Posts Tagged ‘highly sensitive people’

Sensitives, how do you “flip” a negative label?

January 15, 2010

“Don’t be so sensitive.”

If you are an HSP, that statement is probably one of the most self-negating things you can possibly hear.  And I bet you hear it a lot more than you’d care to.  Seeing how we live in a largely insensitive world.

That being the case, the S-word has taken on a lot of misplaced baggage.  It’s been wrongly associated with undesirable terms like “weak” and “incapable.”  So we’ve got some cleaning and clarifying to do.  Some straightening of the social records that have become quite a mess, and that keep a “virtue” mistakenly classified as a “flaw.”

Q:  What’s one way we can remove the pejorative sting from a word that describes our very core?

A:  With a full embrace and radical re-claiming of the S-word.

Things like “rights” and “recognition” rarely float into the laps of those who deserve them.  Usually they have to be insisted upon.  This is what many sensitive writers and coaches — like Elaine Aron, Jenna Avery, Douglas Eby, Thomas Eldridge, Jenna Forrest, Jim Hallowes, Cliff Harwin, Barrie Jaeger, Grace KerinaMarti Olsen Laney, Peter MesserschmidtRose Rosetree, Michael Smith, Jacquelyn Strickland, Tribe, Ane Weed, and Ted Zeff — have been working toward.

I’ve joined them, and have spent the past year working to leverage the neurological trait of high sensitivity.  For the 20% of the world’s population who are born with this genetic trait, nerve-based sensitivity is still amazingly under-recognized and under-discussed.

So maybe we can start leaving bread-crumbs?  The evangelical kind.  Maybe we can create a lil’ cultural intrigue, and get conversations started.  The unapologetic kind.  About who you are.  And how you are.  Your presence makes the world a more enjoyable place to be in.  Why not come clean about how you do that?  How you bring forth those calm, healing, creative, compassionate, insightful, intuitive, delicate, refined, inventive, empathic qualities wherever you go.

Do you like the stamp above, or the mugs below?  Just click on the image you like, and you’ll be taken to its purchase page.  (Look for the gold “Add to Cart” button.)

Reinvent Yourself. Often.

December 9, 2009

People who can re-invent themselves have my deeeep respect.  Change isn’t always easy.  Or beautiful.  But growth is a form of change.  So is improvement.  And progress.  Strengthening.  Forgiveness.  Discoveries. Hey, turns out a lot of wonderful things fold change into it.  Or tranformation, if you prefer.

Before = Caterpillar.  After = Butterfly

Yep.  Transformation is definitely worth that gooey-mess that happens in pupa.  We’re talking about being able to fly.  So, assuming you’re interested in allowing transformation to have its Way with you, here are three ways you can get that chrysalis started.  (And no, this isn’t limited to New Year’s Resolutions.  I’m a fan of transformation all year long.)

1.  Choose your company and conversations wisely. – Three months ago I discovered The Visionary Network.  My eyes gobbled their pages’ pixels.  I experienced the essence of Home, Family and Tribe. Cellularly.  Eternally.  Maybe that sounds dramatic?  I wish I could pack even more mmmpph into my statements about them.  These folks have genius-fever that sweats, glistens… and then works its way into your system.  And before you know it, you have no further need of telescopes, microscopes or even kaleidoscopes… because you now operate at limitless levels your soul always knew about.  But forgot.  Soleira and Santari Green help you remember.  They know the secrets of butterflies and the magic of dragons.  And they flow that Elixious-Nectar into their network.  I am more me because of my weekly talks with them the past 12 weeks. Just as brilliance and innovation requires human-hosts, so does mediocrity and unimaginativeness.  Be mindful of who you share your time and space with.

2.  Live for more than you. – I am not a big enough cause to sustain my own excitement.  You are not a big enough cause to sustain your own excitement.  And those aren’t moral statements.  Cleverly trying to co-erce you and me to go out and do some good in the world.  No, the commitment to live for more than you is a way to keep your waters stirred and fresh.  To keep you deeply interested in Life.  And Life deeply interested in you.

3.  Leap in your learning and doing. – Wanna know the absolute best time to learn how to finally master your life?  Now.  As Shakespeare liked to say, “Very now.” This teleclass, which starts next Friday, is created for those who know there’s so much more beneath their skin that yearns to be expressed… seen… heard… and lived.  You’ll get a new understanding of, and relationship with, your magnificent power.  Santari and I are co-leading this 8-part experience.  Check-in with yourself and see if you’re inspired to join us.

How can deep, feeling people stay connected. And happy?

December 3, 2009

This post is a brief chronicle of a wonderful community-in-the-making.

Deep, feeling people.

A year ago I created a MeetUp Group for Highly Sensitive People in Chicago.  I did this for purely selfish reasons.  Basically, I wanted to be able to hang-out with people who also experience life with ultra-sensitivity, and who are interested in celebrating that aspect of themselves.  (No more self-repudiation!) A local group like that didn’t exist, so I figured I’d try to build the thing I wanted to experience.

And I’m so glad I did.

2009 + HSPs + Chicago = soft place in my heart.

In our first year we met monthly and talked our way through Dr. Elaine Aron‘s landmark book, The Highly Sensitive Person.  We did this chapter-by-chapter, and always created conversations that were soulful, warm, funny, enlightening and only occasionally a lil’ heavy.  Tears, humor, tea, confessions, and big sighs of relief (“That happens to you, too?”) were all enthusiastically shared.  Even though we HSPs make up roughly 20% of the population, at our MeetUp Group we make up 100% of the gathering.  A statistic never felt so good.

We got to skip the small-talk-chit-chat that so many of us struggle with, and just dive into the matters of heart, spirit and meaning.  Sublime.

Fresh breezes for 2010.

I playfully call one of our members “Fresh Breeze” because her energy is like that.  Sparkly and effervescent.  I’d like the framework of our group to have those qualities, too.  How can a framework be sparkly, vibrant and totally alive?  Read on.  The answer to that is coming in two paragraphs.

Last year worked.  It worked well, in my opinion.  But that was because of the quality of the members.  We could have given consideration to Dixie cups, and something valuable would still have bubbled up because that’s just how we’re wired.  And while a book-club format is sensible for a group of people who tend to be voracious readers anyway, I still always got the sense that there was something more we could be pulling through collectively.  Here’s how I envision that more-ness…

A pulsing, breathing mosaic.  And each piece has its own unique thing to talk about.

Yes, let’s still get-together the last Saturday of each month at our Special Place from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm.  But rather than an orchestrated book-club format, let’s use our time together like this:

(Please Note:  You can always pass on any of the steps below, and just show up to bask in the feel-good vibes our Group generates.  There are no requirements or expectations other than kindness.  But if you want to…) you are invited to:

1.  Share some significant text. This significant text could be a fortune from a cookie, a greeting card, a paragraph from your thesis or journal, a passage from a book you’re currently reading, the lyrics of a song, a portion of a newspaper or magazine article, a wedding invitation, a blog post, you get the point.  The text can be from any source, but it should be relevant to your sensitivity;

2.  Share why/how that significant text impacts you as a Sensitive; and

3.  Allow others to engage with your significant text, too…  or maybe ask you a question about it.

Those are the general guidelines, and here’s why I’m so fond of them:

1.  Always the right topic. Because the significant text is something you pre-selected, there’s obviously something about it that draws you to it.  That’s a charge — a sign of life — and it’s transformational and energizing to speak from this place.

2.  Always the right timing. By bringing a significant text that feels current and timely for you, you honor your own season.  And you get the caring attention of your fellow group-members while you do so.

3.  Always a great variety. By using many different sources of material, we add multiple perspectives to each meeting that we wouldn’t get if we limited ourselves to a single title.

This format allows for a lot of space, spontaneity and evolution, while also being softly structured.  Our scheduled time of 90 minutes will be equally divided among us all.

2010 is going to be magical.

What Can You Learn From ‘Happy Baby Pose’?

October 14, 2009

 * Post 10 in a 30-day experiment
focused on magnetizing essence! *

This past weekend I enjoyed a sensational, love-filled wedding at Destination Kohler.  Besides being inspired by the joy of the occasion, the lavish beauty of the Kohler grounds stimulated me in so many ways that strongly supported my goals with this experiment in magnetizing essence.

During my weekend in Wisconsin, the part of the book that I actively meditated on was the chapter about inner guidance.  Because I had committed to pay special attention to the things that attracted me (as well as the things that repelled me),  I was very aware of my attraction to Kohler’s Yoga on the Lake Studio.  Even more than the luxurious spa services.  More than horseback riding.  More than pumpkin-carving.  I was guided to an early morning (7:30 am!) Slow Flow Vinyasa class.  I didn’t know why.  Until later.

This particular class put a lot of emphasis on the hips.  The instructor called for us to go into happy baby pose which opens the hip joints.  And so much more.  While in Happy Baby I noticed a few strong feelings.  I felt:

  • surrendered/vulnerable;
  • playful/giddy; and
  • free of worry and concern.


Babies draw to them all that they need:  nourishment, protection, giggles, cleanliness, naps, play, exploration, soft blankets, sweet smells, bubble baths, pureed fruit, Momma’s milk, lullabies, cradling, joyful gatherings, adoring attention, etc.

All the things adults spend their time and energy striving to get, babies enjoy with ease.  Sure, adults have responsibilities and babies don’t.  But I still believe there is something of deep importance we can learn from them.  While I was in “their” pose… undignified… unlady-like… with my butt in the air, and legs spread open… somewhere between silliness, freedom and innocence, I got it. 

I accessed their magical state of mind.  I remembered when I knew how to trust perfectly.

And can you honestly think of anything as magnetic as a baby?

Ananda Balasana.  What has it taught you?

Who do you want in your life?

October 4, 2009

“People All Over the World,” by Debora Laura Campobasso

* Post 9 in a 30-day experiment
focused on magnetizing essence! *

Besides health, what’s the one thing that will always trump money and material goods?


We don’t get to choose them all, but we do get to choose some.  The question is how do you make those choices?  How do you decide who will fill your life? 

Just like I’ve learned how important it is to figure out the essence behind the things I desire, this book is now challenging me to figure out the essence behind the relationships I want to magnetize.  I have done this kind of thought-creation before (effectively!), in the context of a life-partner, for the experience of loving companionship.  And for friends big and pliable enough to let me be my zany self without cringing or judging too much (love y’all!).

But I’ve never done this essence-ing thing in an economically strategic context.  This is new to me and, honestly, feels a little scary.  (You have no idea how much I’ve procrastinated finishing this post, which indicates to me there are probably some extraordinary results awaiting.)  Alright, let’s dive in.  At this point in my professional life, I want to magnetize:

1.  My Literary Agent, My Publisher and Booksellers
     (Those Who Help Me Serve)

Many people have encouraged me to self-publish because they say the self-published author gets “more money and more control.”  They also say the internet’s impact on digital publishing has made direct selling of e-books not only profitable, but “easy.”

Hmmm, is that so?

Four months ago, I published my first ebook, You’ve Got Nerve!  It’s small (50 pages), and specialized (Highly Sensitive People).  I spent so much time and energy working on layout, design, pricing, delivery mechanism, marketing, search engine optimization, traffic-building, etc. it left me exhausted and overwhelmed.  And the worst part is that all that “control” took away my time to do what I love the most:  content creation.  I want to write books, and promote what I write via book tours, interviews and speaking engagements.  Period.  I want to spread myself thick by focusing on what I do best.  And, I believe, an agent and publisher can help me with that delegation.   They have in place much larger forces (editorial, marketing, distribution, etc.) than I can create on my own.  I don’t mind sharing a percentage of profit in exchange for the use of their forces on my behalf.

I also desire these people in my life — an agent, a publisher and beloved booksellers — not only for the preservation of my time and energy, but also because my message is appropriate for the mass market.  What’s inside of me is a paradigm-shifting book that transcends its specialty.  It’s a map that shows how sensitive leadership will transform the world (the shift has already begun, actually).  It is both a summons to, and a declaration for, those new-style leaders… those “meek” ones who are about to inherit the earth!  This vision/project is so much bigger than me, and I need help and support to bring it forth effectively.

Here’s the twist.  I want to use “traditional” publishing methods to create untraditional outcomes.  Of course I seek a successful launch and high-number sales.  But by using every aspect, angle and advantage of media, I also want to co-create a transformative movement that results in viral tenderness.  We’ve worked with spears, guns, bombs… threats, slander and gossip for long enough.  It’s time for the guards to change.  It’s time to make guards unnecessary.  And we can.  We.  Can.

Bottom-line:  I want to partner with an agent and publisher who can implement big ideas, who can appreciate the spirit behind a phrase like “viral tenderness,” and who can value the heart of a person who thinks, writes and speaks that way.  With their assistance, combined with the love and passion that fuels me, I can magnetize…


2.  My Readers and Audience 
     (Those I Exist to Serve)

When I asked myself who I most admire… who I am most energized and inspired by… who I most naturally love and adore… these terms came to mind:

  • Activists
  • Alchemists
  • Artists
  • Contemplatives
  • Creators
  • Dreamers
  • Earth Angels
  • Eccentrics
  • Empaths
  • Explorers
  • Geeks
  • Healers
  • Highly Sensitive People
  • Iconoclasts
  • Idealists
  • Introverts
  • Intuitives
  • Inventors
  • Lightworkers
  • Lovers
  • Mystics
  • Optimists
  • Peacemakers
  • Philanthropists
  • Pioneers
  • Sages
  • Seers
  • Shamans
  • Social Entrepreneurs
  • Thinkers
  • Trailblazers
  • Visionaries 

People who embody these traits make my life more enjoyable, so of course I desire their company, their ideas, their work, their activated presence on Earth.  But because this special group of people is not typically embraced by mainstream society (the way athletes, actors, models, etc. are), they are often discouraged, under-appreciated and self-doubting.  These are the ones I want to applaud, celebrate and activate. 

The world has been crying for this group’s collective gifts (peace, beauty, wisdom, compassion) while simultaneously refusing the very same Milk they just demanded.  It’s because we haven’t clarified our cultural conversations, so things carry-on in a state of confusion and malnourishment.

My book and message will help clarify that conversation.

(((wiping sweat from my brow)))…  Jeesh, that was a lot of work… capturing all those details.  But you know what?  The process feels much more like I am deliberately constructing something rather than passively wishing for it.  What if directing my thoughts like this just put something powerful in motion?  I believe it did.

This post focused on attracting the people relevant to my writing and speaking career, but it is an amazing thing to do for the people in your personal life, too.  So whether you are an entrepreneur (who desires customers/clients) or a splendid person (who desires friends/lovers) I hope you give some thought to the essence of those people you want to attract.  Thinking about their core, ironically, clarifies your own.

P.S.  And, thanks to the wise insight in Peter’s comment below, I’m inspired to add this postscript:  Dear Universe, please accept the specificity of these desires with the humility in which they were written.  I trust Your Ways far above my own.  Help me to hold the vision You have birthed in my heart with fervor, joy and ease.

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