Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Art of Reinvention and Letting Go

There are many times in life when we will find ourselves at a crossroads. We find ourselves faced with the daunting task of making a decision, with two or more attractive alternatives. We might find ourselves backed into a corner, when the only viable alternative is abandonment of what we know so that we can start anew. We might be suddenly waking up to the realization that we're simply in the wrong place, attempting to accomplish a goal that doesn't fit anymore, that we've outgrown the person we're in a relationship with, or that our time on a particular path is about to end.

Funny how as I'm writing this, Linda Ronstadt's "Goodbye My Friend" has started playing from my self-made mix of songs that have touched me in some way. On the surface, it's yet another number in the long sappy line of songs I became acquainted with from those youthful years of Daytime television viewing (thanks Ken Corday and Janet Spellman-Rider). Beneath the surface, it's a tale of having no other choice but to let go of the physical manifestation of a relationship in favor of its remembrance and spiritual manifestation. We don't always realize it at the time, but the spiritual manifestation was present in the background all along. It's not something that truly ends, but continues to exist in a circle of completeness that we can't possibly try to escape.

That same circle that contains the task of letting go allows you to begin again. It opens up the possibility of discovery, of becoming who you were meant to be, of relinquishing responsibility for what you can't control, of allowing someone else to fulfil their destiny. Letting go is a decision, a mindset that says "I'm no longer going to attempt to control and manipulate this." It's a decision that stops creating the illusion so that reality can be woken up to.

For some of us, that illusion has become so real to those around us that it is difficult for them to see the authenticity of its creator. To do that would mean they would have to let go too. They would have to go inward to examine themselves and what they were hoping to gain from that illusion. Those around us would have to face the pain that they've been tricked into believing that the illusion exists. They would have to stop pretending to protect their fear of retribution for being real. For those in the public eye especially, it can be difficult to let go of the image of who you were and of whom others wanted you to be, when those images are so readily available and the public doesn't seem to want to accept that you've long outgrown that illusion. For those of us who are not in the limelight, it can be just as difficult when your process of reinvention and growth isn't met with approving, understanding eyes from those who you thought would show you compassion.

Regardless, that reinvention process is one in which you have to be true to yourself. Reinvention is the examination of who you are so that you can become who you were meant to be. That's a journey that requires asking yourself what you're currently doing that is preventing you from experiencing what you really want. It's a journey that demands that the only person you have to answer to is yourself.

Yes, it means letting go of what you thought you wanted in order to pursue what you've rediscovered is in your heart. It can be frightening to release a comforting illusion for the unknown result of truth. There's no built-in happy ending, no airbrushed images of perfection, or locked-in loyal support. Yet, the cost of continuing to perpetuate an illusion is the slow death of your spirit. Those that wish to continue to believe in it will have to wake up sooner or later. Those who have already joined you in reality are the ones who saw through to your true essence all along.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How the Need to Rescue Prevents Inner Validation

A week ago an old friend from high school called and left me a few voicemails out of the blue. I was somewhat shocked to hear from her, seeing as how we haven't spoken since the beginning of 2005. At the same time, I knew she had called because she was in trouble somehow and needed help. It seems that I'm usually a magnet for these types of calls from family members, people I know, or those that I once knew. Perhaps this is yet another part of being an empath. People somehow sense that you have this need to rescue others. Although, sometimes we teach the people in our lives that we'll always attempt to do it, no matter what.

This old friend, we have quite the history, her and I. We became friends in high school, I think it was during my sophomore year. I often made friends with the class below me since I had been a year ahead of myself since kindergarten and found that sometimes it was easier to socially relate with those that were my exact age. When you're growing up, one or two years seems as vast as the distance between New York and Los Angeles. We ended up remaining friends through my undergrad years, even becoming roommates a few times. We went our separate ways here and there, but always circled back to becoming friends again. Looking back I think she was like a security blanket of sorts. We had known each other for what seemed like forever. There were no messy introductions, no need to play the "getting to know you" game, no need to wonder if the other person kind of understood you.

The entire time we knew each other, I think she felt this need to insult me to make up for the way she felt about herself. She would do it to others too, I eventually noticed, but for a long time I thought I was the only one. I let her get away with these insults because I didn't understand myself well enough yet, because a part of me believed they were true, because a part of me wanted to be someone else, and because a part of me wanted to remain open to feedback. Now that I reflect back on our relationship, it was usually surrounded by some sort of tension.

Tension over her expectations of who and what I should be, when our circumstances and personalities were completely different. Tension over how her opinion mattered more than mine. Tension over how she always seemed to have some life threatening problem or crisis and needed someone to save her. Those crises varied, but they were usually a result of her own bad choices and judgment that she didn't want to take the responsibility for. Of course we've all done that, myself included. We don't want to acknowledge the root cause of the problem because it begins with something internal we need to fix. It's much easier to throw out a display of pity, external blame and act frustrated at the world than take the long road towards self-evaluation and permanent change.

Regardless, her tactics of getting someone to rescue her came down to shame, guilt and manipulation. That shame, guilt and manipulation were guised in attacks on self-perceived weaknesses. Self-perceived because I allowed external opinions to internalize. The internalization occurred because I valued what someone else thought about me over what I thought about myself. Truthfully, I hadn't even taken the time to validate myself because it was always about making sure everyone else was happy and that everyone else had what they needed. The need to fix someone else's problems superseded the importance of my own existence, even if that meant putting up with bullying. For some reason, the idea of saving the world felt like an obligation, no matter what the costs.

I still think there's nothing wrong with wanting to save the world. Or at least trying to. The only difference is that I won't attempt to do it at the expense of my spirit. I won't allow someone else to control my actions through hurtful words that no longer have meaning, importance or validation. My inner self knows better. The inner self that knows who she truly is, with or without the opinions of others ringing in her ears.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Finding Your Calling

I've noticed that a lot of people complain about aspects of their jobs, but seem fairly content to remain in them. The reasons vary, I'm sure, depending upon the individual and their situation. Still, those reasons usually circle around to money, in some way or another. The unwillingness to take a job that pays less but that we'd probably enjoy more because we think we're entitled to a certain lifestyle. The fear of losing our source of livelihood even if the situation is abusive, toxic or dehumanizing in some way. The promise of being able to obtain a better lifestyle even though we won't have much time to enjoy it. The need to make a particular income level because that's what the average person with our degree and similar credentials makes. The need to reflect status and justify our self-worth through displays of material wealth; to essentially say "I'm better than you." It's funny how as a society we've allowed a made-up notion of value to have such power over our lives.

It's funny because when I think about the jobs that I've truly enjoyed, that I've truly cherished, that I truly felt alive in, they were probably the two jobs that I received the least amount of monetary compensation for. For a thirty-three year old, I think I've had a lot of jobs. I've worked for a lot of different types of companies and dabbled in a variety of industries. The longest I've been with a company is four years. In true HSP fashion, I get bored easily. I outgrow things quicker. I'm always looking for change, for growth, for something new to make me feel alive again. I'm not satisfied with remaining stagnant. Writing would be the exception. I think that's one "job" I would never get tired of doing.

Thinking back to those two jobs that I felt the most alive in, I realize that the rewards for performing them were mostly intrinsic. Yes, ok, there were many perks involved with working for Disney. Discounts at just about every location in Central Florida, being able to meet and be around celebs (who, by the way, are just as human as the rest of us with a different line of work, and who we need to appreciate for their talents and nothing more), the chance to meet and interact with people from all over the world, as well as the opportunity to literally create "magical moments" for others. I can't say the perks were as exciting or glamorous working for my undergraduate alma mater in their Student Services department, but at least I got to set my own hours and kind of be my own boss. I had creative and strategic control. I had the opportunity to apply and bring together several disciplines into one position, offer advice and bring some of those classroom theories into practice.

Regardless of the intrinsic reward itself, both of these jobs literally ignited passion from within. If that feeling of passion is missing, an HSP becomes restless and unfulfilled. There's no meaning, no purpose and we feel as though we are stuck in a never-ending cycle of drudgery. While others can muddle their way through a world of grey, we literally feel the heavy weight of "this is draining me." We search for any way to bring color into the picture, to find some way to feel alive, to re-invent, to change our perspective, to absorb ourselves in other ventures during our non-working hours to make up for our lackluster nine to five. We feel trapped, suffocated and sometimes desperation. We don't see how we can get out alive and begin to feel as though any other job would be better than what we currently have. Anything except being one of those poor souls dressed up in costume, holding a sign advertising a tax service, another store going out of business or a new housing development, forced to smile like a Cheshire cat and wave at those driving by. Now those folks, I truly do feel sorry for. When I see them, I always think, well it could be worse. I could be getting paid to do that.

In order to find your calling or your purpose, if you will, you have to listen to what your heart is telling you. You have to learn to recognize what seems as natural as breathing. Granted, you have to get good at whatever this is too, but if it feels like work and a big part of you is bored by it, it's best to move on. Easier said than done, I'm aware. Sometimes we've put ourselves in a position where hanging onto that drudgery job is necessary until we've built up the necessary resources to make the final leap. What matters in this type of situation is that you're taking the time to explore and make the necessary preparations for that leap, and not allow yourself to remain in drudgery because it's safe, practical and familiar. Speaking of practicality, yes, your calling also has to eventually generate enough income to cover a lifestyle that you're content with. Sometimes that means combining several passions, sometimes that means learning to live with less, and sometimes that means working odd-ball jobs while you're also working on establishing yourself in the line of work you desire.

While the majority of the world may choose their vocation according to how much they'll get paid in exchange for their time, how many opportunities for ego inflation through titles and promotions exist, and how impressive it will make their resume look, sensitives just can't take that same approach. When the work is meaningless, so is any money earned from it. When knowledge isn't being cultivated and shared, your mind shifts to auto-pilot. When your soul isn't nourished and expressed, you rob yourself and others of the fulfillment of destinies. Without inspiration, you forget how to breathe. You forget that you're supposed to take in the air that feeds the essence of existence. You don't spend your time living and others wither in the shade, unable to feel the warmth of your inner light.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

20 Reasons Why It's Great To Be An HSP-Part One

1. You'll never be the one in the meeting or classroom who's asking all the annoying questions.

2. A sunset is never just a sunset, a flower is an intricate delicacy to be discovered, and the oceans, mountains, clouds and sky are powerful voices of Consciousness.

3. You're the one your friends and a lot of strangers gravitate towards when they just need someone to listen and show them a pair of understanding eyes. (You get to vicariously learn a lot about life without having to take that bartending gig.)

4. You'll make leaps and bounds while everyone else isn't looking. Before they know what's happened, they'll find themselves brushing off the dust you left behind.

5. Others will wonder why you're so "serious." They'll find you "hard to read." In other words, you'll be mysterious and alluring. (This can be an advantage if you're single.)

6. You're able to communicate with animals. You pick up on their nonverbal cues and sense the condition of their spirits. Plus, even the "mean" ones usually like you.

7. You get to fly, see and do all kinds of fun, amazing stuff in your dreams. And for those advanced astral travelers, you get to meet, experience and have conversations with your soulmates, twin soul and spirit guides without having to pay the cost of airfare. Sometimes you even find out you've travelled through time.

8. You get to receive and send messages between yourself and loved ones who have passed.

9. You get to know someone just by being around their energy. Again, no need to ask twenty questions.

10. Did I mention the telepathic romantic encounters? Mmm, enough said.

11. You have an inner voice that has all the answers, when you take the time to find the stillness to listen to it.

12. You receive random premonitions from Consciousness.

13. You can tell when a house is haunted by dark spirits. Guess we can tell the realtor to cross that one off the list!

14. You can sense someone else's emotions and what might have caused them without them saying a word. You can often use that inner knowledge to start a conversation that can make them feel better or turn their day around.

15. You're passionate. Everything becomes alive and full of color when you're around.

16. You get to witness the premonitions of your former self come to life. Believe me, this is pretty neat.

17. Other people think you're a genius when they hear you talk about your thoughts or see samples of your writing.

18. Others gravitate towards you for help. The opportunities to make a difference are endless.

19. You're creative, a visionary, and a pioneer. That means that someday you'll either be rich, famous or both, even if your physical form isn't still around.

20. You teach others about pieces of themselves they otherwise wouldn't have known. You're a mentor; others learn a lot in your presence.

*Yes, I have a sense of humor. Yes, it's a sarcastic, witty one at times. Please do not treat this list as all inclusive or necessarily valid. But, then again, perhaps it just is. =)

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Little Issue Called Boundaries

Boundaries are the invisible walls that we're supposed to communicate to the other halves of our existing relationships or to those individuals who we have the potential of developing one with. Boundaries are the limits that we've determined for ourselves. They're the point at which "yes" becomes "no." They comprise minimum standards, what types of behaviors we're willing to put up with, those behaviors that we won't accept, what we think we deserve, what we're willing to give, and what we think we're worthy of.

Learning how to set them requires a potpourri of self-knowledge, self-confidence, associating value with your needs and perspectives, and the ability to discern where "you" and "someone else" begin to separate into individuals. That's often a mixture that isn't hardwired into the make-up of sensitive people. Our natural responses of transcending, wanting to rescue others and focus on others' needs, combined with society's view and treatment of our natural responses to this world, makes it extremely difficult for us to set and adhere to those "no's."

The art of saying no is kind of a foreign concept to us. For many of us, it's a word that's not even in our vocabulary. We're the ones who feel obligated to make the world a better place, step up and help no matter how thin we're already stretched, do what someone else thinks is right because we don't want them to be angry with us, or follow someone else's direction because we couldn't possibly trust our own opinion of what's right for us. We're so caught up in making sure that we accommodate everyone else that we forget to take the time to take care of ourselves. Or examine ourselves to figure out just exactly what it is that we do want and need. Even if we do, we'll throw those needs and wants out the window if someone who we view as important wants us to go in a different direction.

As a result, we find can ourselves in relationships with individuals who are toxic. Even if the relationship is not initially toxic, we can find ourselves taking the blame for any wrong turns, the one doing most of the giving, the one whose needs have become buried. Or we can find ourselves wavering aimlessly, doing things we never thought were possible for our characters. Or we can find ourselves going along with decisions that bring us to situations that we didn't want to end up in.

Yes, I'm guilty of all the above and more. I can recount my experiments with danger that almost ended up in self-destruction, the times I've let others' opinions control my life decisions, the amount of times I've buried my voice so that someone else could have their way, the amount of times I've walked on eggshells to avoid upsetting anyone, the times I've felt guilty for someone else's actions, the times I've danced with potential relationships when I wasn't really interested, and the people I should've walked away from but hung on hoping that I could somehow change things.

The one thing I didn't do in each and every one of those situations was take the initiative to validate myself. I was communicating that "I" didn't matter, that "I" didn't exist, and that "I" was dispensable. Without self-valuation, you relinquish control. You lose the ability to have a two-way conversation. The other person stops meeting you halfway, because you've taught them that you'll always travel down their path. The play turns into a monologue that you're not on stage for. You're watching from the audience, expected to give your applause when it's done, whether you found it enjoyable or not. Shouldn't you at least give yourself the chance to star in your own show?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Forgotten Destiny

A destiny
Exists over those mountains
That I’ve stared at from a distance
Since my hair was long and dark
And my eyes were entranced
With their dark bluish outline
Jagged up against the sky.

A dream
Within my heart
Of sunshine’s warmth
And palms
Swaying against a breeze
Lifted from the expanse
Of water crashing
Into foam
Before returning
To its original teal blue

A dream
Of a life
Created by a pen
Reflected in fabricated visions
Of a life
That is something more
Than what was home

License plates
Of California
Speed past me
Each day
As if a reminder
Of where the Universe
Thinks I should be
Even in the land
Of Substitute Dreams
I see one
Over 3,000 miles
From where it should be
Unusual for the West
To be mingling with the East

Yet there it was
On the back of an old pick-up
Speeding past me
Like a true Floridian
Hell bent on getting there yesterday

It was there
After I’d asked the question
Of where I should return
To Destiny or Substitute

A seven year cocoon is ready to be opened
A butterfly awaits flight
Into something inexplicable
Towards a voice
That says
It’s time to soar
Over the mountains
Until they become distant
From behind
And a new range
Has settled
To the right
Rather than to the left

Yes, it's somewhat unconventional for my present day self to start a piece of writing with a rough draft from one of my creative ventures. Yet, when I think about the direction I wish to take my life, it fits. There was a time when all my writings came from that side of myself. Poetry, short stories, novels in progress, fantasies, dreams, visions. My younger self avoided the non-fiction section of the library like a plague, heading straight to the sections containing novels and the other imaginative worlds of films, theatre and spiritual practices. I blame my present focus on the "self-help" "non-fiction" arena on all those years of business school. No, the world of left-brained thinking hasn't completely converted me yet. Of course, I'm not sure I've ever really paid that much attention to it, except when it came to school assignments or learning how to revamp my personal finances. Or when it came down to trying to pursue a career, rather than a relationship, kids and the home life that women are supposed to automatically want, but somehow I never saw myself fitting into. Or at twenty-eight years old, when I finally thought I had gotten myself on track with a company that would take me places.

Well, it certainly did take me places. Unexpected places. Places of rediscovery. Places of awakening. A return to the eccentric right. A circle back to the seventeen year old who wanted to fly West, write and be involved with films, TV shows and entertaining others. The seventeen year old who thought that those who wished to settle into the normal, simple life of nine to five and weekends full of sitting at home in a town with nothing better to do were crazy. The girl who thought she lived in one of the most boring States in the country and couldn't understand why others liked it so much. The girl who never dreamed she would return to that simple town after she left and start re-establishing once abandoned roots. The woman who realizes that she can no longer deny what her heart truly wants. The woman who needs to let go of what appears to be safe in order to experience what's real. She just needs to convince herself that extremely difficult doesn't equal impossible. Or that it matters that others will try to convince her to stay. Or that she'll have to say goodbye to a substitute dream.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Pitfalls of Feedback and Being a People Pleaser

In my interactions with others, during, before, and after the actual face-to-face encounter, I've always worried what they were thinking, and if they felt they were getting their needs met the way they wanted. Such is the plight of being a people pleaser. The uncomfortable awkwardness of trying to be whatever it is that you think others want to see, while simultaneously realizing somewhere deep down you aren't being authentic to yourself.

I think the desire to please and help others is so innate in the HSP DNA that we don't even stop to think that there is another option. Especially when we're coming of age and don’t know ourselves well enough yet. Until a friend points it out to us during one of those soulful conversations. Until someone asks us what we think or what we want and we can't come up with an answer because we didn't think that was a relevant possibility. We want everyone to like us because the sting of conflict is like a hard slap in the face that ends up metamorphosizing into guilt within our spirit.

We're also the ones who hate performance evaluations, who pace in nervous anxiety while waiting to get grades back on our school assignments, who consider "constructive criticism" to be an oxymoron, and wonder why others can make such unwarranted, hurtful comments towards others. Feedback isn't easy. We want the good stuff, but deep down we don't believe it's true. We wonder why the negative stuff is even necessary. Giving it is even harder. We don't want to criticize someone else. Praise, sure, no problem. Don't ask us to point out someone's shortcomings though. We're more than tentative. We're avoidant. The last thing we want is to hurt someone's feelings, let alone find ourselves faced with another source of potential conflict.

So, imagine finding your sensitive self amidst an organizational culture that thrives on negative feedback, "continuous improvement" (i.e. "you're never good enough, no matter what"), and the philosophy that its talent is expendable. Needless to say, the idea that the Universe has an anonymous way of teaching us the lessons we need has never been more apparent for me than during the past four years. Yes, I was drawn to my current job and company for the wrong reasons. Yes, I should've listened to intuition's "no." Yes, I take full responsibility for the decision. And yes, I've tried to reinvent and make changes. Still, it's kind of difficult to make inroads when one side isn't really willing to listen to new perspectives. Pay lip service, but not take any action.

Despite all of this, I'm still somehow grateful for the experience. For the first time, I learned how to recognize what I wanted and what I thought. Rather than following along with whatever mantra was being chanted at the time, I learned to question it to see if it really made sense for me. And if it didn't, I wouldn't chant along. For the first time, I found the conviction to face conflict, although still anxiously the first few times, by standing up for myself, my perspectives and needs. For the first time, I learned to stop worrying about what others thought. Well, ok, I still worry. Just not as much. That voice has gotten more silent as a new one has started drowning out its sound. It’s the voice of authenticity. It’s the voice that says "I'm doing it my way." The voice that says being true to myself is more important than who someone else thinks I should be.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rediscoveries

Saying goodbye is never an easy process. The feelings of empty abandonment. The pretending that you don't care. The anger and frustration of not being in control. The projection of that anger onto the one making the decision to take a different path. It's all designed to appear as though you are the rejecter; to push them away.

Letting go is another form of "goodbye." The only difference is that you are the initiator, the one who decides to make the separation. You are setting yourself free from the obligation of having to maintain a dual existence. You may need space. You may need to become someone else. You may want different things out of life. Or you just may not be able to handle the intensity of the other person's soul.

The process of "goodbye" is one that I probably know a little too well. I learned the stark reality of this with my biological father at four years old. As a child, you don't realize that separation is not your responsibility. You just feel the heavy weight of "what did I do wrong" slam itself into your heart. It doesn't matter that they're the one that has issues; serious issues. Or that if they stay they will continue to rob your innocence and damage your existence. You don't understand that darkness exists within humanity. You black out the bad times and remember the good ones. They're supposed to be there. They're supposed to show you that you mean something; that you're worth taking care of. They're not supposed to vanish without warning.

That vanishing shakes your faith in what exists and what is possible. You learn not to trust. Not to try. That effort is useless, because you can't depend on anyone or anything to be real. You can't depend on anyone to stay. So you begin to absorb yourself in things that aren't real, or so it seems. You begin to attach yourself to those things that don't seem possible to actually grasp. You become a dreamer who constantly finds ways to reinvent what you do see.

What's within lasts forever. Ideas, concepts, dreams, wishes. They're mostly static. Only we have the power to change them, set them free, tell them it's time to say goodbye. If only the pivotal people we encounter along the paths of our journeys were the same. No. People are quite different from the world of wishes and dreams.

We encounter these pivotal people to wake us up to a part of ourselves that needs to be revealed. Some say they're part of our same soul family, perhaps even our twin soul, with an agreement made between each other in the spiritual realm to lead the physical manifestation to their purpose. Yet, the physical manifestation is just that. Physical. Bound by the limitations of what can be seen and touched.

Bound by obligations, boundaries, necessities, change, the need to grow, the desire to pursue, run away, avoidance, conflict, histories, self-destruction, disorder, self-doubt, metamorphosis, and countless other roads we've all travelled. Those are the roads that bring us to each other, bring about the "goodbyes," and if we're lucky enough, bring us back to each other.

If they don't come back, all we can do is remember and smile in reflection. Be thankful that we had what we did, that we gave, that we had the chance to love, that we danced. It's the ones that always come back that expanded our soul. Yes, they tore at it too, but in a good way. They helped us create ourselves. Unknowingly. Unwillingly. Effortlessly. The rediscovery, the return, happens when we're finally ready to embody their gifts or it's our turn to give them something back.

Of course I have three of these, since all good things come in pairs of threes. The first was a ray of hope's light that brought happiness and vigor back into a wounded child's spirit. The second was a spunk of tender energy, containing a sense of familiarity within the eyes that didn't need words or an explanation. The third was an unplanned surprise that danced in the shadows against a sweet, gentle music that only two halves of the same soul can make.

Rediscovering all three has shown me that they never really left in the first place. Never lost, they were within all along.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Listening to Your Intuition

Intuition is more than just a characteristic of highly sensitive people. For us, it is a cornerstone of our existence. It is the way we interpret life, how we learn, how we can become visionaries and how we pick up on the unspoken. In my experience, intuition can go so far as to being able to sense the type of off-screen relationship two actors have simply by watching their on-screen performances together, as well as being able to pick up on aspects of their off-screen personalities. Intuition can decipher what or who is behind the masks that are often used to conceal a piece of reality that doesn't want to be revealed.

Intuition isn't based on logical fact gathering, making it difficult to trust. A feeling that instantly makes itself known by permeating the soul, shrouded in an ambiguous cloud of realization, can be amazing and uncomfortable to handle. It’s amazing in the sense that you simply know things, almost instantly, without knowing how or why; uncomfortable in the sense that you're not sure you should trust just a feeling that seems to come from within.

There were many times when I second guessed that gut feeling, especially when it came to life decisions, other individuals' characters, motivations and intentions. After all, we're taught that the most important decisions in life should be based on facts, figures, what appears to be true, what will benefit us the most financially, and what seems to be the most logical. For sensitives, though, I think this approach can be an elusive trap that ignores our ability to sense, rather than dissect the answer.

The answer that logic leads you to can be diametrically opposed with the one that intuition gives us. I'm certainly not advocating that either approach should be abandoned in favor of the other, however, it’s been my experience that if your intuition is telling you "no" when logic is saying "full speed ahead," you should stop and listen. Sometimes when you don't listen to intuition's "no," it has a funny way of magnifying that "no" the entire time you're living with the manifestation of that decision.

Intuition instantly permeates through the masks that people use in an attempt to conceal their authentic selves, perceptions, motivations and intentions. It also sees through the politics that are played, which can make those that have perfected the illusion of a political persona very uncomfortable around you. The ability to sense what and who's beneath the surface helps you discover what people are unwilling to disclose openly. Intuition senses the soul, that inner essence full of past history, present existence and future aspirations. It is invaluable in discerning who can be trusted, how someone really feels about you, what that person wants, as well as the potential the relationship holds.

The ability to tune into the information that collective consciousness can bring us is also a part of intuition. Some call it the voice within, but I believe that those sudden whispers of premonition and insight come from the spiritual realm. Psychic ability is a heightened form of intuition that we all have the potential to develop and tune into. The difference for highly sensitives is that this potential comes already built in. It is automatic, as natural as breathing when its intended use is to help others, or prepare ourselves for events we otherwise wouldn't be able to handle properly without forewarning.

We don't want to think that a feeling, a sense of what is, can be as accurate as an analytical trail of puzzle pieces forming themselves into a conclusion. There's no explanation for "just knowing" or a method of how you arrived at the answer. Many things in this universe are inexplicable, but one can't deny the awe of their existence. When we begin to trust and believe in what doesn't seem to make sense, what can't be physically touched, we realize that reality begins with the invisible.

It's what goes on behind the scenes that brings the show to life. Why should you deny its validity?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Learning to Dance Away from Perfectionism

I'm not sure how many other sensitives out there can identify with being a complete control freak when it comes to our professional lives, as well as the aspects of our personal lives we deem to be important. Perfectionism is a trait that has ruled my actions throughout my thirty-three years of life, especially in terms of my jobs, my schoolwork, a few romantic relationships, some platonic relationships, and the actions of family members. Conscientiousness and idealism are other names for the drive to "make everything right," but regardless of the synonym you choose, I believe that this trait is one of the main sources of stress for sensitives.

Perfectionism is not necessarily a bad thing. It can prevent mistakes, lead to continuous improvement, get you noticed for supposedly being "brilliant," lead to promotions or extra assignments because you're a "good, hard worker." Idealism is what drives the world to be something more than what it currently is. It pushes everyone to attempt to go beyond what they currently see. Limitations are disregarded, hope sweeps its energy into inspiration, the bright light of goodness shines within our eyes, kindness and goodwill flow from our hearts into actions without a second thought.

Yet, conscientiousness can also make you the target of bullying from bosses and co-workers who fear your competence and your unwillingness to solely rely on the political game to advance. Conscientiousness can cause you to drive yourself into a corner of insanity. The realization that there isn't an answer to everything, some things can't be changed regardless of the amount and type of effort, you may not be ready for something or someone you want, and that perhaps what you're attempting to accomplish just isn't a good fit for you, can be beyond frustrating if you haven't learned how to recognize when you need to let go.

Being a perfectionist doesn't always allow you to dance with life. The idea that life is meant to be danced with is something that I've known in theory since I was perhaps nineteen or twenty. It was 1996 or 1997; I can't seem to recall exactly which year, that I was introduced to the concept through the song "Dance With Life" that was used as part of a storyline regarding a young character learning to experience life to its fullest, despite having HIV. The idea has remained in theory until recently.

Until recently, I've used perfectionism as a way to absorb myself in work rather than play. While I've never equated time with money, it's easy to see why others have gotten that impression from me. My energy used to be spent on being productive out of necessity. When the threshold for necessity has more than been met and you find yourself still working hard and striving for perfectionism due to an organizational culture's drive, you begin to finally see what's important. When you realize that your best still isn't going to be good enough for that culture, you begin to "perfect" the art of maintaining the minimum performance levels. Your values begin to change, as you no longer wish to work long hours and miss the very experience of life. The stress begins to fade away, along with the high expectations you place upon yourself.

After all, mistakes are nothing more than the lessons we need to fuel our growth. The memories of playtime, relaxation and time spent with those important to us are what we end up cherishing. The freedom to explore your interests, hobbies, make a difference, and enjoy how you spend your time is valuable in the sense that it makes living worthwhile. Every moment that we experience in the tangible dimension of existence is a gift and an opportunity to shine light where there is darkness. Rewards don't come without leaps of faith and trials and errors that have no reason to be filled with regrets. Conscientiousness shouldn't be completely abandoned, but don't allow it to stop you from hearing the music that's inviting the soul to express itself. Choreograph the dance into a memorable venture that carries you on a breathtaking whirlwind of adventure.