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Learn to Recognize Your Unproductive Grooves…Book Excerpt from The Guidance Groove by Dr. Carolyn Kurle

Learn to Recognize Your Unproductive Grooves So You Can Choose to Live within Your Guidance Groove


*An excerpt from The Guidance Groove: Escape Unproductive Habits, Trust Your Intuition, and Be True by Dr. Carolyn Kurle

Grooves are created and sustained when repeated action makes a valley across a surface. You create and sustain inauthentic behavior grooves by allowing fear to dictate your choices, then habitually following the resulting unhelpful patterns that wear paths across your life. These Unproductive Grooves of Inadequacy, Obligation, Scarcity, and Unworthiness hold you in place, prevent connection to your authentic self, and dictate your interactions with the world.

Grooves are also created when you lose yourself in joyful movement guided by musical rhythms. You can deepen this type of groove, a free and joyful dance through life that is continuously inspired by the music of your own authentic intuition: Your own personal Guidance Groove.

Living an authentic life is positively correlated with optimal functioning and life satisfaction and living outside of your own authenticity is linked to increased distress, depression, stress, anxiety, and unhappiness.

Authentic living is defined as trusting your inner instincts and operating in harmony with those feelings. Authenticity arises when you consistently act in ways that are in alignment with the guidance from your “true self.” The data are abundantly clear: Intentionally anchoring your choices within your own personal Guidance Groove will increase your overall authenticity which leads to expanded ease, contentment, and abiding connection to your truth.

Why, then, do you have difficulty making choices that lead to greater freedom, contentment, happiness, and joy? Why does humanity continually choose pathways that support struggle and discontent?

It is a human desire to avoid obvious discomfort. Therefore, you choose the familiar and known. You create stories, or Unproductive Grooves, that support your decisions to remain in comfortable, known realities. Often, those around you reinforce your stories and further cloud your ability to connect with your authentic self, follow your true guidance, and step out of your familiar, but ultimately unhelpful, grooves. When you live within your Unproductive Grooves by ignoring intuition and making choices from fear, you miss the experience of deep relief which is a by-product of living in alignment with your inner guidance.

When you dance to your own Guidance Groove, you realize every single event in life involves a choice. And decisions made when you are aligned with your Guidance Groove are not driven by fear. Instead, you choose actions and outcomes allowing you to remain true to your own authenticity. You actively root your choices within a consideration of the best and highest good, what I call benevolent intentionality. You notice, listen for, feel, trust, and follow your authentic guidance arising from your own source.

People living within their Guidance Groove choose to cultivate circumstances and opportunities for connection with their guidance. What allows you to rest in your intuition and increases your ability to access the guidance that informs your decision-making process and allows for greater connection with your own intuition? For me, access to my guidance increases with movement like walking or bicycling, or by doing something I love which requires little thought, like cooking or listening to specific music. Find out what works for you and regularly incorporate that time for reflection into your daily life.

When you are on the Guidance Groove path, you reject those influences that can lead to choices out of alignment with your authenticity. You practice behaviors to align your choices with your own guidance. You root your decisions within an intentionality for the best and highest good. You protect yourself from the onslaughts of life that feed the false stories arising within the four Unproductive Grooves. You develop strong and positive self-talk messages to rebuff the negative chatter created by the fear motivators driving the four Unproductive Grooves.

When stuck in one of the four Unproductive Grooves, you choose to let situations in life reinforce, deepen, and sustain false stories underlying your grooves. Instead of recognizing life’s circumstances as a series of opportunities to choose connection with guidance and authenticity before acting, you view life events as building blocks for your counterfeit stories. This view of life reduces your power and further separates you from your own guidance and authenticity.

The relief that you experience when you follow your Guidance Groove stems from an unwavering adherence to your own authenticity. Following your intuitive guidance provides you with autonomy and the ability to flow freely with life’s circumstances. You can choose, at every juncture, to maintain alignment with your own authenticity. This autonomy reinforces your liberation and freedom and manifests as peace, contentment, and ease.

Living by the tenets outlined in the Guidance Groove is a learning experience and the journey will require your most sincere self-inquiry, study, perseverance, and daily practice to become easily accessible and automatic. Be extra kind and patient with yourself as you progress because escaping from a well-honed Unproductive Groove can be tricky and initially uncomfortable. Your process of advancing and regressing as you learn, practice, and experiment with living according to your guidance may not be in a constant positive trajectory. That’s OK because there are no mistakes—throughout this process, you are collecting data and discovering how best to live more in alignment with your own guidance.

To track your progress and encourage your continuation, keep a journal and describe what your guidance and intuition are telling you regarding choices you face every day. Take notes on how your choices unfold to gather data confirming or refuting your initial choices arising from guidance. Use these notes to refine your connections to your guidance and learn to better discover and trust your intuitive self.

I have lived through many circumstances wherein I followed my guidance even when it didn’t make sense on the surface, or it felt uncomfortable because it wasn’t what I “should have” been doing. Yet, the outcomes turned out better than I could ever have imagined. I collect these stories from my own experiences, and I use them to remind myself that when I trust my guidance, I experience outcomes most in alignment with the best and highest good for all involved.

The processes for aligning with your Guidance Groove are meant to be used often, for every decision, so opportunities for practice are constant. If an outcome feels wrong, just try again. Take a longer pause, feel deeper, correct, refine, and you will find your authentic path forward. Make the decision arising from your guidance, take the action to move forward on your authentic path, then recognize and extricate yourself from whichever Unproductive Grooves are misleading you.

The more you adhere to your Guidance Groove, the more living outside of your guidance will be intolerable.

The first step is willingness. Are you willing to recognize, then step out of your Unproductive Grooves, to wait, be present, notice your vast, endless, and very accessible guidance? Will you pause to feel with your whole body and mind for the intuitive guidance stemming from your source? And most important, are you willing to act on whatever guidance demonstrates as your most authentic path forward?

Will you choose to live within your Guidance Groove?

Are you ready to be authentic? Free? Joyful?

Yes. You are ready.

As a scientist, Dr. Carolyn Kurle relies on logical thinking, but she also knows that a contented and true existence depends upon our ability to quiet the mind and fully integrate our feeling, intuitive selves so we can navigate the flow of life from a place of wholeness. Her work teaching hundreds of outstanding students at UCSD, many of whom paradoxically struggle to find ease, motivated her to create this accessible manual for connecting with your guidance to increase personal authenticity and contentment. She lives in Encinitas, California. Dr. Carolyn Kurle is a tenured Biology Professor at the University of California, San Diego, and the author of numerous research articles aimed to improve conservation strategies for imperiled species and habitats. She holds degrees in German Literature and Zoology from the University of Washington, a master’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University, and a PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of California, Santa Cruz. For more information, please visit The Guidance Groove: Escape Unproductive Habits, Trust Your Intuition, and Be True comes out February 6, 2023.