Lesson 7: What Can I Expect When I First Start to Practice Inner Listening?

What Can I Expect When I First Start to Practice Inner Listening?


I have a feeling that my boat

has struck, down there in the depths,

against a great thing.

And nothing happens!



—Nothing happens?

Or has everything happened,

and we are standing now, quietly,

in the new life?

Juan Ramon Jimenez, “Oceans”



We tend to think of “changing our lives” as something visible and dramatic. But the change we’re talking about in this course—shifting our awareness more toward inner listening and deeper knowing—is a private and subtle kind of change. As we begin to connect more with our intuition, we might feel like the speaker in the poem “Oceans,” who senses that something big and transformative is happening but doesn’t quite “see” anything different.


As you tune in more and more to your inner awareness, you may feel this way, too. You may sense a shift in yourself but not see any outer evidence at first. You may feel disoriented or confused, not being sure what you’re picking up on or exactly how to read your own inner signals. You may even feel like nothing’s happening. That’s OK. The key is, as I say to my students, to “get comfortable with the murk.” Or, as the Guides put it, to learn to feel your way in the dark.


This lesson looks at some of the subtle changes or shifts you may feel once you begin tuning in to your intuition.






Before any great intuitive breakthroughs happen, you may start to feel a subtle but growing sense of warmth inside, a sense of connection or quiet excitement bubbling up from within. It’s been my experience that when we turn inward in this way, when we open up to ourselves as the source of our own knowing—even when we just start making inquiries in this direction—it naturally sparks a feeling of well-being. I take this as a kind of cosmic thumbs up, a sign that we’re on the right track, that we’re “getting warmer,” moving in the right direction.


That’s the good news. The less-good news, at least as we typically perceive it, is that the journey toward our intuition can kick up unexpected emotional “stuff.” I learned this firsthand as a writer, and then later as a teacher of creative writing. When we quiet down and go inward—which we have to do to connect to our creativity as well as our intuition—we tend to come face-to-face with any emotions we’ve been pushing down or trying to avoid. I’ve seen my students startled by waves of sadness, anger, or grief that seemed to spring out of nowhere as they made space in their lives to write, and I’ve had that experience myself. It’s not always comfortable at first, and it can feel like we’re doing something “wrong.”


In fact, what’s happening is that we’re being presented with emotional material that needs to be cleared in order for us to open the channel of our inner knowing. All that’s required is to stay present, to acknowledge and feel the feelings, and to release them. This may take some time and strength, and it may need to be repeated. But allowing our emotions to surface is essential. We can’t know what we know on a deeper level if we’re not willing to know what we know on an emotional level. We have to show up for ourselves, even if it’s not comfortable at first.


So don’t worry if you find yourself facing unexpected emotional turbulence once you’ve more consciously invited in your intuition. The presence of these feelings is part of being guided, part of surrendering to inner knowing. When we say “yes” to ourselves in a deep way, we invite in growth on all levels, and it’s all for the good.


Trust the process, and keep on showing yourself love and compassion as you face and release any fears, feelings, and blocks that may rise to the surface to be cleared. If you need support from others, by all means seek it out.


Most of all, remember this. The more you allow whatever is there to make itself known to you, the more aware you will become of a deeper level of knowing underneath. It’s like diving down into the ocean—you have to go through the rough waves on the surface to get to calmer, clearer waters underneath.







So what else can you expect when you connect to intuition, besides a subtle inner shift and some emotional turbulence? Because—you may be thinking—that doesn’t sound like all that much.


But this is where the magic begins. Once we break through the waves of emotion that may come up and dive deeper into the calmer waters underneath, we start to pick up on signs, signals, and inner cues that we may not have been aware of before. We start to perceive glimpses of what I call the “golden thread,” that through-line of Divine guidance running ever so subtly through our lives.


Here’s an example. A client of mine had been going through a really difficult time in her life, and had been feeling depressed and somewhat hopeless. She wanted to make some changes in her life, wanted to get back to a sense of faith and self-esteem she once felt, but didn’t know where to begin. She decided to take my intuition course in order to hear her own guidance better. She enjoyed the class and her mood began to improve, but she didn’t feel like she was tapping into her own knowing in any significant way.


Then one morning, she awoke with a word in her head. The word was “Zion.” There was a mysterious air of significance about it, and somehow she just knew it was important. She ran to the dictionary and looked up the definition. It read, “the heavenly city, or kingdom of Heaven,” and it reminded her of the Biblical quote, “the kingdom of Heaven is within you.”


The whole incident left her feeling mysteriously comforted. This single word, “Zion,” floating out of her own unconscious, although subtle, was deeply validating for her. She understood it to be a sign that she was on the right track, and it gave her hope.




TRY IT: Before you go to bed at night, pose a question for your Guides or Higher Self and ask for guidance. Do this with confidence that you’ll receive an answer. Then pay attention to any dreams you have or any words or thoughts in your head when you wake up. If nothing happens the first time, keep trying! I’ve seen this work wonders and have gotten amazing guidance this way myself, including receiving confirmation of the need to end a relationship and the right timing to do so.





The “Zion” story may seem like a tiny example, a miniscule change in someone’s life. But this moment was important to my client. The message came from within, not from anyone or anywhere else. And she could just feel that it was significant, charged in some way. Her intuition was kicking in, and she was trusting that “inner sense of significance” we’ve talked about.


This is the level on which our own wisdom often communicates to us. In whispers. In feelings that we can’t explain. In signs that call out to us, however quietly or privately. In moments that just feel different, or where we just “know.”


Once we become aware of such moments—such signs, signals, cues, deeper urges or knowings bubbling up from within—we begin to see them, sense them, and embrace them more and more. We begin to realize that we are being led, and that we can relax and let go into that knowing as a way of life.


This is the beginning of being in the flow. From here, from a place of increasing surrender, trust, and listening, we can begin to navigate our lives with greater patience, ease, and clarity than ever before. We can begin to feel, on a deeper level, that we are not alone or insignificant, but rather that we are accompanied, Loved, and led, now and always.


We may not always get an immediate response to a question or be sure exactly which action feels best in the moment. But if we relax into our intuitive knowing—if we trust that we will know—we can live our way gently into our own answers.








Lesson Summary


Beginning to practice inner listening can set in motion a series of subtle and private inner changes. You might feel a quiet sense of excitement or even a tiny hint of magic growing in your life. On the other hand, you might notice new or unexpected emotions rising to the surface, as your invitation to intuitive knowing sets in motion a necessary clearing process. Finally, you may start to sense the comforting presence of what I call the “golden thread,” a sense of inner momentum and guidance leading you forward.



Questions to Consider

Use your workbook pages or a separate notebook or journal to reflect on the following questions in writing:


  • Have you had experiences in your life like in the poem “Oceans,” where a significant shift started out as subtle? Have you ever found yourself suddenly “standing…quietly in the new life?”


  • What if unexpected feelings rise to the surface to be released? How do you feel about that as a possible part of your intuitive journey?


  • Have you ever had the sense of being accompanied by a presence greater than yourself, or the feeling of being guided or led? When, and what was that like for you?