The three centers of intelligence: working with my gut, heart, and head

Have you ever noticed that sometimes life seems fairly uneventful, day after day being more of the same?

And then there are those times when a lot of shifts, planned and unplanned, occur?

It’s as if you aren’t even consciously looking for new doors to open. (The unconscious is something else, always working for you, always aware, and it will get your attention when necessary.)

Then you decide to open a new door, and other new doors open unexpectedly.

Yesterday I got a voice mail from my realtor that a buyer may make an offer on my house today and a cable TV show, Sell This House, is interested in the possibility of staging my house, which could increase the value and definitely help the house sell.

Rich choices, huh?

I have never seen this show! I’m looking for someone with cable TV so I can watch it on Saturday morning before agreeing to anything.

And then there’s this: For a long time (actually for most of my adult life), I had a job, and it was my source of income.

Then I became a yoga teacher, which added another source of income.

Here lately, I’ve been selling stuff on Craigslist, stuff that I don’t want to take with me into my downsized, radically simplified life. There’s another (temporary) source of income.

I also recently studied with a Reiki master. I would love to do Reiki treatments on others when I’m ready, and that could also bring in income — although an inner voice tells me to offer Reiki on a donation basis until I hear otherwise, and to do Reiki on myself for 21 days before offering it to others.

In my first week of not being employed (having had a clear NO response to continuing to work where I worked), I’ve felt insecure and looked at classified ads for jobs.

I learned that I have a strong NO response to doing anything technical or long-term and a strong YES response to working with healing, health, food, and writing. Healthy grocery stores, garden centers, supplements, and so on. Even if part-time, temporary, seasonal!

It has been said that we humans have three centers of intelligence in our bodies: our heads, hearts, and guts.

These YES and NO responses come from my gut and not my brain.

NO is a definite contraction, a feeling/sensation close to fear, in my gut/second chakra/hara/dan tien.

YES is an expansion in my heart center.

My head center questions, witnesses, records, informs, integrates. It’s the least powerful center at this time in my life, which is strange.

I have mostly been a head- and heart-oriented person. Having my gut tell me what to do — and override my head — is new. Sometimes my head and heart disagree with my gut, and I experience inner conflict.

Gut feelings are strong and not to be overridden, I have learned.

Sometimes it feels as if I am being steered in a certain direction, and that I don’t have a lot of choice about it. I can just “let go and let God.” I can fight and struggle with it, or I can surrender.

I can only have faith that whatever is steering me is the Universe leading me to my highest purpose. I don’t know right now. That’s the kind of clarity that’s much easier to find in hindsight!

I need a true break from work, even though it is good to learn about the job market. All my centers are okay with this.

And I realized yesterday that instead of one, I may have several income streams all helping to support me financially, all doing things I love to do anyway.

How sweet is that!

I’d love to hear from you about using your head, heart, and gut centers. Which one predominates, and how has this changed?

3 thoughts on “The three centers of intelligence: working with my gut, heart, and head

    • Thank you, Allan, for the well wishing and for commenting. Some of us have to learn to trust gut intelligence, and you were probably born with it predominating. Head intelligence can be heady (ha ha), and it has its limits. I will write more about the benefits and drawbacks of each type of intelligence.


  1. Hey Mary Ann, great blog post and really great question: head, heart or gut? With your interest and passion in this and NLP, thought you might like to know about our work on aligning the head, heart and gut brains. We found that for generative wisdom you need to listen to and integrate all three brains (recent neuroscience has found there are complex and functional neural networks or ‘brains’ in the heart and gut). If you are interested, check out

    stay well, Marvin


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