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© Jen Pavich 2018 

Portraits by Tess Cagle                                                  Nature photos by Sean Pavich

Learning to Trust Your Intuition from Miss Clavel


In the middle of the night, Miss Clavel turned on the light and said, "Something is not right!"

Do you remember the Madeline books by Ludvig Bemelman? They were some of my favorites as a kid. When my daughter was four, she went on a Madeline kick and my husband and I read them aloud more times than I can count. So much so that the line above became a sort of shorthand between us. When one of us would experience a gut feeling about something (i.e. when a house full of toddlers suddenly gets too quiet or a work situation feels wrong for some reason) we’d joke about having a “Miss Clavel moment”.


Though I would’ve rolled my eyes at the word intuition in those days, that’s exactly what my Miss Clavel moments were. A gut instinct that would send me off on an investigation where I’d confirm my suspicion with tangible facts. Looking back, I realize that unless I could find “hard evidence” to support my instincts, I’d often ignore them (and later regret it).


Listening to that inner voice isn’t always easy to do, especially because we’re conditioned to ignore it. Patriarchal culture values linear thought and measurable facts above instincts and emotions. Things like intuition are often discounted and undervalued - especially when the intuition in question comes from a woman.


But ignoring our gut feelings comes at a cost. Have you ever found yourself waffling endlessly about a decision, despite knowing deep inside which choice is right for you? When you discount what your intuition is telling you, it erodes your sense of self-trust. This makes it harder to trust yourself to make the right choice the next time around.


We’re born with intuition, knowing how to look inward to determine how we feel. As we grow, culture teaches us to look outward instead of inward, judging ourselves and the world around us in the context of what the culture dictates. But that deep inner wisdom is still there, and we can decide to start tapping into it at any time.


As the year draws to a close and the days grow shorter, it’s the perfect time to slow down and find your inner compass. Tuning into your intuition is like exercising a muscle. You can start by listening to your own Miss Clavel moments - paying attention to when something feels off is powerful and it gives you an opportunity to get curious about what's going on.


You can also go deeper by taking some time to close your eyes, breathe and ask yourself what you need. Pay attention to what comes into your mind and how your body feels. Trust the answers that you come up with, even if they don’t make sense right away. The more you slow down and check in with your inner wisdom, the easier it will become to hear and interpret.


Wishing you a season full of peace, warmth and inner wisdom!


XO,