Interview with Sandy Hogan
By Laurel Elders
We all have it. That inner knowing. That sensation within gleaming “yes” or dropping down in the pit of our stomach warning “no”.
Whether or not we follow it… Well, that is another question. I didn’t really want the second helping of cake, I but ate it anyway out of rebellion.
The poet Rumi invites us, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
When we respect our inner “yes” we naturally generate rewards. Not because we are being rewarded, but because we are gaining access to life through alignment. Abundance abides here.
When we rebel against our inner promptings, lessons and repercussions are naturally generated. Not because we are being punished, but because when we disavow our own insight we block the abundance available by living out of alignment with our truth. Dissonance abides here.
In the book, The Anatomy of Peace, one of the key teachings illuminates a concept found in carpentry. This is, when something is crooked, then it needs to be justified. In carpentry justification takes something crooked and attempts to straighten it. If it isn’t crooked then it is already justified.
In our spiritual walk, we justify when our alignment or intentions become crooked. Something happens, our heart says, “do this!” Then our ego kicks in and starts doubting and fearing and then justifying why we should do something else. Before we know it we all see are our justifications. And, oh, those justifications are so seductive and convincing.
This is called self-deception.
This is why the Course in Miracles advises us to first get at peace, then ask “What do I want to come of this?” We cannot hear our heart’s truth in the thicket of justification. It is too loud and distracting there. The heart’s truth is gentle and presently waiting. It will never be loud and pushy, like the ego.
When you begin to unfold, step into your true calling and follow your heart there is little to no room for self-deception if you wish to go far.
Below we will explore how to strengthen the inner-guidance muscles and learn to follow the “yes!” so that you experience the success you seek.
Before my mentor Sandy’s passing, I had the honor of interviewing her. Sandy was a powerful beacon in my life, who bravely and consistently invited me out of my self-deceptions and self-limitations so that I could soar. My hope is that an missing ingredient you are needing, you will find below.
The 10 Steps to Following Your Inner-Guidance:
1) “Understand how you receive guidance.” Do you have an inner felt sense of something? What does your “yes” feel like, versus your “no”? This is different for everyone, so be sure to recognize your signals to self. If you are not sure, Sandy advises, “Note prior times you listened & followed. What happened? When didn’t you listen? What happened? What were the differences?” I also invite you to make of list of your justifications when you don’t follow. Are there any patterns? What is the gist of the justifications?
2) “Consider all of the ways you have felt called.” Did you receive a tap on the shoulder through others? Was it synchronicity showing up? Hunches? Your children, spouse or close friends? On the inverse: What don’t you want to hear? What do you have a hard time being with? Sandy taught me how life first drops a pebble on your path, then a rock and then if we still refuse to listen, eventually a boulder. Sandy said, “Spirit doesn’t give up, but we often do too soon,” because we expect things to go a certain way.
3) “Do you feel the calling and then attempt to modify it?” What parts of the calling feel uncomfortable? How does this push you off the path? This is an invitation to trust the calling fully. Callings may seem to take us off the path we envisioned. Callings are not linear, they will take you on stepping stones that add up over time. “Go here today.” “Talk to this gentleman.” “Meditate this morning.” The do not always make sense. I was listening to an Abraham-Hicks talk and a man stood up to share his testimony. He was driving one day and his intuition told him, “Drive on the sidewalk.” What?! He thought that was crazy, but something told him to do it. As he did, he avoided an accident that happened right in front of him.
Often callings defy logic. This is why the bible says, “Many are called, few will answer.” We give up too soon out of disbelief. However, this also makes following our calling an adventure of a lifetime.
4) Learn to distinguish between your fears and your intuitions. How does fear feel in your body? Where does it show up? How does it feel different than intuition for you? I am horribly panicky about flying. I was committed to going on a trip to Germany, a 9 hour flight. A week before the trip I swore my intuition was telling me that the plane would crash and I tried to back out. I ended up going and everything was fine. That was fear. Fear is panicky, emotional. Intuition is typically a calm and present knowing. However, distinguishing the difference between the two is indeed a milestone in our own mastery.
5) “Do not minimize your GPS.” Sandy always reminded me, “If it isn’t’ a hell yes, then it should be a hell no!” Our inner-yes is our very own personalize GPS. Or, someone once called it, our God Protection Service. It is personal to you. Value it. It will not lead you astray. You could also call it your conscience. We each have one. Learn to trust it. You can ignore it all you want, but, the good news is that it doesn’t go away. Even if you have been ignoring for years, there is no day like today to begin to wake up to its guidance.
“Clear the runway!” Sandy invites us to clear the runway for take-off. What I’ve learned is that when we clear the past, we clear the path. Biases we accumulate over time, becomes like a viruses in our lives. Those inner wounds block our potential and then we feel as if we are not going anywhere, or stuck on the runway.
Wounds also block us from attracting new opportunities. How can you tell if you have wounds? How reactive do you feel? Reactivity means we still have fear. Fear means our heart isn’t clear. A cloudy heart is an indication we have not gotten complete with things in our past. Clear the past, clear the path.
“Follow the inner-yes.” First get clear what your inner-yes is so you can steer clear of self-deception. Next, act! Dare yourself to act. It may not make any sense at the time. Our promptings sometimes seem bizarre. Yet, there is a part of you that is connected to all that is and other people. This part knows what to do, where to go next and who to talk to more than your conscious mind.
When we get real about how we really feel, we can sense what is the best interest of the greater good of all concerned. Learn to trust it, even when it makes no sense. This is called, walking by faith, not by site.
Rumi teaches us, “Your heart knows the way. Run in that direction!”
“Have faith in your yes.” Sandy shared with me that when Einstein had a new idea, he would imagine life with, or without, his idea to see how he felt. Not what he thought, but how he felt. Thoughts can deceive. The heart is incapable of self-deception.
If you feel relieved at the idea of not doing something, then it is a no. Sometimes an idea lights up the heart, but it is hard to implement so our fears take us down. Have faith the “yes” will take you to that next great place.
Note to self: If you have a fear, it can feel like a “no”. Beneath the surface of fear your heart is aching for the yes. Clear the fear, and watch a new path to the “yes!” appear.
“To say or do the truth is more valuable that the risk.” One of Sandy’s favorite quotes was, “When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.” By Patrick Overton
What are you risking anyway? Staying small? Not listening? When you get tired of staying small, I invite you to step into the arena of possibility.
“Give yourself grace.” Learning to follow the heart and stepping out of self-limitation takes time, willingness to course-correct, and to be open to being real. There is a Sufi saying, “May the face of the Real be upon you.” Being real included giving ourselves grace. It is the recognition that being human is to err. Sandy taught that “Mistakes are nothing more than mis-steps. Step again. It is ok to derail. It is ok to re-negotiate as we go.”
Many paths lead to the top of the same mountain. It is ok to take your unique path in life to the top.
Author: Laurel Elders, PCC, CEC
Laurel helps people wake up delighted to be leading the life they've been called to step into. She is a professionally trained and credentialed Integrative Life & Leadership Coach. Laurel's coaching methodologies teach you how to take life's roadblocks and use them as stepping stones through your own wisdom, allowing you to fully lead through your calling!