one of my all time favourite writing books and you’ll find quotes a plenty from it on my blog. (I loved watching her ‘live’ on video, too; she’s really smart and funny.) So that’s one more thing we have in common! I love the way writing books always move and inspire me more than a lot of personal development writing does. Writers who write about writing so often have a heightened awareness of things and sense them differently.

    What scares me about intuition is watching how teenagers either lose it a bit or aren’t as able to access it. Ironically, one of the things I work hardest at as a parent is doing less for my kids and encouraging them not only to think for themselves, but to feel for themselves. I share my thought processes with them, about places and folk that have my instincts prickling as well as set my mind racing, like an animal would when teaching her young, but we also discuss a lot, and I encourage them to develop their own instincts, especially about new places and people. TV shows are great for talking about scenarios without them getting anxious.

  • Lori Hoeck September 15, 2009, 10:30 am

    Hi Janice,
    Good to have you back! Loved your comment!

    I will have to find that video.

    Teens and intuition: The brain and body are in such flux for them. They want and don’t want to push the envelop. They want and and don’t to be on their own. It seems their ability to think clearly drops to its lowest lifetime level. God help all parents of teens!

    Sound like you are doing well with this, Janice. I heard this title of a book that seems intriguing: “Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall:A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager”