Have you ever looked back on a situation and thought, “I knew that wasn’t right for me”?

Have you ever felt really nervous about a decision despite carefully working through all possible outcomes in your mind and then had it turn out poorly?

Have you ever developed goose bumps during a conversation that seemed completely unexpected?

As a physician, I was initially trained to use hard facts, scientific answers and peer-reviewed literature to manage patients. It wasn’t until I was a medical student on the pediatric ward with a very astute senior resident that I learned about the concept of “mother’s intuition”. He reminded me that mothers “just know” their children and if mom is concerned, the medical team needs to take her seriously. This was contrary to a lot of my training focused on NOT listening to emotional parents in order to avoid clouded judgment.

As time goes on and life experience has added to my database, I have come to realize that we all have an innate sense at our disposal. You can call it intuition, Divine guidance, a sixth sense,  or just plain gut feelings.

In keeping with the mystery, it’s hard to put into words.

But whether we can describe it or not, the important thing is that we can use it to guide our path.

Women, especially, seem to sense when something isn’t right and scientists link this capacity to parts of our brain that register information without our conscious awareness. Essentially, we see, hear or feel something that creates emotion without us really knowing what it was. We respond to the emotion and the physical sensations that follow never make cognitive sense even when we analyze them with our highly evolved, conscious brain. In many cases the mystery is never solved and the actual trigger is never located. At that point, most people would write off the sensory information, base their decision on hard evidence and never look back….until the result backfires and they are forced to explore deeper.

Imagine the power of being able to access and use this extra intelligence whenever you face important decision points. Instead of writing out a pros and cons list, you could trust your intuition and “just know” what to do in times of uncertainty. Utilizing a deeper knowing does not exclude evaluation by the mind, it simply adds to the depth and breadth of data being collected.

As our generation of women step into bigger possibilities and yearn for deeper life purpose, we must also cultivate our intuitive powers. Having access to this intimate knowledge at crucial junctures is essential for an authentic life aligned with core values. Intuition provides the breadcrumbs that lead you home to a whole-hearted, purpose-driven, fully realized life.

If this internal communication is so important, why is it so hard to hear?

Albert Einstein has warned us that, "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."

It takes bold confidence to know you’re right when there are no hard facts. Women have been shut into a confidence gap and it’s time to close that gap and embrace our feminine super powers. Learning to listen to those tingling sensations is a skill that needs practice.

Without confidence and practice, intuition atrophies and can soon be ignored. When expectations are set for specific outcomes, especially when other people are involved, it is tenuous to resolve the issue with sweaty palms.

Ultimately, the muscle of intuition must be developed and worked so that there are enough data points to justify its inclusion in drawing conclusions.

Beyond confidence, practice and trust, you can grow this muscle in quiet reflection. The noise of daily demands drowns out the soft whispers of intuition until you can’t hear them anymore. Conversely, time in quiet meditation actually restores and increases the density of grey matter in areas associated with body sensations and sensory processes (as well as learning, memory, regulating emotions, perspective setting and self-awareness). In other words, you become more attuned to what your body is telling you and can utilize those cues for greater insight when tough decisions need to be made.

As with anything worth doing, it takes some work but the reward for listening inward is often self-perpetuating.  Next time you feel a nudge, take the first step and trust that relying on your deeper knowing opens the door for it to become your friend and daily companion on your journey through life.