Working with Intuition

Intuition is certainly a buzz-word these days, and for good reason – since so many of us have been divorced from inner and bodily knowing, and we’ve been suffering as a society for it. Only now are we beginning to understand what we’ve lost as we’ve favored worldly knowledge over inner knowing.

To be totally clear, in this post, I’m not speaking of Intuition’s predictive capabilities. While Intuition certainly informs these capabilities, it does not stop there – and if I’m honest, I’m much less interested in the ability to predict the gender of a baby, or one’s cause of death, than I am in cultivating a strong sense of self, and self-knowing.

So that’s what I’m writing about here: self-knowing. It’s a revelatory process, and requires getting out of one’s typical trains of thought to access the information important to any given situation.

This process helps us answer questions such as, “Who am I?” and “What is my purpose?” And just as easily – and just as importantly – it can help us to answer the smaller, situational conundrums, such as “What am I going to do next?”

My current favorite way to work with intuition, specifically when answering the question, “What am I going to do next,” or “How will I respond?” is a process of inquiry. I like to put my thoughts down on paper, and I keep a journal for this, because I appreciate having the ability to look back on previous situations so I can reflect on myself over time.

First, I hash out the situation – what is happening externally that I want to work with? What is happening out there that is conjunct with the stirring in me? It can be something specific to my life, such as a relationship struggle, or more global in scope, such as the state of the global economy or climate.

Once I’ve painted the situational picture, I reflect on my emotions – I name each one (there’s very often more than just one) – and I reflect on what thoughts or assumptions are informing each emotion. Maybe I’m feeling angry, which is tied up in the thought that I’m being treated unfairly. Maybe I’m feeling depressed, and every time I think about the idea of climate crisis, I feel even more down.

Often in these moments, I’m feeling pretty confused about everything outside and in – not only is it unclear what is really happening out there, I’m not totally sure what that means for me – I might feel confused about where my feelings are coming from, if they’re valid or based on old wounds, and I may not even know what I really want yet. So I begin asking a LOT of questions, and even if I don’t (or can’t) answer all of them, just the process of asking all of these questions begins to clear things up for me. In this process, I find out what the most important questions are, and then, I attempt to answer them.

After clearing aside everything else – the thoughts, feelings, etc. that I had hashed out previously – this is surprisingly easy to do. Sometimes I come up with multiple responses, and as I do this, I pay attention to what happens in my body, with particular attention on my heart space. If I feel my heart closing down, I know I’ve got the wrong answer. If my heart feels light and open, I know I’m onto something.

Once I’m there, I might come up with concrete ways to enact my chosen solution if that isn’t already plain in the solution itself. Sometimes my decisions require extra support – accountability, comfort, clarity, etc. – so I set plans to see those needs met. Sometimes I still have unanswered questions, so I write those down, and keep my eyes and ears open for the answers to come. These answers have a funny way of arriving, in dreams, upon waking, in the shower or long walks. The key to receiving them is silence and mental stillness.

While this might sound rather systematic, it rarely is. Being willing to get messy – it’s through chaos that we find clarity.

Re-Rooting: A Landmark Map to the Wild Soul

Here it is, polished, shiny, and free to all:

Re-Rooting: A Landmark Map to the Wild Soul is an ebook designed to guide the reader into a closer relationship with their own wild self. This ebook is an offering for the Community Art Gathering Grant from the BeWildReWild Fund at Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.

Click the “download” button below:

ANNOUNCING! As of February 14th, 2020 this book is also available on most major eReading formats, including on Nook, Apple Books, Kobo, Scribd, and Smashwords. The quickest way to find the book is by searching “Courtney Chandrea” (turns out “re-rooting” is rather common in the world of book titles).

To access the book for free in the eReading format, go to Smashwords – there, you can pay what you choose, including $0.00.

After you’ve read the book, if you find you have any feedback for me, feel free to reach out through the “Contact” page listed on the menu above.

*download button opens the most recent update of the book as of 2/12/20

BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT

In the past month, my presence here has tapered off pretty significantly. But this has been bittersweet for me. Bitter, because I’ve begun to really enjoy this form of engaging with the word, and sweet, because my writing mind has been otherwise engaged with the ebook I’m working on.

And that’s why I’m here, to announce its impending publication. Re-Rooting: A Landmark Map to the Wild Soul will be available for purchase online starting next Wednesday, after 3 PM CST on Amazon and Smashwords (and look out for the possibility of receiving a free download code in a future blog post).

Re-Rooting: A Landmark Map to the Wild Soul is the recipient of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation’s art gathering grant via the BeWildReWild fund.

This book includes a six week program of wildness training, complete with essays, meditations, and immersive activities written by myself, as well as 6 gorgeous full-color, imagination-evoking illustrations from Erica Leigh Wilson (find more of her work on Facebook at EriCat and on Instagram @ericat.artist).

Currently, there are only plans for this book in digital format. If you are interested in this book becoming available as a physical item, please let me know, because that is an option I’m seriously considering, given adequate hope for investment return.

Natural Order: An Out-Take

Today, I’m easing back into the swing of blogging things after taking a bit of a holi-break. I’d like to share with you all an out-take from the ebook I’ve written for the Iowa Natural Heritage Fund’s Be Wild ReWild community gathering art grant: Re-Rooting: A Landmark Map to the Soul (coming in February!)

While I wasn’t able to find a good home for this excerpt in the ebook, it speaks to its underlying message in a way I couldn’t let go of, and as I read it and reread it, it kept singing ~blog post~ so here it is:

I’m one of those who needs to be reminded of the moon and stars at night. I leave my blinds open while I rock in my chair. Sewing, talking story, reading, writing.

I’m also one of those people who needs privacy—I don’t like the idea of my illuminated window becoming another screen for the city below to watch. And so I crave trees and space to shield and buffer my own soul’s wildness from those that might try to tame it.

As for me, I would rather live a life where wildlife bandits steal my garbage or a flock of hens for their food, than a life where I’m fined or locked away because my neighbors don’t like how many or how little clothes I choose to wear, or what kinds of plant matter I ingest.

I’d rather be in peace with my wildness, knowing my own moral compass will calibrate as I navigate through this world. Consequence and wise discretion are force enough to guide me. I need no written law, or weaponized enforcer of it, to help me understand and act within right and wrong.

I’m not advocating for anarchy—at least, not the anarchy our culture knows. I’m advocating for natural order.

A recipe

In a pressure cooker, add 1 cup of red lentils and three cups of water. Or however much you like. Tighten the lid, and cook for 12 minutes. Or however long you like.

Aside, chop cauliflower, shiitake mushrooms, and tempeh (or…need I say it? Whatever veggies you like). Lightly fry them in a cast iron skillet, in avocado oil and water.

When lentils finish, release the steam, or wait until it releases naturally (I’m impatient, and at this point, have rowdy babes begging wildly for food – I opt for quick release 9 times out of 10). Add loose leaves of arugula, and set the lid over top until the greens have steamed.

Next, to the pot, add coconut oil, hemp oil, sauces of choice…Tonight, it was roasted pepper soup. Sometimes a curry sauce, others, plain old vegetable or mushroom broth does fine. Toss in sautéed vegetable matter and sprinkle with sea salt, fennel seeds, cumin, ground ginger, Italian seasoning…

Stir, serve and savor the warmth of winter.

Snowfall

Winter lends itself to reverie. Blankets of snow mute the colors of the world and dampen the senses. White flurries fall while I sleep, and my youngest, the Snow Princess, awakes, toddles to the bedroom door, babbling half-coherently at me until I awake and follow.

The border between wakefulness and dreams blurs, weaving into each other in ways that are hard to follow. Amused and enamored, I mumble to the Snow Princess, “You’ve convinced me.” Of what, I’m not certain. Something to do with her beauty, her strength, and her delight. I crave the cozy cavern of deep sleep, but she sparkles in the moonlight and insists that I come play.

I resist until the very end, fighting her like I’m the babe, and she my mother. “It’s time to sleep,” I moan at her. But still, here we are in the room between rooms, the room named for Frigga, Odin’s wife, goddess of the hearth and spindle, dreams and psychic power. The hour strikes 3.

We walk circles together, drink cool water, and pour bits of kibble for the wakeful kitten perched quietly at our feet. I imagine a story unfolding, conflicting arising, and then untangling. Around and around, like a drop spindle. I’m still so new, sometimes the wool tears away in my fingers, or the yarn gets caught up in itself. I’m still so new, sometimes I give in to the frustration. Never for long.

Quiet peace descends. Sprawled across my lap, the Snow Princess sleeps, warm white liquid pouring a somnolent potion from my breast into her mouth. We sit there for a another long moment before I rise and carry the both of us back to bed.

Transgression.

Our local public library has a little bookshop outside it’s doors, where patrons can buy books discontinued from the library’s shelves for just a dollar or two a book.

Yesterday, I found myself perusing the selection, looking for something I could turn into a scrapbook. I wanted something with a solid cover and binding, with room for plenty of pictures, pieces of paper and random paraphernalia. I want it to be nice and scrappy, and I want it to last.

I found the perfect fit, in a Good Housekeeping Cookbook from the early 2000s. Hardcover, ring binding, plenty of room to grow. I brought it to the counter and greeted the clerk, ready to pay. As I’m pulling out my $2, she says, half-jokingly, “Now you’ve got to cook.”

Even though moments before, I had been feeling delightfully transgressive for selecting a book without ever using it as it was intended to be used, I tell her. I say, “Actually, it’s going to become a scrapbook.”

To that, she only says, “Oh.” How she feels about my response is indiscernible from my view. Is she crestfallen? Disgusted? Confused? I’m not sure – but she certainly wasn’t delighted, or even curious. She tells me to have a good day.

Today, I find myself thinking about the word “transgression.” It has a heavily negative connotation in common discourse, equated with rule-breaking and crime. But etymologically, to “transgress” simply means to “cross over.” What then, is the true crime of transgression? It’s possessing the gall to step over the boundaries of sanctioned living and enter the realm of the Unknown. It’s reading the instruction manual, passed down through generations, and choosing to do things differently anyways.

Instruction manuals are reliable, but they’re also rather boring. Sometimes, the companion of such a manual is a comfort, but most days, I’d rather toss it in the fire.

Anecdote Break

Today, I am tired. I don’t have words sparking out of my fingers as I do on my best days, but for the sake of consistency, and more importantly, for the sake of honoring my commitments, of walking the path as much as I can, when I can, I share with you a story of something that occurred in our home last week.


I pull my ass out of bed, and slog my way to the bathroom for my morning ablutions. Maya and Pua, always in tow. Maya sees a spot of blood on my gray jersey cotton pants and she asks, “Mama, is that poop?”

I respond, drowsily, “No. I did not poop myself.”

“Oh,” she says, understanding. “It’s enchilada?”

Pussy Spark

First, a recent history. A few years back, shortly after giving birth to my eldest daughter, I read Audre Lorde’s article, “The Uses of the Erotic.” Around the same time, or shortly before I had read Vicki Noble’s Shakti Woman and had generally conceived, from these readings and from my own knowing and intuition, that sexuality is not just the practical means for creating new little humans, as I was brought up to believe, but more broadly a creative force. It wasn’t until reading Audre Lorde that I began to understand this force in a way that was consciously experiential.

But suddenly, it opened up for me. I started to pay attention to experiences of arousal outside of explicitly sexual contexts. And thus the pussy spark was born. I noticed that in certain contexts, particularly amidst conversations fantasizing about future ways of living, being, dream systems for small and large society, especially thrilling ones would actually elicit a physical response. The experience is more like a cervical twinge, if I’m to be technical about it – but “cervical twinge” isn’t half as catchy as “pussy spark.”

It came to be a marker system for me, a mind-body-spirit barometer of sorts, complete with many different signifiers, including arousal of the mind, the heart, and the gut. These signals indicate to me how much energy I have to give to a project or an idea.

Ultimately, choosing to explore these signals and what sparks them has begun to carve out a path of rich, creative living. Sweaty palms, butterflies in the stomach, a tingling heart, pussy sparks and welling tears all indicate to me that I’m following that path. And the further I walk along that path, the richer life becomes.

Currently, I’m finding myself lit up by dark woodland fantasy, romancing the Other, knits with small stitches and unusual color combinations, and exploring vulnerability. What sparks your fire?

On writing, intimately.

Shortly after posting last week, I was laying my littlest one down for a nap and reflecting upon what I had written. The driving reason behind taking on this blog again, particularly in the loose and light way that I am, is to encourage a shift in my writing style. And to be honest, I didn’t know what I was looking for as I began, but there’s something about process that seems to shine a light upon those hidden desires.

And when I was reflecting last week, I felt an itch of dissatisfaction. It was my voice that bothered me, more than the topic. It felt like I was shouting, like I was standing before a bunch of people in front of a crumbling capitol building and speaking into a microphone. I dunno.

I know I can write like that. I know I can write speeches and feel decently confident about them, and I know I can write a damn good academic paper when I’m feeling it. But I really want to cultivate the kind of writing style that emulates a conversation between friends, over a cozy cup of tea.

And the other thing: I’m tired of writing from my head. Honestly, this is probably my biggest struggle in writing, and now that I’m saying it, probably the driving force behind my shouting voice too. I’ve been much too invested in saying “important” things, rather than things that are true.

Rather than “not writing from my head” – another mental exercise, oof – I’m going to practice writing from my heart, and my gut.

My valuation of writing, which stems back into some of my first memories (copying a Little Critter book down in my own scrawly hand lol) has always been as a thing of the soul. It is that connection, that soul craft, that I aim – no, long – to cultivate with my words.