I had the honor of being the Health Care Director for my mom at the end of her life a few months ago. What an amazing and humbling experience for me.
She had called her eight children to visit as she prepared to transition. We came from all over the United States to spend time with her so that she could tell us stories of our childhood, and her life, and we could say our goodbyes. She lived to the age of 88, and lived actively, as it should be for everyone.
She walked everywhere, climbed stairs to the second story of her family home to get to bed each night, mowed her 1/2 acre lawn and raked the Autumn leaves at her rural home. She loved the beach and the outdoors, and played basketball at a park for her 80th birthday celebration. She rolled the trash and recycling cans up and down a hilly driveway each week, cleaned her own home, and provided all of her self-care up until the last few weeks of her life.
Yet when it was her time to go, she intuitively knew. In fact, the medical profession didn't quite understand it. Her numbers were "good," and she could do a lot more than other patients on the hospital ward. “Ms. Anne” often set the bed alarm off as she tried to stay active.
While Mom was in the hospital, they loaded her up with so many medications for every symptom that came her way. She at one point said the medications were going to kill her. Little did she know how right she was. The doctors were trying to stop her stomach from bleeding. So they administered ample amounts of prednisone, yet the bleeding never stopped.
At the same time, she was having a lot of skin irritations. I had brought coconut oil with me. I find it helpful, especially for older skin, as it nourishes quite well, feels good, and provides antioxidant and anti-aging properties. It also has antimicrobial and antifungal agents, as well as sun-shielding properties, and can help with peeling skin. My mom liked the feel of it and kept putting it on her skin.
When Mom requested that I get her home from the hospital to hospice care, I took her seriously. Although she had declined quite rapidly in a few weeks, hospice did not initially get approved. Having returned to California, I fought through the steps to get her home, and we had another hospice company visit her. It was then that we received hospice approval.
Mom stopped all medications except a couple for comfort. Her skin on her arms began to peel several layers, as if someone had poured buckets of hot water on her. It was raw and painful. When I asked the hospice nurse what could cause that reaction, she said long-term use of prednisone. My mom was on it for 2 weeks. I then realized why my mother seldom took pharmaceuticals. The side-effects far outweighed the benefits for her; she spent her life finding other ways to nourish herself to health.
So I asked the hospice nurse to apply coconut oil to her skin. The nurse informed me that using coconut oil went against the hospice doctor's orders. He prescribed vaseline and gauze on the wounds. I asked for the coconut oil to be applied first, then add the doctor recommended treatment. I was surprised that she continued to discuss this with me. Well meaning and doing her job, the nurse wanted me to know the seriousness of my request before she applied it.
Hospice is wonderful and did a fabulous job with my Mom’s end of life support! But have we gotten so off-track with pharmaceutical solutions that if we use a nutritive supplement - like coconut oil, we are violating doctor's orders? Seriously? How have we gone so wrong in our thinking and treatment of our health? Doesn't a patient have any say anymore into what she/he is called to do?
I am an advocate, a warrior, for listening to the body and doing what you are called to do, no matter what a doctor or anyone else recommends. The typical doctor may spent 10 minutes with you once a year, run tests and prescribe surgery/medication, but YOU are the best one to take the information presented, weigh all the pro's and con's, and listen to your body and your intuition to go with what you feel is best.
Especially as Highly Sensitive Empaths, we need to honor our bodies and create a superstructure of support for what they need, even if others don't agree with us. We are in charge of our health. That’s where being a Warrior Empath comes in. We need to follow our intuition no matter what, and go against doctor’s orders if we need to.
We all hear the benefits of meditation - how it calms the "monkey mind" and aids us in clearer and less reactive thinking. We hear how it calms the physical body as well, and gives us a fresh start to our day. It helps us sleep better, stay centered in ourselves and our truth.
Even agencies like the National Institute of Health are looking into meditation and it's benefits, and noting what science is discovering about the benefits of a practice.
If we consider Webster, it defines meditating as:
It doesn't really matter how others define meditation. As an Empath and Highly Sensitive, a regular practice of meditation can have even deeper benefits because we are so very sensitive. So it's important that we develop a practice. I think it's important that we don't put ourselves into a box in our thinking when it comes to how to meditate. We need to define a practice that truly supports us and works for us. It doesn't mean we have to sit in a corner and chant "ommmm" for a certain amount of time.
It does mean that we need to have regular practices that help us clear our mind, reduce our stress, and have an inward focus.
Here are some "out-of-the-box" ideas to help you:
I hope this gives you some useful and different ideas on how to meditate. As Empaths and Highly Sensitives, we really need to forge our own trail and find ways that work for us. An estimated 20% of the population according to Dr. Elaine Aaron's research, the mainstream ways of living don't often serve us well.
So how do you define meditation for you?
My dad, an avid reader and life-long learner, brought the book I'm OK--You're OK by Thomas Harris into our household in the 1970s, when I was in junior high. I remember it sitting next to his recliner and on his adjacent bookcase as he read it. I thought it was a funny name for a book, especially back then. I read it in my 20's.
According to Wikipedia, the book hit the New York Times Best Seller list in 1972 for about two years. The publisher estimates that it sold over 15 million copies so far and they translated it into more than a dozen languages. It's talks about Transactional Analysis, a form of conventional psychiatry.
What its popularity and longevity means to me, is that we humans have wrestled for years, maybe hundreds of years, with the concept of whether we are okay or not. And if others are okay.
I believe that this is particularly true of Empaths. We Empaths are a sensitive breed loaded with intuition. No two of us are alike. Some of us sense feelings to a very deep level. Some sense the earth energies and its distress and joy. Some sense physical sensations of others - they feel them so deeply, it's often confusing as to who owns the physical sensation. There are Empaths that see colors and auras around other living things. Many Empaths can connect with spirits that have crossed over. Then we have the animal Empaths that can talk to and "feel" inside animals. And the Empaths that can see into the future, sometimes through dreams. We have Empath energy healers. The list goes on and on.
I believe, way back when when humans were more primitive, that we needed these Superpowers of intuition to survive. Bible stories talk of humans receiving intuitive information in dreams and through conversations with saints. Hunter gatherers needed to know if a predator, like a saber toothed tiger, waited for a meal in the adjacent field or valley. They had to have a strong sense of where to hunt, and what plants to eat and not eat. They used these Superpowers without realizing they were an intuitive power.
As consciousness grew, there came a time when people with Superpowers, like healers and witches, were intensely feared. And it wasn't that long ago. Wikipedia compiled a list of people, men and women, executed for witchcraft. The list shows how witches were convicted and executed in cruel ways all over the world for their Superpowers, considered evil, from the 1400's to as late as the 1800's.
Take the story of Joan of Arc, a devout saint of God, who burned at the stake in May of 1431 for charges of heresy. After a long trial that lasted over a year, the courts convicted her of three major indictments. The first of these was that she used magic when she proclaimed to hear voices from St. Michael, St. Margaret, and St. Catherine. Today, she'd be considered a Medium.
I don't know if these people did evil deeds or not. I do believe, that to have these kinds of Superpowers, they were Empaths and/or highly sensitive. And their Superpowers, if displayed, got them tried and executed in cruel ways.
Fast forward to 2018, and it's understandable that Empaths and highly sensitives are having difficulty embracing their intuitive Superpowers.
It's time we take a courageous leap and truly be okay with ourselves. Stand up and say "I am an Empath and I am Okay."
Yet, I see Empaths looking outside of themselves to ask if they are okay. The answer is not outside of us. We need to change our thinking. Being an Empath is okay. Being an Empath is more than okay, it's an honor and a privilege to have this Superpower. Being highly sensitive is a Superpower; information is power, and we pick up more information. So being a Highly Sensitive Empath is a magnificent honor.
Ask yourself. AM I OKAY WITH ME? When your unique sensitivity arises, do you shame yourself? Do you tell yourself you're odd, that you don't fit in? Do you wish you were different? What are you telling yourself?
This is such an important question. For if you don't accept yourself fully, than nobody will. Yet when you do accept yourself, you find like-minded people that love you for who you are.
So dear Highly Sensitive Empaths, your time has come to shine.
Take a moment right now to breathe in and out a few breaths. Slow and long and deep. And then ask yourself, "Do I fully accept myself as an Empath?" or "Do I fully accept myself as a Highly Sensitive Person?" If you get a no, you've got work to do!
Go to a mirror, look yourself in the eyes and say "I am an Empath, and I am okay!" "I am Highly Sensitive and I love myself completely." Say it over and over until you believe it. Let the self-doubt, criticism, and negative thinking float away. And watch the magic unfold!
Our bodies are like our automobiles.
Let's say we have a Mercedes, just because it's a fun car to have! This Mercedes gets us from place to place. We drive it to the grocery store, work, out on our dates and family events, to the Crossfit gym or our yoga class, and to the farmer's market. We use it more than we walk. We've learned to count on it to get us around.
So if it's experiencing knocks and shakes, we investigate. Hopefully we'll do this sooner than later, so that we don't end up broken down on the side of the highway.
If we can't figure out what is causing the "symptoms," we take it to the mechanic to look over the whole car and give us a diagnosis and recommendation. They do a once over, typically, and let us know what parts in the system need upgrading, replacing, or fixing.
Suppose they say it's the fuel we're putting in our car that isn't working well enough. If you keep going to the gas station and putting in inappropriate fuel, or watering down the oil, and not giving your car the ingredients it needs, it’s going to keep running poorly even if the mechanic keeps diagnosing the symptoms, taking out and replacing parts, or prescribing additives in the gas and oil. It would be a lot more powerful for that Mercedes engine to have what it needs so it can do a good job and get us where we need to go.
Yet how many of us put inappropriate fuel into our bodies, which are our vehicles in life? We get the knocks and shakes, and have no idea how we created them.
Here's the rub. We expect our body to function well enough to get to our Mercedes, climb into and out of it, and to get us to the grocery store, work, out on our dates and family events, to the Crossfit gym or our yoga class, and to the farmer's market.
Yet how can that beautiful body of ours carry us from place to place if it's not working well?
If we look at our bodies the same way as that magnificent Mercedes, and we notice that they’re not running well, what do we do? Do we run to the doctors and get a pill to take away the symptom so that we can keep going from place to place, or do we think about what we’re putting into our bodies. What thoughts are we thinking to feed it each day? What kind of food are we are using for fuel? And liquids? What kind of stress are we expecting our bodies to handle? Are we constantly going uphill and stressing our engines without a rest and then wondering why our engine is struggling?
In general, our culture does not respect the human body. We don’t really listen to them. They’re considered to be something we have to deal with, but this very body we're in is the one we chose in this lifetime to transport us until we leave.
Why is there so much fear about our bodies and what they’re saying to us? We shake when we have a symptom. If we don’t know what to do and what causes it, we try to ignore it until it gets too big to ignore. Then we run to the doctor or the ER or the clinic, and ask them to fix it for us. Many times we get a pill, which can help us feel better. Or we have surgery to remove the "bad" part.
These are certainly alternatives to be explored. But is it really fixing the root cause of the problem we're experiencing?
I’m here voting for the body. If we want to feel well, look and do our best, and have a nice long ride without breaking down or shaking, we need to do a much bit better job at listening to our bodies and giving them what they need.
And if we happen to be highly sensitive and/or an empath, the listening and responding we're doing must be amplified so we're providing a superstructure of support. We sense and feel more, so we need to ramp up the support.
I’m writing this on a day when I feel pretty crappy. I’m usually pretty good about having whole foods, avoiding grains, taking my supplements, getting enough rest, getting my exercise, taking quiet time, taking a positive approach, and avoiding sugar and flour. This is a plan I've put in place with my health coach and other professionals over the years that works the best for me.
It's no surprise in the last week, as I’ve been feeling more stress and putting things into my body, that I am experiencing some knocks and shakes. I am bloated and feel like I put on 5 pounds, I feel more gaseous, my thyroid seems to be feeling a little tighter right now. I feel more anxious, my mood is lower, I’m not sleeping as well, I’m craving the bad stuff, and this is all because I chose fuel that is not optimal for my body.
I'd say it's time for a change in our culture. How can we begin to truly listen to our bodies, accept what they're saying, develop a personalized plan to amp up the fuel we're providing for ourselves? Then let's support each other, our differences, to keep choosing the good stuff, so that we keep our vehicle functioning the best it can until our ride is over?
A thought that keeps coming up for me is, why are we, as humans on the planet in this day and age - okay with feeling mediocre? Physically mediocre?
So many of us go through our days with aches and pains and just write if off as normal. We don’t have the energy we’d like to have, but we’ve been to the doctor and the test results came back within range. Or perhaps we received a diagnosis or two, and a prescription or two, to help whatever symptom we are experiencing. And maybe it’s helping, maybe it’s not.
But the bottom line is, we really don’t feel that well each day.
So, to make sense of it, we adopt attitudes like:
We are noticing our aches and pains and making excuses for them instead of taking control and feeling 100% strong. The bottom line is that we, as a culture, have normalized not feeling well.
I think the problem starts because we are so much into our heads. Our society admires being in our heads, pushing through, getting things done, staying focused on where we are going and what’s ahead.
So it’s no surprise that, when it comes to our bodies, we are focused on all the rules out there.
We hear that we need to eat this food to have a certain result. Kale. Broccoli. Eggs. Meat. No meat.
We hear that we need to exercise for so many minutes and with so much intensity to be healthy.
We need to meditate for so many minutes each day to be fully present in our lives. And we need to get a certain amount of sleep.
To top it off, there are lots of miracle fixes floating around out there in this age full of a lot of information everywhere we turn.
We have instant access to loads of information like never before - through our phones, the TV, our computers, and the magazine and newspaper stands. And information is power, right? Yes, it is. I think increased information has certainly been helpful, even necessary, but it has gotten too complicated, and something very important is missing.
The information we’re listening to is not the most powerful. The information on our phones is outside of ourselves. I believe the most powerful source of information is inside our own bodies.
We are all so different. What health looks like for me, doesn’t necessarily work for you. And what works for you, doesn't work for your husband. And what works for your husband, doesn’t work for your son. No two of us are alike. Health is not a cookie cutter solution with one size fits all.
What we feed ourselves - the foods, our thoughts, our environments, our beliefs, the stresses we encounter and the stories we attach to them, the very reasons we came onto this earth - all influence how our genes play out.
For instance, kale may be full of nutrients for a human body, but my human body has difficulty digesting it, so I better take that into consideration if I decide to have it. Eggs. Another one. I like the taste of eggs. Yet they are high in thiols (an organic sulfur compound), and my body can get backed up with thiols if I have too many.
So I believe the solution to health is simple. Get out of your head and into your body. Look inside of yourself for the answers you’re seeking. For your strength. Inside is where our real power lies, and where we have collectively lost our way.
Just how do we do this? The very first step is checking in with our physical bodies in a non-judgemental and non-fearful way. Noticing. Especially as empaths and highly sensitives, we most often disconnect from our bodies because the sensations are too intense or scary. Or we’ve had others judge us and we’ve shut off. We need to learn to feel safe in our bodies again.
Try this. Put your attention on our heart area right now. It may help to put your hand to this area. Take a few slow, deep breaths into your belly button. This moves our attention out of our mind and into our heart. If it takes you more than a few breaths to make this transition, it is worth the extra time. Do what intuitively feels right for you.
Next, put your attention to your physical body for a few minutes. You can do a body scan here, say from your toes to your head, to see what feels comfortable and good, and what feels out of whack. As you do this, just notice the information without getting too attached to it.
It may go something like this. My feet, they really don’t have any feeling. Wait, they feel cold and a little tired. Then move onto your legs. That left knee if feeling a little achy, other than that, my legs feel good. Oooh, my tummy feels like it didn’t like what I ate for lunch. Continue to travel up the body to your head, noting what feels good and what doesn’t. Gather the information, and let it be. Be curious about any discomfort. You can even ask your body what it needs.
If you don’t get immediate sensations or feedback, keep working at it. Practice non-judgement and listening. Gather information. This creates awareness of your body and where you are at this very moment. It’s a great place to start.
How can we use our intuition to stay strong and live long?
I like to look at our ancestors for some hints and tips.
I love all the work that Mark Sisson puts into his blogs. Let’s look at some research from the training I’ve had through his Primal Blueprint work.
“Fossil records show that primal humans who steered clear of fatal misfortune could routinely live six or seven decades in excellent health. These records also show a ‘maximum observed life span’ of an astonishing 94 years!”
Mark refers to his primal fictional characters as Grok and Grokette, well-rounded athletes living off the land with it’s seasonal variations in food and terrain. Grok and Grokette could call upon superhuman bursts of strength or speed to save their lives when they had to. They could track a tired animal for hours so that they could catch their protein to eat. They ate mostly greens and fruits from their local area. They could climb trees to harvest fruit, carry heavy things so they could have water at their camps, and generally exhibit a well-rounded level of fitness that provided preparedness for a variety of situations.
In fact, these abilities of nutrition, strength and longevity don’t go that far back. In the 1800’s, my maternal Great Great Grandfather lived to be 105, and his wife to 103, both dying within 1 week of each other. They lived off the land - picking fruit from the trees. They moved their bodies everyday - gathering sticks for kindling to create the warmth for their fires. They went to bed with the chickens - so they also had pasture-raised hens! They lived in their tribes, often children stayed in the same town as they had their families, so there was a strong sense of community.
My paternal Great Great Grandmother stayed active until the end. She had climbed a large beech tree, from which she was lopping branches. From these branches she would make a bundle which she then carried home on her head. She slipped from the tree and fell onto a large rock, which led to her death.
They went about their days, grabbing something to eat from the land when they got hungry. If they couldn’t find food, they didn’t eat. They gathered supplies for their homes (which they built by hand) which required strength and agility. They chilled at night by talking to each other and relaxing in the quiet. They went to bed early and got up with the sun. They learned to use their sensitivities and intuition to assist them in staying alive and sustaining themselves.
Their lifestyle, although more rugged and “stressful” in some ways than ours today, supported their bodies in better ways. They didn’t grab an apple from a tree and think “I probably shouldn’t be eating this.”
Today, we’ve created the ability to travel around the world very easily. We’ve learned how to harvest food for the masses and are getting closer to wiping out hunger and starvation. We’ve harnessed the power of electricity. Our ancestors would be in awe to see what we’ve created in a few hundred years.
So what can we learn from our ancestors?
Keep life simple.
In this day and age, unlike our ancestors, we must pay attention to what we eat, and make conscious choices about how we life. On the upside, we have a choice where our ancestors did not. On the downside, industrialized processing methods, the abundance of sugar and flour, and the addictiveness of grains have thwarted our food supply. Our sedentary lives have made us weak.
We can no longer just reach for what is in front of us, whether it’s the donut or the remote, and assume it will keep us strong and healthy. It won’t.
It’s time to wake up, get up, and get strong to live long. The key to making this change, is getting really close and intimate with our own physical body, so we know what works for us and what doesn’t. Are you listening?
As empaths, many of us we experience the information around us through our bodies. Since we are so highly sensitive, we may come down with many symptoms as a result. So it's important for us to be fully connected to our physical bodies so we can understand what information we are receiving.
This is what I call the Body Buzz - knowing what our bodies are communicating to us throughout our days. Is the indigestion we feel a sensitivity to a food we ate, or is it being caused by the person next to us, or someone 300 miles away? Is our fatigue because we haven't had enough sleep, or because we are overloaded with sensing the technology around us?
Here is a 5 minute video to help you with some ideas for understanding your Body Buzz.
I was walking past my sleeping Mac one afternoon, and the work Superstructure scrolled across the display screen.
What an interesting word, and definition.
And it occurred to me right then and there, that a superstructure is exactly what every Empath needs.
As am Empath, we often spend our days dealing with energy and related physical symptoms because we don’t have a supportive, firm structure in place to keep us at our best. Perhaps we wake up one morning and are sobbing uncontrollably, yet nothing in our own life would cause such a deep reaction.
Our first thought is often “What is wrong with me? I shouldn’t be feeling this …” This thought starts the worry, the panic, and the weakening of our energy. We may spend hours, the day or more trying to figure out what is going on, and often don’t look at ourselves very lovingly in the process. It’s downright hard to go through a confusing experience like this.
Yet, as we learn to know how we take in information as the Amazing Empath we are, perhaps a better initial thought would be one of curiosity “What am I picking up on? Let me explore this more. Is someone around me disowning his sadness? Did something just happen to a close friend and I am picking up on her feelings? How are the planets aligned right now? Hmmm, I’m curious about this feeling.”
With this approach, we are able to step back from being overwhelmed with sadness and the feelings we are experiencing. Then we have the opportunity to remove the judgement of ourselves, accept the information we’re getting, and see what it means for our day.
Since being an empath provides us with more information than the average Joe, not only do we pick up on extra information others don’t even experience, we also take in this information more deeply. Recent research shows that our brains light up more than that average Josephine.
And information is power. We can be at an advantage as we walk through our life on this planet if we learn how to embrace and empower this information.
Yet if we don’t have a strong system in place to manage all the information we’re getting in a positive and proactive way, it can leave us feeling worried, exhausted, hungry, overwhelmed, and depleted. How do we begin to create a superstructure of support for ourselves?
This is not an easy question because it is unique to every Empath. Just as the genes that make up our DNA provide us with a uniqueness, so do our sensitivities. Yet, I believe, first and foremost, each Empath must acknowledge her or his sensitivity and OWN IT. We must be able to see that we are sensitive, love it, and begin to understand it for the power that it is. It’s a power, not a curse.Yes, it is a power, not a curse.
I think being an empath and highly sensitive person starts here - with owning who we are - in a loving way. It’s often hard to love ourselves when we are feeling so overwhelmed and zinged around by life. We are ashamed to be an empath. Yet acceptance is the biggest first step we must take.
For the first part of my life, I thought something was terribly wrong with me, in fact, just about evil. I knew I was sensitive, and I had often heard those words in a critical tone. I wished I was different. And I was getting zinged around by all the information I received.
I had anxiety attacks in my 20’s. When I graduated from college, I knew it was from being in an ungrounded body during that transition. But other times, I wasn’t sure what brought them on.
I reacted to medication more easily – throwing up my daily vitamins if I took them on an empty stomach or getting dry heaves from antibiotics. I got high blood pressure readings at the doctor’s office. I often didn’t sleep well at night - noise really bothered me, yet I’d have amazing intuitive dreams that I knew contained spot on information. I got overstimulated easily not only from sugar and caffeine, but also other people. I could get so wired at a party, even when I was having a fabulous time, it could take me hours to calm down, or I’d spend the next day in bed wrestling with a strong headache and tons of anxiety adrenaline.
I’m talking in the past tense here, but I now deal with these sensitivities in a positive and proactive way. I've learned how to ground my body through my daily routines so that I can stay centered.
For example, I still don’t take vitamins on an empty stomach because that would be just plain stupid. Owning and supporting my sensitivity means I don’t do that – I’ve accepted that I’m sensitive in that way, and now that is okay with me.
I still get high BP readings at the doctor, especially with a new doctor, but not at my biofeedback nurse’s office where I am truly relaxed and centered. I rely more on the information from my biofeedback nurse because it’s a more accurate read of a resting blood pressure. I’ve learned to set up my health care in ways that work better for me.
I’ve made a commitment to nutrition and nourishment that strongly supports my body and mind. This is my superstructure on top of my intuitive foundation.
As empaths and sensitive people, we need to set a routine and structure in place that supports us and our bodies – this is what I mean by a superstructure. It’s that part of us – our day-to-day structure – that is built on top of our intuition and sensitivity.
Our superstructure acknowledges our core, our deepest part of ourselves, and rests on it. This structure supports and protects us in our day-to-day lives and enables us to truly thrive as an empath. We are no longer zinged around by others’ emotions, energy, or the moon and the stars. We are solid in ourselves, embracing our Empathic nature, and reaping the rewards of all it has to offer.
Those pesky panic attacks.
It's that sudden intense fear where your heart is pounding out of your chest, your stomach is in knots, you're breathing rapidly yet feeling like you can't get any air, you're shaking uncontrollably, and you don't want anyone to know!
Check out my video blog to find out what you can do about it!
If there is one thing that I would say to sensitive people like me, it is to MOVE REGULARLY throughout each day.
We highly sensitive empaths are amazing beings at noticing more details and information around us than about 80% of the population.
Information is power. So we are very powerful human beings because we get more information WITHOUT EVEN TRYING! Even if we consciously try to pretend that we don't get this input, our bodies unconsciously KNOW that we do.
We are masters at sensing information. We are wired this way - from birth. This information comes to us through energy in the room, dreams, hunches and intuitive hits. And then, not only do we receive more information, we also FEEL this information on a deeper level. Our brains are more stimulated, according to Dr. Elaine Aron's research, and light up more as we receive the information. That means, we not only absorb information without knowing it (unless we work on being more aware), we often can get over-stimulated, resulting in feeling anxious, depressed, overwhelmed, and fatigued more easily. Before we know it, our heart is racing like we drank 5 cups of coffee, and we are in overload.
One of the best activities I have found to decompress and process this potential overload is regular exercise.
Now I used to think I needed to do a 100-mile bike ride to really be in good shape. Well, if you can train for and successfully do a 100-mile bike ride, you MAY BE in good shape. But you may be over-stressing your physical body, especially your cardiovascular system, and again, that can lead to overload.
I often recommend to clients to be in touch with their bodies and go by how they feel. Well, we are in such a fast-paced, get-er-done world, that the hints from our bodies can go unnoticed and are not heard. And we like science too. So - thanks to the availability of genetic testing (like from companies such as 23andMe), we can now see how we as individuals can benefit the most from exercise based on our genes.
My genetic results say that I am an elite power athlete, meaning that I am suited for sprinting, throwing, and jumping due to my muscles which have fast-twitch fibers.
Someone who can do that 100-mile bike ride successfully would be a person who has slow-twitch muscle fibers. Which is obviously not me.
So it makes sense that I would be so very exhausted and physically depleted at the end of these long rides, no matter how much I trained. It also makes sense that I can do an intense sprinting or power lifting session, and my eyes are sparkling like I just fell in love!
So back to being an empath.
Exercise should make your body feel good and relaxed. It should be aligned with you and your needs. It clears your mind, works the stress out of your muscles and organs, and can give you a feeling of "Ahhhh."
Now I'm not saying that an occasional amount of soreness and fatigue doesn't happen, particularly when you start a new exercise. I am saying that exercise can feel like a release and not a painful duty you have to do. It can feel fun, energizing and bring you peace of mind. It can help to balance your body to a more restful state by the end of the day. It can be incorporated into each day so that it becomes a way of life.
Some things I do:
What are some ways you move throughout your day?
At age 16, I planned out my suicide. What kept me from slitting my wrists in the tub in my foster home was the promise to my therapist that I’d be there the next week. Every session, she asked me to promise - one week at a time. She believed in me at a time when I absolutely hated myself. And for the first time in my life, I had accountability to someone else on the planet. She was the helping hand I needed in my most desperate hours.
Over the years, I kept working with others -- therapists, doctors, and coaches -- to get different viewpoints. I totally love my healthcare team. I worked through my darkest secrets with therapists to heal my emotional wounds. I worked with a health coach to use nutrition and exercise to heal my body and brain. I worked with doctors, asking them to validate my physical sensations. I tried pharmaceutical drugs for anxiety, and eventually moved away from them towards nutritional supplements. I attended different churches and 12-step groups. I have learned energy work and clearing. So I have always been a lifetime learner, open and receptive to new ways of doing things.
Yet for many years, I seemed to be looking outside for others to tell me that I was normal, I was okay. And they did. For that I am grateful.
What it boils down to, though, is that I have tried many systems to accept myself. But something always told me that I was different. I always felt that something was wrong with me. That I was weird.
At the same time, since I was a child, I believed - and I’m not sure why - that there had to be a better way in life. One that didn’t feel so odd, and hard. That belief of a better way, always my drive and passion, led me to begin an inward journey for answers.
Then one day, I picked up a blue book that said, “If you change your thoughts, you can change your life.” That’s when I began applying the work of Louise Hay to change my mindset. As I changed my mindset, I transformed my life in ways that I didn’t believe possible.
And eventually I realized I was an empath. Of course, I had known all along that I was sensitive. As a young child, I had heard that phrase - “too sensitive” - in a critical tone.
And I FELT sensitive. I could feel a shudder through my whole body when I saw a sibling cut a finger. I got easily overwhelmed and anxious, especially at the mall. There was even a time when I felt afraid to leave the house without my xanax. I would violently shake when a major event happened. I felt tummy aches to many foods I ate, even though I was trying to eat healthy. OF COURSE there was something wrong with me. These things were not normal.
And then I found out about Empaths, and I knew I was one. And I started to embrace my sensitive side. These things are normal if you’re an empath.
You see, I’ve been an empath - and intuitive - since I came onto the planet. My mom used to call my right eye my “lazy eye,” as my left eye is wider. According to Chinese medicine, when the left eye is held wider than the right, it reveals that someone is noticing more than others may realize. And I have noticed things more deeply and way ahead of time than others for my whole life. On some level I knew this. But several years ago, I walked out of the fog. I realized that I was given this awareness and sensitivity for a reason. It’s in my face. So, I adopted my intuition. It’s been there all along, I just didn’t know what to do with it. It’s been a process of acceptance, learning how to support myself, and now, there is no going back.
So now I think my intuition is awesome. It’s amazing. It’s powerful. And I have learned how to support it energetically and through my nutrition. I have a lifestyle that keeps me feeling grounded and the energies around me affected me less. Of course I still sense and feel them, but I know what to do so they don’t cause me problems. The anxiety I had struggled with for so many years has become a memory instead of a way of life.
I couldn’t have discovered my path and my empathy without the help of my tribe. The process has been painful at times, yet very rewarding. To my coaches and therapists, 12-step groups and certifications, I am grateful, for they have helped me make the changes I needed to make to find my joy.
Now, I am passionate about helping you. I want to empower you to get you off your butt and make the changes that you need to be a GROUNDED AND JOYFUL YOU. I want to give you ideas that you may not have thought of before to get you to where you want to go. I am passionate about walking with you to develop a personalized system so that you are not battered around by your sensitivities. They are on your side. So am I. So let's get started.
I often get asked (well, not really, but it sounded like a good opening line!), “Why Should I Hire a Coach?”
I’m not talking about hiring a coach for an athletic endeavor or to pass a class.
I’m talking about hiring a lifestyle coach.
Have you ever felt like your lifestyle isn’t working for you?
Take the Lifestyle Adjustment quiz below – answer YES or NO to each one:
If you answered NO to many of these questions, you probably need a lifestyle adjustment.
But Why Hire a Coach?
Let’s ask this question - how long have you been saying to yourself that you need to make some changes? What is getting in your way? Do you know?
This is why I think coaching makes a huge difference.
I have worked with a health coach for the last few years. This relationship helps me more than I could have imagined.
She has listened to my saga, frustrations, and challenges with kindness and enthusiasm. And she has introduced me to ideas, strategies, and habits that I would not have known about otherwise. She has gotten me in touch with parts of myself that are a vital part of me, that I wasn’t acknowledging. With her help, I have made huge progress towards more joy and productivity in my life. Coaching has been well worth the commitment and expense.
So, I invite you to consider hiring a coach (me, that is!)
As your coach, I will listen to you. I will help you discover what isn’t working for you. I will empower you by figuring out all the little nuances that you can’t see on your own that are blocking you from your happiest, most energetic and joyful you. Together we will walk down that path, learning how to make your lifestyle the best it can be, so that you really enjoy your time on this planet.
I am ready for you! Are you ready for me? I have some openings in January and February.
Please message me if you would like to find out more.
Do you think you're an Empath or Highly Sensitive? Or Both?
If you are a Highly Sensitive Empath, perhaps you:
It's exciting to see so many people becoming more aware of their sensitivities and beginning to love and embrace these qualities. In a world that is heavy in logic and brainy people, we have discounted our intuitive sides for way too long.
Back in the hunter-gatherer days, there is no way that our ancestors would've wanted to wander into a field to come upon a saber toothed tiger. That would have been a life-ending event. They used intuition and sensing to keep themselves safe and out of harms way. It wasn't judged as weird when they could sense something unseen; why is it weird now?
Yet with the event of industrialization, we have put our intuition and sensing on the back burner. Many of us have disowned it.
Until now. Now that we are enjoying the modern conveniences of electricity, machinery and equipment, medicine and surgeries, and more, and don't have to spend much of our day looking for and harvesting food, or building shelter, perhaps it's time we bring this important skill back into the forefront of our lives. And we will no longer be burned at the stake or stoned to death.
I am concerned about how most Highly Sensitive Empaths judge themselves, and how physically unwell they feel on a daily basis. As they come across the energy of others and daily life, it feels too overwhelming and uncomfortable. It's led to isolation and poor health.
I realize that we Highly Sensitive Empaths need time to recharge ourselves by being by ourselves. I think this is a healthy way to revitalize.
I'm talking about how many of us will feel like we can't go to a party or to a shopping mall without feeling drained and overwhelmed, exhausted from the experience. So we stop going because we don't know what else to do, and our self-esteem may begin to plummet. Or we struggle with intimate relationships, and come to the conclusion that we are too sensitive to live with anyone else. We choose isolation and loneliness instead of finding other strategies.
We are meant to be part of a tribe. To belong. To feel loved and nurtured and supported. To be comfortable and safe with who we are and what we have to offer the world, and our tribe.
So I'm inviting all of you to find your Warrior Empath. This is the Highly Sensitive Empath in you that knows how to stay strong physically, energetically, and emotionally as we venture out into the world, are with our tribes, and with our loved ones.
I can list many strategies that can help with this. After all, I coach Highly Sensitive Empaths in developing a superstructure for themselves so that they are strong and successful Warriors in their worlds.
But for this blog, I invite you to affirm that you CAN be a Warrior Empath. That you CHOOSE to be a Warrior Empath. That IT IS POSSIBLE and you will find out the path for yourself. The change starts within your mind.
I know it's possible to be a Warrior Empath, for I am doing it. I am a Highly Sensitive Physical and Emotional Empath, and I have figured out a superstructure for myself that keeps me grounded, healthy, and out in the world when I want to be. I am in a marriage with someone who has super strong energy, and I am able to live and love that person in my home. We have found strategies to make it work for both of us. I also stay physically strong and well nourished so that I feel good.
It all begins with the thought that it is possible. So the thought I'd like to leave you with today - step into your power and become that Warrior Empath you are meant to be. Start to change your thinking. Here are some affirmations for you to begin that process.
I love myself as a Highly Sensitive Empath.
I understand my special skills, and I love all of them.
I am willing to create new thoughts about myself and
about my life as a Highly Sensitive Empath.
I live in harmony and balance with everyone I know, especially myself.
I create a superstructure for myself and I recognize my body as a good friend.
I listen to what it needs, and I joyfully feed it nourishing foods and beverages.
I exercise it in ways that are fun. I get plenty of sleep.
I recognize my body as a wondrous and magnificent machine, and
I feel privileged to live in it.
I create new and wonderful relationships.
Instead of isolating myself, I choose to open up and let the love in.
I know how to handle any energy that I experience.
I am worthy of a healthy, intimate relationship with a like-minded person.
Other people respect me because I respect myself.
I am proud to be a Warrior Empath.
Developed using the Affirmations of Louise Hay
According to the Free Dictionary by Farlex, energy work means "techniques originating from ancient traditions and recent discoveries that are used to manipulate the bioenergy of the patient with the goal of restoring harmony or removing blockages from within the body. See also qi gong, reiki, qi, and prana." [Jonas: Mosby's Dictionary of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (c) 2005, Elsevier.]
Why is energy work so important for people with the sensitivity trait? Because whether we realize it yet or not, most of us are very sensitive to energy. We sense it easily, feel it more deeply, and often hold onto it longer than others around us.
For example, we may walk into a room of someone's home, and it feels strangely dark, cold, and out of sorts to us, even though that may not match the situation. Perhaps it is noon on a hot day, and we walk in sensing this uneasiness. We may not pay attention to it, or think that we may be crazy or interpreting things wrong. But most likely we are not.
We are sensing residues of energy that have been deposited in the room by previous occupants. Perhaps there were some occupants that were feeling stressed about their relationship and arguing over some chronic issues. Or someone studied in the room as they worried about passing graduate school classes need to secure a doctorate. Whatever the stress, this energy can build up like invisible house dust, accumulating over time and causing a space to feel stagnant, dark, cold and unwelcoming.
Then we walk in the room and we are smack, dab in the middle of the stressful soup without our left brain even knowing it. Ahhh, but our right brain does. Much like our ancestors needed to know that a saber tooth tiger, a predator, hid in the tree near the adjoining field, we sense the disturbance. Imagine if our ancestors didn't know until they happened on the tiger that it was even there; what would be the chance of our survival as a species? It's much better to sense the energy intuitively from far away, than to have to be right under the saber tooth tiger before we know it's there.
So yes, our right brains, our intuitive side, KNOWS. Yet we have lost touch with this sensitivity as we have developed the conveniences of our industrialized world. We have discounted them, rushed past them, failed to trust them, and downright ignored them.
Yet we are still picking up on this energy every day. So it's important to tune in and let go of the stresses.
Thankfully we are in a time on the planet where there are many forms of energy work that may help sensitive people to rebalance. Reiki, kinesiology, chiropractic, craniosacral therapy work, tapping, EFT, massage, Qi Gong, yoga, meditation (active and passive), and the list goes on; just Google energy work and you'll come up with all kinds of opportunities to try.
I have been learning a technique that works quite well in our modern day world to clear stressful energy. It's Energy Clearing for People & Places taught by Jean Haner. It allows me to use tools to tune into my intuition - a pendulum and a dowsing rod - so that I can more clearly find the stressed energy affecting a space, or myself, and allow it lovingly to dissipate.
It's important to find ways to identify the invisible stresses around us, and to help them dissipate. We came to the planet with our sensitivity; part of self-care is learning to embrace it, support it, and keep balanced. How are you doing with this?
Sensitive people are, well, sensitive. Duh! That seems so completely obvious, yet I find many of us, including myself, don't always honor that sensitivity in our daily choices. Or we regret being sensitive because it's oh so inconvenient.
Yet, it is what it is, so we might as well embrace it so that we can live our best, healthiest life.
I am sensitive to caffeine, as many sensitive people are, yet I LOVE coffee. Decaf just isn't the same. So, I've wrestled with this for many years, sometimes drinking only decaf, sometimes drinking too much caffeine and regretting it, sometimes going off coffee all together.
I'll never forget the awareness I gained about my sensitivity during one of my breaks from caffeine and coffee. As a New Year's resolution, I gave up coffee and did a cleanse, drinking Essiac tea to clean out my liver, eating vegetables, fruits, meat, fish and nuts, and eliminating grains, coffee, dairy, etc. from my foods. After an initial rough week with headaches, fatigue, and the general blahs, I started feeling much better. Then I was out shopping and decided to take a sampling off coffee. I could not believe how quickly I felt the caffeine, or that I even felt it at all. Oh, my gosh, only 2 ounces, I thought to myself. I wasn't feeling that good about that side of my sensitivity. Lesson learned.
And then there was the time when I was in my 20's and living in an apartment with a couple of roommates. I came down with something that the doctor felt that antibiotics would handle. And did I get handled. I went on a standard dose of tetracycline, and after a couple of doses, I ended up with dry heaves. Or the time I had period cramps so severe, the doctor recommended a prescription dose of ibuprofen. Walking along Dewey Beach with my friends, I felt so high - from ibuprofen! - that I didn't think my feet were touching the sand. This was clearly another sign of my sensitivity. Lessons learned.
So here we sensitives are, walking the earth, and feeling completely overstimulated in many ways. We can respond so strongly to ANY stimuli that it makes it a challenge to approach new experiences with open arms. And I think that is okay. It's important to be purposeful and cautious.
One way of self-care is to acknowledge our sensitivity and what that means to each of us.
For me, I must watch anything that has caffeine or a stimulant in it (and that includes chocolate and sugar), or I can get heart palpitations, lay awake all night, or be on edge for hours. I need to watch any medications; I start out slowly with them and build - if necessary, to make sure I'm not having a reaction. I will also explain my sensitivity to doctors, and let them know that I want the lowest effective dose - like something they would give to children. I need to watch supplements too, that they don't give me adverse effects as I adjust to them. I am careful with my foods, for if I eat something that my body doesn't agree with, I can be affected for a couple of days.
I believe it's so important for sensitive people to choose anything we put into our bodies wisely; that means from the water we drink, to the prescriptions and supplements we take, to the food and snacks we indulge in, and to the thoughts we think. We need to do this because we are affected by them more than most.
What is the upside of being so sensitive?
It's so important to keep these positives in mind.
For me, whatever I take in, I experience deeply. I am keenly aware of events around me; I can pick up on nuances. My feedback to others hits "the nail on the head" because I am so sensitive. In fact, I "see" things that many of my colleagues don't, and I can get a gut feel of the impacts these things can have in the future. I don't have to work at this; I allow my sensitivity to guide me. This skill helps me on business teams to hone in on what the team is doing that is and isn't working for them; I can then give feedback that is "right on" for how they can move forward to accomplish their goals. Teams have told me that I have valuable ideas. I have also won corporate awards for my ideas and my insights.
When I eat, drink, or ingest anything, my body gives me immediate feedback through symptoms. I may have been like the ancestors that foraged for berries and vegetables for the tribe because I could tell what would make the tribe sick, and what would be okay to eat. Today, this sensitivity helps me to choose wisely. It's not that I need to eat healthier than my spouse or my neighbor (although it can feel like that!) We all need to be eating healthy. I CHOOSE to eat wisely because I have the feedback, through my sensitivity, to make these choices. Less sensitive people may not know that certain foods or medications are bothering them because their feedback system isn't as fine-tuned as mine.
As a coach, I can tap into the other person naturally. I find that I can ask meaningful questions that help my client think about what's going on and come up with solutions. This connection with my client usually feels supportive to him; the increased awareness can help her move towards her goals and dreams.
Take a moment to think of the ways you are sensitive. Are you supporting yourself in the best ways possible? And how does this sensitivity benefit you?
Sensitive people have many amazing skills which can translate to tremendous success in the workplace.
They often have an intuitive sense that can easily become an asset. They also "see" or sense information that their colleagues don't notice, which makes them good at picking up trends and following hunches that can lead to incredible breakthroughs or strategies. They may have hunches about future events, and if they use that information, it can give them a competitive edge.
STRESSFUL DAYS. With these amazing assets, which can clearly give any business an advantage, why does the workplace often feel like a stressful place for sensitive people?
There are several reasons.
STRATEGIES. As sensitive people, we must take charge of our health, and that includes creating workplaces where we can thrive.
Here are some ideas that can get you started:
And if you've tried all of these ideas, and find that your workplace continues to be too stressful, you may need to create a better job!
As a teenager growing up in an alcoholic home, I never learned to relax. With seven (7) brothers and sisters running around the house on a Saturday morning, I used to think "Ugh, can't it just be quiet!" By the time I graduated college, I began to experience anxiety attacks. The normal stress of being a teenager, going to college, and approaching graduating had taken a toll on my physical body.
However, I thought it was emotional, you know, the stress of graduating and going out on my own to find a job. So I did therapy and saw a doctor, leaving with a prescription of muscle relaxers to keep from hyperventilating, and prescription antacids to calm my stomach. After several years of therapy, changing my thinking, taking these prescriptions, and gaining confidence in my new life, I stopped the xanax (with many unpleasant and weird withdrawal symptoms.)
Yet, I have struggled with anxiety my entire life. I did biofeedback (highly recommend) to help me learn how to relax. Yet there were times when the anxiety seemed to just take over. I wasn't aware of having a thought or worry that caused it, but I felt like my body pumped up my heart rate and adrenaline for no reason.
Five (5) years ago, I joined Food Addictions Anonymous (FA) for two (2) years to eliminate flour, sugar, and alcohol. I felt so much better and lost my excess weight. Yet I still felt craving on a physical level. I wasn't sure why. The rigidity of the FA program, which called for you to follow someone else's guidelines instead of your body's needs, also left me feeling like there had to be a better way. So my search led me to work with a spiritual health coach.
This decision began my journey into the mineral world. At first, I didn't want to do anything that had to do with taking vitamins or supplements. I had tried them many times based on recommendations from professionals, and it didn't feel helpful. So it took me several months of coaching to be open to getting a mineral test.
Once I did, I really started to get heal.
Minerals ground our bodies. When important minerals are too low or too high - out of balance - our bodies experience physical highs and lows. Since each person is an experiment of one (we all eat, think, move, drink, medicate, and rest differently), it's important to listen closely to our bodies for guidance in finding our optimal health.
So my journey began.
As part of my work, I did a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA), a screening test that measures the levels of 21+ minerals in hair tissue. I found out that my minerals were out of balance. And, not surprising, magnesium, which is like an ambassador in our cells, was very low for me.
Low magnesium is the source of many of today's health issues. You can look at the stages of low magnesium and the typical symptoms associated with it on Morley Robbins' website. It is full of research about and resources for magnesium and how it works with other minerals (cofactors) to keep our bodies running (or not) like a healthy (or not) machine. You can even find out About Morley, and his partner, Dr. Liz, and how they got involved in helping others discover their mineral imbalances and how to correct them.
What I discovered: Even though I eat organic, whole foods, they aren't full of minerals like those of our ancestors. It's almost impossible to get the required minerals from our industrialized farmlands. And with our fast-paced lifestyles filled with processed foods, prescriptions drugs, sugar/flour/alcohol, electronics and magnetic fields, plane travel, and more, our minerals get depleted faster than we can ingest them.
As I corrected my magnesium and other base minerals over several months, my anxiety attacks WENT AWAY - totally. My heart palpitations resolved. My mind calmed and I worried less. I became less susceptible to energy disturbances. At almost 60 years of age, I have a secure, solid feeling inside of me because I now know how to physically ground my body. I no longer fear panick attacks because I don't get them anymore. If only I'd known that I could feel this physically grounded when I was 20!
As a sensitive person, this physical grounding is very important because we feel things more deeply than others. We feel them more deeply emotionally, and physically. This level of response can zing our system around, leaving us feeling frazzled and overwhelmed. But with the minerals, the information can come by us and keep on moving because our bodies are grounded and don't overreact to something that is not ours.
So when I seem nuts about magnesium and its supporting minerals, well, you can see why! And I would love to help you find out how to ground yourself too. It's amazing!
Until next time, Be Kind to Yourself.
I'm not one to put out there much what I believe and how I feel. I thought I'd change that today as I feel called to address the wave of uncertainty in the United States of America today.
I can totally understand people's feelings of dismay and concern today about politics as usual. I share many of your concerns. Even if some of the events that are happening could be good for our country, the administration is moving way too quickly, and not listening to the diversity of ideas outside of their closed circles. They are shutting out a lot of good people who can help them move forward in amazing ways. They even want to silence the media!
It seems like the legislature has their own agenda and they don't want to entertain any diversity of opinions. They aren't open to listening. They think they are right. They are a cabinet of white, rich people that are taking too much power into their hands, and not representing who hired/elected them. I don't feel they have the average American's perspectives at heart because they haven't walked in our shoes.
CHANGE IS GOOD. I'm all for progressive change. I've been changing myself since I landed on the planet. And I am a life-long learner. But I don't have confidence that the current administration cares about We The People.
They haven't attended public schools, or struggled to get their children through college. They haven't had to face the disappointment of not being able to send a child to college because they didn't have the money. They don't have to worry about finding health insurance, making co-pays, or not having insurance. They have beefed up benefits plans for vacations, holidays, sick leave, retirement, and more. How could they possibly know what it's like to be an American?
Cutting government programs and getting our spending balanced is very important. Certainly, finding this economic balance has been an issue as long as I remember. Yet, pulling the rug out from under those systems of support is not the answer. Having a systematic approach to change, where it's communicated clearly, everyone understands it, and it happens over time - that's the best approach to keep most of us on board.
For example, what is the alternative to the EPA? Perhaps many people don't believe in the environmental stress that is happening, but most Americans do. So why should the minority be setting the plans? If the EPA isn't the most efficient system, what will take its place?
What is the alternative to Planned Parenthood? It's has supported many women with planning families and maintaining health care that they couldn't afford, regardless of the abortion clientele its served. Abortion is such a personal event, and not an easy one for any woman that I have known that has had to make that decision. Let's leave that discussion out of this topic, since way more babies have been prevented than aborted through Planned Parenthood services.
To support women's health care, perhaps we move systematically to give Planned Parenthood time to integrate into the Affordable Care Act? Or to find funding in other ways. But if we quickly get rid of both programs, what choices does that leave the millions of women, and Americans, for their healthcare?
THE POSITIVE APPROACH. Somehow we must take a positive approach. What is happening now will fuel the greatest grassroots movements in history. What is happening feels awful to most of the people that I know; and many people are getting involved. Let's keep our involvement peaceful, as that is the most powerful. And let's take the high road always, no matter how mean others may seem.
I'm involved in what I care about in ways that I have never been. Donations. Marches. Contacting legislature by phone and email. Using my power and my voice.
OUR POWER. We are all connected; every person in power in DC is a friend, a family member, a parent, a neighbor, or a co-worker to someone else that is not in power. And our thoughts create our world. So, let's consider - how did we create this mess?
The tough questions:
- How do we avoid listening to others with differing opinions?
- Are there ways we are following our own agendas and don't want to hear what someone else believes or thinks?
- Are we name calling and being hurtful when someone doesn't agree with us?
- Do we deny there is a difference and just go about our agenda?
- How are we limited in our thinking?
- Are we owning our power in healthy ways, or giving it away to others?
What questions did I miss?
We have elected and created this body of people that are running this country. We are amid a big wake up call. We are being watched world-wide.
We need to stop depending on our government to take care of us. We need to take care of ourselves. Take our power back. I believe that, once these huge issues are resolved, things will move ahead in beautiful and powerful ways, better than we ever could have imagined. Yet I see many dark days ahead to get to that place.
I believe, out of this tragedy, great good will come. It will be a while, but I already see it. I see a power in our people, peacefully, that I didn't know was there. People are over the country are joining together to have a voice in what matters to them.
THE SENSITIVE TRAIT. This is a particularly difficult time for highly sensitive people, who feel and experiences life so deeply.
Here are some strategies to help you navigate these unprecedented times:
Until next time, Be Kind to Yourself. [It starts with you, inside of you!]
As sensitive people, we support ourselves the best when we eat wholesome, whole foods that are meant for our bodies. To do this well, we need to take the time to know where they are farmed (source them), and what is in them (all ingredients.)
Sensitive people are antennas for information. With the nervous system picking up on everything going on around them, we can become tired and frazzled. It's like there is radio static constantly playing, and it wears on us.
Supporting the physical body is oh so very important. If we are not feeling well and grounded by our foods, it is so much harder to have a positive day and a positive approach. When we have anxiety, a perfectly normal emotion, and we aren't physically grounded, it can be hard to manage the body's response. Our hearts can be pounding so hard that we can't think.
When the body is getting processed foods, or foods that it finds hard to process (because of allergens, sulfates, histamines, etc.) it knows that it needs more or different nutrition and will either create extra hunger, or present anxiety. It can leave sensitives feeling ungrounded and out of sorts. So that anxiety that we're feeling may not be all in our heads after all. It may be originating in our guts.
I have experienced digestive issues my entire life. Thankfully I have been fairly good with my eating habits, preferring to get organic and clean foods as often as I can.
A few years ago, I decided to join Food Addicts Anonymous to support me in cutting out refined sugar (yes, even the organic kind!l) As part of that 12-step program, a sponsor (coach) empowered me to eat whole foods by portion-size at certain times throughout the day. As I eliminiated flour, sugar, and yes, alcohol, I dropped the pounds and the problems of achiness, back pain, and moodiness. I felt fabulous, and I looked great.
Except for one thing. I continued to crave. I felt like I was missing something. Not on a spiritual level, as is often the thinking in a 12-step group, but on a physiological one. So I continued to explore solutons.
Tool 1 - Coaching. I had the opportunity to go to an I Can Do It weekend with Hay House. I met Heather Dane, the 21st Century Medicine Woman, and began coaching with her. Through this experience, I have learned so much more about my physical body and what it needs. Although the bottom line message is that we need to pay attention to our intuition and listen to our bodies, we now have fabulous tools today that can help us along our journeys. I'd like to share them with you.
Tool 2 - Genetic testing. I first got my genetic profile done from 23andme. This has been a great tool to see what my genetic make-up is. I don't use it to scare myself; we now know through epigenetics that the lifestyles we choose have a 95% impact on whether we come down with a genetic related illness. So I use the information to keep my symptoms in check.
Tool 3 - HTMA. Soon thereafter, I arranged to do a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) to find out how my minerals were doing. This tests minerals like magnesium, zinc, copper, lead, etc. to see if they are in balance. Experts now think that at least 80% of Americans do not have the magnesium in their bodies. Magnesium is the ambassador of our cells, so if it is not there to regulate our systems, we start to come down with all kinds of symptoms. No matter how positive we are and how many affirmations we say, our bodies are not feeling affirmed and supported. I found out that I did not have a healthy balance, so I have been using single ingredient, whole food supplements that are supporting my body. This program is uniquely tailored to me.
Tool 4 - Native Diets. I have also been learning that we do best on the diets of our ancestors. Since my ancestors evolved in the Eastern European region, I do best with cooked vegetables instead of the raw salads I had with Food Addicts Anonymous. I have also started using bone broth for cooking and drinking. This "Elixir of the Elders" support my bones and joints, and has the added bonus of reducing food waste in our home.
So, today, I'm not the weight I was during my Food Addicts time. Yet, my gut and body feels more grounded and satisfied than it has in years. I know when I do heal myself to my natural weight again, I won't experience the cravings that I had before. My food is grounding me, and helping me to stay centered as I gather the enormous amount of intuition around me.
Summary. It's important to educate yourself using today's wonderful tools to help you on your health journey, so you can be a sensitive person who feels good and well-grounded throughout the day. The resources explained above to get you started:
Until next time, Be Kind to Yourself.
The most important skill we can develop, as sensitives, is to listen to our bodies and support what they are telling us.
As a sensitive, we receive information from everywhere we go. As we walk down a neighborhood street, we may sense the temperature on our skin, feel wobbly on our feet as we walk over the stream of stressed underground water running under the sidewalk, experience the wave of and electromagnetic field emanating from a nearby WIFI, and even feel the deep sadness of the neighbor who just buried his cat of 14 years.
“Make it stop!” I silently screamed as my heart pounded erratically against my 7-year-old chest. “Make it stop!” I yelled silently to my heart, and my fear.
I had jolted awake full of anxiety and all I was aware of was the darkness and my pounding heart; my two younger sisters were still sleeping soundly in our bedroom. Then I heard it – slam, slam, slam! went the kitchen cabinets downstairs. I knew it was my Dad, and I knew something was wrong. I could feel his anger, irritation, and frustration. None of the other 7 children in the household seemed to be hearing it. That scared me more!
I pulled the covers tightly up to my shoulders, even though I felt hot and sweaty. I wanted to hear him because I somehow felt responsible for whatever he was going through in that moment, and if I stopped listening, he wouldn’t be okay.
The funny thing is, our kitchen occupied the back side of our 4-bedroom, 2-bath home. My bedroom, in the front of the two-story house, sat at the top of the stairs. I heard my Dad so clearly, as if he rummaged in the hallway right outside our bedroom. So how could a slam of a wooden kitchen cabinet travel so loudly through a formal dining room, up the stairs and through our closed bedroom door?
Kaboom. Thud! In that moment, the house went eerily quiet. It was the kind of quiet that sent terror up my spine. I hadn’t yet heard him climb the stairs to bed as I had so many nights before. I had listened for that often. I knew without a doubt that something horrible had happened. Perhaps my dad died? Why else would the slamming stop?
I gingerly tiptoed to my parent’s room. I knew that I would get in trouble for being awake, and for waking my mom. But I didn’t know what else to do. I knew I had to tell someone. My dad needed help. Arousing from her sleep-deprived slumber, my mom told me to go back to bed, as she pulled on her bathrobe and trudged downstairs. I listened with hyper vigilant ears for a long time and didn’t hear anything. Somehow, with her in charge, I fell back asleep.
The next morning, life seemed to go on as normal that Saturday. Then I saw it – a large black and blue mark right on top of my dad’s bare head. I wanted to ask him about it. I wanted to know desperately what had happened. Yet, somehow I knew that I couldn’t talk about it –– with anyone. I couldn’t tell a soul. It had rocked my little world, leaving me feeling drained and alone. And, in spite of everything, my dad was alive!
I didn’t know what happened that night or any of the other dozens of nights through my childhood and teenage years when I intuitively felt distress emanating from my dad or mom. As far back as I could remember, I had radar-ears for them. I’d awaken from a deep sleep – terrified. As the fog of sleep cleared, I knew, somehow, that something was terribly wrong in their world. I experienced it deeply in my body, so it also became wrong in my world too. I felt responsible, horribly responsible.
Sensitivity - the Antenna. The more sensitive we are, the deeper we tune in, and the more we pick up. We can have bodiily symptoms to worldly events, feeling the shock and horror of the masses as we lay in bed at night. We can tune into our mom in another state (like the sabertooth tiger around the corner) who is experiencing health challenges. We can even feel the movement of the planet and star systems around us.
Language. Our body can only communicate with us through symptoms. If we eat foods that doesn't agree with us, we perhaps get a tummy ache. Or we develop an achiness over time. Or we develop allergies or skin conditions. So how the heck to we know, when we experience something, what the message is? How do we, in fact, really lislten to, and respond to, our symptoms and bodies.
Quiet Time. The first step is to have regular quiet time with ourselves everyday. This time is meant to more deeply connect you with your physical body, focusing on the quiet and the breath, listening for and honoring your body's messages and releasing the messages that are not meant for you to carry. Whether this is 10 minutes upon waking in the morning to sit in quiet reflection, 10 minutes while you're waiting in the school carpool line, or a 45-minute planned meditation in a sacred spot, it really doesn't matter. Whatever works for you.
Checking In. Next, when we have a symptom, we should always ask ourselves "Is this my symptom?" The answer may not yes, or no; it may come immediately, or it may take a while. But asking to identify if it belongs to you or not is key to a sensitive person.
Many sensitive people will describe events that happen - crying unexplanably, not being able to fall asleep, having a stomach ache, feeling extreme anxiety - and not knowing why. They can't seem to identify what is causing the symptom or feeling. I used to think that something was "wrong with me." In fact, that was my go to affirmation everytime I started to feel very anxious or out of sorts. As I have learned to listen to my body carefully, I can now identify most times if I am experiencing a symptom about an experience of mine, or someone elses. If it belongs to me, then I ask "What would help me feel better?" If it is related to someone else, I acknowledge it. And work on letting it go.
I wish that I could tell you that it is a fast easy process for me, but it has not been. It takes me a while to get out of the "something is wrong with me" thinking (although not half as long as it used to), then I have to spend time wondering if it's my symptom or someone elses. Finally, I can get clear on what's happening for me, and use some of my tools and behaviors to bring about calmness and centeredness.
The most important thing, is that I'm listening. Are you?
Until next time, Be Kind to Yourself.
People with the sensitive trait can tend to be more physically sensitive than others.
For example, if they eat food that isn’t wholesome or prepared with clean ingredients, then they can get a stomach ache; someone eating the exact same food out of the same serving bowl won’t notice a physical symptom at all.
One of my experiences: if I indulge in a small popcorn without butter at the movie theatre, something in the popcorn will elevate my heart rate shortly after I eat. And of course, I can feel it without trying because I’m sensitive. My husband can eat from the same container, and does not have that symptom. At that moment, I used to think “Why Me?” or “This Sucks” or “This isn’t Fair!” or “Can’t I just enjoy a little popcorn for once!” These statements criticize my sensitivity and don’t support it. See my most recent blog on this topic for ideas on how to handle it if you find yourself doing the same thing.
How have I changed? Now I say, “Hmmm. Here is a new symptom. Some information. What is happening and why?” So I will note it, then head home after the movie to look up the typical ingredients in popcorn. And I see monosodium glutamate (MSG) listed among the ingredients.
When I research the symptoms that MSG may cause, I see elevated heartrate about 20 minutes after.
Now I am grateful. Why? I’m grateful that Google exists and I can easily research information, which is power. I now know that the elevated heartrate is providing me information about what I ate. And that is power. I see that the MSG puts a stress on my body that I am not so sure I want to have. Now I have a choice. I can continue to get that popcorn and let myself have these symptoms, which aren’t very comfortable, and I’m essentially ignoring my body. I can try having some extra minerals before I go to the movie, buy the popcorn, and see if it still affects me the same way. I can bring my own homemade popcorn loaded with natural sea salt and farm-made butter so that I am getting good minerals and fat as a snack. I can make another concession stand choice and see how that goes. I can choose to not buy anything at the theatre, which helps my wallet and my weight. I’m sure that you can also come up with some more options.
So how do we effectively deal with our increased physical sensitivity and thrive along with it? There are many habits we can incorporate into our lifestyles:
It’s time to begin carving out a lifestyle that works to put you in your happy place, everyday. My next several blogs will look one-by-one at the bulleted list above to give you general ideas and thoughts.
Until next time, Be Kind to Yourself.
Research by trained professionals is showing that 1 in 5 people process emotions and events more deeply. As they go through their day, they will notice things that others don’t notice, and their brains will light up more while processing this information. That’s the non-scientific summary of what happens on a physiological level.
Many of us have seen this in ourselves, probably throughout our lifetime. We may have been called sensitive or a cry baby. We may have been told to stop being so picky or hypervigilant. We have sensed beings or energies that other people can’t see or feel. We may have been labeled with anxiety or nervousness. We’ve often had more sensitive stomachs or bodies that can become sick more easily.
Because of all the ways that we are sensitive, judgements by well-meaning family, friends, teachers, etc., have taught us to judge ourselves in similar ways. Although they may have been well-meaning, and some not so, we have learned to questions ourselves. What is wrong with us?
Why are we this way or that way. All these other people aren’t so sensitive, nervous, exhausted, hypervigilant, etc. Why are we?
So, I have one word for you. STOP IT. Actually, that’s 2 words but the leading sentence sounded so powerful!
We must STOP thinking something is wrong with us. Would we say that to a small child we love unconditionally? To a friend? To anyone else BUT ourselves? Most likely not, and if we do this kind of judging in general, that’s material for another blog.
So, the very first thing we can do in embracing our sensitive trait is to STOP CRITICIZING ourselves. What’s the use of this criticism? Sensitivity is a trait that we were given at birth, that is somehow meant to be a gift here on earth. It’s a gift to ourselves, and a gift to others. If we continue to bash our sensitivities, how will we ever be able to affectively support and use them? So, from today on, make a commitment to yourself to take time to notice how you talk to yourself about your sensitivity. How you are critical. Then STOP IT! When you see yourself going into that place, “Something is wrong …”, stop midway through that thought. Let there be a void if you must. Say something like Louise Hay would say, “Thank you for sharing. Bye. Bye.”
Replace the thoughts with positive statements about yourself. This is so important. And oftentimes as we begin this process, all those judgements and negative thoughts come out in droves. It’s okay, thank them for sharing and tell them you are in charge now. Tell them you are not going to criticize or limit yourself with these thoughts. Then say some present-tense, positive statements:
Begin to be curious about your sensitivities. What is this sensitivity showing me? Am I truly listening to what it is presenting to me? How should I respond to this new information?
The Sensitive Trait is meant to work for you, and not be a daily challenge. But, for many, it has become a challenge in daily life - relationships, career, health and more. So, take a moment to start using these tools. And see how your life begins to transform.
Until next time, Be Kind to Yourself.
It seems like we live in a world of acronyms. I guess it's the fastest way to express ourselves in a fast-paced world. You can probably come up with 10 acronyms before you finish reading this first paragraph!
There is one acronym that is fascinating me, and I'd like to introduce it to you, unless you've already heard it - HSP. It stands for the term Highly Sensitive Person.
We all may know a contact crier - someone that cries along with someone else just because that someone else is crying. Or we know someone that startles easily when you walk into the room. These kinds of people may or may not be highly sensitive, although, in the moment they seem like they are.
So who fits this description?
I recently realized that I am an HSP. I first felt the power of being an HSP as a 5 or 6 year old child. I write about this experience in my chapter "Our Disowned SUPERPOWERS" published in "Whispers of the Heart" last year.
“Make it stop!” I silently screamed as my heart pounded erratically against my 7-year- old chest. “Make it stop!” I yelled silently to my heart, and my fear.
I had jolted awake full of anxiety and all I was aware of was the darkness and my pounding heart; my two younger sisters were still sleeping soundly in our bedroom. Then I heard it – slam, slam, slam! went the kitchen cabinets downstairs. I knew it was my Dad, and I knew something was wrong. I could feel his anger, irritation, and frustration. None of the other 7 children in the household seemed to be hearing it. That scared me more!"
This is an example of a very young HSP child that is getting a lot of input from around her, and responding to it the only way she knows how - with fear.
As I wrote about my 7 year old life, I realized that, for as far back as I can remember, I have been told I am too sensitive, or so sensitive, or too worried about things. People often wonder why I am thinking about something, or reminiscing about an event that happened yesterday or a while ago. Why can't I just push past it? I saw the ability for me to feel things so intensely, and I couldn't push past it. I wondered "What is wrong with me?"
Lately I have been given a gift - the gift of realizing that I am an HSP, and there is Nothing wrong with me.
What does being an HSP mean?
Through the use of Functional MRI's done by Dr. Elaine Aron's team over the last 20+ years, research shows that when an HSP is given a perceptual task, 20% of the population has an area of the brain that lights up more deeply as it processes the stimuli. That means that 1 in 5 people can:
This brain sensitivity can show up in someone's life in many ways. For example, perhaps you:
I will be identiflying how to deal with the challenges of high sensitivity. But not only that! You and I were given this inherited trait, this superpower, for a reason. It may not feel like a gift right now, because you don't know how to best manage it - yet. But the research is also showing how the intense lives we live give us benefits - like a huge imagination to create the world we want. Like information to make wonderful decisions. i'll give you ideas on how to deal with the symptoms and challenges of this superpower, so you can stay grounded and feeling good in an overstimulating world. And then I'll define the benefits.
Until next time, Be Kind to Yourself.
I used to believe that being healthy meant following these kinds of rules:
Yet, as we all know, humans are as unique as their DNA so not all of the rules I followed worked so well for me. And some days are better than others when it comes to how we feel, even if we think we're doing everything on our checklist.
So does following a few general guidelines like this really define optimum health for everyone?
I've come to believe that the kale that might be great for you and your body, is not good for me because I have such a hard time digesting it. Or the burger that you so love from that restaurant, can send me home with tummy aches for 2 days because of the way they prepared it. Or that afternoon piece of fruit that you so look forward to, will cause me to start craving sugar and give me the shakes because I had it without a healthy fat. So I've learned that listening to my particularly needs, and not just following the latest health trend, will help me feel a whole lot better each day.
Over the next few blogs, I'll share my insights, challenges and rewards that I've discovered about my health. I'm getting to know and understand my body, and in doing so, giving it what it needs when it needs it. I'm writing this blog for you in the hopes that you have an "aha" here or there that may take you one step closer to feeling healthier and stronger. After all, we are all meant to feel joyful, energetic and strong each day. And it all starts with our basic health.
What is Health?
To start this journey, I thought I'd take a peek at how the word "health" gets defined in common forums online. So I checked a few local sources for a definition:
Health is an inside-out job. It starts deep in our cells, our hearts and organs, and our thoughts and attitudes. Then it bursts out from us. So it's really, really important that we pay attention to what's bursting out from us. Does it feel good? Does it hurt? Does it feel unwell? As we listen, we can understand ourselves from that deep, quiet place inside.
So I pose a few questions for you to ponder:
What is your definition of the healthy you?
Until next time, Be Kind to Yourself.
Transform Your Wellness;
Personalized Strategies for Your Wholeness