How am I not myself?

 

When I first encountered the phrase “be yourself” I remember wondering, “What does that even mean? Isn’t that my only option, who else would I be?” The movie i heart huckabees illustrates the quandary via Jude Law losing all of the things he defines himself by: his job, his home, his relationship. He’s left pondering, “How am I not myself?”

In a time where authenticity is a buzzword, do we even know what we mean?

It seems to me that we are the most “ourselves” when we honor our honest desires and needs by expressing and acting to satisfy them. But what are your honest desires and needs? Sometimes it’s not as easy as it sounds to pin down.

A list might pop into your mind like, I want a book deal, I need to get some sun, I want that hot guy, etc. It’s what’s behind them that holds the keys: why do you want what you want?

Do I want a book deal to appease someone else, or do I genuinely feel that I have a message that can help? Do I really want that hot guy or do I want to be seen with him? Do I want to get some sun for my health or to look tan for someone else?

Examine your motivations (without judgement!) and you might get some clarifying surprises. It often turns out that all too much time spent without regard to what you actually want and need. It’s normal in our society to fill one’s time with obligations, letting them replace our passions under the guise of adulting. Be yourself by getting clear what you truly want and why. Make a list.

A great way to not be yourself is to let your reactions rule you. How do you behave when you’re scared or anxious about something? Are you dick-ish without apology or explanation? That’s hiding, you know. So not you. As is not trying so you can’t fail.

In high school I had specific music for when friends were in the car, lots of top-of-charts songs I didn’t want to anyone to know annoyed me deeply. That wasn’t great self-ing. It’s pretty common to censor oneself like this, attempting to hide or delete the parts we feel might be rejected. It’s not great you-ing though, and isn’t it exhausting? Try dropping it.

“But then I’ll be rejected,” you might say. Yeah, that’s possible. But if you crack that nerdy joke or share that personal revelation – you might be rewarded with connection and empathy. Also known as “being truly understood.” And that’s the good shit.

 

 

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Why I give compliments (and other positives) even when it’s totally random.

I have a rule: If I think something nice about someone, I tell them.

I dealt with a whole lot of insecurity when I was younger, and when these issues would really rear their heads, when I felt just pointlessly unworthy––I’d try to remember the nice things that people had said to me, or about me. The weight of their kind words was gold, and their expressed views of me made me hope that I could look at myself in a similar way. And eventually, I did.

So now when a nice thought arises about someone, I express it.

Lovely sentiment, eh? But the truth is that people often think it’s pretty weird, or they seem to anyways––that’s what I take from unanswered Facebook messages and awkward giggles. A lot of people probably think I want them, even though I’m not talking about those kind of compliments and I’ve never been shy about my crushes. If I want you, we most likely either hooked up or you rejected me. (Or, you are a fictional character. Here’s looking at you, Dale Cooper.)

I think it’s just the way we’re wired. It’s evolutionarily wise to think everyone wants you, misplaced confidence has led to many babies indeed. Plus, it’s not “normal” to reach out to someone from decades ago just to say something nice, or to send them something that made you think of them. People assume there must be another motivation, and I bet that’s a pretty easy one to jump to.

But I don’t care. It’s a fucking weird world, and I want to help make it kinder. More enjoyable. More honest. It shouldn’t be weird to say nice things to people, even when it’s random. That should be the norm. It should be considered weird to think kind words but to keep them to yourself just because you’re scared. (Of what? Thoughts?)

That IS weird. Right?

I once read about an African tribe that had a beautiful way of dealing with their criminals. When someone’s wronged another, the tribe circles around them and they share all of the beautiful things that they think about the mistake-maker. They bring up all of the good they’ve done, they point to their potential, all of their awesome, and they tell them they know that’s who they really are.

And it works.

For a culture that is so incredibly centered on extrinsic motivation and approval, we’re pretty darn stingy with our compliments. But the good thing about constantly looking to one another for approval is that if it became normal to share the kind things, we’d be lifting each other up in no time! (And no putting yourself down after receiving nice words.)

Let’s make it normal. The next time you’re warmly reminded of someone, or see something that someone you know would love, or you randomly think something nice about an acquaintance––reach out.

Have you ever had a time so difficult that you wondered if you’d make it through? Of course you have. We all have. And it’s safe to bet that the randos in your life had no idea what you were going through. What if your kind words land on someone during a time like that? What if they help someone make it to the other side of their struggle?

I lost my mother to suicide when I was 14. The people on the outer circle of her life had no idea what kind of darkness was erupting within, she was probably laughing with co-workers about nonsense just days before it happened, but I know she debated it for years. No one knew about my dark times either, about scratching at my skin until it bled because the physical pain felt better than the emotional pain. I was voted “Most Friendly” earlier that year. No one had a clue.

My point is that we have no idea what battles the people we encounter in our lives are facing. No fucking clue. So if a kind sentence or action pops into your head, why not go with it? See where it takes you. I often get silence or awkwardness, but I also often get very sincere thank yous in return, and deeper connections with delightful folks.

So why not? 

Dethroning the Queen of Shitgibbers

Once upon a time, I was a teenager. My favorite hobbies were dancing, gymnastics, figuring out who’s parents were going out of town next, and gossip.

I relished in knowing what was going on with everyone else, and was sure to fill anyone in who didn’t know. I’d like to say that I was the girl reading Catcher in the Rye and rolling her eyes at girls like me, but I was not. Not even a little.

I remember the first time that I realized that this behavior was a bad thing. It was normal to me, it was how all of my friends behaved, and how we had behaved since sometime in elementary school. It just was.

But then one day someone finally called me on my shit.

Myself, my high school boyfriend, our friend, and another girl had gone a double date – their first date. I can’t remember exactly how it went, but at the end of the night I was sure they were going to “hook up.” The next morning at school I spread the word in the usual fashion. (It didn’t take a lot of effort, I went to a very crowded high school of bored kids in a small Alaskan city. Word got around fast.)

Turns out, they did not “hook up” as it were. Things had turned awkward, and their first date was to be their last. So everyone was coming up to my friend all like, “Yeahhh, dude, heard you got some!” When indeed, he had not.

He came up to me in the hallway that day and called me The Queen of Shitgibbers.

I was a silly lil’ teenager, but even then I knew that was a title I shouldn’t have earned and sure didn’t want. I had done a shitty thing, and it was the first time I really realized it was a shitty thing to do.

I’ve made huge strides in kicking the gossip habit, but it happened the other day. I cracked a joke about someone else, to someone who I knew would find it funny. It was a cheap shot, not even remotely clever, and remembering it later made me cringe with regret.

Why was I posturing like that? Fucking fucks, I thought I lost you. (Clingy buggers.)

So the next time I get the urge to discuss another person behind their back, I hope that I remember it’s a very fleeting satisfaction. For a split second I can connect with another, get a laugh, feel empowered, a little bit superior…but then just awful. This is kinda trite, but Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

I will strive to be great. I will frequently be average. I will even spend a huge portion of my time discussing the weather or my lunch. (Burrito, B-, overnuked.) But behaving in a small-minded manner like this just isn’t worth the squeeze.

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So this fish walks into a cave… (Playing with Plato.)

(A tale inspired by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and An Old Joke.)

Three men stood chained to a wall, deep inside a cave.  The wall all that they could see, and it was also all that they knew.  Just that one wall, in that one cave.  At one point they could remember life before the cave, but now it had all vanished.

Was it due to poor cave diet?  A coping mechanism?  Did they bump their heads when they got there?  Who knows…but life before the chains had vanished from their minds without a trace – and the only life they knew was the one where they stared at a wall.

There was a huge fire on the other side of the cave, and a path that went down the center.  The free men would walk down this path, to and fro, doing their own cavey-cave thang.  The chained men started to know the others by their shadows on the wall.  They gave the shadows motivations, stories, and powers.  This infused their lives with some order and meaning.

Early one morning when the chained men were sleeping, the third man was blindfolded and taken outside.  His blindfold was removed, and the man stood paralyzed with shock at all there was to see.  His eyes shifted from the green grass, the sparkling river, the glowing sun, the lush trees, the colorful flower—he was crazy overwhelmed.  He suddenly let out a wail of both desperation and gratitude.  (It was akin to the cries of the now-extinct Belieber tribe.)

This piercing wail continued for a while, then he eventually tired, and popped a squat in the warm grass.  He slowly started to remember it all, this was life before “life”!  He soaked up the juicy bigness of it, of all the things he had forgotten that he once knew.

They then returned him to his chains, deep, deeeep, inside the cave.  The other two men were still sleeping (what else are they supposed to do all day?), and the third immediately woke them with his tale.

“There’s this bright glowing thing in the sky, kinda like this [he pointed at the fire’s glow on the wall], but different!  And there’s like soft but prickly blades on the ground that are, uhm…I don’t know the word for that…”  He continued to struggle with a lack of words for a long time, frequently trying to use his hands to explain, forgetting that they were once again bound.  He had no proper tools to express his experience!

Initially, the other two were excited to hear anything about anything, but their excitement quickly turned into annoyance.  “Sounds like some stupid dream, dude”, #1 said, rolling his eyes.  #2 agreed, “You’re losing it man.  This is reality, this is all there is.”

At that very moment, just fifty feet away in a lovely sun-filtered river (whose existence was currently being debated) two young fish were swimming along.  An old man fish passed them, flipped his fin hello, said, “Hey boys, how’s the water?”, then swam off.

One of the young fish looked at the other with concern and said, “Poor old man Gilly, he’s really lost it.”
“Yeah”, the other young fish agreed.  “What the hell is water?!”

 

 

Butterfly, or Man?

I’m a lover of lucid dreaming; when you realize that you’re dreaming, and gain the ability to control your dreams.  (Tips here.)  Though I’ve gotten pretty skilled at being lucid (experiencing what I want to in the dream), the actual becoming lucid often evades me for long periods.  I wrote this piece after one of those lulls had ended:

I had THE COOOOOLEST lucid dream this morning.  I hadn’t had one in months, I’ve been trying so hard, and nothing.  I was worried.  At around 4am my downstairs neighbor started rocking out to NPR super crazy loud (as one will do), and woke me up.  It took me forever to get back to sleep, perhaps putting me into extended Theta (deep brain wave, that in-between wake and sleep), and that’s why I finally became lucid?  Dunno.

It was so very fun, lots of flying!  I flew through clouds and they felt all misty, then I dove down into water and moved the sea floor, cruised through buildings, did gymnastics, lots of telekinesis, talked to some folks, man…oh!, and the men.  Good times, good times indeed.

I woke up to my alarm and was a bit upset.  Everything was so heavy in comparison.  I quickly got ready, my head still totally in the dream. (My outfit only sorta-kinda matches…)  The bike ride to work was very 80’s Nintendo Paperboy-like, with people and cars jumping out at me everywhere, cranky morning scowls abound.  What a friggin’ juxtaposition!  Ooofta.

Have you heard of Chuang Tzu?  He was a badass Chinese Taoist, up in the ranks with Lao Tzu (who wrote the book), way back in 360-ish BC.  One night he dreamt that he was a butterfly.  He flew about and enjoyed his butterfly life, wholly identifying as this butterfly.  Rockin’ them flowers, flitting about with his purty wings.  Just owning this life, he totally loved it.

He woke up confused by this other body.  Being a butterfly had felt so real.  He was that butterfly. He had had had no awareness of being this Chuang Tzu dude, and now he suddenly there he was – this wingless human thing with no apparatus with which to swill nectar!

Or was he a butterfly, now dreaming he was a man?

What was “real”?

I think it’s all real.  (Also it’s all an illusion and nothing is “real”.)  This heavy life where I’m a Meg is equally real as the lighter life of my lucid dream where I was an often body-less point of consciousness, conjuring up awesome on a whim.  And on a level deeper than that – I’m the observer of both of those lives.

Whoa, right?  Matrix and shit, yo.

Damn Fine Turkey Sammich – The Law of Attraction

I’m (slooowly) writing a fiction project as well, this is a bit from it on The Law of Attraction – perhaps the most detested and loved of New Age thoughts.

Damn Fine Turkey Sandwich

Olivia sat in the back of the conference room, trying not to listen.  Halcyon WIT was putting on a weekend of classes about the topics they cover with their clients individually.  Sometimes she caught herself getting swept up and nearly raising her hand to ask a question.  These guys were good.  She had to remind herself repeatedly that it was all a bunch of bullshit.  If it can’t be proven, it doesn’t exist.

Her ears perked up when someone in the audience brought up a popular book that sells the idea that you can attract the life you want with your thoughts.  Prime woo-woo bullshit.  The audience member asked what Wendy and Morgan thought about this theory, and the two exchanged a glance, whilst smirking.  Finally Morgan groaned, and started:

“The Law of Attraction is real, though incredibly misunderstood due to massive oversimplification.   We can only create situations in our lives that we are at the same vibrational frequency with.  Take the issue of self-worth.  If you feel shitty about yourself, you will attract situations that will reinforce this vibration.

Perhaps you are comfortable with money, you’ve had it your whole life—you expect it to be there.  It will probably stay there.  What will reflect your vibration of low self-worth is something that you are shakier about, perhaps love?  You will attract people who don’t get you, who reinforce this opinion of worthlessness.  And flippy-floppy if you’re secure on love but shaky on money—or it could manifest in other issues entirely.

But I think I’m awesome, and my life is crap, you say?  You might reply that you are the bee’s knees if asked – but then your dominant thoughts are worrying about what people think of you, or criticizing yourself, or comparing yourself to others; feeling unworthy of whatever it is in your life that you lack, on a deep deep level.

This is not a simple subject.  Changing your vibrational frequency is not a quick solution to your cash woes and people problems.  Changing your vibrational frequency is the process of enlightenment, it’s work, and it takes time.

The jist of the Law of Attraction is feel good – attract good.  The thing is though, can people really go from feeling crappy about themselves to feeling confident and loving just like that—because they now know it will help other situations?  And don’t we know that already?  Isn’t that why therapists have jobs?

Also, shit happens.  You could be vibrating on the highest levels possible and people you love will still die.  Natural disasters will still happen.  You will still grow out of, and therefore lose, situations you thought you wanted.  You will have a much easier time handling all of these things, for sure, but they will still happen.  If nothing ‘bad’ ever happened life wouldn’t ever change, and we would never grow.  Shit needs to happen, it’s actually a ‘good’ thing.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to learn to how to be satisfied with whatever situation you are in.  Appreciate the present for what it’s teaching you, be an active student of life.  When you engage life in this way, you’re in a state of allowing, and drawing your desires closer.  While you can’t always attract everything that you want, you can absolutely block things that you want from coming into your life.  Gratitude is the attitude.

I also recommend that you play with attracting small things!  I used to have a client with all kinds of money woes.  She grew up poor and had a financial lack mentality just burned into her psyche, and tied into her self-worth.  I could tell it was going to take a long while for her to work out all of the different areas that were affected by it.  I told her to try attracting small things in the mean time, things that she didn’t have such an attachment to—and she was great at it!  She’s got all kinds of great stories, but I think my favorite of hers was a story about going to a concert.

She really wanted to go to a Flaming Lips concert, but couldn’t afford it, as usual.  She was listening to the band as she worked the day before the concert and suddenly sent out a request, ‘Hey Universe, if it’s in my highest and best interest, I’d love it if you could send me to the Flaming Lips concert tomorrow.  Thank you!!’, she imagined being there for a few moments, and then she went on her merry way—that last bit is key.

That night she had an urge to go to a pub that she had never been to before, so she went, and met someone who knew someone that was desperate for posters from the concert.  She wound up being paid $200 to go to the concert, as well as being given tickets for herself and a friend!

So, long story short, it is real.  It is also not as simple as it is often presented.  Cultivate gratitude.  Release attachment to your desires.  Start small, it’s lots of fun.”

The woman looked disappointed, but also a bit bemused—like something had clicked for her.

Olivia thought to herself, “Fuck it.  Hey Universe, I’d really like a turkey sandwich.”

A couple hours later the seminar wrapped up.  Wendy came up and thanked her, then let her know that there was complimentary catering in the back for those who had rented spaces in the hall that day.

It was a damn fine turkey sandwich, but she still wasn’t sold…

Why you can’t kill Ego.

I just came across a Twitter post by Alex Grey that included a pic of one of his gorgeous paintings.  It shows a man being enslaved by self-hatred—something only possible when ruled by ego.  Its caption says, “Hey Ego, your fears and limits are really getting in the way of my higher calling…”.  Some guy commented, “that’s certainly rich for someone so active on social media.”

It reminded me that I’ve been meaning to write about ego.  It’s a highly misunderstood concept; people are always talking about smashing it, killing it, generally making it go away—which not only inadvisable, but totally impossible.

What would someone with absolutely no ego look like?  They would only have awareness of connection with others, and with the world around them.  They would be fully embraced in the truth of our Oneness.  They would see no separation between themselves and others, they would truly always see themselves in Other.

Sounds beautiful, eh?  Now ask them their name.  Where they live.  How they pay rent.  What they like to do with their time.  Etc.

We need ego!  Ego serves us in this life, it defines our separateness, and separateness is what we came here to experience.

An unbalanced ego is the troublemaker.

An overgrown ego tells you that you are better than others.  It constantly fuels the mind with reasons why others are inferior, why they aren’t as good as you.  An overgrown ego is highly defensive, and ignites easily (though not always verbally).  It is constantly threatened that someone will remove this sense of superiority, as it is “who I am”.

An undergrown ego tells you that you are shit.  You aren’t as good as anyone else.  You don’t deserve the things that you want.  You don’t matter.  It is an Eeyore, but it’s not so cute in human form.  It is a victim mindset.  It will not stand up for itself when hurt, because being hurt has become “who I am”.

A healthy ego is a strong sense of who you are.  You like you!  (You might even promote your work on social media like Alex!)  You see the beauty in others, and appreciate them for just being them.  You see when you fuck up, you try to see the humor in it, and do your darnedest to correct it.

You understand that “bad” behavior doesn’t make you less than others, and that “good” behavior doesn’t make you superior to others.  There aren’t even really ways to behave “good” or “bad”—there are only actions that are serving to yourself and others, and those that aren’t.  You get to choose, and sometimes it’s hard to know which is which.

A healthy ego never feels imperiled because it is aware of “I AM”—it is centered and connected whilst maintaining an awareness of the current perspective and its separations.

There’s all kinds of middleground, of course, we rarely hang out in extremes.  There will even be days where your ego shrinks and expands in reaction to who and what you encounter!  It’s a versatile lil’ bugger, and not one to attempt to squash.

Certainly to keep yer eye on it though!  Watch your reactions, that’s where ego really shines.  Notice feelings of superiority and of unworthiness, that’s unbalanced ego showing off.  Notice these things without judging yourself, and just jump off that there thought train!  Eventually, the tracks themselves will change—your mental constructs will adjust.

Get it get it, friends!

The Experience/Book

UPDATE: I wrote what I thought was all of How I Lost All My F-cks in early 2016, even quickly getting myself an agent. A lot has changed in the 3.5 years since. Actually, everything has changed. Without an agent, I’m now deep into rewrites of my own direction that are transforming the memoir bit of my book – part 1’s “fuckfull to fucklesstale” – into something much deeper than the project I began. Life is funny.

Please stay tuned, and here’s a preview:

How I Lost All My Fucks is a one-month experience designed to have you losing all yours. I reveal my personal fuckfull to fuckless tale in all of its gory detail: shitfaced teen shenanigans, lessons from jail time, serendipitous magic, and very personal revelations – then I hand it over to you!
GAF defintionYou’ll be learning several meditation styles via a 30-day meditation challenge, teaching you to use your mind in a more beneficial way whilst making it a more enjoyable headspace. You’ll also be accomplishing a series of Fuckless Adventures, which are just as fun as they sound. (And it all can be done in 20 minutes a day, longer if you get creative with it!)

How I Lost All My Fucks aims to be a cathartic emotional rollercoaster after which you will never be the same.  Kind of like doing hallucinogens or having sex for the first time, but no one’s going to talk about how weird skin looks at great lengths, nor get an STD. Stay tuned for info on the release of How I Lost All My Fucks…

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My Halcyon Mission

I wrote this when I was 23, somehow already 13 (very event-filled) years ago:

Mission Statement

To create a community of people who desire a paradigm shift in our world, and to help create these changes via creative endeavors. These are the main desired changes in our paradigm:

  • Environmental: Realize that if we don’t support our environment, then it won’t support us. We need to breathe, drink, and eat. If we poison what sustains us we won’t survive as a species, nor will anything else.
  • Empathetic: Humans are humans no matter where they live. We all deserve to live a life that provides sustenance, self-sufficiency, and a lack of fear. We need to learn to see ourselves in others. We need extreme change to happen, and without violence.
  • Conscious: We need to remember that our place on this Earth is about growth, loving and evolving-not about money and ego.

It came out of nowhere, whilst meditating on what the hell I wanted to do with this life.  (Like most of the posts here.)  My first move on this mission was to name it, I consulted one of my favorite books – the thesaurus.  Within just a couple minutes, Halcyon it was!  Its beauty jumped out of the page and seemed to shout, this is your future!!!
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I started by learning how to organize events to raise awareness and cashoola for non-profits and other causes, and did a shit-ton of those as well as joining a couple of their boards and doing fun work there. I also wrote a business plan for the do-gooder Halcyon Cafe, something I pursued tenaciously for years and still intend to create, someday. 

But I still knew I was ignoring something, a dream that was so scary I very rarely even let it gurgle up to the surface: to write a book that could help TONS of people connect to their authentic (and awesome, fearless, centered) selves, and to do it in a way that spoke to “average” Americans.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m way woo-woo and don’t mind it a bit (anymore): but mindfulness and personal growth often come offered in really cheesy packages, and it makes a lot of folks kinda want to hurl. And that reaction doesn’t mean they’re closed-minded, I think it’s mostly a matter of presentation and taste – but it blocks so many of us off from really solid wisdom and life approaches.

How I Lost All My F-cks is my answer to this dilemma. It’s part book, part meditation training, and part experience that the reader rocks in 30 days. (That won’t soon be forgotten.)

I want it to make meditation in public the norm. I want it to introduce people to what they *actually* want and value.  I want it to introduce people to happiness regardless of circumstance, and that’s *any fucking time* happiness.

I want it to help – with SO many of others creations – create a lasting paradigm shift in this wonktaculous world. (I have more ideas too! Like low-income housing for senior citizens and at-risk young adults that’s full of do-gooding community fun.) But first things first, to make How I Lost All My F-cks happen:

I need to create an impressive following so I can sell my baby!! I really super-duper appreciate any follows/likes/etc on Instagram.

I also appreciate your presence, thanks for hanging out, friend. ❤

 

 

Non-wimpy sensitives, and how to be one.

I recently confronted someone and was accused of being sensitive. I denied it a little too vehemently and then pointed out that that’s a shitty thing to call someone who’s trying express that you’ve upset them. I felt like they were saying my feelings and perspective were irrelevant, due to this “sensitivity”.

This upset me due to valuing this relationship greatly, but it also upset me because having developed a much thicker skin is something that I’m proud of. I was 16 the day I decided to stop making excuses and to own my shit. A coach called me the weakest link, I cried and explained (excused), and she called me out right there in front of everyone.

I did listen that day, but I was 16. And not a super mature 16 either.

Luckily when we don’t get the message, life tends to repeat the lesson. Over the years life just kept teaching me how to not take things so personally. I went to college and majored in fine art, where each piece was evaluated by a large group critique that you have to just listen to and be chill with. That was a learning experience, to say the least…

I’ve been in marketing for the last decade, a field where people really aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. I’m a writer, (now) happy to deal with critiques from editors because that means I’m being published. I temped for a couple years, which is repeatedly starting from scratch and constantly being the new person. (Always learning. Always fucking up because you’re learning.)

For the most part, I’ve learned to take a critique effectively and I’m down with constructive criticism––which just looks like good advice when done with style.

But I am (a) sensitive.

This topic is one of those that kinda have two meanings, there’s a science-based official definition; and there’s new-agey definition that’s not at all official but is used all over, it’s part of the culture’s vernacular.

The official definition: sensory processing sensitivity (SPS), a personality trait, a high measure of which defines a highly sensitive person (HSP), has been described as having hypersensitivity to external stimuli, a greater depth of cognitive processing, and high emotional reactivity. But in the world of woo it also involves empath traits, basically being very sensitive to others’ energy and having great intuition.

Sensitives feel extremely deeply, both the good stuff and the bad stuff. We care. Immensely. Doing all of this takes a lot of energy. I’m learning to prioritize, to accept that spreading myself all over and being weaksauce with my boundaries makes me feel like poo. We’re highly affected by others. Though shielding helps worlds, I’ve learned that I’m happiest when I’m with people who make me feel understood.

Crowds can be miserable-making. Before shielding, I couldn’t go anywhere crowded without feeling like I might have a panic attack. My hands would get all sweaty, and I would feel like I was getting pulled a million directions at once, and I would then find the bar as fast as possible, haha. Watching violence is unpleasant for sensitives. Recharging is very necessary. (Sensitivity shares a lot of traits with introversion.)

Sensitives can be easily charmed. When we aren’t centered in ourselves, we tend to follow around people who are. (Dating in my 20’s, wheeeeeew!) Since we can strongly sense the energy of the person whose comfortable in their skin––it’s comforting. Especially when you don’t know about this stuff and have no clue it’s not yours.

Then they leave, taking their self-assured juju home with them, and the sensitive is left with their unprocessed emotions because they’ve been wandering around in someone else’s shit all day. Sheild up, friends!

Like many sensitives, I’m not super great at dealing with negative emotions. I spend the vast majority of my time being pretty darn happy-go-lucky, feeling all sparkly, and when negative emos come in I’m like, WTF am I supposed to do with you?! Bleeeerrrrrrg. I’m still pretty easily triggered, but I’m also dealing with a super not-fun homebound health sitch, so of course. (Learning opportunities, eh? I bet it will make it seem much easier once I’m better.)

A couple strategies for sensitives: I’m getting better at handling feeling pissed off, or frustrated, or slighted––due to a common lil’ strategy in the world of woo: if the emos are due to an interaction with someone else, or I’m in public, I take a minute and ask myself, “What am I afraid of?”, then “What would be so bad about that?”

If you ask yourself these questions, moving to the core of the issue, whilst focusing on your breath––you’ll probably find that the thing you’re afraid of really isn’t so horrible and find yourself much calmer. (And more rational.)

However, if you find yourself alone when the neg emos creep in, then I recommend leaning in. Process that shit. (If you feel ready, of course. If you’re dealing with serious trauma seek a pro.) Grab some tissues and feel those feels, find the still center of your inner tornado, let the emotions come up, and watch your thoughts with as much detachment as you can muster.

Emotions are a spectrum and properly feeling the low ends allows you to experience the really wonderful ones. We can’t numb only one end. (Goodbye pain, goodbye pleasure.) So lean in. Feel it, really feel it, but stay detached from your thoughts, remembering that they don’t define you. (Thoughts are often just a result of survival-oriented and environment created mental constructs, they aren’t “you”––you are really what watches those thoughts.)

So do it: cry, watch, cry, watch… And eventually, the emotion and thoughts will peter out. If you can manage to not hold onto the thoughts, if you don’t identify with them, let them go––the mind drops it. It starts to become a dying mental construct.

And you now feel a jillion gazillion pounds lighter, and understand yourself a bit more. Brilliant.

But I digress.

We were talking about highly sensitive homies, and how that means more than getting hurt feelings. In the world of woo, sensitivity often comes hand-in-hand with being intuitive. I’ve always been great at choosing people who I just vibe with, who are just perfect for me (in that moment), and I feel so lucky for that. I also get psychic presents from time-to-time, knowings and visions in my mind’s eye that come out of nowhere and then actually happen. So freaking cool.

But I also have some that haven’t happened, or that seemed symbolic and I haven’t figured out what they mean. And the majority of them aren’t particularly significant events, I’ll just be working, or looking out a window, or whatever––so I don’t really get the purpose there. (But it feels like magic and that’s not nothing!)

And while I pride myself on doing my best to not take things personally, staying solution-oriented, and owning my shit–I am sensitive.

And you can be both.

P.S. If you’ve wound up here researching the non-woo only definition of Highly Sensitive People, please don’t let my woo-ier opinions deter you from the science-based psychological approach.

ar-asher