As part of a celebration of sorts (this is my 100th published blog post!!) I wanted to write a post on something more personal. This is a subject that is most important to me in my life. It’s more important than travel, photography, my dreams, and it’s even more important than my personal relationships. This topic is on


It’s that deep resonating part of us, our spirit, our inner voice, that guides us through this journey on earth. It’s that gentle nudging. Those gut feelings. Those coincidental signs that keep popping up over and over again. It’s energy. It’s physics. It’s universal. It’s us. 

Ego or Intuition?

We all have an i n t u i t i o n. It’s that voice that is kind and gentle and accepting. It is all knowing. It is simply…pure love. It is our bare selves.

We also have an e g o – one that is judgmental and impatient, seeking praise and approval, wanting security and shiny pennies. The ego wants to protect us. It wants us to be safe, and it wants us to survive. It is not bad nor good; it just is always there.

Both sound and feel very different. Some people are skilled in hearing them, whether it be a quiet inner voice or through writing. Others (me included) can feel what is honest and true and in alignment.


To Give You a Bit of Backstory

Since I was a little girl, I have always known things without being able to explain them. You could call it the term


Now this might seem a little silly, but please bear with me. Everyone is made up of energy (atoms, subatomic particles, energy) and everyone has intuitive abilities. The more aware of them you are, the stronger it and that energy becomes. Some see visions, some hear words or songs, some are sensitive physically and others sense colors. There are countless talents in psychic ability. While I’ve never had visions as of yet, I easily am able to know things without being able to explain to others how I know them. I just sense what is true.

If you haven’t read my first blog post on how my life changed when I discovered my love for travel, know that the person that is writing now is nothing like the person who ventured to New York City alone at 18. That girl was brazen, that girl had guts. And I look back at her with admiration. But that girl was following her ego from the moment she booked that one-way ticket to La Guardia Airport. She followed her need for applause, for accolades, for achievement and for a title. She wasn’t following her inner voice and values.

When I look back on my years acting and my dreams to have my name on a Broadway marquee (literally, that’s what my dream was *rolls eyes*), I wish I had paid attention to my inner voice. I wish I followed the signs: my heart constantly questioning whether “making it” and earning “fame” was worth it when there were bigger world issues I was more concerned about, when my heart nudged me to write over reading a script, when I would rather enjoy spending a day taking pictures on my cell phone than singing. Those were faint nudges. But my ego, time and time again, kept reappearing and reminding myself that I wanted to become a successful actress. For what? So, that I could prove to the people back at home that I could. So, that I could have a fancy resume and possibly a Wikipedia page. Let me say that that’s a pretty twisted reason to follow a goal, don’t you think? But here’s a thing: a lot of people do that. In fact, I’m sure most people do that. There are so many people who want fame or money or stability for someone else other than themselves and their inner spirit. Just like there are so many young people going to college and enrolling in accounting for their parents’ approval. Just like some of the kids considering law school or pursuing interests that aren’t what they reeeeally want to do with their lives.

What if instead of pursuing things for others (and our own ego), we quiet our minds and follow that passions that are gently guided and nudging our hearts?

What if we gave up our need to please our parents, our peers, our teachers and mentors.

And what if we stopped listening to the voice that merely wants us not to suffer?

Because when we open up that part of us that feels light and joyful and free and then pursue and take action  on the things we L O V E?

then we soar.

Signs and Symbols

As a 19 year old actress living in New York, I began to hate the entire process from auditioning to performing. But I would force myself. I’d keep putting my head down and plugging away on material and showing up. But all the while, I would feel out of alignment. It simply didn’t feel right.

I would sneak off and take photos, write in my journal and teach myself photo editing (Thanks YouTube). It would be almost an another two years before I got so fed up that I began to follow my intuition.

I’ll never forget the moment: I was in my bedroom on a 5th floor walk up on 137th and Broadway, and I had this intense moment of heightened clarity and focus. “I don’t want to do this anymore.” I said out loud. I didn’t even have to think about it. The next day, I sold all of my sheet music, theatre books, plays. I took my acting website down and backed out of the acting classes I was attending. My mom was in shock. My friends were surprised. But my shell had broke open and my intuition was in complete control from that day forward.


Once I started following my intuition, I began data-collecting. In other words, I began testing out new ideas and interests. If I was at all curious about something, I went with it. I began trying out new hobbies, read different books and took an internship in casting. I started asking people about what they loved to and experimented with one that was of interest to me. I basically took on lots of different passion projects and followed the ones that my inner knowing felt aligned with. While I was dabbling in casting, I began practicing photography and when my intuition silently told me the entertainment industry wasn’t aligned with my values anyone, I let go and moved along. That’s an important step: you have to be able to let go.

I immediately got myself a credit card and bought myself an expensive camera and two portrait lenses.

If I was going to follow my heart, I was going all in.

Doors effortlessly open

When we begin to follow our intuition and our inner voice, doors effortlessly open for us. Opportunities start rolling in. Things just start clicking. For meI started a family portrait business a month after leaving acting and new clients just poured in, thanks in part to friends in New York and word-of-mouth referrals. And more than the “success” or a steady stream of money, I was happy. I felt intense joy during every family session, location scouting appointments, and photography class. It just all flowed. And I felt in a l i g n m e n t. Wonderful adventures, opportunities, and abundance began flowing in my life ever since I picked up that little Canon 6d. Sure, there have been times of struggle and frustration at times when I began pursuing money instead of why I loved taking portraits, but when I began to trust and let go when I began to surrender that need for money, it began flowing again. I even met my future husband right exactly at the time when I was walking away from my ego and “past life” as an actress.

Don’t Push It Away

When your heart desires something, let it be known…but then, let it go. Surrender your desires. I know it’s hard! I still struggle with this part, too, but it really is the most important aspect of following your intuition and allowing things to manifest. When you beg and plead for something to happen in your life, you are pushing it farther away from you. By all means, go ask for it! Pray for it. But then trust and allow. 

let. it. go.

As time goes on, I have delved deeper and deeper into topics like intuition, spirituality, and manifestation. And the more attention I give it, it becomes more powerful. These days, I write to my intuition daily. Although I don’t necessarily hear a “voice” yet, I feel a knowingness. It’s a knowingness that has guided me during my happiest years so far. And whenever my ego bears its head back into my mind, I smile and let it go. I let the anxious thoughts and worrisome feelings pass on and I begin listening to the breath.

Always back to the breath.

What was something that your intuition guided you to recently? How were you able to differentiate it from your ego? Would love to hear your thoughts below! 🙂

Pin this for later!

Here’s What Happened When I Started Following my Intuition

June 12, 2018


the blog

  1. Christine Boris Esteban

    June 14th, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Helena, you continue to amaze me with your writing and your courage to live the life you imagine. Such wisdom, beauty, and grace. You are a testament to living through intuition and passion. As a beginner on this journey to find a writing outlet, you are my inspiration and “educator” for all the possibilities of a creative life.

  2. helenawoods

    June 14th, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    Oh i am tearing UP! Christine…thank you so much for these loving, kind words. You were such an inspiration to me as my english teacher my junior year, and you’ve always been one of my favorite teachers in high school. I have so many fond memories of that class, the books we read, discussions we had, and your teachings. Thank you for these words; I will treasure them. 🙂

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Helena Woods is a destination family photographer currently based in France but travels worldwide. She lives for diving the world's oceans, recording her experiences traveling the world on her blog, and documenting moments of joyful and magical human connection. Her style is modern classic, emotive and honest. She believes in wild adventures, laughing too hard, and most importantly: capturing genuine moments that evoke feeling over perfectly posed photographs.

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2016 - 2019 Helena Woods | Helena Woods Portraiture is located outside New York City in Fairfield County Connecticut and travels worldwide for her clients. Helena Woods is Connecticut’s premier family, children, baby and newborn photographer specializing in modern classic custom family photography with a timeless look that's always in style. As a professional photographer, Helena captures maternity, newborn, baby and family portraits in NYC, Westchester, Trumbull, Easton, Weston, and Westport, Bridgeport, Greenwich, Darien, Westport, Norfolk and all Fairfield County surrounding areas.