Tag Archives: inner wisdom

Which Voice Are You Listening To?

Sometimes we forget that we always have a choice as to which voice we listen to.  These days we are bombarded with all sorts of voices all the time.  A bunch of them are angry, or at least fearful, aren’t they?  And those are just the external voices, the ones out there in the world.  The more important voices are the ones in your head.  Which one of those are you listening to?

It seems that as humans we often think of things in terms of extremes—good/bad, off/on, black/white, etc.  It’s no different in our brains.  We all have many inner voices which could be thought of as aspects of our personalities—and we DO have a choice as to which ones we listen and respond to. For now let’s look at the big two: The “Inner Wisdom” and the “Inner Critic” voices.

Most of us know the Inner Critic (also called the gremlin, monkey mind, saboteur, etc.).  It’s that voice with a “tone” and a pointing finger attached to it.  It says: “you should”, “you must”, “who are you to think you can…”   It’s nagging, belittling, and judgmental.  Functionally it’s there to keep us safe.  The problem is that it has a very narrow idea of safety.  Frankly it thinks that safe is where we are right now.  We aren’t on fire, the building isn’t exploding—so why mess with things?  Leave it like it is.  So what if we are in a job that makes us miserable, or up to our butt in credit card debt, or in a rotten relationship.  Frankly, this voice comes from the concept that any change is bad and might make things worse.  It’s fear based and loud, and laced with tone and drama.

The other voice I call your Inner Wisdom.  It’s also know as intuition, and for some the “God voice”.  It’s not so noisy, and it is completely without judgement.  It’s always neutral in tone, and just sort of plops into your head or consciousness.  Sometimes it feels to me that it is the the voice of my wiser future self—the one that has been through it all and knows what to worry about and what to let go of.

So here’s the deal.  In order to be happier, saner, calmer, and more successful, we need to stop giving air time to our Inner Critic and pay more attention to our Inner Wisdom.  That in itself can be challenging, so here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • It’s really helpful to start distinguishing which voice you are hearing.  Does the voice have a tone or energy to it, or is it neutral in it’s delivery?  Is it judgmental or loving? It it noisy or quiet?
  • You can’t actually ever make the Critic voice go away.  You can choose to listen to it or not.  The most effective technique with it is to see it as a “signal”.  When you hear it nagging recognize that it must be doing that because you are about  to do something different, and then lean toward that different thing.  Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?  Your critic wants you to stay right where you are, doing what you have always done.  It gets riled when you step up to something new.  Ah, so in an odd way what you want to do is make it nervous, yes?
  • You can encourage more communication with your Inner Wisdom by giving it some calm time, time when you are not tied up in thinking.  Ever notice how you get brilliant ideas in the shower?  It’s because you are usually in there enjoying the water instead of fretting.  Your intuition will show up when you are meditating, gardening, walking—in essence giving yourself some ‘down’ time.

Most important of all is for you to recognize that you always have choice.  You can choose which inner voice to listen to, as well as which outer ones to listen to.  It takes being more present and aware in order to make that choice, and it’s well worth it!


Shell Tain, The Untangler

If you find yourself struggling with which voice you are listening to give me  a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com

Disarming a Money Trap

Remember the Money Traps?  They are those things where you are just bopping along and it seems like you suddenly fall through a hole around money stuff.  Sometimes, when we are trying to make a decision, all sorts of things can get confusing and money traps really don’t help with that process—they impede it!  Let me show you an effective way out of one of those traps using an exchange with a current client (with her permission, of course!)

mysteryRecently a client, who is in real estate, emailed me between our scheduled calls with a somewhat urgent conundrum. She had the opportunity to take a major real estate workshop through a different company than the one she works for.  She needed to make the decision to take the course or not within two days time.  She wrote: “Anyway, I need to decide today or tomorrow to enroll.  The ONLY thing holding me back is the fee $799.  But otherwise I have gotten confirmation after confirmation that it will propel me into the numbers I want in real estate.  How do I make this decision?”

Since she was tangled in this, and it seemed like the thing holding her back was perhaps the Money Trap of the actual cost I emailed her with this:

“Let’s ask the ‘deeper’ part of you, how’s that?   Stand up, find a spot in the room to stand in, close your eyes, imagine, ‘You have just finished the class’.  Really get that sense of that experience.  Now scan your body and just notice what sensations you get, and where.

“Okay, now do the same process with other perspectives, moving to a different spot on the floor with each perspective—like, ‘You don’t take the class,’ and, ‘You take another, different class.’  Make sure you try it with at least three different options.  Notice what the exercise is pointing to.

“Now if it is about the money (which is likely) do the same thing again but this time it’s, ‘You spend the money on the class,’ ‘You don’t spend the money,’ ‘You put it on a credit card,’ and other options you may think of.  Let me know what you discover in the different perspectives.”

She wrote back with: “Okay, I did the exercise.  When I took the class my body felt like my feet and legs were secure and grounded to the floor—my head and shoulders light.  When I didn’t take the class my body felt very heavy and tight in the shoulders.  When I took another class my body felt nothing really.  When I spent the money and when I didn’t spend the money my body felt exactly the same.

Continuing, I wrote back: “Ah, so what does that tell you? (I love this stuff !)”

To which she answered: “It tells me my life will not be drastically changed whether I spend the money or not.  It tells me that I will have a more solid foundation in real estate without stress if I take the class, and if I don’t take it I will have stress in my shoulders.”

Translation?  It’s not about the money!

By sorting through this in a body way, instead of a brain way, she was able to bypass her inner critic voice that doesn’t want her to try anything new and gain clarity for herself.  Hot stuff, heh?

Only one caveat here: don’t ask yourself, “How does it feel?”  Instead scan your body and see what you notice.  The feeling word asks for an interpretation which sends us back into our heads.  I was using this with another client on the phone the other day and she said, “My stomach feels guilty.”  I encouraged her to go back to a more descriptive, non-emotional word like jumpy, or achy.  After you’ve done all the perspectives then you can make the emotional interpretations—doing it in the middle muddies the water.

So the next time you find yourself in a money trap, find those different spots to stand so you can talk to your deeper self, notice what’s happening, and see what your inner wisdom has to tell you!  It’s cool stuff!


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Want to explore this technique a bit more? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com

Intuition – the small voice

We all struggle with two voices in our head. Figuring out which one to listen to, and how to tell the difference between the two is crucial. One is a loud critical voice with a ‘tone’. Called different things in different cultures, let’s just go with the “Inner Critic” here. I have written bunches about that voice, and no doubt will write more in the future.

shhhToday I want to talk about the other voice.  This is a softer, quieter voice.  The fact that it is quieter is part of the problem. You need at least a pocket of peace around you to hear this voice.  It’s your intuition, your inner wisdom, your future self, your connection to the divine.

With our stress-filled, hectic lives it’s a challenge to hear, let alone listen to your intuition — yet that is exactly what you need to do!

You must train your intuition — you must trust the small voice inside you which tells you exactly what to say, what to decide.” Ingrid Bergman

The first step in this training, is distinguishing — learning how to tell the difference between your intuition and your inner critic.

It’s actually both simple and amazingly difficult to do. Here’s the deal. Your intuition, inner wisdom never ever uses a ‘tone’ with you. You know what a ‘tone’ is right? It’s that emotional charge, that biting piece. The wagging finger, the scowl! Your inner critic has a ‘tone’, a big one. It’s critical, it’s full of you should, you must, you can’t possibly, and who do you think you are? Simply put, it’s judgmental and demeaning.

Your inner wisdom doesn’t use a ‘tone’, even when it’s warning you of something scary. It’s why Bergman referred to it as the ‘small voice’. It’s not big, loud, and brash. It’s subtle, and we might even say shy. And it’s oh so valuable!

Your intuition gives you truly great information. We all have had the experience of getting some great piece of information from our inner wisdom. We also have all had the experience of then discounting and ignoring that information. That just never works, does it? And by the way, that voice that had you discount your intuition was the Inner Critic voice.

Intuition just ‘plops’ into our heads. It doesn’t nag, or shout.  It shows up in quiet times — in times when we are not being pulled it multiple directions. Ever notice how you get great ideas in the shower. It’s because there’s not a lot going on in there. It’s just you and the water… ahhh.

If you want more connection with your inner wisdom, you just need to make space for it to connect with you. Try doing something repetitive, something that actually “bores” your brain. Gardening, knitting, cleaning, running — things that give you ‘quiet’ space. You’ll find thoughts — and dare I say messages — popping in!

Start with the fundamentals: listen for the tone, notice the small voice, choose which one you pay attention to. Notice that it’s both simple and difficult? Frankly it’s one of the reasons coaches are valuable to us! They help us make the distinction. I do a lot of that, helping people know which side they are listening to!

Listening more to you intuition — and much less to your inner critic — will absolutely change your life for the better! Really!


Shell Tain, The Untangler

How about a little help with shutting up the inner critic and hearing your inner wisdom? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com