Maia Toll
“Trust yourself. Listen to your inner voice.”

You’ve probably heard this advice from your mom, your yoga teacher, your crystal-wearing neighbor, and countless people on social media (don’t get me started on flippant social media advice!).

Even if this deep intuitive connection with your inner-self flows easily when you’re on a silent retreat or doing a weekend of journey-work, it’s still hard to tap into when the dog won’t stop barking, the baby won’t stop crying, and the car next to you at the traffic light is blaring one of those ba-boom, ba-boom bass lines.

Modern life is loud: it’s hard to hear your own thoughts, let alone the quiet whispers of your heart.

If you’re thinking I don’t remember how to tap into my intuition, then I have a secret for you:

Your biggest hurdle to hearing your inner truth is getting out of reaction mode.

When you’re in fight-or-flight response, you can’t hear the voice of your heart… And you’re actually not supposed to! Our bodies are hardwired to get us out of danger. If neolithic a woman paused to wonder if it was her dharma to get eaten by the saber-toothed tiger, our species would have died off long ago.Your biggest hurdle to hearing your inner truth is getting out of reaction mode. Click To Tweet

Your hair-trigger fight-or-flight reflex works great for tigers of the saber-toothed variety, but not so well for daily modern life…

… which admittedly, sometimes leaves you feeling like you’re being chased by a whole streak of tigers (yes, that’s really what a group of tigers is called— a streak. Thus giving us a moment when humans— and human language— are sooooo cool).

The most important thing to know about being in constant, low-grade reaction mode: you don’t realize you’re in it.

So you think you’re being ridiculously rational, but you’re behaving like a drunk driver who’s sure she’s road-safe.

In order to break the cycle, you’ve got to build some calming into your day, whether you think you need it or not.

My daily ritual?

Tea time.

(It only works if you stay off social media while you’re sipping.)

Turn the process into ritual by consciously calling in all four elements (earth, air, water, and fire):

  • As you boil the water, notice the interaction of fire and water.
  • Listen to your favorite song while your tea steeps (tea = water and earth, music= air).
  • Breathe in the steam (water, air, and fire) before your first sip.
  • Taste your tea. Roll it on your tongue before swallowing.
  • Remember this is your time. Don’t answer the phone or finish the laundry. Sit, sip, breathe.

I’m a black tea drinker myself— a holdover from my time in Ireland— but milky oats, holy basil, a little chamomile or lemon balm will all help you calm the heck down (try Herbiary’s Women’s Favorite, Sour Mama, or Asleep Blended Teas). I sometimes add cinnamon or roses to my Assam, both of which work wonders for my stress levels. (The cinnamon is more personal than medicinal. My Aunt Ceil would make cinnamon tea and it’s atavistically soothing for me.)

Tea not your thing? No worries: it doesn’t much matter what you do (as long as it calms you). And it matters that it’s daily.

The dailiness is what lets you break out of fight or flight mode (’cause remember you might not realize you’re in it).

The other day whilst sipping tea, I listened to FDR’s “there is nothing to fear but fear itself” speech.

Roosevelt knew the power of fear. He knew a bunch of humans in reaction mode was truly something scary.

You are beautiful and strong and full of purpose. Find your daily check-in, whatever it is that lets you come back to center and share the power of your heart.

Need a little more inspiration? Check out my previous musings on The Sacred Pause.

Big Hugs—

Maia Signature