It is a very common experience to be faced with scenarios or decisions in life and to think to ourselves, “my gut instinct is…” or “my mind is telling me this but in my gut I feel this.” We are all quite familiar with this concept of “gut instinct,” but how often do we actually stop to consider what this really means? And why is it often so challenging to listen and follow what is coming from this place we refer to as “our gut” rather than abiding by the law of our minds?
Simply put, we struggle to listen to our gut instinct in most situations because we live in a world that prioritizes the masculine tendency toward fast action from a place of intellect, logic and reason. Facing decisions, we are first asked what we think. We value well thought out planning, we think up lists of pros and cons, employ strategies to convince others of what we think, articulate our trains of thought and put our minds to analyzing possible outcomes, which is all wonderful, but not always expressive of our deeper truths. To act from our gut instinct, by contrast, is to prioritize how we feel.
To live by how we feel is innately feminine, and in the majority of professions and societal structures, there is very little room for the feminine to take up space. Especially when we are evaluated by our ability to act fast, to problem solve on the fly, and to get everything done that is expected of us as quickly as possible.
To live by how we feel requires the time and space to tune into ourselves enough to even recognize what we are feeling in any given situation. Our thoughts are much more immediate and easier to access for most of us because we have been trained for our entire lives on how to develop close, functional relationships with our minds. We live in our heads. Our action-based, outcome-oriented, masculine (yang) energy then, often feels much more natural to access and employ, but it is by this same habit that we find ourselves looking back on decisions we’ve made and thinking to ourselves “I should have listened to my gut.”
For womb-bearing folks, I want to offer you a new way to view this thing I keep referring to as your gut instinct. I want to offer this to you instead, as the wisdom that lives in your womb.
The Wisdom of the Womb
The womb is the center of creation from which we are given life. It is a space that we have been intergenerationally separated from as one lifetime after another has been conditioned to access and consider this part of us solely from a functional standpoint in the birth space.
We have been conditioned to believe that this part of us sits dormant, not of service to ourselves, until we conceive and carry life here in the same way we have been conditioned to believe that our vulvas and vaginas are for the use and enjoyment of our partners rather than our own pleasure. Our yoni’s, we are told, are not here for our own benefit but rather for the service of others – our children, our sexual partners – therefore when yoni tries to speak to us, to connect with us, to guide us, we seldom even hear, and even less frequently do we listen.
If we create life from this place though, why is it that we do not feel we can live our own lives from here as well? If all life comes from the womb, why do we not trust and uplift its wisdom as the guide for living out the very life it created?
Often, this resistance is based in fear. We are fearful because to tune into what lives inside of us is to surrender, and to surrender is to release control.
We are capable of controlling our minds. There are courses and books and trainings accessible everywhere for how to control the mind for the purpose of productivity and toxic positivity. Control equates to power, and power equates to success, so it is no wonder that our workplaces and societal structures encourage this method of orienting. It is physically impossible however, to control how we feel if we want to feel in a fearless, truthful way. To take the time to feel is to invite the feminine (yin) energy into the equation, to slow down and go inward. Because of this, it is no wonder that we are not as familiar with this way of being.
Furthermore, we are not only fearful of releasing control, but we are also fearful of what we might discover once we start to develop a relationship with our feeling body for what our womb might say.
For the majority of us, womb-bearing and non-womb-bearing folks alike, to tune into this part of us is to confront varying degrees of both our own, as well as intergenerational, ancestral trauma and lived experience that is threaded into the fabric of our existence. While it’s cute to believe that we can be entirely self-made and free from the lives and experiences that came before us, this is simply never the case, and while we can find ways of navigating around ever having to face that which lives deep within us head-on, how do we ever experience true freedom if we are constantly sneaking down side streets to avoid being seen on the main strip?
In our fear, that has us dodging pain or conflict, we are missing out on generations of ancestral wisdom and knowledge that we could be using to our advantage as we navigate the experiences and decisions which write the stories of our lives.
Our wombs carry a deeply spiritual, passed-down, ancestral knowing, that when offered the space can provide us with the tools we need to go out into the world and design our lives in ways that align with our deepest, most authentic truth. The trick is, that while our intellect speaks to us through thought, our womb speaks through feeling. The voices sound different, speak different languages, and of course it is easier to communicate in the dialect we have been raised with, but how much wisdom can we access when we commit to learning the mother tongue of our ancestors?
We seek guidance from outside sources, from our personal idols and experts in our professional fields that speak the language we know, but what happens when we tune inward enough to recognize our most powerful guide as the wisdom that lives within us, in our womb?
It starts, as everything must, with acceptance. It is not immediate. It is feminine, it is yin, it is quiet, and it is slow. It is a journey and a process and a life-long practice of integration. For both womb-bearing, and non-womb-bearing folks however, there are ways we can begin to surrender to our feeling body simply by finding ways to surrender to the feminine within us all. The easiest way to do this is to spend time connecting with the water element in the body through our sacral chakra. Below are some practices that we can all start to integrate on a daily basis, which will help us develop this relationship in an intentional, gradual way.
Sacral Chakra Exercises for All Bodies
While there are many asanas and meditations for connection to Svadhisthana (Sacral Chakra), I want to focus here on practices that can be integrated into one’s day with a more casual, pedestrian approach, in hopes that we can use them as we move through life in real time.
1. Physical Recognition
Spend time physically connecting to this space by placing your hands over your low belly. The Sacral Chakra lives just below the navel in all bodies, right in the softest, fleshy part of the belly that we so often feel the need to contract or suck in. Place your palms over this part of your body and intentionally soften through here. If standing, bring a slight bend into the knees, release any contraction through the glute muscles, roll the shoulders down away from your ears, and take a couple of deep belly breaths down into the place where your hands connect. Have you ever noticed how often in a day you touch your head and face? For many of us this is a habit that comes as naturally as breathing, because we spend so much time up here. To develop a practice of physically acknowledging the space of the Sacral Chakra/womb is to validate and value it as worthy of your attention, time and energy. Let it know you honor its presence.
2. The “sleep on it” Rule
To honor the feminine within us is to slow down, and to slow down is to recognize the value of rest. We cannot act from a place of mental or emotional clarity if we are not properly rested and nourished, so this practice can be the simplest and yet the most challenging to put into practice. I am inviting you literally to sleep. When you are faced with a decision or a situation that feels like it requires immediate response and are feeling a sense of conflict, if it is not a life or death matter and you have the space/capacity to do so, give yourself permission to step away for the time being, and literally sleep on it, before you act. To sleep is to give our mind a break from conscious thinking, and in this we give our bodies a chance to re-set. Many people find that if they are ruminating on something in the evening, if they sleep on it, they rise in the morning knowing exactly what to do. This is not a fluke, this is your body being given the chance to share its wisdom without being spoken over by the mind, if even just for those brief moments upon waking.
3. Dance or Intuitive Movement
In your kitchen, in the street, in the car while you drive, turn on some music that feels nourishing to your soul and let yourself move freely in whatever way your body guides you. The key here is to move freely. I suggest starting this practice with the first exercise, Physical Recognition. Place your hands over your low belly, bend your knees, take a couple breaths, and then start moving from your hips. Let your hips guide you as your starting point and go from here. Think of your movement as it grows as one continuous story, one phrase flowing into the next. Or, simply think of moving in the way a river flows – constant, winding, ever-evolving fluidity. Move as you feel, let how you feel inform your action. Then carry this out elsewhere in your life.
Your Body’s Innate Wisdom
If we place our intentions on connecting downward in this way, on bringing our awareness out of our fast-acting mind and into our slower, feeling body, we will perhaps start to notice ourselves feeling more in general, a heightened sensitivity. Lean into that, do not run away in fear back to the side streets.
Walk proudly down the main strip amongst the crowds, let the fullness of your truth be seen, and notice how your approach to life changes, becomes much more direct and intentional and aligned, when you release the fear of connection to your feeling body.
When you take the most direct path to your truth through learning the language of your womb, you surrender to your body and let its wisdom guide you home.
Image by Cece Di Paolo