Recently, I sent a few friends three photos of me making pottery for the Empty Bowls fundraiser. The potters had a few friendly competitions of ways to creatively make bowls, including not using hands! It really pushed my creativity in new ways. The photo of me making pottery with my toes was a big hit with my friends, so I thought I’d share it. The Empty Bowls program helps people who are hungry through a grassroots movement that has really spread to many places — I hope you’ll check the link and see if there is one in your area. You can get a wonderful handmade bowl (or toe-made in the case of this particular moment of fun competition) with some yummy soup.
If you are interested in opening up your creativity in new ways (art, writing, music, intuition and more), my Creativity & Intuition Retreat is coming up soon: November 10-14. Although my students won’t be making pottery with hands and toes, they will be expressing creativity in many new and wonderful ways. People think you have to be “gifted” to be intuitive, artistic and musical.I’ve learned that’s not true. If you’ve always wanted to express yourself in any of these ways, come to one of the most special places I’ve ever been: Breitenbush Hot Springs. Deep in the old-growth rainforest, you’ll connect with creativity and gain the confidence to express yourself through art, writing, songwriting and music. You’ll learn the basics of intuition and use it to enhance your creativity — even if you’ve never explored these areas. You’ll connect with intuition (knowing something without knowing how you know it), a skill that anyone can learn. You’ll gain insight into your health, career, relationships and life direction. Intuition and creativity are closely intertwined. As you connect with intuition, you’ll stoke the fires of your creative passions. Because I’ve received several heartfelt requests, I’m offering “Creativity and Intuition” for the first time in six years. The timing, along with this special place, feels right. This is the most popular retreat I’ve ever taught and is limited to 20 people. Come rest, restore, renew and discover your creativity, intuition and your more authentic self. I hope you’ll join me, Karen Grace Kassy, and special guest musician instructor Shireen Amini. If you are interested, please register soon to ensure lodging availability (by October 31: Halloween, after that there may be fewer lodging options). The retreat is November 10-14, 2014 $350 plus lodging.
or call Breitenbush Retreat Center directly at 503-854-3320
For a long time, I thought there were only six modes of intuition…then, I had a dream. In the dream, a friend and colleague, who is also an MD and PhD, had arranged for me to give a Ted Talk. As I watched her beaming at me from the front row of the audience, I began my talk on the “Seven Characteristics of Intuition.”
I awoke with that artifact of my dream and wondered, “Seven? I only know six.” So, I started sitting with it. What came was that there is a seventh. I had been teaching it for a long time and never labeled it as such. Haha…joke is on me because it’s “I can’t remember intuition.”
In the first few months of trying to hone my intuition, back in the 1990s, I started tuning in and trying to intuit for people. I found I couldn’t remember what I told them. I have a good memory (people don’t want to play Trivia Pursuit with me). My doubting mind decided that since my memory wasn’t working when I intuited this meant that I was “faking it.” My doubting mind often finds many reasons to discount things. Not being able to remember kept happening. I finally reached out to a documented, researched and respected intuitive that I knew. This person is incredibly busy and I didn’t want to bother them; however, I felt I had to have an answer. I phoned and explained the problem, ending with “I think this means I’m faking intuition.” Instead, the intuitive replied, “No. You’re not. It’s a brilliant sign. Oh, gotta go…” and they were off to their busy life. That was it. I felt somewhat validated and still confused.
Shortly thereafter, a synchronicity (meaningful coincidence) occurred. I found the work of Valerie Hunt, EdD, from UCLA. She documented that intuitives and healers she researched went into a different brain state. I theorized that perhaps I, too, was going into a different brain state. I then recalled that when we dream, we go into a brain state and that it is often hard to remember all of our dreams, in detail. I wondered, was intuition similar?
Time went by and I met someone with brainwave monitoring equipment. Later, as I felt comfortable, I asked him to check my brainwaves when I went into the intuitive state. My brainwaves did shift.
Time after time, in working with students privately and in a workshop and class settings, it is difficult for them to remember the exact way their intuition words things, offers images or feels. That’s why I have them write their impressions as they happen. The same is true of my work. I keep a detailed record, so that I’m not in a situation of, “Well, it’s something like…well, I don’t have the words exactly right…I can’t totally remember the image or feeling…”
If you are noticing it is hard to remember the exact way intuition communicated to you and you wish you could, try keeping a written record, in the moment. You can use a tiny notebook or a technological device. Not only does it provide you with the exact documentation of what your intuition conveyed for future reference, you can check to see if what you intuited was accurate and why or why not…you can develop from there.
I know I have to write about the seventh of “seven characteristics of intuition,” and I will soon. In the meanwhile, a quick and sweet story about intuition, gifts, and perhaps a connection to an ancestor…
We have a new addition to our family. My beautiful cousin and her husband had a baby. I got the idea that I wanted to send something different than the usual baby gift (tip: a characteristic of intuition is “unusual” or “surprising”). What came to me was to send a tree. Apple tree? Cherry tree? I felt the impetus to choose a company my dad had ordered trees from when I was a little girl. Seems they are still in business — a rare thing in today’s world. I decided I wanted one of those new grafted trees, where you get two types of apples on one tree. I remember my grandfather, who is the new baby’s great, great grandfather, used to graft trees. Unfortunately, the only apples the nursery had were ones I don’t find very tasty. I then looked at cherry trees. There is also an ancestor connection to cherries, because one of my happiest memories of Grandpa’s wife (Grandma Kassy) is her offering to give our family her huge cherry tree (well taller than a three-story house) for us to move from her home in Pennsylvania to our home in Colorado. The cherry tree was our most favorite thing about her house and we would even have cherries for breakfast…we were so enchanted with it. We excitedly told my dad of Grandma’s gift, not realizing it wasn’t realistic (we were very young children) and he helped us understand it wasn’t really transportable. I ordered the 2-in-1 cherry tree and sent it to my new baby cousin, with a note about the connection to his great, great grandad and grafting, and his great, great grandma and her special cherry tree. What I didn’t realize was there was a connection to my dad. What I have just been told is the new baby’s mom had receive two gifts from my dad when she was born: an apple and a cherry tree. I can’t say for sure that my intuition connected me to my dad in that way, but I can say that whatever theconnection is, it sure brings sweet tears to my eyes and a smile to my face.
A sixth characteristic of recognizing your intuition, and one that is quite common, is multi-sensory. What does that mean…?
Intuition can come in several modes: see, feel, hear, or know. When you find you are receiving in more than one mode, what is called “multi-sensory” that can be a sign that your intuition is communicating with you.
First, let’s explore the visual mode. An example of a visual image is close your eyes, picture your living room. An intuitive example would be close your eyes, try to tune in to an unseen friend’s living room (with permission) and see if you can describe some of the features.
Aside from visual, audio can be another way or mode that intuition can come to you. For example, when you “hear a voice” that tells you something you don’t know, but later proves to be accurate. I teach to always look for a life-enhancing quality in any information that comes to you, including the audio mode.
It’s really helpful to practice as you’re learning a new skill. If you apply what you learn, you remember it. Try asking your intuition to give you a “visual” impression or an “audio” one when you tune-in. Make it playful, like a game, instead of work, and your practice will seem fun and easy.
A third mode, and possibly the most common, is kinesthetic or feeling (body sensation). Examples: that funny feeling you get in the pit of your stomach, a prickling on the back of your neck, etc. This is a common example that students share in class with me: talking to a friend on the phone and all of a sudden getting a headache (or some other pain). You mention this and they tell you they have a headache. You hang up the phone, and you feel fine.
The feeling/kinesthetic mode can be one of the primary ways people receive intuitive information. Years ago, I interviewed dozens of intuitives. All of them, 100%, used the kinesthetic mode. No other mode received this unanimous score. However, many intuitives used more than one mode.
Here’s an example of kinesthetic/feeling intuition: perhaps you’ve met someone and felt a creepy “vibe” from him or her? Or, instead, a really great feeling — maybe in your belly or heart. Maybe it was a future employee, or a new colleague, possible friend, love interest or neighbor, etc. As time went by, the vibe you felt turned out to be an accurate prediction.
One other example of kinesthetic/feeling intuition: when driving your car have you felt someone or something uncomfortably close? You looked in your rear-view mirror and there was a big truck speeding up and eventually bearing down on your tailgate. REMEMBER the “flavor” of your impressions. When that flavor comes up again, you’ll have something to compare it to and use it to hone your intuition further.
I’ve spent the most time on the kinesthetic/feeling form of intuition, because it seems to be the one most-often used. Here are a few names that you can use to refer to it or when communicating: feeling, sense, gut reaction, clairsentience (French for “clear-seeing), or kinesthetic. One of the doctor’s I work with seems to have it in his hands: they automatically go to where the patient is hurting. I call this “body radar.” No matter what you call it, it is a valid type of guidance.
What about when you don’t see, hear or feel your intuition, but somehow it still comes? Take a moment and intuit and/or think about if there could be another way before reading on…
Sometimes you don’t see, hear or feel intuition. You just “know” it. The “knowing” mode of intuition has many names. Here’s a couple: a fancy word for this is “claircognizance” another word is “hunch.” You don’t know where this information comes from, sometimes it’s just out-of-the-blue, but yet you know it. An example of this is when you blurt out something without even thinking and you instantly recognize it as something you hadn’t known before, but it’s true, it resonates.
Keep an eye out for when your intuition comes to you in more than one mode: see and hear; feel and know; know and see; hear and feel…or maybe three or four modes all at once. Any of these combinations might clue you in to paying attention to important information that can be helpful in guiding your life.
We’re up to number 5 of learning the 7 characteristics to recognize and have greater use and consistency of your intuition, which incorporates the “more than once” quality I mentioned in my last post (when I bought a ticket just before they were sold out) which is called “persistence.” This can be another sign that your intuition is trying to communicate to you. If you get what feels like an intuition, hunch, vibe and it won’t leave you alone, or keeps coming back no matter how often you push it away, it might be time to check it out. Think back in a time when you knew that wasn’t the right landlord for you…or the wrong used car…or you shouldn’t date that person…and it was right! Or, conversely, when you somehow “knew” that it was the right person to begin a relationship with, or that car or house situation was a great fit. Maybe you pushed either a “that’s wrong for me” or “that feels right but I can’t explain it” impression away, but it kept coming back. I teach my students when an intuition keeps “knocking on your door” persistently or it seems to get more intense (loud, emphatic, etc.), consider looking into it.
Unusual or “surprising” is another key to knowing the difference between intuition, imagination or intellect. Instead of following a sequential course, an unusual insight may not seem to be logical (at least not at first look) or seem to come “out of the blue.” Often, you’ll find that these impressions are right on and end up making perfect sense – if not right away, as time passes and events unfold. They are my personal favorite of all the intuition characteristics, because it soothes my doubting mind, “There’s no way I could have known that. This intuition thing must be real.” A recent example of a surprising and out-of-the-blue intuitive moment happened yesterday. For many years, I’ve been going to an annual music festival. Tickets have sold out the last couple of years, but not until just before the event. There is always a head’s up in the local paper when that’s about to happen and I get an email from the organization, too. Just last week, I got the impetus, out of the blue, to go buy my ticket. I wrote it down, because I was in the middle of something. Then, later, I was doing something else, got the nudge, and wrote it down. I was thinking that it was the first time I wrote it down – not even remembering I had already done that. (Not remembering your intuition is a key characteristic we’ll get to later.) The next day I sat down at my desk and I felt, “I need to go buy that ticket.” I then noticed the TWO other notes I’d already written. I’m not a scattered person, so having three separate instances of this impression made me laugh. I went right over and bought the ticket. No one at the ticket outlet mentioned to me they were getting close to sold out. A couple of days later (yesterday) I got an email from a friend telling me that the music festival was sold out and asking if I knew of anyone who had tickets. Glad I followed the out-of-the blue, surprising impression, instead of letting an override of thinking and previous experience happen: “Oh, I have plenty of time. They haven’t even sent me a warning email or mentioned it in the paper yet.” Consider writing down your impressions when they come. Really pay attention if they surprise you – or you catch yourself having written, or noticed, them more than once…we’ll talk about that characteristic in a future post.
“Subtle” impressions usually have to do with the softer “voice” (or visual impression or feeling) that our intuition may have. This is especially true early in your development, because your intuitive impressions may feel less forceful than other “voices” in your head (fear, project, imagination, emotion, etc.). Many of my students notice that when our lives get more rushed and busier, we often miss intuitive signals, too. Sometimes it is hard to hear that soft or subtle voice of intuition. It may help to take a few breaths to quiet and calm yourself before your ask your intuition a question. It can also be helpful to develop a time in your daily life to experience quiet and calm. I find many of my students find their intuition becomes much clearer and more accurate if they spend a few minutes a day relaxing into quiet. This is sometimes called meditation or contemplation. This can be as simple as focusing for a few minutes in a relaxed way. You can focus on your breath, which is a traditional way to meditate. Other ways: repeat a word/phrase, notice something beautiful you see, an art expression, movement (walking and breathing, or other physical activity), or any way that gives you that break from thinking. There are many physical, mental, and emotional health benefits that have been documented over the years to practicing meditation. According to the Mayo Clinic, some research suggests reduced negative emotions, greater ability to handle stress, reduced anxiety, as well as help with a variety of physical problems and illnesses. For myself and my students, I notice not only a greater ease in accessing my intuition, I have greater ease in my day if I start with meditation. . Lately, I take my few minutes of meditation outside when the weather is nice. I recently realized that because I’m busy, I often walk past beautiful scenes without really taking time to be present, to really see them and enjoy. For my meditation, I’ve begun place myself in front of some blooming flowers. I find this helps me to take in their beauty, really see them. I listen to birds and other sounds and I give attention to my breath. Whatever way works for you, try taking some time relaxing and quieting yourself and see if that improves your ability to notice the subtleness of your intuition and your access to it.
“Quick” is another hallmark of intuition. Intuitive impressions can come quickly, seemingly even before you have time to think. Start to notice, and keep track of, your quick impressions. Check out the information to see if it’s accurate. With accuracy, comes confidence that you can start to rely on your intuition. How to do this?
The more quickly you go, the less time there is for your left brain, or imagination, projection, fears, etc., to get in the way.
Here are a couple of quick examples. When you seem to blurt out words without thinking of them first. You feel surprised, perhaps. After you hear the words you just said, you realize there is an important truth to them or a resonance. Or, you find yourself acting or moving in a different way. A moment later, you realize, what you did, without seemingly thinking, helped keep you out of harm’s way, or helped you to take an action that later proved helpful. A friend of mine turned away from a warming fire and walked away. Moments later, it exploded. Where she had been standing would have been engulfed in flames. Later, she couldn’t recall being too warm, wanting to go do something else, she just felt a subtle and quick urge to move, without giving it thought. In hindsight, start watching for possible “quick” intuitions that have come your way. Through noticing them in the past, you might be able to recognize them more in the future and use them to act in accord with what is best for you.
Remember, intuition is a skill not a gift. The more you practice, the better you become. In my blogs, you’ll find lots of upcoming tips on how to practice, use, and apply your intuition to improve your life.
Intuition has been researched and proven at such prestigious institutions as Duke, Stanford, UCLA, Cambridge, Princeton, and others. Stay tuned for some tips derived from Stanford’s research and my nearly 20 years of experience in researching and teaching this skill.
When Stanford researched intuition, there were several characteristics or “hallmarks” of intuition. These are things you can watch for, become aware of, and develop. All of these aspects don’t have to be present when you receive an intuitive impression; however, noticing them can help you pay attention and develop your skill of intuition. One of these qualities is “first impressions.”
Start noticing when you receive a first impression. Sometimes we automatically push it away — especially if we don’t want it to be true or it seems negative. If that impression comes true, you might catch yourself saying, “Somehow I knew that! Why didn’t I pay attention?” Start playing with the idea of noticing your very first impression.
Sometimes we act on “auto-pilot” going with a second or third impression, instead of our FIRST impression. We may have learned this in childhood, “Mommy, I don’t like that man!” Then, you might have been told, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all.” Or, “You can’t know that” — but you did. Take time to notice are you REALLY getting a first impression, or is it an old habit of second impressions.
You don’t always have to act on first impressions, or any intuitive or intellectual information for that matter. Why not check it out, test it?
Test how valid your impressions are, whether they’re intellectual or intuitive, or an integrated mix of both. We have a whole brain. Why not learn to use all of it? Instead of segmenting by using “parts” (intellectual vs. intuitive, for example). Life is hard. By using everything you “know,” appropriately and accurately, you can make your life a little easier. “