August 6, 2014

Why Being Sensitive Could be Your Greatest Gift.

Do you consider your self a “sensitive” person? Has this been a burden to you throughout your life?

Maybe it’s even caused you pain, suffering, confusion and torment like it has for me?

I realized due to the overwhelming response I received from my How to Love a Scorpio article both on my website and on Elephant Journal, that many people identify with my Scorpio Moon torments- whether they are truly a Scorpio or not. Scorpio Moon epitomizes the sensitivity within, heightens the emotional body, and also the intuitive awareness- if used properly.

But you don’t have to be Scorpio or have Scorpio Moon to be extra sensitive. In fact there are many ways this can show up in one’s personal jyotish chart.

There are a lot of us who have been challenged by this type of extra sensitivity, heightened inner awareness, and extra level of emotion; it is a normal, default setting for us. This sensitivity in many ways can be painful, feel like a burden, and even be a challenging disaster in our lives! It can also be an extraordinary gift and a powerful source of awareness, but only if it is cultivated, nurtured and treated as the gift that it is.

You may or may not have been working with your innate sensitivity consciously. You may or may not know all the common labels out there. A few that I’m aware of are HSP (highly sensitive person), introvert, overly emotional and even just shy. A recent Huffington Post article shares 16 Habits of the Highly Sensitive Type. Some of it makes sense to me, but other parts feel a bit too generalized or irrelevant for me personally. What is interesting to me however, is the fact that this “sensitive” type is being recognized more and more by the mainstream. That I think is a positive thing and something to embrace.

I used to really resent my sensitivity and I denied it—especially to myself. It certainly wasn’t a recognized attribute that I should give a big, warm welcome to as I was growing up navigating school, relationships, family members and societal standards and norms.

I learned pretty quickly that sensitivity was not a recipe for my success in life, so I must suppress and negate it—God forbid I cry, express my hurts and pains!

This would amount to being vulnerable, easily attacked or scape-goated (which happened far too many times unfortunately). So I suppressed and continued to negate my feelings; the felt senses. Not surprisingly I felt angry- a lot! My anger took me on some very twisted and rocky roads and to this day continues to rage on as I slowly unpack, piece by piece, the hurts and pains and traumas of the past.

It will take some time, but I accept my anger now—in a way that I couldn’t fathom before.

The anger vacillated with deep, dark, and deathly bouts of depression. The kind that made me want to die, give up on life and put me out of the misery I felt in this life. Waves of depression have been common for me (which I now know is a result of emotional suppression and negation). Did I know I was doing this? Of course not!

But no one ever taught me to be friends with my emotions, to invite them into my life. Up until the past few years, I had only learned that emotions were uncomfortable, hard to handle, unpleasant to look at or listen to, and I should turn them down, off, or pretend they weren’t there.

This emotional suppression and negation has cost me dearly. It has taken me on many sad, miserable and lonely paths of pain and darkness. Alcohol and drugs (society’s favorite emotional suppression/negation tricks!) were one of my sad and miserable paths and it marked a large part of my younger years. It numbed the mountains of pains within me, but they were still there, growing bigger and grander, looming in the distance. Mountains I would have to cross at some point.

Mountains I am still crossing.

It was meditation that finally helped me kick the drugs and alcohol. The light intensified within me and returning to my Transcendental Meditation practice opened many closed doors and pushed me towards my own light. I was so grateful for this tool!

But meditation isn’t a cure as I found out. Actually, I’ve found out that nothing is a “cure”.

When we open our eyes after meditation, we still have to deal with ourselves—all of ourselves—even the parts we don’t want to see or have others see. After meditation, I still had my emotions and I still didn’t know what to do with them—and they still made me uncomfortable and miserable. At times I even felt wrong or bad for having these emotions as though I wasn’t “enlightened” enough.

I often wondered what was wrong with me. Shouldn’t I be feeling more bliss more of the time? Shouldn’t all this meditation be the cure? But it wasn’t.

When I finally found body-centered expressive art therapy at the Tamalpa Institute, I started to unravel the whole picture a bit more. Oh! We have all these parts, and we must use all these parts! (There truly are no spare parts in the universe—especially not in the microcosmic universe within.)

We must not negate all these parts or pretend they aren’t here! We must work with all our colors, textures and fibers, and weave our own, unique tapestry. And, as it turns out, the emotions are a big part of this beautiful tapestry of life. They are an intimate part of our inner landscape and must be cherished, treated with respect for the insightful messages they offer, and invited into our lives with open arms. This is when my life started to truly shift and my gifts started to develop. The gift of being sensitive.

Yes, sensitivity is a gift.

The emotional body is closely linked to our intuition. This is our internal guidance system that will never lead us astray or give false messages. But most of us are not hearing its memos at all and we are mostly getting the emotional/intuitive messages mixed up with our mental/mind messages.

The mind isn’t very trustworthy; it’s basically a tape on repeat and it likes to go over and over and over the same old ground. Not very interesting actually- although it likes to make things interesting with all its stories!

Sensitive people are those of us who are gifted with a heightened emotional body awareness. This is a gift- if we know how to work with it. If we don’t, it is complete misery. Unfortunately, in our society, it is a curse. That is why treating our emotional body and our sensitivity with extra TLC is so important. If we are truly wanting to harvest the gifts of this offering, then we must treat it with tender loving care. We must treat it as the gift that it is, and we must treat ourselves as the gift that we are.

I found that as soon as I began to treat myself as special, and nurture myself with special care, life began to shift for me. I won’t lie, it has taken some dramatic and challenging life changes, very different choices and actions than the past, and has also presented some very painful letting go as well. But, what has opened up as a result, is a deep awakening of what this gift of sensitivity can truly offer me- and others. My sensitivity continues to blossom, the more I nurture it.

There are many things that, as a sensitive person, you must do differently than others. It is not an easy path, but it is a special path. You must guard this sensitivity as if it is priceless. It is, and so are you!

Take baby steps to embrace your gift of sensitivity, and take a leap towards awakening your most precious gift. It can lead you to many destinations you would not otherwise venture towards. It can open you to your dharma, your life path, to relationships and kindred spirits that you would otherwise miss or overlook. Your sensitivity can lead you to the tools that will offer support and guidance to other beings.

Treating your sensitivity like a precious gem—like the treasure that it is—can lead you to your dreams and help you awaken them.

Here are some tips on treating your sensitivity with TLC:

1)Remember that the company you keep is vital to your well being.

As a sensitive type, you easily merge with others’ energy and suddenly get lost in it. Wait, who’s energy is this? Mine? Or theirs?

Spending time with the wrong types of people is the fastest way to derail yourself. You are special and you are a gift, treat your self like you are and only spend time with people who see you as a treasure and see themselves as such. And yes, this may mean spending much of your time alone. That is actually important as well.

2) Self care is a top priority.

You can’t get away with trashing your body like many other people. You will fall a part faster. A little goes a long way with you in other words. You can not look to others and think you can follow what they are doing. You will likely not be doing what anyone else is doing! Which includes no toxic and processed foods; dead food, makes you feel dead.

Lively and fresh foods, keep you lively, awake and fresh. Coffee, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol should be avoided and used only with caution- ie very consciously. Following ayurvedic guidelines for sleep, eating, and overall well being is really the ideal.

3) Boundaries are another top priority.

Because we are so porous and easily take on, merge with, and absorb energy, we have to protect ourselves. Healthy boundaries are a wonderful tool on many levels. The more you work with them, the clearer and cleaner life becomes. Toxicity in your life is minimized and your energy isn’t drained as easily. This leads to trusting your self more and more which is really a win/win for overall confidence and self acceptance.

I am big on boundaries and the more I work with them, the more I see the value in them- in all areas of my life. This is the yes/no, open/close, dynamic I speak of in my Jupiter/Ribcase MP3.

4) Surround yourself with beauty and upliftment. We often overlook this one. I think it is enough to know that there is massive suffering in the world, but that doesn’t mean I need to watch it on the news or read it in the paper 24/7. In fact, if you are a sensitive type, a little goes a very long way.

A one sentence headline might be overwhelming, or even a trip to the grocery store! Again, protect and nurture your gift of sensitivity. Don’t make your self wrong for not reading the paper, watching news, or dwelling on the suffering of the masses. In order to be present and use your sensitivity as a gift, you will have to be very awake to what is going on within you, without distraction. This is a full time job! Your sensitivity will lead you to giving back to society.

Trust the process. Also, make sure there is ample beauty in your daily life. Flowers, scents, music—let your senses be pleasured. These little pleasures can make all the difference.

5) Move your body and listen deeply. There are different types of movement for different purposes. Each will get you different results. Rule number one: move your body. Walk, ride your bike, dance, do yoga. Do something that awakens the body and gets prana flowing. This is a basic requirement daily. Then there is somatic movement- a very gentle approach that quiets the body and lets you check into the subtle messages that are occurring within.

Somatic movement practice (like Anna Halprin’s Movement Ritual) has changed my life. At this point in my physical movement process, it’s the slower and the more subtle movements that I’m mostly interested in for self development; movement that helps me listen more carefully to my body’s messages. There is still a time and place for other types of movement, but don’t neglect the slow and gentle kind.

6) As a sensitive type, we are very intimately connected to nature in a way that others probably aren’t. That means we need to sync up with her rhythms daily for optimum effects.

Hug trees, walk barefoot, open the windows, take deep breaths of fresh air, spend ample time in nature and touch the earth. Nature is your re-charge button. It’s the fastest, simplest solution to re-centering. Also, don’t neglect the impact animals have on you and your internal balance. Pet, hug, love on your animal companions! They are your best friends and will teach you so much about your animal body and help you recharge in the process.

7) Sync up with the Moon. The more jyotish charts I study, the more I see the impact of the Moon on our level of sensitivity and our experience of life. The Moon and its ebbs and flows, waxes and wanes, as well as the nakshatras that it passes through daily, are the most profound tool of guidance and wisdom for those of us who are extra sensitive. Track the Moon. Notice what its effects are on you when it is full vs. empty. Follow my Moon Mind Calendar for daily tips based on the Moon, nakshatras and planetary guidance.

8) Creativity and the Arts can be life-saving tools.

Use the arts as a process of harvesting, listening, cultivating awareness and depth for your journey. Art is a profound messenger. It brings out what is inside of us so that we can see it visually. All our inner material becomes tangible. Our emotional, mental and physical messages can be harvested with this one universal language—art.

If used in a therapeutic way, a way of listening deeply, art can be the gateway into all the mysteries within us and all the answers we are seeking about our journey. In my jyotish work, I’m bridging the messages of the cosmos with a body-centered expressive art therapy process. My workshops are a great place to start. Use my MP3’s as a guided resource for this unique blend of tools.

9) As a sensitive person, the emotional body is paramount. As I mentioned above, the emotional body is our link to the intuition. If we want to connect more with this profound tool of insight hardwired within us, then we have to work with the emotional body in a way that helps us clarifies our relationship with it.

I am so passionate about the emotional body and helping others listen to their own emotional body wisdom, I’ve developed the majority of my jyotish and body-centered expressive art therapy work around it. I know that the majority of people on the planet are completely unaware of the important role our emotions play in our life experience, and how it can be a tool of guidance rather than suffering. I also know that many people are like me, extremely emotionally sensitive, and are seeking answers.

My work is for you! Make sure you start with a three-level check in as a way to start your clarity process. Use your sensitivity and harvest your gifts!

If you truly take care of and cultivate this sensitivity within you, it can lead to many deep awakenings and become a truly valuable life long gift. This gift can awaken the intuition and lead to realizing your life purpose. Your life purpose can be dharmic and serve your self and others in profound ways. I’ll talk more about that in an upcoming article.

But for now, honor your sensitivity. Trust it to be a useful tool of guidance and awareness. Cultivate care and patience with it. Make changes in your life that will nurture and support this gift of sensitivity. And don’t worry, I’ve got more to share with you in order to help you with this process! Details coming soon!

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Relephant Reads: 

10 Ways to Find out if you are too Sensitive 

Why Sensitive Souls Need Rituals 

Understanding the Sensitive Heart 


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Editor: Renée Picard

Image: Anil Kumar at Harlow Heslop/Flickr



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