In the many years I’ve had my consulting practice, I’ve been privileged to listen to all sorts of people in a very intimate context. I’ve recognized that many of them feel very powerless and overwhelmed by the state of their lives, not to mention the state of the world. They’re demoralized, feeling like there’s nothing they can do, and they’re sort of giving up.
This was my motivation for writing Your 3 Best Super Powers: Meditation, Imagination & Intuition (Hay House, 2016). I wanted to step in and say to them, “Whoa! Wait a minute here. You actually have a lot of power—more than you realize.” Each of these three superpowers is extraordinary, but when you combine them, your life almost immediately shifts onto a very empowered, positive trajectory.
Meditation is the first superpower. I started meditating when I was 15 years old, and I’ve been meditating daily (with very few exceptions) ever since. It’s just part of who I am, and I attribute that particular effort to almost every bit of success I’ve had in life. I can’t overemphasize the power of meditation. Most people have this notion that to meditate you have to stop thinking, but that’s not true at all. You simply detach from your thoughts. Meditation is the ability to step back from your thinking and not let your thoughts, your fears, and the opinions racing through your brain take over. It’s realizing, Oh, that’s a thought, but it’s not who I am. It creates internal space, which gives you the ability to make really clear, informed choices instead of being run by the energy around you. It gives you room to breathe.
I’ve had many personal challenges recently that have been extremely difficult emotionally. Even so, my meditation practice has allowed me to stay in touch with my soul and my higher power. It keeps a space open for me to listen for guidance instead of feeling demoralized about whatever is happening. It reminds me that my soul and my higher power have a plan that is much better than the one my personality-self would have made—and certainly better than my fears would have allowed. Meditation has also given me courage to make a lot of dramatic changes, including moving to Paris. That’s always been a dream of mine, and now that’s where I live.
While meditation involves detaching from our thoughts, it doesn’t involve disconnecting from our emotions. Emotion is just energy in motion, energy that needs to travel through us because it gives us information. Emotions are often frowned upon in society, especially in a professional environment, so it’s easy to get very disconnected. But when we disconnect from our emotions, we disconnect from ourselves instead of learning from the experience. When we shut down, those unexpressed emotions get trapped in our bodies and show up as depression, rage, aggression, and so on. So it’s very important to make room for them and let them pass through us so they don’t get stuck.
I suggest walking with your emotions, because if you’re moving the energy then you can let the emotions rise and be present to them, and then you can let them move on. As I tell my students, your left brain is like your barking dog; you have to take your dog for a little walk before you meditate. So stretch, move, run around the block, breathe—just move some of that energy. And then you can sit down to meditate. You’ll settle into a quiet space more quickly.
One more piece of advice on meditation: People are afraid of being with themselves because they’re afraid they won’t like themselves. But after the initial anxiety, spending quiet time alone, with real appreciation, becomes deeply calming and very healing. We find that deeper authentic self we’re yearning to connect with. So face that fear, breathe into it, because what you’re going to discover is that your absolute best friend will be you.
Imagination is the second superpower. It needs your presence and the space for you to dream. A recent study shows our attention span has been reduced to seven seconds, which is less than that of a goldfish. If we’re constantly being pulled into our emails or text messages, where is the room to imagine? Taking even half an hour a day to just shut off all our electronics is very helpful. Play with your dog. Hang out with your kids. Play games. Take a walk. Go sit in a bubble bath surrounded by candles. Allow some new things to drop in from your creative self, your higher self, your divine self.
Don’t ever let anyone hijack your imagination. You often hear, “Don’t rock the boat. Don’t take a risk. It’s dangerous out there!” And all of that can feel very real when, in fact, it’s just other people’s fears hurled at you as truths. You don’t have to set yourself up by buying into those fears. Just say, “Well, that’s different. I wonder what that would be like.” Then your positive imagination can start jumping in and coming up with all kinds of wonderful inspiration. You have to upgrade the discomfort and say, “Yes, I’m uncomfortable, but what an incredible opportunity this is! What adventure!”
When I was young, one of my teachers told me, “Unless you’re uncomfortable, you’re not growing. You’re not learning: You’re stuck.” So I learned to make peace with being uncomfortable because staying in a known discomfort is just completely giving your power away.
The third superpower is intuition, and there are two important keys to unlocking it. The first key is to use meditation to know who you are. Don’t rely on reflections from others to define who you are. Go inward and start recognizing yourself, your motivation, and what you want to create. Honor and respect your grace and your heart’s desires.
The second key to unlocking your intuition is to trust yourself. The biggest reason most people think they’re not intuitive is not that they don’t sense their intuition, but that they don’t trust it. That requires taking responsibility for their perceptions, something a lot of people are disinclined to do fully—and yet, we have to. No one else is going to do it for us.
So just know yourself and trust yourself—and begin with baby steps. Start by saying, “I’m going to trust that my intuition says to turn here to park the car.” That’s not so threatening. Trusting your intuition in small ways usually results in no negative consequences, yet it lays the groundwork for having a real intuitive foundation.
The other bit of guidance I’ve learned over time is that if you speak your intuitive feelings out loud, chances are about 90 percent better that you’ll listen to your intuition. If you put voice to what you’re intuiting, it’s hard to ignore because when you name it, you claim it.