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So how do you tune in to your timekeeping impulses? Ironically, the only way to access your inner guide about the future is to fully occupy the present. By noticing everything you're feeling—physically, emotionally and intuitively—in any given moment, you maximize your awareness of the "exquisitely refined" nonverbal timekeeper nudging your noggin. These are the strategies I've found most effective at keeping me in the right place at the right time:

1. Take a relaxed breath and exhale fully. Before inhaling again, rest in the pause between breaths. Focus on your heartbeat and the pulse in your hands, feet and scalp. As you return to breathing normally, remain aware of your pulse throughout your body. This anchors you in the present and keeps you calm during the next steps.

2. Acknowledge that you can't change anything that's already happened. Sometimes that's a shame, but it's just plain true.

3. Accept that many things about the future are unknowable and beyond your control. Scary? Oh, yes—but again: true.

4. Recognize whatever's happening right now (you'd be amazed how often we try to deny what's going on). If the present is miserable, this step can hurt—but not nearly as much as living with the consequences of denial.

5. Pull an Eckhart Tolle: Shrink the focus of your attention to this present moment. Are you going through a divorce, bankruptcy or similarly difficult experience? Maybe—but right now, you're just reading this. Be here now. When you plan, plan here now. Don't preemptively grapple with circumstances that don't yet exist. Living this moment in peace, tuned in to your inner timekeeper, will lay the groundwork for the best possible future.

6. Go back to sensing your pulse throughout your body (this returns you to a peaceful place if you've been unsettled), and ask yourself what you feel you should do about each situation in your life. As you begin articulating what you know or suspect about the right course of action, your body will relax. Even if things look scary, accepting the truth brings peace.

7. Follow through on any ideas you've had about preparing for your optimal future.

8. Stay alert to new hunches, and change plans accordingly.

The more often you follow these steps, the more your life will seem blessed by good luck. You'll realize you're a walking gold mine of subconscious predictive information. The more you test the validity of that information by acting on your instincts, the more accurate your predictions will become. Research shows that making and correcting missteps is the best way to develop any skill. And anticipating circumstances that might change, to avoid potential problems and seize opportunities, is very much a skill. As you pay attention to your internal timekeeper and learn from your mistakes, you may eventually hear yourself rhapsodizing, "The timing's perfect!"

Martha Beck, life coach
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