Spirit Guides go by many names. Angels. Familiars. Helpers. Or simply our own intuition. Sometimes they speak to us through dreams or visions. Sometimes they communicate more directly, as “voices” in our heads, or even as apparitions. But most of the time they manifest as unexpected bursts of creative energy or epiphanies: those lightbulb aha! moments when a new idea seems to materialize out of nowhere.
What is a Spirit Guide?
Have you ever grappled with a problem for weeks–only to have the answer come to you while you’re chopping onions or taking a bath?
Have you ever been so inspired that you stayed up all night working on a creative project, and didn’t feel tired in the least?
Have you ever broken down over a situation, and handed the outcome over to the universe, only to find that it magically sorted itself out in a way you never could have predicted?
That’s how spirit guides work. They help us tap into the deeper wisdom that all of us have access to as human beings. All we have to do is get out of our own way long enough to listen.
Easier said than done, I know. So, here are some tips and tricks to help you connect with your guides, however you prefer to envision them.
Let Go of Control
Yep, I’m starting with the hardest one, because it’s also the most important.
In order to hear your spirit guides, you’re going to have to stop trying to run the show all the time. You will need to take a scary leap of faith and admit that, as an individual, you don’t have all the answers. To release control and ask for help. Even scarier, you will need to trust in the validity of the messages you receive and take action on them. Spirit guides don’t waste their energy on those who refuse to act on their guidance.
The truth is, you can’t force your spirit guides to speak. The universe has its own divine timing, and no amount of pushing will alter that. The messages come when we need them. So the best we can do is to be ready for them when they arrive.
Often, it is only when we are forced to let go of control that we are able to hear the truth. When we’re broken down, beaten up, on our knees and at our wit’s end… that’s when we hear them most clearly. Because we’ve finally stopped trying to be right.
Spiritual awakenings can be painful. But numbing the pain will only prolong it. Keeping our minds distracted will only make it more difficult to receive the wisdom they are working to share. When you are hurting, take a good, long look at that hurt. Ask it what it’s doing there. And then listen for the answer.
Notice when you’re running away. It’s okay to run. In fact, it’s very important. We all want to know when to high-tail it in a new direction. So no judgement when we run. If we run with self-acceptance, we will arrive somewhere we needed to go.
My best friend Maryann, a very talented psychic healer, once told me about a woman who came to her in great distress because she kept dreaming that she was being chased by wolves. The woman woke every day in a panic, and couldn’t figure out where these fears were coming from. Maryann investigated her spiritual situation, and saw that the wolves were actually trying to keep up with her– to keep her safe! They were strong guides that were telling her to find her pack and run WITH them.
Most of our running is like that. We’re just trying to get to a safe vantage point so we can see what’s really going on.
Creative energy tends to come when we are not asking for anything at all, but are simply allowing ourselves to fully enjoy what is. Gratitude for what we already have shows our spirit guides that we make good use of the gifts that we are given, and that we appreciate their efforts.
Gratitude doesn’t have to be complicated. All that’s needed is a simple acknowledgment of the good things in our lives, a quiet prayer of thanks, or simply a feeling of joy and celebration for what is.
Creativity bursts can manifest in all areas of your life. You may find yourself picking up old hobbies that used to bring you energy and satisfaction but have fallen by the wayside. Childhood dreams may resurface, or new dreams may appear. Sexual energy may arise and fuel your passion towards a deeper spiritual path. Or you may simply feel more curious about the world around you and eager to learn something new.
Be aware, though, that everything comes in cycles. These bursts of creative, joyful energy are often preparations for a spiritual evolution ahead, helping you us build the resources you will want for the next step in your journey. Enjoy them to the fullest while they last, and make good use of the gifts they offer.
Find your Tribe
Everyone wants a community. I would argue that most people need one. A place where they truly belong. Find the people who accept and understand you, just as you are. Reach out to them and ask for guidance and support when you need it. The right tribe will be happy to offer it.
Be generous with your tribe, but keep your boundaries strong. Boundaries create healthy, long-lasting relationships, and keep you in your highest integrity. Beware of gurus who trample your boundaries in the name of spiritual guidance, or dictate to you what your values should be. Your values are uniquely yours, and the boundaries you set are sacred.
For that matter, beware of anyone who tries to tell you how to think, or what your own spirit guides are saying. For better or worse, only you can hear the voice of your spirit guides. Only you can interpret those messages and decide whether or not to act upon them. Find your own truth, and do only what feels good in your soul. Always.
That said, if you find yourself drawn to a teacher, healer, or mentor, pay attention. This may be just the person you need to help guide you through whatever is coming ahead. You’ll know it’s a good fit if following their guidance lights you up inside and makes you feel even more like yourself. If not, simply thank them for their time and let them be on their way.
Create Listening Habits
Create opportunities for your spirit guides to communicate with you by building the following listening habits into your daily routine:
- Keep a dream journal. Dreaming is one of the primary ways our guides send us messages. As you begin to record your recollections, you will inevitably recall more and more. This is also a good opportunity to simply write down whatever is in your head when you wake up in the morning (aka “morning pages). Epiphanies and solutions often come when you first wake up, especially when you focus on what you were working to sort out just before you went to bed.
- Do a short morning meditation, such as counting ten breaths and then listing off three things you’re grateful for. This lets your spirit guides know you’re listening and in the right frame of mind to receive a message.
- Exercise (yoga, walking, swimming, weight training, etc.) is a great way to get out of your head and into your body, allowing space to receive messages from your guides. This is also true of physical activities such as gardening, household chores, knitting, and so on. When your body is occupied, your mind is more receptive.
- Use a simple divination method such as pulling a tarot card (either from a physical deck or a virtual one via a tarot app). If tarot isn’t your jam, try this: go over to your bookshelf. Pick out a book at random. Open it up to a random page. Notice where your eyes are drawn and read the first full sentence you see. Anything can be a message, as long as we are keeping an open mind and heart, and interpreting with truth and integrity.
- When strong emotions arise, STOP whatever you’re doing, take some deep breaths, get quiet in your mind, and listen. Think of that emotion as a ringing telephone. Your spirit guides are calling with an important message, and until you pick up, they’re just going to keep calling.
- Get out into nature as much as possible. Go forest bathing. Hit the beach. Take a walk in the park. Natural settings are ideal places for spiritual communications.
The more you practice listening, the easier it will become to hear what your spirit guides are telling you!
Contributor | Adrienne Maclain & Editing | Maria Mocerino