Play, Love, Live:
Build Community With Intuition
By Debbie Briggs, M.S. MFT
Have you ever been mesmerized by the beautifully orchestrated activity of an ant colony? Most of us have peered through a transparent container, filled with sand, and watched the instinctual activities of the ants as they moved about creating pathways and tunnels to carry food into their home. They each just seem to know where to go and what to do. I really don’t know if ants have a form of communication like the more familiar sounds of the dolphins or whales. Certainly, as human beings, we rely a lot on being able to tell each other how we feel and what we want in order to get our needs met. In fact, many times, this ability to “tell each other” is the foundational piece in creating harmony in our families and larger communities.
I find it fascinating that in so much of the animal kingdom there is very successful communication, but obviously of a much different kind. When I walk in nature and see birds building a nest, it’s hard to imagine that the chirping I hear might mean: “Arnold, I need two more three-inch twigs”! My guess is there is a much more instinctual process going on. A process of “just knowing” what needs to be done and an acceptance of the rightness of that “knowing”. We might even think of that as their built-in, nonverbal, guidance system.
So here we are, living on a planet that is dense with people and, whether we see it or not, there are all sorts of communities at play. Sometimes they show up as parents and children in a home, and sometimes they are seniors living together in group homes. We also have our neighborhoods, schools, places of employment, churches, the people you see everyday as you ride the bus, even the teller at the grocery store becomes part of your community.
If we were to pull back the camera to get a bigger view of any one of those communities, watching all the busyness going on, one might wonder “how in the world do people know where to go and what to do to make the whole thing run well?” And then, from way out here in this larger perspective, comes the idea that human beings also have a “built-in guidance system”, an instinctual guidance system known as intuition. This is a guidance system they can trust to direct them in a way that will be for their individual happiness and for the good of the whole community.
How does intuition work anyway? One simple way to know your intuition is at work is when you really want to do something and it doesn’t hurt anyone. Let’s pull back the camera again and watch Jerry driving along the street when he suddenly thinks “I’d sure like to get those kids into a basketball game”. Or perhaps Lori wants to get a group of women together to share ideas, or Rose decides to ask the new resident in her group home to join her at dinner.
This is intuition and it’s easy to see from our vantage point out here that harmony begins to emerge. Needs begin to be met. In fact many times you’ll have fun finding out that you were “tuned in” because when you follow through on those ideas people will say “Oh, thank you for calling. I was just thinking about you!”
It’s so important to realize that your joyful contribution is necessary to create a full and complete community. Can you imagine an ant saying, “Oh, I’m too old? I don’t have anything to offer anymore”. Or perhaps another might say, “I can’t have friends over, my apartment isn’t clean enough.” Or what if the next little guy didn’t reach out to someone new because they had a crabby or distant look on their face? Pull back the camera again. Could you imagine what an ant colony would look like if that were the way they acted on their intuition. You are indispensable! No one can do your job the way you can!
So how can I recognize my intuition? Our senses are the vehicles for intuitive information to register in our awareness, and our imagination contains the coded language. Although everyone can have many ways to receive, frequently one sensory channel will be clearer than another. Some people “just know” if they should befriend a certain person, or they might actually have a “physical sensation” like their stomach tightening to inform them that something is amiss. Others might get “visual” or “auditory” clues about solutions to concerns. For example, if you are more visual you might get some intuitive guidance through your dream images. Or if you have a clear auditory channel you might hear a soft quiet voice, not unlike the sound of your own voice, popping into your awareness with ideas or suggestions. A very common time to receive intuitive information is in the first few minutes after awakening, while you are still in that semi-sleep state.
Teaching people about the beautiful way their lives are enhanced when they develop and follow their intuition is deeply satisfying for me. Everyone has intuition and with some simple tools with which to practice, you can easily increase the flow of intuitive information in your life. One of the tools I use to teach people to stimulate the flow of their intuition is a simple coloring exercise. If you want to try it, sit with a pad of paper and some colorful markers. Formulate a question. Perhaps you are curious about what gift you have for your community.
Now just let yourself start filling your paper with color. There is no right or wrong way to do this! Just pick your favorite color and start filling the page. Let yourself change colors anytime you feel like it. Relax and quiet your mind as you color. Then begin to pay attention to any new thoughts or feelings that arise and write those down in the margin. When you feel finished look back over your notes and notice any ideas that seem especially helpful. This is just one of many exercises that can be done frequently to access the information we need for our lives to run more smoothly.
Although it would be funny to imagine an ant whipping out a sketch pad, we can certainly be inspired with what their instinctual intuition does for the harmony in that community. Most of us want that harmony for ourselves too! And when we pull the camera back, the most beautiful part of the picture is that when we are enjoying our activities, not only are we blessed but our entire community gets the benefit too!
Debbie Briggs, M.S. MFT, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Alamitos. She specializes in “helping people help themselves grow and heal” using their own intuitive guidance. For more information about her seminar, “Play, Love, Live: Build Your Life With Intuition”, individual counseling sessions, tape sales or speaking availability, call (714) 841-3494 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
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