I interviewed the intuitive psychiatrist Dr. Judith Orloff yesterday for our upcoming May issue. Intuitive psychiatrist is an unusual combination, one born from Orloff being raised by two physician parents and possessing an intuition so innately strong that she spent much of her childhood believing that something was very wrong with her. Once she understood that the voices she was hearing were not a sign of madness but the product of a very loud and insistent creative guidance system, the life as she knows it now began in earnest.
One of the things I like about Orloff’s work is that she teaches people to use and strengthen their intuition. Until I began paying very close attention to my own creative process, I would not have thought intuition was anything you could teach. Either it visited you or it didn’t. Like the weather, I was glad for sunny days, but no amount of prayer or science would ever part the clouds.
But leaving communication with my intuition to the whims of a capricious subconscious is like leaving my writing schedule to the whims of my mood. I’m going to write every morning regardless of my mood because I have learned that once I start writing I soon find I am in the mood to write. My desire to write never actually turns off, I merely lose track of it in the grumbly, fussy business of daily life. So too with my intuition. It is always running, pulsing away with inspiration and guidance if I can but locate it.
Orloff has certain mechanical steps she recommends, like sitting quietly and taking deep breaths and so on. All good ideas. But there is a reason writers and teachers like Orloff often wind up speaking in metaphors. I could easily point a stranger from Seattle to Boston on a map, but the route to your intuition is like the journey from fear to love. Before the journey can even begin, you must remember it is possible, remember that your destination is real precisely because no one else can find it for you.
Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion.
“A book to keep nearby whenever your writer’s spirit needs feeding.” Deb Caletti.