I had to write. With my heart open wide and my energy flowing, I had to write because writing is what my soul does when it needs to breathe.
My soul needs to breathe.
I stood beneath a tree in my front yard the other day. I was gardening, but gardening has become so much more than just a word, to me. How about caring for, nurturing gently, cherishing life as it grows beneath my hands? That sounds about right.
I was always going to love like this. Always going to be the one to love that little bit more. And where it often hurts a great deal to live with my heart wide open, I can’t imagine any other way of being.
A bug caught my eye as it crept up a branch. It was my baby daughter. Of course, it wasn’t my actual baby daughter, that would be insane of me to consider. But I knew in that moment that I loved this little beetle. That I would protect it. That I cared so much more deeply for this little life than I ever thought I could.
I have only just allowed myself to feel this deeply again. It was often unsafe to be my fullest self in this world, and many have hardened beneath the hardness of generations before them. My culture was not built to tolerate a soft heart. It is a culture of jokes at people’s expense and arguments over petty things. I reject it entirely. And it rejects me.
But I stand under trees and I love them with all that I am.
I’ve been getting to know myself through music again.
I wanted to go a little further into this idea because not only does music tell familiar stories and remind me of people and places…it also becomes me. As in: I embody it. This is the most magical phenomenon I have ever known.
I read a theory, once, where it was said that the mirror neurons of the brain are somehow responsible for this sort of mega feeling capability, and I only wish there were enough hours in the day for me to truly explore, and come to an understanding of, it all. I wish more people talked about their subjective feeling experiences so we could all pool our individual authentic truths and perhaps come up with a better, more holistic understanding of the nature of reality. Maybe one day people will open up fully to each other, even about the stranger things in life. Maybe.
I’ll start the ball rolling.
The other day I was driving along listening to a song where the singer was expressing a feeling of complete and utter freedom; a gorgeous energy that felt fun, wild, curious and sexy all at the same time. What a beautiful feeling it was as it surged through my body. I was alive.
While listening to this particular song, I recognised the essence of the singer as seperate to my own, and yet…her feelings had become me. I was feeling her freedom within my body. I was feeling her cheekiness and sass. It was as if I was her.
What-on-earth. If nothing else, I came away from the song understanding that this was clearly an energy in my life I am needing to explore. But on a more out there note, I had to wonder. What might humans truly be capable of if we removed the stigma and shame attached to the more, umm, left of centre traits of human nature?
We haven’t even begun to seriously discuss this sort of phenomena without attaching it to the words ‘disorder’ or ‘disease’. What if…we changed our story? What if we framed high sensitivity in humans as exactly what it is: high sensitivity in humans. Nothing more. Nothing less. I think you could guarantee that far less of us would suffer from the anxiety that naturally arises from being perceived as different. Or, worse, broken.
I suppose I know the problem in a nutshell. You only need to look at events where the human ego has completely rejected any sort of difference perceived as weird or threatening in any way. In 1692, for instance, hysteria swept through an entire town in the U.S.A and condemned many women (women who, by the way, very likely perceived themselves as normal) to death if they were discovered to be witches. These women were probably just highly sensitive women, who very likely had been born a little different to the rest…and yet.
So it’s not surprising to me, then, that humanity has taken quite a long time to truly own the more eclectic parts of ourselves. No one wants to be kicked out of the pack. No one wants to stray too far from safe and secure. You know. Just in case. (Cough: no one has been burnt at the stake for quite a while now.)
Perhaps I am different, but really, who isn’t? We are all unique in our own way, and I believe with just a few tweaks in perspective (for instance, we might do well to dismantle the damaging cultural narratives that seperate people) humanity might be onto something really very special.
Life is for living. It’s a lovely sentiment, isn’t it?
Lovely. And vague.
Because what, exactly, is living?
I turned thirty-eight this year, and I’m still fine tuning what living means to me. I imagine I always will be. Ever evolving. Ever learning and growing.
One of the beautiful things I’ve learnt about what living is to me, is that I have these five senses for a reason. For most of my life, I woke of a morning, achieved the mindless list of tasks laid out ahead, went to bed, and repeated the whole thing again the next day.
No wonder my soul was starving.
I’ve started to understand that, to fully live, you need to know yourself and how your senses interact with the world around you. I, for instance, am extremely sensitive and I’ve come to the realisation that because my senses are heightened…I need to be particularly conscious of my environment.
For example: I need to try and keep things tidy, both internally and externally. I feel calm when things are tidy. I feel calm when I am completing one task at a time. Overwhelm, for me, equals poor mental health and activation of either the fight, flight, or freeze response (and, I assure you, none of these survival responses have ever worked out well for me, in the past.)
This time in my life is where I’ve begun to really use my senses to enhance my world and wellbeing. I’ve come to understand that everything we perceive in life has a texture and depth, and I try to utilise this knowledge to better my life, as much as I can.
For some reason, my nervous system tends to do much better when it comes to perceiving softer, lighter more porous textures. Wood grain soothes me. Light, drifting plants soothe me. Soft pinks, mauves, light greys: these are all the colours of me. And yet, for the longest time, I surrounded myself with bright and bold…because the rest of the world did. I hadn’t learned to know myself yet.
I often think back to (and I’ve mentioned this story on here before) the discomfort I used to feel when driving to work with my Dad, listening to the two negative, grumpy radio hosts on the morning show. Every time I heard them speak, I wanted to run. I had no idea why I was feeling this way, at the time, but now I know. It was the density of their energy. The texture. It was not at all light, it was heavy and bold: never have I thrived when surrounded by this kind of dense energy. Never have I been comfortable in my own, unique (big ol’ sensitive muffin) skin.
I can’t avoid density, I know that. Life is full of the dark, the negative, the heavy. But I can try to be mindful of surrounding myself as much as possible with the softness that brings me back to life, so that’s what I try my best to do.
Humans are funny creatures. How our worlds shift and change with time and age.
And though reality often hurts, it is also very beautiful.
It is the most fascinating process, it truly is. Especially considering the memories, as they come up, are attached to a physical feeling within my body and a recognition of the vibration of that particular feeling. (Eg- shame, guilt etc.)
For those of you who are relatively new here, thinking: what on earth is she on about, I should probably explain. I experienced quite a drastic life change a couple of years ago which I call, and many call, a spiritual awakening. After this time, my nervous system returned to the super-sensitive energy system of my youth and has since been dragging me through a healing journey of sorts— a journey that is slowly bringing to the surface the buried wounds of the highly sensitive girl I once was.
The emotions that came up with the memory today were guilt and shame. My goodness. All the bellyaching. And interestingly, the recognition of these particular vibrations was a surprise for me, momentarily, because I had completely forgotten that guilt and shame were a part of this particular experience. Obviously, I’d done an excellent job of burying them.
Let me go through the memory that came up.
I was around nineteen, I’d say, and still living at home. I’d never had a large group of friends, always opting for my own company and the company of my precious keyboard (and my C.D’S and my Nintendo 64.) I was working with my Dad at the time of the memory and, one day, full of excitement, he pulled out a gift for me. A very expensive one. A game of laser tag— a game that would require a large group of friends to go along with me. Friends I did have, If I counted them all, but…I didn’t want to.
I could not do this.
‘Why?’ my Dad asked.
‘Because I don’t have enough friends,’ I said, petrified.
Shame-ridden because anxiety was the real reason.
Guilt-ridden that my Dad had done this beautiful thing for me, and yet there was absolutely no way I could even think about doing it. My mind, my everything, was frozen.
Anxiety wasn’t a new thing for me. It had stopped me from taking part in the year eleven ball a couple of years before because I just wanted to watch my friends do it. That was nonsense, of course. I was a dreamer, an all the way through romantic. I longed to take part in the ball. The real reason was that I was terrified. Surely no boy would want to go with me…and the rules were that the girls had to do the asking.
Nope. Not me. What if they said no?
Or worse…what if they laughed at me. And then said no.
I still struggle with my sensitivities, I won’t lie, but now I am able to appreciate them, too. I’m often able to harness the most beautiful depth and power by bringing them to life and asking them to shine, instead of just having them break me like they sometimes choose to do. So there’s that lovely thing. For example, without them, this blog would have died about two years ago. And where would I be without you lot, hey? 🙂
The thing is, though, these ‘superpowers’ have done quite a bit of damage to me in the past, and now is absolutely the time to take care of that poor little muffin child I was. My goodness, I ache for her.
But the great news is, in this moment, she is safe and well.
A little tidy in the bathroom became an entire makeover: a de clutter to the point of minimalist elegance.
And now I can breathe again.
That little de clutter session inspired me, and reminded me that clutter around the house actually acts as overstimulation for me (which I really don’t enjoy all that much.) My house was actually fairly tidy. But it had many things bobbing about, and that means many things to tidy. Just the thought of having multiple things to tidy sends me into a bit of a procrastination spiral.
Now I have elegance. Breath. Space.
If I can keep reminding myself of my core needs…I just might be able to fly that little bit higher, breathe a little easier.
I really do love beautiful epiphany days like today. Thanks universe. You’re a legend. Day by day, teaching me I cannot truly know what I do want, until I’ve fully experienced what I don’t want.
A little like one of those slides at the playground, the ones that follow a wave-like movement and snake you all the way down to the ground, sometimes taking your stomach with it.
Life, for me, also changed when I had the epiphany that my body (and I believe all bodies, but that’s a theory for another post, I suppose) was absorbing the energy of life around me, and I was reacting heavily based on whatever it was absorbing. Needless to say: learning, and exploring, the term Empath changed my life. And learning about subtle energy and meditation changed it even more.
This morning—all in the space of an hour—I’ve had memories resurface that (although I missed the memo at the time) were very obvious signposts as to my body’s highly sensitive nature. I’ll never forget, about a million years ago, sitting in the passenger seat of our old clunker with my Dad at the wheel. Every morning we would travel to our shared workplace together, and every morning, in a confused state of discomfort, I would shudder as I listened to the morning show hosts chatter away.
I adored the two of them. The whole town did, actually, they were a beautiful pair. But. They were extremely negative, and always it felt like there was a heaviness or grumpiness to their chatter that had me dreading the morning commute. It was confusing because I liked them. It was horrible because they felt so entirely uncomfortable within my body.
I now understand that this is because of the way that I am built, that the more dense the feeling I’m exposed to, the more I tend to flounder. As a result, a good amount of alone time is extremely important for me to get back into the middle of me. Extremely important. (Have I mentioned how important alone time is for me? Very.)
It’s not all bad, though. If grumpiness feels completely horrible to me, you might be able to guess how absolutely beautiful love feels within my tiny human frame. And nature. And music— oh good heavens, don’t even get me started on the absolute purity that music fills me with. It feels like a beautiful wind. A wind that twists and frees my body in ways I never thought possible.
Anyhow, it’s a journey. A beautiful adventure, filled with tears and joy and all the horrible lovely things. Where to next?