Why Do We Stay? How Women Can Stop Denying Their Intuition and Get Unstuck

 Image courtesy of Norwood Themes

Image courtesy of Norwood Themes

I sat across the table quietly listening to him talk. We were at the corner Chinese Food restaurant at the nearby corner from where we lived, waiting for our order. Same as we had many nights before when cooking at home seemed like too much work for our NYC too-busy-to-cook lifestyle. But this night was different. This night had the potential to change the course of my life. It was the night when it finally hit me that the man that I had spent the last seven years with was not going to be the man I would spend the rest of my life with.  As the words touched my ears, “I don’t want to get married”, I instantly felt drained. In a way his words confirmed my suspicions but actually hearing them said out loud were like daggers to the heart. And in that moment, what happened next can only be described in the same way near-death patients report having an experience of leaving their physical body. I felt as if my soul left my body and I actually watched myself sitting at the table listening to my ex boyfriend tell me the thing I didn’t want to hear. I then heard my own wisdom, a voice whisper to me advising me that this was not where I should be and it was time to leave. I had a choice: Was I going to stay with this guy knowing that he wasn’t going to put a ring on it? Or do I walk away?

I chose to stay. Less than a year later, we broke up. 

I recall that memory at the Chinese food restaurant a few years ago like it was yesterday. Looking back, I can really appreciate having had that experience because over the years since then, I’ve learned how to listen to and trust my intuition. And as it turns out, the breakup opened me up to a new joy in my life that I would not have had the opportunity to experience had I stayed in the relationship. Sometimes in order for our greatest wishes and desires to become a reality and for us to become the empowered women we know we can be, we need to let go of the things that hold us back in order to make room for the things that will support us. That’s just how life works sometimes.

I’ve had conversations with many women who’ve had their own Chinese restaurant moments.  A time in their lives, their career, or a relationship when it was clear that it was time for them to move on.  Yet we hesitate or doubt what we are truly feeling and brush it off. 90% of the time when we get an intuitive nudge about something, we respond by:

1.      Going into denial about it.

2.     Waiting it out with false hope that the situation will resolve on it’s own.

3.     Ignoring it all together.

In my example above, I chose option #2. That seems to be a popular option for many of us. I worked with a woman who knew it was time to leave her job but chose to stay and took on another role within the same company. A year later, that pit in the stomach feeling returned so she finally decided to listen. She made plans to leave the company and pursue another career path. She says when she didn’t listen to her intuition the first time, “It was like postponing the inevitable.”

When it’s time to move on, it’s time to move on. And when we ignore this knowing that our bodies try to alert us to, we only prolong the inevitable.

If you sense that your intuition might be nudging you to move on from a situation that is no longer working, here are three practical ways to respond:

Get curious. Activate your self-inquiry. Ask your inner wisdom for more clarity about where it’s leading you to. If you are feeling resistance to moving on, ask yourself what is it that you fear about that idea. Curiosity opens you up to new answers and possibilities rather than staying stuck in your own judgment.

Talk it out. Gather your closest friends and confidants to let them know what you’re experiencing. Do this in a supportive group and ask them not to give you advice but just listen. Sometimes articulating your thoughts, feelings, and fears out loud helps you to hear yourself talk about it and take ownership of what you’re feeling.

Create a plan. If you determine that your intuition is right and it is time to move on, make a plan to do so. Understanding that it is not always easy to just walk away from a situation, making a plan with concrete steps will allow you to take incremental steps while honoring your inner wisdom.

If you’re currently facing your own situation and you feel it’s time to leave, don’t delay the inevitable. Choosing to leave a situation that is no longer working for you is the most empowering thing you can do for yourself. Listen to your intuition and determine your next course of action.

With love,

Ariane

If this post resonates with you and you feel moved to go deeper into this conversation, take the next step and reach out to us to get support.

“Busy” Work Won't Get You Closer to Your Dreams

“Busy” Work Won't Get You Closer to Your Dreams

We are busy people. Ask anyone you know how they’re doing and you will most likely to get the response: “busy”. There is not one moment throughout the day where we are not busy doing something. Busy going from one meeting to the next, busy checking emails, posting on social media, filling in spreadsheets, writing down ideas, checking websites, reading articles, checking LinkedIn, seeing what super star so-and-so is up to, and so on and so on. Maybe somewhere in there we might squeeze in an actual real meaningful work that makes a difference but 90% of our time is spent doing “busy” work.

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3 Unforgettable Lessons on Confidence - What I learned being in front of the camera

3 Unforgettable Lessons on Confidence - What I learned being in front of the camera

Last week, I took a step outside my comfort zone and got in front of the camera! We had a small video crew complete with a videographercreative director, and my good friend (for moral support!) in a cozy apartment in Chelsea, New York City. Now, I’ve been in front of the camera before but mostly for small things and personal projects that no one would really see. But this time the video would live front and center on my website where on it, I would be welcoming new visitors to my corner of the world. We pulled out all the stops. This meant that on the day of the shoot I’d be dolled up a little more than usual with hair, makeup, and wardrobe. And taking part in a well thought out video concept with weeks of preparation.

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Mindfully Handling An Apartment Leak

Mindfully Handling An Apartment Leak

About 1:45am Saturday night….

drip…drip…DRIP…DRIIIP…DRIIIIIP…

the sounds of water coming down woke me up out of my sleep. I sat up in my bed and looked around the dark room listening while my mind searched for answers of why I was hearing dripping water in my apartment. And most importantly where was it coming from?

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3 journaling prompts to connect the dots of your purpose

Someone called me a ‘writer’ in an email the other day. My eyes lingered on that word for a moment as I read it, simultaneously feeling like a layer of myself had been revealed for the world to see. I never claimed to be a writer but somehow this person saw it in me.

I’ve always found that written words always seemed to convey my thoughts better than my voice could. As a child, I always enjoyed reading and writing.  Never, really thought much of it; I just knew that any blank sheet of paper or white wall for that matter was fair game. Now, fast forward 25 years later, I still get that giddy feeling I had as a child whenever I open up to a fresh sheet of paper in my notebook. I’ll even go as far as to awkwardly say, I love the smell of fresh paper and take pleasure in running my fingers across the page with excitement and readiness.

It took me years to notice this subtle but very telling trait about me. Now it’s your turn to uncover what brings you joy and giddiness.

We can start right here with these 3 questions:

 

1. When I was a kid, I used to enjoy ________________________ because it made me feel _________________. I don't do it anymore because ______________________.

 

2. The most important lesson that I learned or challenge that I overcame in my life was when ______________________.This lesson or challenge has made me better able to ______________________.

 

3. A time in my life where I felt my absolute best was when I ______________________. When I think about bringing this feeling back into my life, I see myself _______________________.

As a matter of fact, I’d like you to journal your response to the above questions and get your juices flowing through the written word. Writing has an uncanny ability to funnel all of the thoughts floating around in your head and bring them out into the open, right onto the page. Your job while writing is to be uncensored and honest; no one will see this but you. Write down everything that comes to mind no matter how silly or impossible it sounds. We’re not here to be logical and rational, we’re here to let our inner muse speak to us from the page.

 

There are some things to look out for when you engage in this writing exercise.  You might meet with resistance in the form of procrastination, second-guessing, questioning yourself or choosing to do something more “productive”. When doing this kind of inner work and the dormant thoughts and dreams resurface, it’s normal to feel a little conflicted. Notice if these things come up for you and press on.

So, grab a notebook, turn to a blank sheet of paper, give the page a little sniff. Just kidding! Take 3 deep breaths and put your pen to paper. Don’t stop until you feel emptied. Trust your words and trust the process.

What did your answers reveal to you? What did you notice as you went through the questions? What do you see as a next possible step in learning more about your joy and purpose?

Keep me posted on how it goes ariane@arianehunter.com.

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9 Reasons Why Creativity Matters

A lot of us think of creativity as a leisurely pastime that only a few of us with a lot of time on our hands get to indulge in. Cook a full course meal from scratch, write a poem, go out on a photo walk, or even build your own faux fireplace on a weekend rather than actually buying one. If we can do these things then we must have been blessed by the creativity fairy. But as for the rest of us with full time jobs, businesses to run, children to raise, and a laundry list of chores that won’t do itself, we default to spending our time on more practical matters.

I’d like to offer you a different spin on how we use creativity.  If you don’t create, you die. If you think you’re not creative, you are severely limiting yourself.

Creativity courses through our veins just like the blood vessels that nourish our bodies. It’s our breath and naturally a part of who we are.

Creativity is…

  1. One of our highest gifts that any of us could ever receive…
  2. A portal to knowing one’s self…
  3. A guide fueled by a constant source of inspiration…
  4. Problem solving…
  5. Being an innovator…
  6. Seeing the world in an 180 degree perspective from others
  7. Expressing oneself uniquely…
  8. Gives rise to your talents…
  9. Your authenticity…

We are creators and we use our creativity everyday whether we know it or not. Try going one full day without rationalizing something or finding every excuse in the book to stay at a job that is deeply unfulfilling. You’re exercising your creativity! For better or worse, we are creative beings.

Imagine what could happen if we used our creative juices to execute the masterpiece of our life’s work instead of using them to support our fears. You could find more meaning in your work, couldn’t you? The blinders could fall to the wayside and reveal the answer you’ve been looking for.

What could happen if you let even the smallest amount of creativity into your day?

 

It's Never About The Goal Itself

 

We all like to feel like we’re on track to something bigger, better, and more fulfilling. When we don’t, it feels like we’re wandering, disconnected, complacent on a path to nowhere in particular. From a very early age we’ve been taught to set goals especially when it comes to having what we want: a good job, a big house, a car, money in the bank.  And for the most part having those goals kept us on track headed in a direction that meant that we were on our way to bigger and better things. Then we attained those things and entered a realm of satisfaction at having been rewarded for sticking to the goal and getting the things we say we want. Sometimes the satisfaction is usually short lived as we become aware of something else we don’t have and quickly enter into setting another goal to obtain the thing we really want. Or worse, we wonder why after achieving our goals are we still left with an unsettling feeling of disconnect and unfulfillment.

This can go on and on as we set goal after goal for ourselves turning us into overachievers and ambitiousness turns into a personal mission to prove something to yourself or to others. We may also find ourselves feeling stuck surrounded by all the things we have accomplished yet not really feeling connected to any of it. We may start questioning ourselves and what we say we want possibly afraid to take a step forward when we’re not sure what we’re taking a step forward towards.  Some may fall upon the question of who am I as our identity slips away and gets lost in the degree hanging on the wall or the two cars parked in the drive way. When we tick off all the boxes of our life’s most important goals, what comes next? When do we stop running for the goal and check in with ourselves about what we truly want?

When we set a goal, it’s never about the thing we say we want. It’s about what we believe we’ll get from the thing. This bears repeating: It’s never about the thing we say we want, it’s about what we believe we’ll get from that thing.

 

When we believe that once we get to the end of the goal we will be smarter, successful, better looking, richer, respected, prestigious, we affirm to ourselves that we are not already these things and cannot be until we have what we’re after. Coming into the goal from this place gives our power away and releases to an external thing that gives us permission to be the thing we say we want to be.

I am not discouraging us from having goals. In fact I think having them keeps us grounded and intentional in the things that we do. Our goals grow with us and become increasingly challenging as we realize it’s not the destination but the journey. However, when we find ourselves immersed in a career, job title, or life in general but cannot clearly answer the question “why does this matter?”, then it may be time to rethink things. If we can connect with the reason why we want the thing we want and why it even matters then we can open ourselves up to who we are and what we value most.

Doing this requires us to take a step back before plunging into a goal and connect with the feeling that having the goal would bring. Is it happiness? Is it Freedom? Fulfillment? Peace of mind? Whatever it is for you, connect with that feeling first. Start being that feeling today in everything you do. Ultimately the goal is just a strategy that lies between you and the feeling you desire so why not have the feeling now and the goal become a result of that feeling instead of the other way around.  For example, a goal would look a lot more like this:

  1. Goal: Change careers.
  2. What will you get from that goal?: fulfillment, happiness, connection to your sense of purpose and passion.
  3. By when: January 1, 2014

Try this for yourself using the exercise above. Take out a piece of paper and fill in the following:

#1 fill in your desired goal.

#2 fill in the emotion, feeling that having that goal would bring.

#3 why not now?!!

Now strike a line through #'s 1 & 3. Take a closer look at #2. Your answer shows the feeling that comes from the goal and is what you value most. This is your true goal.

If you could jump straight to being more of #2 today, how much closer to having your goal would you be? Start being the desired emotion today to create the experience of having the goal now. True goals happen whenever you choose, you don't have to wait for an external date to be satisfied. Create that victorious feeling from within by starting today.