I work with parents of children with complex chronic disease, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and one of the most important lessons I convey to them is how to develop and rely on their intuition in making choices for their children. Mothers of children on the spectrum are making vital choices daily, many of which drastically impact the health of their children. Because of these kids’ sensitivities, a high degree of conscientiousness is constantly required: A specific food introduced, a new supplement, a change in routine, or the start of a new therapy requires significant insight and intuition, since a child’s behavior can swing in a strong positive or negative direction with every one of these choices. Moms can easily become overwhelmed with the sheer complexity of tracking and understanding these reactions.
Many parents of children on the spectrum have learned through tough lessons that acting on what they are ‘supposed’ to do, according to mainstream media and societal norms and expectations, can be to the detriment of their children, or at the very least is ineffectual in improving their children’s well-being. All the time I hear parents say, ‘If I had only listened to my gut . . .’ – most commonly after a regression in their child’s behavior following a vaccination or other major medical decision. In learning to listen to and trust their intuition, many moms embark on a wonderful path of discovery, tuning into their children’s needs and exploring new options in the world of alternative medicine and therapies. More often than not, helping a child recover from a diagnosis like ASD comes down to empowered parents who learn to make optimal, intuitive, highly individualized decisions for these children.
What is intuition? According to Webster’s dictionary, the definition is, “a natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence: a feeling that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why.” Personally, I would add that intuition emanates from one’s spirit and/or higher levels of consciousness. It is largely distinct from ‘reasoning,’ in which a logical, step-by-step thought process leads to an answer. For the ‘scientifically’ minded, intuition may suggest irrationality, and this has biased much of our current culture against it, despite the fact that many key scientific discoveries have come about from flashes of insight or intuition. I would also add that intuition is separate from instinct, which relates to our animal nature and reflexive reactions. The seat of intuition, on the other hand, resides beyond the basic demands of the physical body and beyond the limited logical conclusions of our reasoning mind. Perhaps it is an amalgamation of our subconscious mind and spiritual self speaking internally to us, through the urges of our heart and body, dreams and imagination.
So how do you tap into intuition? The following are some nice ways to develop and access your intuition.
1) Find solitude and quiet away from the distractions of the world in order to calm your senses down and remove yourself from information barrage. Finding your inner voice by calming the ‘chattering mind’ is an important way to turn up the volume on your intuition. This could be why a lot of our intuitive insights happen in our most private moments, such as in the shower. Developing a daily practice of prayer, meditation, or journaling (including a dream journal) are also powerful ways of tapping into your intuition. This can be difficult as a busy, multitasking mom, but should be prioritized (consider adding ‘meditation’ to your task list!). In this quiet time, praying or speaking to your ‘higher self,’ your ‘guides,’ or your child’s guides and higher self is a beautiful way of engaging with your spiritual intuition. If this seems too daunting, just taking time to listen to your inner voice before getting out of bed during the morning quiet can be effective.
2) Intuition is often tied to a body feeling, such as a ‘gut’ feeling or ‘following your heart.’ Try becoming more aware of your body’s signals and using them as a gauge for your intuitive response to questions or situations. The body does not lie! Being grounded in your body, physically active, well hydrated, and honoring your body’s needs will help the intuitive signals ‘flow.’ Also, becoming more aware of your emotional state – not suppressing states of grief, anxiety, and anger, but working through them – is another helpful body-centric practice. Focusing on expanding the LOVE emanating from your heart, perhaps by closing your eyes and imagining your most loving moments with your children, is also a wonderful way of tapping into intuition.
3) Consider the body as a complex system of information and signals and realize that everything has a vibrational energy – if you place something within the energetic field of your body, your body will react either positively or negatively to it. One of the best ways to tap into this body signaling is the ‘Sway Test,’ which you can use for testing whether certain foods, supplements, medicines or cosmetics are good or bad for you or your child. To do this:
• Stand up tall, place the items you want to ‘test’ on a counter next to you.
• Close your eyes and feel stable on your two feet, calm your mind and center your consciousness in your heart space.
• Pick up a single item, hold it to your heart center and feel how your body responds to this item.
• If the body ‘likes’ the item, it is likely you will sway forward, into the item, almost like a magnet. If the body dislikes the item, your body will sway backward, away from it, as if repelled.
4) Muscle testing (also known as Applied Kinesiology) was developed by chiropractors as a way of gauging the needs of the body through the relative strength of major muscles when the client is posed with various yes-or-no questions. The question may be ‘Is this vitamin C good for this person?’ or ‘Is adrenal fatigue an issue for this person?’ Usually, if the answer to a question is ‘no’ the muscles get weak or lose strength, but if the answer is ‘yes’ the muscles remain strong. It is similar to the sway test above.
I learned about how effective muscle testing was from parents I worked with and resolved that I had to learn it because these parents made progress in leaps and bounds with their kids. I now use it in my homeopathy practice every day. When I started muscle testing I explicitly told myself ‘My mind does not know what the answer is, but my heart knows,’ and I would ask myself a question about the client, and test the strength of muscle groups in my arm or hand. Muscle testing has turned into a highly developed art by all sorts of practitioners, with many methods available.
You can even take classes on it: Here is a link to one of them by Tami Duncan:
Anyone can learn how to muscle test; it just takes faith and practice!
5) Many moms I work with have become highly proficient in the intuitive skill of using a pendulum to assist in decision making. I have witnessed some incredible gains in the well-being of these families. This craft has a millennium of history to its name; it is how people discovered hidden supplies of water (also known as dowsing). The process involves hanging a small weight from a cord, letting the weight swing, and observing the pattern of the swing (either clockwise, counterclockwise or straight back and forth) which corresponds to answers of ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘I don’t know’. Which pattern correlates to which answer depends on the practitioner and is the first thing you ask the pendulum! While I see the results for people who do this as evidence of its success, sadly using a pendulum to assist in decision making does not seem to have gained that much social acceptance. It seems a bit too ‘woo woo’ for a lot of folks! But really it is just a tool for tapping into the subconscious signaling of the body and bypassing the rational mind. However, if you are open minded, consider reading up on it. One good introductory book is: Pendulum Magic for Beginners, by Richard Webster.
6) Last but not least, children have their own amazing intuitive sense! They generally don’t have the mental conditioning that traps adults into over-rationalized states of indecision. There are some children with whom you can hand different homeopathic remedies and they will tell you which ones they prefer because they ‘feel good’ to them. Empower your child with a trust in their own intuitive feelings and inner guidance, and when all else fails, ask them what they prefer!
All of these methods can help expand your intuitive capacities, and none are mutually exclusive. If you are skeptical of some of these ideas and they seem too hocus pocus to you, consider your biases carefully. The last century of rational thinking hasn’t always served us well. It may be worth your effort to listen more to your intuition. At the same time, realize that relying on your intuition requires practice and persistence: When you get a flash of insight, you still have the choice to consciously follow it or not and see the results for yourself. If you get good results, you will likely become more and more confident with, and adept at, accessing your intuitive responses. The ‘inner critic’ and voice that says ‘you can’t do this’ probably wants your rational mind to win out over your intuitive self – perhaps simply as a measure of self-preservation! The beautiful thing is that developing this inherent gift of intuition, which we were all born with, gives you a sense of centered confidence in every dimension of your life – you will win on all levels. Good luck and happy intuiting!
~ Angelica Lemke, ND
Angelica Lemke, ND is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in the homeopathic treatment of ASD, PANDAS, PANS and the healing of whole families. Her website is www.angelicalemke.com