You possess more wisdom than you realize. If the thought of claiming your wisdom feels a bit too presumptuous or arrogant to you, start by seizing better ownership of (and comfort with) your intuition.
Wisdom germinates in both knowledge and intuition.
Think of intuition as ability and product. Intuition is
1. An ability you can groom and master, and
2. A product of your ALOHA spirit-spilling.
This posting is a follow-up to: Like it? Might Love it? Run with it!
The “Run with it” conversation is one which happens quite frequently in my coaching conversations with managers, for people often need help in pulling the trigger. They’ll admit they get some good ideas, no excuses there, yet there is still hesitation in their next-stepping; they search for more self-assurance in knowing they’re making the right move.
Give yourself a break by being more reasonable about this. We can’t know about anything which happens in the future, not with 100% certainty, for so much can happen in the lead-up to that future. We have to trust with positive expectancy, and just go for it, knowing we will Ho‘ohana in the lead-up.
So how do you get that trust?
We’ll get it in two places, that is, in two different contexts. There’s self-trust, from within us, and trust of others, from the comfort of our surroundings.
The good news? Both are under our control. In Managing with Aloha, creating our Sense of Place intentionally is how we gain comfort in our surroundings. Let’s talk about self-trust, an integral part of our good selfishness, and another way we ‘do for ourselves’ before we can progress to serving others.
Believing in the inherent goodness of the Aloha Spirit (which we know to be yours to begin with) is like having your cake and eating it too. Once you trust in ALOHA spirit-spilling, you self-trust more easily. Spirit-spilling happens because you are filled up with an abundance of some kind — an abundance of good, and of the best kind. You overflow, and spill over as a means of sharing your best with others, and in doing so, your good begets more good.
Contrary to guessing about the future, you CAN know about this abundance within you as the full composition of your Palena ‘ole capacity.
As quick review, from the 9 Key Concepts, on Palena ‘ole (9th):
“We create our abundance by honoring human capacity; physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. When we seek inclusive, full engagement and optimal productivity, any scarcity will be banished. Growth is welcomed and change is never feared; enthusiasm flourishes.”
When you self-trust, you believe in your intuition.
First, some myth busting: Intuition is NOT magic.
Intuition is an ability. And we know what that means: An ability has the potential of being a skill we can master if and when we choose to.
From the Dictionary:
intuition |ˌint(y)oōˈi sh ən|
• the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning : we shall allow our intuition to guide us.
• a thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning : your insights and intuitions as a native speaker are positively sought.
From the Thesaurus:
1. He works according to intuition: instinct, intuitiveness; sixth sense, clairvoyance, second sight.
2. This confirms an intuition I had: hunch, feeling (in one’s bones), inkling, (sneaking) suspicion, idea, sense, notion; premonition, presentiment; informal gut feeling, gut instinct.
We welcome our hunches and inklings. The problem is, Thesauri descriptions like “sixth sense, clairvoyance, second sight” and worse, “sneaking suspicion” get us to think about magic or underhandedness. Shift your understanding, and think about intuition as a product. Intuition doesn’t appear out of thin air; nor do hunches and inklings. They’re the cumulative result of all your experiences, past and present. If there’s any magic at all, it’s scientific, in your biology as a human being, and in the way your brain can store and process it all for you, even when you aren’t mindfully concentrating on it.
This really isn’t that much different from how we think. We embrace thinking of all stripes, because it’s escaped any mystical, woo-woo connotation. Thankfully, we accept thinking as an ability, and don’t consider it to be magic. Intuition must garner the same level of our respect.
“To think, perchance, to dream.”
Have you ever really thought about how you think?
We do so in a variety of different ways; some of us pragmatic, others impulsive, some of us seriously deliberate, others happily sketchy and dreamy. These persuasions can occur in rapid progression within the thought processes of a single person’s ruminations. Some of us are fully cognizant of our values as we think, and others pointedly ignore them hoping for more objectivity or understanding (as I had described in Run with it).
The wisdom of our ancestry:
In Hawai‘i, many kūpuna (elders) will say there is a PONO reason our gut is at our physical center. Our heads and hearts must come lower; one must get out of the clouds and the other out of the clutches of others (getting us away from “the shoulds”). Second, the elemental feeling we get from the land under our feet must rise up and be held in higher esteem, for there is divine power in the ‘āina, and it is our sense of place. Third, we must care about others, but we can only do so when we care about ourselves first, and enough to connect to our own source, our ALOHA. So it is only natural that our gut (na‘au) is the true seat of our wisdom (na‘auao) and well being (PONO), for it is where all these things come together to center us with good balance.
This makes a lot of sense to me, because I experience it so much, and very gratefully so, with MAHALO as the ‘elemental’ grounding the kūpuna often talk about.
I have long realized that I am an emotional thinker: We all are — I just admit it now, and talk about it as my kūpuna encouraged me to. We all tend to start our deliberate thinking in a way we feel is logically intelligent and of mental capacity, but we’ll think best, completely and most clearly, when we can connect to the intuitive wisdom that emotions well up in us. It is then that we decide with deeply held conviction, feeling that we’ve been able to dig deeper into the inner wellspring of our past experiences — our knowing. We have to give in to our innate being, and let ourselves go, “running with it” inside first.
It’s okay to do so privately, wading through our own reckoning (private introspection is a good definition for what journaling is all about). We can be in love with our emotions, the good, the bad, and the ugly, for we can know they exist to teach us something we’re far better off knowing (more about our equally necessary self-restraint in a moment). There’s a lot of self-talk that happens in our heads, self-talk to be appreciated, but our head’s job is to actually stop thinking at some point, turn archiving over to the memory, and shift to listening to the rest of our spirit.
Intention and intuition aren’t magic, but if you believe in ALOHA, and in NĀNĀ I KE KUMU, looking to one’s source, they are scientifically sound concepts touched by sacred spirit. Inviolable.
This is not exactly the same as thinking with your heart, for the emotional heart is more of a wild card that can get away with discarding reason, and that kind of abandon is very unsettling to most people, managers in particular! The emotional thinking I’m referring to is the gut-level kind of thing the kūpuna speak of, where your heart and your head come into a kind of balance that they can’t achieve when left to their own devices. Think of it as our humanly sound intervention, where the wisdom of the spirit can bring all to PONO, our feeling of balance and rightness.
A self-coaching exercise in Intuition and Self-Trust
Don’t just take this from me. I sat, several times, with the kūpuna I’ve mentioned to have them school me in my beliefs too, in order to gain the mana‘o I can now trust in. Gain personal introspection: Be alone with your thoughts on how you think, and how you might want to affect your own mastery of this precious ability we all have.
You never want to get too lazy in thinking either, for there is a wonderful HA‘AHA‘A connection as well. Thinking is the humility muscle in your brain that lies somewhere between those left and right hemispheres many people talk about. Far as I can tell, there’s no learning without thinking. I call it the ‘humility muscle’ because it can handle that bully we all have inside us called our ego.
Answer these questions as you feel you can, and start by trusting in what you come up with: Know you’re tapping into the wisdom you already possess:
- What kind of a thinker are you? What kind of a thinker would you prefer to be?
- What choices do you make with what you read, listen to, and watch (inputs), and further, with what you respond to, fully knowing how they will influence you?
- What kind of company do you keep, and which conversations do you willingly choose to engage in, because they strengthen you, and give you more energy?
- How much do you allow your own self-talk to happen? If you are listening to music, or watching a show, and a thought comes into your head about a lyric or a scene, do you pause the gadgets and stop to think and capture, or do you allow them to drown out your own struggling voice?
- If you were to start working with a coach like me, could you tell me how you think? Could you put into words a difference between your instinctive process, and your deliberately chosen one?
- Can you think without self-restraint? Can you think with abandon and surrender? Here’s a take on self-restraint from novelist Walter Mosley, in This Year You Write Your Novel: He is talking about authentic writing, and we can give ourselves similar permissions at times, learning to trust in those moments our self-restraint will kick in as inherent goodness.
Learning how to write without restraint
“Self-restraint is what makes it possible for society to exist. We refrain, most of the time, from expressing our rage and lust. Most of us do not steal or murder or rape. Many words come into our minds that we never utter—even when we’re alone. We imagine terrible deeds but push them out of our thoughts before they’ve had a chance to emerge fully.
Almost all adult human beings are emotionally restrained. Our closest friends, our coworkers, and our families never know the brutal and deviant urges and furies that reside in our breasts. This restraint is a good thing.
The writer, however, must loosen the bonds that have held her back all these years. Sexual lust, hate for her own children, the desire to taste the blood of her enemy —all these things and many more must, at times, crowd the writer’s mind. Your protagonist, for instance, may at a certain moment despise his mother. “She stinks of red wine and urine,” he thinks, “And she looks like a shriveled, pitted prune.”
This is an unpleasant sentiment, to be sure. But does it bring your hero’s character into focus? This is the only question that’s important.” ~ Walter Mosley
And lastly, choose to spill your spirit. Give in to the abundance, for surrendering to the thinking of your ALOHA will always bring you far greater clarity.
Ua ola loko ‘ao i ke aloha;
ALOHA provides life and learning from within.