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Listen to your gut, trust your gut

Wondering how to meet the challenges of your life more effectively? Wondering how to make your dreams come true, or how to give your gift, or how to discover your true passion and purpose in this world?

It's time to listen to your gut. Your "second brain," as it has been called by authorities such as Michael Gershon, professor and chair of pathology and cell biology at Columbia.

The gut has its own wisdom

The gut has its own wisdom. It has its own connection with the larger rhythms and purposes of life, particularly as they relate to ourselves. It has the ability to warn us of danger. And it has the ability to let us know of changes that may be necessary if we are to experience the freedom and fulfillment that is our birthright.

An inner voice speaks up and says it's time to make a change, to do this, or not do that, and the question is, do we follow that inner voice or not?

If you do follow that voice that speaks not only in your heart and mind but also from your gut, your life will unfold in remarkable ways. It will move in ways you cannot yet visualize and you will find yourself participating more and more consciously in the beautiful process Carl Jung called synchronicity.

Also, and most importantly, if you are true to yourself, and follow your gut, you will keep your integrity. I was touched the other day when a friend in a faraway country said, “The biggest blessing for me when I die will be if I know I have kept my integrity.”

Sometimes our gut speaks to us in unexpected moments

Sometimes, I have found – though not always – our gut calls to us in a moment or at a time when we least expect it. Our life is moving along quite smoothly and nicely, thank you. And then boom. Our gut lets us know it is time to change.

For instance, in the early 1950’s I was working as an editorial assistant in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. It was a good job, with good prospects, and I got to travel to beautiful places like Victoria Falls. I did some military training, but there were no obvious warning signs that drastic change was on the horizon.

And then one day, out of the blue, my gut spoke to me. It said, "It's time to go to Australia and New Zealand. There’s something you need to explore and experience there. This is what you need to do."

It was the first time I had experienced an “inner message” so clearly. The evening I made the difficult decision to resign from my job I sat alone on my bed, repeating to myself aloud, "It takes guts. It takes guts."

With the gift of hindsight, I know that the universe was with me in that change and my life would not have unfolded the way it needed to unfold if I had not trusted what my gut was telling me.

We have two choices in life

We have two choices in life. You can listen to the opinions of other people or the “mainstream.” Or you can listen to the wild, mysterious, unnamable wisdom that flows continuously from its unfathomable source through every aspect of your being -- including your gut.

If you have some thoughts on the above you’d like to share please write. I send you best wishes and love. My book is moving along. I’m listening to every little bit of input that comes my way and look forward to sharing more details of the book with you in the very near future.

PS Don’t forget the title now: Aging into Bliss: Discovering the Joy of Your True Nature As Years Go By.

Picture credit: scottnramsay

 

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Carmelo August 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Hi Christopher,

I have found that when I quiet my mind and observe my feelings my “gut” is so much easier to access, to hear. A lot of high achievers have talked about “gut feelings” and I was always curious as to how that worked. What I now believe is that they got these gut feelings because they were doing things that mattered to them. They were doing things that were congruent with who they were and are.

If you’re always fighting against yourself, even when your gut speaks, you won’t interpret it right. You’ll likely just impose more self-discipline to force yourself in directions that don’t suit you.

So, observation, awareness and non-judgment completely changed my outlook and opened me up to “my gut.” It works for me! 🙂

Nice to meet you, by the way.
Carmelo

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Christopher Foster August 24, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Beautiful thoughts Carmelo. Thank you so much for commenting and it’s nice to meet you too:-). Your blog is captivating, very nicely done, I wish you every success with it.

Your words go right to the core of the matter. I too find it’s pretty hard to be “in the flow” and listen to my “gut” when strong feelings are churning around. I also find, with great relief, that strong feelings of any stripe do not last. They come and go, but the underlying calm of my own presence is always here.

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Carmelo August 24, 2012 at 11:33 pm

I’m happy to find your site. It’s amazing, now that I’m looking, how one can find such experience and wisdom and those willing to share it. You have covered a lot of ground here! I’m sure you have touched many lives. Thank you.

And thank you for your kind words about Critter Wisdom. I have just now begun to look for ways to announce the new site. Hopefully it too can provide some help to people.
Carmelo recently posted..Changing the World

Evan Griffith August 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Chris —

Every single time I read you, somewhere a sentence or two explodes off the screen into me. This time it was this:

“You can listen to the opinions of other people or the ‘mainstream.’ Or you can listen to the wild, mysterious, unnamable wisdom that flows continuously from its unfathomable source through every aspect of your being — including your gut.”

You had me at “wild, mysterious, unnamable” — I can’t wait to be one of the first purchasers to line up for your new book!

Happy completion —

Evan

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Christopher Foster August 24, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Evan,

I find the same thing happens with me when I read your words. I guess our words kind of mirror what is in our heart, and when we love the same thing we recognize a kindred spirit and it’s a wonderful experience. Best wishes to you and I wish you much success in all your endeavors.

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Elizabeth Nunn August 24, 2012 at 8:20 pm

This is so timely for me. I am house hunting in a city I don’t know and while I have a great realtor, I have an even greater inner voice that I trust very much. Even as I find houses I like, I hear the voice say “Not yet”. So I am finding that patience is as an integral part of the process as is listening to my gut. Someday soon, I know my inner voice will say, “Here. This is your home.” Until then, I keep looking…and listening.

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Christopher Foster August 25, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Thanks for the great input Elizabeth. You’re on the right track, for sure. I really like what you say about patience, it reminds me of balance and how essential balance is in our lives.

When JoAnn and I were looking for a townhome in south Denver a couple of years ago it was a bit stressful, for sure, because we lived 50 miles away and it was a commitment to come into Denver to look. But there was this day when as if by magic just the right home turned up and in just the right environment and the timing was perfect.

To cut a long story short we just knew “this was the one” and exactly the same process is going to happen for you. Best wishes and please keep in touch on this okay?

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Noch Noch - be me. be natural. August 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Completely agree Chris – and many times I’ve ignored my gut feelings till it got very loud and made me stop and listen. I think that’s why I got sick. So learning to listen the still small voice of calm 🙂

Noch Noch
Noch Noch – be me. be natural. recently posted..happy birthday

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Christopher Foster August 25, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Such a pleasure to hear from you Noch. Thank you for sharing and what you say is so true. You’re on the right track for sure, I don’t think we ever come to a time where there is nothing more to learn. Best wishes to you Noch and keep in touch okay?

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Linda/Positive Spin August 25, 2012 at 8:18 am

I agree totally, Chris. When I’m wavering about a decision, I wait… and then it starts. I feel it in my chest, a bit like butterflies, and I can tell the difference between the ‘good’ ones and the not so good.
My gut instinct has my best interests at heart and I try to follow them as much as I dare. Sometimes it takes courage but it’s well worth it.
Linda/Positive Spin recently posted..Fancy Facing A Challenge? Let’s Do it!

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Christopher Foster August 25, 2012 at 12:31 pm

So true Linda. This inner voice surely does have our best interests at heart. I applaud your courage in not only listening but taking action as seems appropriate and I wish you much success in jour journey. It’s good to share the journey with you.

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kim August 29, 2012 at 10:08 am

Hi Chris,

Thank you for this post, you write so beautifully and with such wisdom and clarity.

I used to work in finance in London for many years making good money, but in my heart I wanted to be a writer making a difference.

I listened to my parents and what the world thought I should do and eventually got two blood clots on my lungs.

My body and my gut was telling me ‘NO’ and when I had the clots I couldn’t work for a year and finally started a blog called Dream On which is about being the best you can be and achieving your dreams.

It is so true what you say that when you listen to your gut and your heart then life unfolds in mysterious ways.

My blog resulted in writing for a newspaper over here on the Olympics and now has expanded to writing for that newspaper to helping people be the best they can be and achieve their dreams.

I still find it scary to listen to my gut but the price for ignoring my heart and my gut is just too high.

I so look forward to reading your book and passing it on to my folks who live in South Africa and are in their 70’s. You are a true inspiration.
kim recently posted..Our First Dream On Day – Saturday 25th August 2012

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Christopher Foster August 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm

What a lovely surprise to hear from you Kim, and thank you so much for sharing this remarkable story. I love your blog by the way. I salute your brave, courageous spirit and wish you all the very best in the days to come. Keep on listening to your heart and your gut and I hope we can stay in touch.

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kim August 30, 2012 at 4:29 am

Chris,

Thanks for your reply and for reading and commenting on my blog. As I said you are an inspiration and I started to read your blog because of the way you inspire community. It’s a wonderful thing to see. Paul and I long to build a community in London and in the UK where we can really make a difference and build connections which enable us to reach our dreams.

Now I read your blog because it’s fabulous and it speaks to my heart, my head and my soul.

I would be honoured to stay in touch with you.

Kim
kim recently posted..Our First Dream On Day – Saturday 25th August 2012

Adam D. Oglesby September 5, 2012 at 8:02 pm

There’s an expression, Southern in it’s origins: “I should have followed my first mind.”

It’s another way of saying listen to your gut.

But it’s more of a lament, a regret about the adversity that resulted by not following one’s own intuition.

I tend to agree that within all of us theirs something–an impulse, a mechanism, a little voice–that attempts to guide us in our dealings with life.

Some of us are more innately attuned to this voice than others who spend much more time boohooing and wishing, “they had followed their first mind.”

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Christopher Foster September 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Very interesting thoughts Adam, many thanks for sharing. I hadn’t heard the expression you mention, it’s kind of cool. Our first mind. It sure is worth doing whatever we can to cultivate it isn’t it.

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mBraining January 1, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Hi Christopher,

Great post and absolutely spot on! The gut has its own innate wisdom and intelligence and we need to listen to it. Interestingly, the heart also has its own form of intelligence. Turns out we actually have ‘brains’ in both our heart and our gut.

Informed by recent Neuroscience findings about the discovery of functional and complex neural networks or ‘brains’ in the heart and gut, we’ve completed 2.5 years of behavioral modeling research on the core competencies of these brains and how they communicate and integrate with the head brain. We’ve written about our findings and the models and techniques in our recently published book ‘mBraining’. See http://www.mbraining.com for more info if you are at all interested.

Our work backs up completely what you are saying in your great post.

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Christopher Foster January 4, 2013 at 11:01 am

Thanks so much for your kind words and your very interesting input. I’m happy to learn of the great work you are doing, and I wish you all the very best with your new book, you have an important message for sure.

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Christopher Foster August 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Thanks for your kind words Carmelo. You have a great gift to give and you’ll find your audience for sure. ‘I’m very happy to have connected with you and wish you a ton of success.

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