It is estimated about 15%-20% of people on the planet today are Highly Sensitive People, and yet many do not know they are HSPs. If you think this information could help a Sensitive you care about, please pass it along. Life is so much harder when you have no idea you are an HSP. (Believe me, I know!) Dr. Elaine Aaron’s work may be life-changing for you or the Sensitive you care about. Her website has a wealth of information and resources- The Highly Sensitive Person. She formed the DOES model which describes the basic characteristics of Sensitives.
D: depth of processing
E: emotional reactivity and empathy
S: sensing the subtle
So many people are embracing sensitivity and empathy these days! This is good news for our aching planet. In my own work with clients, I find their sensitivities overwhelm them at first. Their sensitivity is an inborn, biological difference from how neurotypical people experience life. Sensitives can’t turn it off! This emanating, finely attuned antenna, picks up and processes EVERYTHING. This will drain their life force, if not understood and managed. It can get in the way of being in touch with, let alone meeting their own needs.
Sensitives often have shame about the way they are. As a whole, our culture still regards sensitivity negatively, portrayed as weakness. As a result, few neurotypical people may understand the HSP experience or the value of high sensitivity. Even worse, HSP’s themselves may struggle with accepting their true nature, try to numb out, or "be normal." They may grapple with self worth, feeling inferior, broken or incompetent, by how much their sensitivity affects their daily life.
Sensitives feel others’ experience on such empathic, mental, emotional, physical, and even psychic levels, it can contribute to feeling overly responsible for others. They may feel "taken over" by others’ energy. As a result, they may not be able to access their own experience. In this loss of self, they may feel like something is wrong with them, or feel badly about themselves. All of these factors combined can result in other people knowingly, or unknowingly, taking advantage of them. Before my clients came to me, they were often giving away too much, while not receiving equally from others, or knowing how to set energetic boundaries and fill up their own cups. They often came to my door empty, drained, overstimulated, exhausted, burnt out, insecure, feeling a host of negative emotions, and chronic and sometimes unexplained health ailments.
Do you relate to being a Sensitive? If so, be good to yourself. Life has not been easy with all that extra information! It is a practice to love yourself the way you are wired. It is a big deal to figure out what works for you, rearrange your life to support your sensitivity, and learn how to harness your sensitivity into a superpower. Trust me, it will be a RELIEF to receive your own energy, instead of it bleeding away! You deserve to feel good.
I wanted to create a place where Sensitives can heal. This is how the Phoenix Club was born, a support group for people wired like us.
Healing Starts By:
A special love note from the Author:
So about being reflected in others. It's time for us to find each other. We have big work to do. We are here to bring light to the world, to lift it up! But before all that, we need to lift each other up, lift up ourselves! WE NEED TO BE WELL. <3 I find the best way to heal is in community. So I designed a support group with Sensitives in mind. It's called the Phoenix Club. Why the Phoenix club? Because if you are a Sensitive you have been through A LOT. Read all about it, and join us here. I would love to meet you star.
Nationally Board Certified
Health and Wellness Coach
& Your Loyal Knight
If you put a lot of pressure on yourself, relate to being sensitive, feel burdened by just how sensitive you are, or want to understand the Sensitive in your life, this article is for you.
You may know most everything written here. My intention is to strengthen your inner knowing, that deep and ancient wisdom already inside you. You are the master and creator of your life. May what is resonant feed and ground you in your knowing. What is not, please toss away without another thought. <3
Doing it all is a double-edged sword. Making your plate bigger, your expectations higher, and implementing regular self-care on top of work, family, and daily responsibilities can add stress, not reduce it. It is easy to feel like you are coming up short, be consumed by a gnawing sense of dread, shame, self-doubt, falling behind. Its an encompessing force of not-enoughness. This force gathers evidence and grows, eclipsing the ability to feel ok.
For my clients- spiritually inclined, highly sensitive souls, multiply this experience times ten. 10x the pain. 10x the intensity of hard energies absorbed through the world around them. Add that to the false conditioning we all went through, in one form or another, growing up. It has been said people in mastery school have more karma. I consider highly sensitive souls to be old souls, and we came back to be guides in this lifetime. But in order to be guides we have to go through “training.” Some training takes years to recover and make sense of. And even without those traumas, Sensitives come into this world with all systems on. They are processing every kind of information-internally and externally- far more deeply than the average person. They can’t shut this deep processing off. It is a kind of adversity only another highly sensitive soul could understand.
My clients are my greatest teachers and my tribe. They are intuitive, honest, caring, smart, and possess a deep sense of responsibility to make the world better. I have watched almost every client come in with the notion "if I just try harder, work harder, do more, things will improve." Here is where I disagree. I consider that mentality a beast.
Nothing we do from not-enoughness will help us or anyone else….
One reason Sensitives feel stuck is they relate to themselves as the problem, instead of how sacred they are. They compare themselves to “normal” and try to be less sensitive, shutting down their superpowers in the process. Your sensitivity is your direct connection to the divine. It is your life force like the roots of a mighty tree, feeding you. It is communicating wisdom about what you know and need, more profound than logic could ever be. It deserves to be heard, nurtured, and accepted as you do. Usually, the lessons asking to be learned are the very opposite of "try harder, work harder, do more." Such lessons could be self-love, feeling worthy to receive, learning how to feel safe, heal from trauma, being embodied and grounded in the present, demanding more of others while tolerating less BS, not carrying people who need to carry themselves, not giving your life-force away. It is in meeting your need for space, gentleness, tranquility, quiet, beauty, and connections that feed you. It is in learning how to protect yourself and your peace, like your life depends on it. What if it does?
Your life is not meant to be draining.
You are not a do more machine.
You are a beautiful heart and soul.
Your needs matter.
What your heart and soul needs, matters.
But it feels normal to feed the beast. It is what most of us know, what we were conditioned to do. It is the hamster wheel of the ego. If you can just run fast enough, if you can just be enough. But no amount of running ever gets you there. You keep trying to fit into this broken, abrasive, aggressive, and insensitive world on its terms. The result is getting smaller every day. It is like clipping your own wings.
What if you said ENOUGH?
It is not easy to leave the pack mentality behind, the conditioning left inside of you. “Try harder. You can't do that. Stop being so sensitive. You are selfish. Who do you think you are? You care too much. you want too much. You need to earn it first. You are not working hard enough. You are too emotional. It is your fault. You don’t deserve it. Get your shit together.” Conditioning is hellish and all-consuming, but that does not make it true. Conditioning is nothing more than what feels normal, an internal set point, well-worn neural pathways, after a lifetime of believing negative things about yourself and the suffering that goes with it. It feels normal to not be enough. It feels normal to strive, to try and do better, to fit in, commit to things that don’t feed you, to desperately try and fix yourself. To hustle for love.
Our conditioning is our ego. It is the wound of not-enoughness. We feel separate from the whole. This is what the Buddha taught, that all suffering comes from feeling separate. Through the eyes of the ego we will always come up short, and be on the outside looking in. We all have an ego and its message of deficiency. This is to be human. So if ego is the motivation to do something- even something inherently wonderful- it will never feel enough. Separateness cannot complete itself.
Only love is complete and you are this love. Only love is the truth. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING needs to be added, taken away, or done to love. Love just is. It is every cell of who you are, in every moment of your life. It is the messy, painful moments, and the moments that actually feel good. I believe this is what Jesus meant by the kingdom of heaven. It is here now inside of us, always was, always will be. We can receive this heaven when we let go of the illusion we are not enough. You can forget and then come back again. Forget, come back. Forget less. And this is the real and only work. Come back. For this love is untouched, undamaged, and unconditional. You are this love already, and a crucial, beloved piece of every living thing. It is not upon reaching some goal or destination of the perfect woke superwoman- who balances her kids on her head while fighting evil with her left hand and meditating with her right……. it is in the stillness. You are, were, and will always be whole, complete, one, pure love dear.
In the presence of this moment, every cell of life loves you,
bends to you, sings to you, reassures you, blesses you.
Anything you hear besides this love is just that pesky old conditioning.
It is a radio station of static playing over pure, infinite, unfathomable peace.
That static, that noise, has nothing to do with you.
Turn the dial.
So once again, because reassurance is healing- the work is not to do more, be more, fix it. Nothing will feel good coming from not-enoughness. No amount of yoga, healthy eating, helping a friend, doing overtime at work, self-improvement, or going to the latest protest will bring love to “I am not enough.” Only truly feeling love for ourselves and others at this moment, can do that. Love is a very different kind of work. It is that choice to come back, to see the ego playing static and turn the static off. This is the muscle and practice of faith. We have to practice believing we are love and make choices from this place. Faith is an action, an application.
As a Coach, I help people develop and prioritize the practice of enoughness. I help you change the dial from static to love. I support you to come back to the love of who you are again and again. It is a bridge back to your true self. And in the miraculous clearing that starts to emerge, behold your inner guidance! I help you listen to what your heart and soul desires, not what you need to “fix.” As of right now, as well as my blogs, articles, and videos, there are two resources I offer to assist you in this practice. I offer a 1:1 coaching program and a biweekly support group for highly sensitive souls.
If this article speaks to you, perhaps it is time to unfold your wings and feel your majesty. Let life's love for you pour in and lift you up, as the practice. Yes? Then I designed the Take Your Crown Coaching Program with you in my heart. If having a personal Coach could support you, click here to learn more about my program and style. Maybe? Not sure? Then please consider a free consultation. Click here to sign up. I am taking on a handful of new clients in the Fall. It would be an honor to work with you. <3
Self-help can be healing, even life-saving. But, self-help is also a multibillion-dollar industry. Domestic Violence is an epidemic. What on earth could the self-help industry and domestic violence possibility have in common? They are both capable of preying on vulnerabilities. When someone or something causes you to feel powerless, feel worse about yourself or less than them, to doubt your own answers, to go into debt against your better instincts, to make you believe you need them to be ok, it’s wrong. That is taking advantage. You don’t deserve that. You don’t need to be fixed, controlled, managed, manipulated or worse, made unsafe. You need to be loved. You deserve to trust your own inherent and profound inner wisdom. You deserve the people and influences in your life to honor and support your autonomy.
Allow me to explain why I care so much about this.
I have spent a lot of my life giving my power away. I felt like other people had my answers or had power over me. Sometimes they did have power over me. I am a Survivor. It has been a pretty epic journey taking my power back. As I learned how to be empowered, my calling became clear. I am here to help others trust themselves, see their value and take their power back too. Particularly? People wired like me: the Sensitives, Creatives, Survivors, and Old Souls. We have unique gifts and challenges I am qualified to address.
I have decided to really put myself out there. I am telling you my story and how it made my calling clear. In the most painful moments, I knew everything was happening for a reason. Sometimes that intuition was the only thing that kept me going, the thought I could help someone on the other side.
I love my family with all my heart. My parents love me and gave me everything they could. They are kind, generous and loving. They suffered in their own childhoods more then I could imagine. They are trauma survivors. They were never given the tools to heal their traumas. I was born an old soul empath and HSP (Highly Sensitive Person.) I felt their pain, and thought it was my fault.
I was raped by a babysitter at five years old. He groomed the whole family. Nobody could see what happened. Yet, I became a different child. Before the rape, I remember being curious, playful, and possessing an adorable sense of humor, (if I do say so, myself). I was already super sensitive. But the rape broke me. Traumatic amnesia is a real thing. The memory was instantly and completely blocked. But my body would never forget. I was utterly lost inside. It was a prison. Terrified and frozen, every moment of my life felt like imminent doom.
By twelve years old I was ready to implode. Unconscious trauma, and feeling guilty and responsible towards everyone else’s pain around me, I morphed into pure self-hate. Something was wrong with me. I was broken. I was the problem. Everybody else was busy living. I was frozen in time. I was the scourge of the earth ruining everyone’s life. I could no longer take the old terror that was my body or the new rage of being trapped inside it so long. I wanted to die or run away. I sat in the basement and tied things around my neck. I made threats. I did not remember being raped. And I did not know I was a Highly Sensitive Person in much less sensitive or conscious environments. I felt completely alone. I was watching a movie I was not a part of. Self-hate mixed with teenage hormones. I was a brooding mess.
By fourteen my soul was working overtime to get a foothold back in. My mother fought to get me financial aid for a couple of alternative schools. I am so grateful she did. Nobody in my family had been exposed to opportunities like those. Those schools saved me. I found things I truly loved and some people more like me. Early miracles. I took many walks in the woods. I talked to God at night on the soccer fields. I found mysticism and a deep resonance with one of its core messages: the world inside of us is infinitely more real than what is happening outside of us. Spirituality felt like home. And the arts, man. Was I being blessed. I could take improv dance at the same time someone else was taking geometry! The arts saved me too. The playful 5-year-old made a tentative little knock from deep in my buried heart.
In my twenties I started to really break free. Hallelujah! I was remembering my essence, feeling my true self beyond the story of my youth. I stumbled upon (or you could say Spirit dragged me kicking and screaming) into a theater apprenticeship at a Renaissance Faire. You can ask them- I was so shy at the time, I tried to quit at least three times! I knew when something was mine by the way it lit up in me and took hold. I could not deny it. They were my soul YESSES. From theater to a transformative experience in a holistic health coaching program, to founding a cooperative home in Boston for women following their dreams, I was finding my free spirit. I surrounded myself with inspiring people and a conscious community. I was learning how to live in magic and joy. I had true friends, meaning, happiness, and security. It was safe to open my heart. I had enormous privilege and was blessed.
Then came the next 'before and after' moment in my life: domestic violence with a spiritual twist. She said she was my wife. She said she was awake and I was not. It was her job to wake me up. And I believed her. I thought I was in love. After such an incredible reunion with my Spirit and my tender new life, I thought she was my next great Yes! I see now, I had no idea how fucked up I still was. I had no idea how much trauma was buried inside of me. I was vulnerable in a way that I did not even know. I believed all I had to do was love well and take responsibility. I was perfectly primed to go back to the old wound of “Everything is my fault.” I kept trying to love her and fix things by working on myself. It was a disaster. I couldn't see how I was giving my power, safety, sanity, identity; my very life away. The hell I endured, the mind-fuck insanity is a story all its own. It broke me. For the second time in my life, I broke completely.
Four years or so, later, I crawled out barely alive. More like, I opened my eyes laying on my back. A fog cleared. I was barely breathing. I was in debt, isolated, and worse. Any sense of self I recovered in my twenties was shattered beyond repair. I was not there. Pieces in every room. Unrecognizable. Empty.
* A special love note to all the kindred spirits I lost when I LOST MYSELF. I am sorry I disappeared. I am sorry I stayed away. That is not like me. I am grateful for the time we had. I have joined the living again. I love you.
What brought me back was an emergency. Cancer had made a home in my body. Well of course it did. I saw no way out in my “marriage.” My body had been secretly growing a way. I had spent too many years studying the connection between mind, body, emotion, and spirit to miss this one.
I remember signing the guest book in the hospital chapel. I remember not feeling afraid of death, but a gnawing dread of my life ending early when I was not done. I wanted to make a difference. I had always lived for that! I felt painfully unrealized. I had lost myself in serving a damaged soul. I was scared, a deer in headlights. Frozen, again.
But the will in me kicked back in. Actually, in some ways for the first time. Cancer proved to be a gift. I had to make a choice and I had to make it quickly. It was like all of the phases in my life had prepared me for this one. I got back into the power of intention, visualization, prayer, and meditation. I returned to my deep faith in food as medicine, energetic and emotional healing, all forms of holistic health. I did this as well as working with my western doctors.
There was a moment. I was leaving a radiation treatment. I was driving through a nerve-racking split of two highways in Boston. I had a bigger-than-me-like flash. A resounding question came up from the deep. Which was going to be bigger: me or the cancer? Choose. I absolutely knew if I did not choose myself and mean it, my cancer would spread.
I chose me.
I was still scared as shit. Sometimes I cried through my day. I went from crawling in the mud to tiny breakthroughs of FAITH, just to start it all over the next day. But it was different. I was different. I wasn’t just going through the motions of getting better, I had really decided now. The fear was still fucking me up, but I wasn’t its bitch anymore. I WAS BIGGER. I was fighting back with all my effort, desire and belief. I was putting my best foot forward again and again.
It was messy. But it was my own.
I beat cancer and slowly built up my life again. Little did I know, out of the war and back into the apparent peace of safety and stability, was when the real work began. Nothing has been more humbling, difficult and ultimately rewarding than healing my trauma and embracing my sensitivities. And with this, "Hello my free spirit." It is you who wanted full reign all along. I met you once in a fire circle. I met you in an empty, moonlit dance room where my highschool dorm-mates and I snuck out to play. I met you singing my heart out with friends in a tunnel in a park. I met you in the dark of night, darting through the trees with one of my first soulmates. I really am coming full circle. I am learning how to let Spirit back in. I am learning how to love again and be loved, with curiosity, sensitivity and an adorable sense of humor. ;-)
I finally came home to trusting myself. Now that is some REAL empowerment and security. LOL. I have embraced my unique gifts, perception, empathy and intuition. It still requires effort, but I don't give my power away. I rise from the mud of fear, lack, and thinking I don't have my answers. It is crazy to think I am anything less than whole, right here and right now, in all my glorious mess. I am done fixing myself or listening to people who say I need to be fixed. I still have work to do and places to be accountable. But I am worthy at every step.
Love doesn’t fix.
Love doesn’t judge.
I deserve love.
I am learning to see myself accurately. I am both strong and sensitive. Truer to the point: Sensitivity is strength. I am learning to say, “Fuck it,” to what anyone thinks, even if, alas, I may feel it all deeply. I am done being silent about my story and who I really am. I am done pretending I am anything even close to conventional! I am done being afraid to mark an empty canvas with the colors of me.
No more living in shadows.
Hiding is the slowest death there is.
I did not survive to die again.
The magic is back. Dancing in the kitchen. Shaving half of my head (my inner Celtic warrior is beyond happy). Being proud that I am non-binary, genderqueer AND very gay. My creative soul is busting through. I have to do things my own unique way. This holy mess is blessed! The taps spring open. I share with the abandon I have always longed for. This time I am using my real name. I am really here, taking up space and making my mark. I am here to make a difference on my terms. No more doing life-changing work in secret.
When I got back into coaching three years ago, I named my business Rise Up Now. That was me owning what I wanted all along: to support others in learning how to trust, love and empower themselves. My work is fueled by helping others hear their inner voice. I let go of the nutrition and lifestyle focus I had as a coach in my twenties. What a shift! The clients who showed up were heaven-sent, including the ones talking about food. Every conversation was deeper. They taught me so much. They clarified my deepest conviction and the full circle of this story. Thus, my new business name was born- Mud to Majesty.
Mud to Majesty is the journey we each take when we trust our true self and become sovereign in our life. It was the hardest journey for me. And yet, I would not change a thing. Now I get to point out the true Royalty YOU are. Nobody does it better or knows better than you, dear. This is your life. Take it. I raise a glass to never giving up. To US! We who have spent some time crawling in the mud. Here is to standing up. These crowns look good on us. Huzzah!
You are sacred beyond words. Your unique path and answers are inside you. Your brilliant kingdom, reign and legacy, are encoded deep in your cells. No one else can claim it, take it from you, tell you what is best for you, or how you should proceed. No one has the right to say they know you better than you know yourself.
“Raise your hopeful voice
you have a choice
You’ve made it now.
sing your melody
I’ll sing along.”
PS. If you know someone who needs this story, please pass it along!