It has to have been a Wednesday, the manager meetings were always planned half way into the week. We were short staffed because of people being sick and our workload started piling up. We just divided all the essential tasks among the colleagues present when our manager came up to me.
“Good morning, I see we are behind. I need to get into a management meeting to inform them about the status. Will you be able to catch up by the end of day?”
Surprised by the question I took a moment to reply. “No, impossible. With luck we can half the workload, but there is no way we will be caught up by the end of the day.”
The manager wasn’t used to getting a no, especially from me that could often keep things running smoothly. “There has to be a way! There are enough people.” he responded.
After I briefly explained the plan for the day, emphasizing the essentials I confirmed there really was no way. Everybody was doing all they could.
“But what do I tell in the meeting?”
“That people are sick and we are doing our very best to keep the damage under control?” By now I started to get annoyed, I don’t often give a no, but when I do I’m certain.
“Can’t I just tell them that we will be caught up?”
“You can, but it won’t happen.”
He left irritated, not getting the answer he wanted to hear. My colleagues were happy I stood up to him. We were under enough pressure already, we didn’t need more.
Afterwards he returned to us and apologized for the way he handled the bad news. Realizing we were both on the same team, doing our best to get the same result. He had even more of my respect afterwards.
When it comes to listening to your primal being you will often get answers you don’t want to hear. Oftentimes your primal being is so far ahead of your consciousness that it can keep you from getting into deep trouble. It can tell you when things are moving in the wrong direction even when it looks like things are right, often triggering that resistance you get when you hear bad news.
Can you remember that time your gut feeling turned out to be right? Or that time your emotions were all over the place without clear reason? Or when there was that nagging feeling in the muscles of your neck? Can you remember the signals your primal being sent you ahead of time, only to realize later what was happening, often too late to be doing anything about it?
It’s important to learn to really listen to your primal being to make sure you can take its suggestions into account. Hopefully still in time to change the outcome. Simply having the chance to keep yourself away from “wrong” people or situations or taking a couple of hours rest instead of going down sick for days.
Let’s be clear: listening to your primal being doesn’t mean following its every suggestion unquestioning. Like my manager did, one can argue and try to find a better solution. Taking a moment to reflect instead of just moving on blindly never hurts. When you’re both working towards the same goal, getting conflicting opinions often even makes the results better. And when the goal is to live a happy and full life, why would we not want to improve our result?
But how can one actively choose to listen to the part of our thoughts that so easily gets drowned out during the noise and chaos of everyday life?
There are different ways of listening, many more than we can expand upon in a single blog. That’s why we created an entire website and are always working on new courses. But it is possible to at least point you to a start:
Mindfulness is a beautiful example of a process to take time and listen. You choose to keep the noise and chaos away from you, at least for a while. This silence makes it easier to pick up on the signals your primal being is giving. Meditation is obviously an even deeper and effective part of mindfulness that allows us to be more in the moment and grants us the possibility to listen better.
For both however it is really important to do it “right”. Many meditations focus on not thinking at all. Where some mindfulness teachers tell you to ignore everything that may “distract” you. In a world where emotions (and all other parts of the primal being) are considered a “distracting thought” it is easy to fall into the trap of ignoring the primal being even while doing these exercises.
Checking in with your body is another great way to figure out if something is up. Are there pains, is there tension or are you restless? A simple full body check can already give you an indication if there is anything that needs your attention.
This way of listening won’t often give away the “what” of the situation. But it’s a start to figure out “if” something is wrong. Inviting you to listen more to your gut or emotions.
The last tip that is really easy to incorporate is intuitive decision making. You may need to take some time to train this for yourself. But once you get the hang of it things become much easier. Choosing what you want to eat, where to go outside or what type of exercise you would like to do right now are probably the most recognisable day to day examples.
The best way to reach this is to simply plan less and have more available. A yoga mat allows for a hundred different types of exercise and having a few (long shelf life) back up meals in your cupboard never hurts.
Right now you may be thinking that it may be a lot of hassle, or you’re sure that you won’t like what the primal being has to say to you. Both may be true, let’s be honest it most likely is. It's been ignored long enough, so it may have some harsh truths to share and a life built ignoring a part of yourself will almost always need change to fit your needs.
Change is always scary and hard at first. But in a year (or two, or three) your new way will be what you don’t want to change. Change is always happening if you want it or not. Listening to your primal being, listening to yourself, to make every single change work out for the best, that’s worth some effort.