Flow, Not Geyser

Geysers are beautiful, but you don’t want to feel like one.

Highly sensitive people feel a constant flow of emotions. It’s not something that we can control. It’s just how we experience life. Emotionally. It’s like having a bubbling natural spring inside you 24/7. One emotion surfaces and flows into another. New ones keep bubbling up to combine and collide with the previous ones. Its a watery kaliedescope of feelings. It’s a never-ending emotional well with every day and every moment. It’s a certain way to live that others may not understand.

Some people will tell you “Don’t overthink it.” What they really mean is “Don’t over feel it.” Well, sorry folks, we don’t know how to (not) do that. It’s like telling us not to breathe or not to breathe too much. It is the core to who we are, and we can’t imagine life any other way FOR US.

Instead, we need to learn to release our emotions freely as a natural spring does and not try to push them down. We don’t want our core lovely artesian well to become a not so lovely and potentially dangerous spewing geyser.

How to do that? First step is acknowledgment. This is how I perceive my world. Second step is  acceptance. I may be different, but I will stay true to who I am. Third step is learning to navigate in this world. I can learn how to channel my emotional energy without trying to squash it. Fourth step is protection. I will steer clear from those who try to drink my well dry.

Permission and access and faith are our biggest allies in self-acceptance. A highly sensitive person must give themselves permission:  permission to be who we are; permission to walk away; permission to feel every feeling without fear knowing that it will pass. A highly sensitive person must give themselves access: access to creative outlets; access to solitude; access to nature. A highly sensitive person must have faith: faith in a Higher power and the power of prayer; faith in ourselves; faith in humanity. Permission and access and faith will help to sustain us.

So flow like a spring, like a brook, like a river. Don’t dam yourself. Don’t geyser yourself. Feel what you feel when you feel it. It’s natural.

 

Hope Returns With Every Sunrise

Things really do look better in the morning. They feel better. We feel better. Why? Our natural state of mind changes with the dawn. Hope returns with every sunrise.

We can bring a fresh perspective to a new day. We have had time to rest at night. Our brains have closed to the waking world. Our thoughts have turned inward. Our unconscious may have worked some things out in dreams and/or may have provided us with escape and respite from our worries. We can begin the day with more energy than we ended it.

We can bring a positive attitude to the new day. When we wake up with gratitude, we wake up ready to face the day. We can remember our blessings and count them. I start my day by opening the curtains and looking out a bedroom window that faces the sunrise. The light streams in through colored crackle glass to wish me welcome to my new day.

We can nourish ourselves with morning routines that sustain us for the day ahead. If possible, it’s good to get time to yourself before the family or pets are up in full swing. Morning prayers, yoga, and a healthy breakfast start me on my day. (It wasn’t always this way!) Others may start with reading, listening to music, having a cup of coffee, taking a walk with your dog or exercising….Whatever gets you moving in a positive direction, do that.

And time and energy. Sometimes we are overwhelmed at night by the scope of a problem and by other people’s “crush of want” (Nick Cave). We are out of time and depleted of energy. With a new day, the problem hasn’t disappeared, but it may not seem so overwhelming. What felt hopeless at night often feels better in the morning after a night’s rest. We have restored our energy. We have the whole day ahead of us. We have people we can connect with and count on during the day. We have time to figure it out.

As a child and teenager, when I would be overwhelmed and crying at night, my mother used to say “It will be better in the morning.” I didn’t believe her. It would be the same, I thought. But she was right. And now I say the same thing to my children. And they are starting to believe me.

You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Til It’s Gone*

You never appreciate your body and your health more than after you have been sick. Recovery sparks gratitude. We realize how much we take for granted that our bodies will continue to function, and function well, day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year.

But when you’re sick, you have to stop and notice. We notice when it’s not doin’ what it’s supposed to be doin’. Yeah, then we notice big time. And  we have to stop and rest. Time out to heal. And we remember how much our body does for us every minute of every day. Most of it without being asked to and without being thanked for.

So as I’m getting better today, here is a public declaration of gratitude to share:

I so appreciate:

  1. My breath – I take you for granted most of all for without you we are nothing and we die.
  2. My pulse – for keeping my blood flowing to all its body parts.
  3. My lungs – for being my rhythm guitar and keeping me going.
  4. My heart – my home base that blood flows to and through.
  5. My skin – my crowd control.
  6. My eyes – for beautiful visions.
  7. My nose – for thousands of scents.
  8. My ears – for music and voices and nature.
  9. My joints and parts – that keep me in motion.
  10. To all other body parts big and small – for sticking with me.

Thank you all for showing up today.

  • * “Don’t it always seem to go, That you don’t know what you’re got til it’s gone….” ~ Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi

 

If You’re Tired, Rest

“If you are tired, learn to rest, not to quit.” – Banksy.

Resting and quitting are not the same thing, though our society often sends us the message that they are. Rest is necessary. Rest is rejuvenating. Rest is a valuable part of life. Resting is actually the opposite of quitting – it is filling you up so that you can accomplish your goals. So do it. It is okay to take a break (long or short) from the demands of life. Your body will thank you for it. Your emotional well being will thank you for it. Your family, friends, and colleagues will notice your improved disposition and your better attention to tasks.

4 Lessons to keep in mind: Lesson #1 – no one will tell you to take a break, you just have to take one. Lesson #2 – people will usually help you IF YOU ASK. Lesson #3 – let go of guilt – you can’t do everything all the time. Lesson #4 – it will be okay – disaster will not strike because you took some time out.

So you need some rest, and you need a break, but how can you actually get one? You have a very busy life. No worries. Rest breaks can be short or long. They are meant to be refreshing, not something else added to your to do list. Here are some suggestions that will lesson stress and lead to rest:

1. Breathe. Remember three good things in your life.

2.  Pray – overwhelmed? Lift it up to a higher power.

3.  Stop and walk away. (It’s okay to hide out in the bathroom quietly or step out on the porch alone.)

4. Control your to do lists. (When I reach 10 things on a list, I throw the list away and make a shorter one.)

5. Laugh! Laughter relaxes your whole body.

6. Hang out with your pets; they make you laugh. Cuddle up for a nap together.

7. Say no. (There is actually someone else who WANTS to do the thing that you don’t want to do.)

8. Tell your partner and ask for help so you can rest.

9. Play music that expresses your feelings or how you want to feel.

10. Sleep. Nap. Go to bed earlier. Rested body = rested mind = ready for the day.

Rest is doing something. It is not doing nothing. So if you’re tired, rest.

 

You Fill Up My Senses*

Highly sensitive people have highly sensitive senses. Makes sense? Of course.

We know we have 5 senses. (I’m not including our psychic senses here – that is a topic for another day.) We know that sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell are the basic five senses. Empaths and HSPs feel the outside world amplified, so it makes sense that we have heightened sensory experiences.

Let me ask you —– Do you smell things that others can’t smell? Do sounds and music strongly affect you? Do you have zero tolerance for itchy fabrics? Are there certain foods that you can’t put in your mouth without fear of puking? Do visual images cause very real feelings for you? (And are you sensitive to temperatures, too?)

Though some senses may be more sensitive than others, if you are an empath or HSP, you probably answered yes to most of these questions. And guess what? There is scientific evidence to back up this difference in sensory sensitivity for us. And guess what else? Science points to we were born this way.

“Brain imaging studies suggest real differences in the brains of Highly Sensitive Persons versus everyone else. Cortical areas linked to attention and processing perceptual data show higher activation in reponse to all kinds of stimuli.” (Andrea Bartz, “Sense and Sensitivity” in Psychology Today 7/05/11)

Some bemoan this sensitivity, but I say celebrate it! What a wonderful gift to experience the world in its saturated form! The key is learning to flood your senses with positive sensory input and conversely, to limit unpleasant sensory input whenever you can. Seek intense and uplifting sensory input. Share it with another, and your sensory bliss doubles. Think about your own personal sensory choices. Be deliberate. Surround yourself with this input. Daily. It will be good for you and for those around you.

Will close here with lines from a sensory rich love song.

You fill up my senses like a night in the forest, like the mountains in spring time, like a walk in the rain, like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean. you fill up my senses, come fill me again.” ~ John Denver*

Be Awed

 

 

 

 

 

Show up to be awed. Isn’t that a great attitude toward living? For there is awe in our very day lives. When we are present and we keep our eyes and our heart open, we will see it; we will feel it. For awe is the feeling of wonder, inspiration, reverence, respect, and amazement. Awe is often what keeps us going.

When you feel awe, and I feel awe, I get to feel double awe. Awe is something to be shared. It is something to be witnessed with others. It often renders us speechless, so we feel, we see, we hear. Our senses are heightened and we feel connected to the moment and to the person(s) with us. A wondrous experience is memorable and will stay with us and can be easily recalled later when we may need a reminder to believe in the world again.

Awe is good for your emotional, mental, and physical health. “Psychologists say the emotion of awe plays a big role in your health, happiness and well-being. And you don’t need to witness a supermoon to experience it.” (Why scientists say experiencing awe can help you live your best life.)

They explain that we can bring the sense of awe into our daily lives by following these 4 suggestions:

  1. 1. Go out in nature
  2. 2. Get out of you comfort zone
  3. 3. Look up (away from your phone)
  4. 4. Have an open mind

Sometimes, we plan and prepare for awe (a new baby, a trip, a concert, a visit, an athletic event, etc.) Often, awe just comes our way (nature, song, friendship, resilience, little miracles, etc.) Awe keeps us inspired, and it also keeps us humble.

When I am most awed? At sunrise and sunset. (You too?)  Such majesty and beauty. And it happens every day. Photographers call this time the golden hour and the blue hour because the light in the sky changes (redder and softer; evenly diffused). It is magnificent and free for all to experience. And we can seek out places where it is most beautiful.

Don’t let the opportunity of awe pass you by. Be awed. Be present. Notice. Do it for your health. Do it for the quality of your life. Awe shows up. We can too..

 

 

Speechless

Ever find yourself speechless? Are you an empath or highly sensitive person? You are not alone in your loss for words. It happens to empaths and HSPs more often than others. We may become temporarily unable to speak when we are experiencing very strong emotions. It especially happens when we are in the presence of inauthentic people.

A dishonest, inauthentic, and untrustworthy person is often angry and demanding and has a tidal wave of negative emotions that they lug around with them. These emotions spill into ours when we are near them. It is a crush of want. We can’t help but absorb the emotions of others near us, so their upset becomes our upset. Speaking no words stops our engagement and starts our self protection. (We shut down until we can get away.)

That’s not to say that empaths can’t handle the gamut of emotions that flow in and out of us throughout the day as we connect with others. We are strong. We can swim with the tides. It is to say that when someone has a bottomless pit of negativity, we need to swim away from them because they will drown us otherwise.

We are vulnerable to emotional contagion. So empaths need to be careful with who they spend time with. It is better to get out of the line of fire of negative vibes than to stay there speechless. Because if you stay, they will gain energy and you will lose energy; it will only go one way.

Think about proximity when dealing with inauthentic people. Use selective proximity. Don’t sit by them at meetings. (Avoiding meetings they attend is even better.) Don’t invite them into your home. (If you have to see them, meet in a public place.) Always have an exit strategy. (Limit your time by arranging to have a place to be shortly after you see them.) Don’t tell them personal things about yourself. (Inauthentic people can be very manipulative and may use your personal information to draw you closer.) Stay away from talking heads on social media and tv who rant. (Read your news rather than watch it – it won’t feel like an assault that way because we can’t hear or see the person’s emotions.)

Empaths and HSPs do not have to be open for emotional business 24/7. We do not have to draw close to every heart we encounter. Speechless is not hopeless. It is an avenue to a closed door to emotional contagion.

Game Over

“Game over, man! Game over!” I can still picture Private William Hudson (Bill Paxton) yelling this in the movie Aliens when he realizes that  the ship meant to rescue him and his crew was destroyed. They are armed, but it doesn’t matter. They are trapped. Hope is lost. They will die.

“Game over, man! Game over!” was not in the original script. Bill Paxton ad libbed it, and they kept it in. It’s arguably the most memorable line in the film – because it’s over for Private Hudson, but NOT for Ripley. She decides that game will NOT be over until she rescues herself and the little girl.

Aliens was filmed in 1986. Critics still list it as one of the best movie sequels of all time, and it was nominated for many Academy Awards. Yes, it had state of the art special effects and a good script and solid cast. But its worth is that its message still rings true. When do we accept defeat? When do we fight on? And who gets to decide Game Over?

You do. I do. We do. They do. It depends on the situation and the relationship. It often hinges on the question of how much can we take before we are done. How do we want to live? What will we accept? What will we fight for? Is there hope left? Is the situation fixable? There are always some choices involved.

“Game over” can be a good thing in life. It can be a rallying cry for I’m done with this part of my life and I’m moving on to something better, something safer, something more fulfilling, etc. For us “Game over” is usually not life and death – although sometimes it may feel like it – it means we will change, and our lives will change. Like Ripley, we may need to fight our way out of a bad situation, and leave our past/the game behind us. We may not know what the future holds, but we know it will be better than this.

Game over means that this chapter of my life is over and I protect myself and I take care of myself by exiting the game. By leaving, I am moving on, and I am hopeful, and I am not doomed.

Empath’s Prayer

Empath’s Prayer

May I be accepted,

May I be valued,

May I use my insight for the greater good.

May I help others,

May I aid healing,

May I mirror back the best in others.

May I be joyous,

May I be truthful,

May I embrace myself and others with compassion.

May God guide me,

May I shine brightly,

May I find my place in the world.

Amen.

Light a Candle

Lighting candles creates sacred space. It is an ancient ritual, and when you light a candle, the atmosphere in the room changes. The gesture elevates us. The ordinary takes on new shape with its new luminescence and the room feels different.

I learned this from a teacher I had in a continuing education class. She always brought in a little tea light, placed it next to her, and lit it at the beginning of every class. Though a small gesture, it changed the dynamics of the room. The candlelight gave us focus and encouragement as the evening proceeded with exploration of spiritual topics.

Lighting candles is a gesture of hope. We light candles to illuminate the darkness, to lift up our prayers, to ask for blessings, to ask for guidance, to acknowledge our intentions, and to remember those who have gone before us. Lighting a candle is sending out a little signal to God. Hey, I’m still here. I’m trying my best. I’m sending my little prayer up to You. Please see me.

When we light candles, it is a sign of devotion. It is a sign of renewed hope. It may be a remembrance, a prayer, a plea, or a humble thank you that we are sending out into the universe. It is our effort to create a little personal light while embracing a bigger one.

How do we bring this candle lighting ritual into our daily lives? Tea lights help. They are portable. They burn out by themselves. They are readily available. It’s easy to find glass holders for them that add brilliance and color. (I’m enjoying crackle glass holders right now.) Of course for those who prefer traditional candles, there are all shapes and sizes available, too.

When we start the day by lighting a candle, we are sending out our own personal light of hope into the world. And when we end the day with the same ritual, we give reflection and gratitude to the day past. It adds sacredness to the ordinary.