Dear Ones, I know our world is spinning at a pace few can keep up with.
Every day we watch as paradigms crumble, frenzy escalates, and senseless tragedies unfold. It’s nearly impossible to feel “informed” and sane simultaneously. Everybody seems to have the answer to the mess humanity finds itself in, according to the beliefs that seem to work for them. But there is only one answer I have right now, and that is: In order to truly transcend this madness we have to look within ourselves, evaluate where we’ve contributed to the problem, detach from our instinct to judge through the rigid lens of dualism, and surrender to a little more humility of unknowing.
We have to know what is ours to control, and what is not.
We really just don’t know a lot of things right now, and that’s okay.
We’re creating something new.
Priorities are shifting. Truths are being revealed. Ancient rifts are reorganizing. And we’re going to have to be okay with chaos for some time longer.
I have faith in a Higher Intelligence, and I know it’s rarely found in ego and judgement. In fact, our Highest Consciousness spends a lot of time listening, and much less time puffed up about what it knows. I believe in the capacity of our hearts and spirits– as feeling, caring, people– to shine the light needed to disempower cruelty and fear. I believe that same light feeds collective wisdom.
But we can’t do that, we can’t shine our light, if we’re jumbled knots of anxiety and overwhelm.
The biggest challenges for us are:
- Sensitive people are more easily dragged down the rabbit hole of strong, even crippling, emotion.
- Sensitive people are more susceptible to anxiety, hopelessness, and overwhelm.
- Sensitive people are more prone to escapism, distraction techniques, and numbing devices. (Because of the previous points.)
We have to stay awake. Stay open. Stay illuminated.
If you feel yourself going numb, feeling paralyzed, or wanting to curl up into a little ball and ride out the rest of your life in the fetal position, then you’ve officially moved into empathy overwhelm. It happens to all of us, especially if we forget to create intention around caring for ourselves.
One way we know we can hit the reset button on our nervous system is to intentionally pivot and refocus. Please let me remind you, according to the resiliency research, of a known path to clarity which can be our daily guide to becoming more resilient as Highly Sensitive People:
1.) Focus on what you have, not on what you have lost, or never had.
There’s always hope. There’s always a step forward, a way through. Open to the possibility of a solution that you simply haven’t discovered yet. People rebuild their lives from the ground up every single day. (I once did it myself.) Tell yourself that no matter what it is, you can handle it. Ask yourself, “What is right in my world?” Specifically look for it. Find it. Redirect your mindset over and over until this becomes your default. Focus on the invisible gifts we too often overlook, like your cherished senses, or the oxygen in the air. This breaks the cycle your brain may be stuck within, which is the singular habit of an unrelenting search for problems (which is the heart of anxiety).
2.) Invest in people, not things.
I say this a lot, but we need to keep hearing it. Take a class. Listen to a podcast. Support an artist’s work. Donate to the organizations that you feel most drawn to. Buy a membership to your local nature center. Fill the void with strong, positive, generous action, not just the material rat race. This is how we talk back to the voice inside us that tells us we’re helpless. We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for.
3.) Sometimes, just sometimes, say Yes, even when you want to say No.
As a super introverted Highly Sensitive Person, believe me, this one is personal. For me it is way too easy to melt into bed at 8:00 pm with my nose in a book. Our COVID-forced isolation levels have propelled many of us into nearly unreachable degrees of introversion. (This always happens to me in the deep summer and winter, but sheltering at home has supercharged it this year.) At first, it felt kind of nice, didn’t it? I know it did to me. Suddenly the world slowed down to my pace, and it felt a little less crazy-making. But there is such a thing as diving too deep into the underground, dear ones. Gently pushing ourselves to surface every now and then by joining a group webinar, or taking a walk with a friend, can powerfully boost our energy levels. (Remember this article on how to build a life the brain considers meaningful?)
4.) Limit your media consumption.
Please, please, snack on the news, but don’t gorge on it. And if you find yourself being pulled into online battles, use every ounce of your will to disengage. I can promise you that nobody ever changed their morality or their mind due to a Facebook thread war, no matter how pithy your sarcastic response skills are (I’m definitely talking to my own past self right now!). Use healthy discernment at all times. Where are you spending energy? Is that energy expenditure shining a light on your life, or casting a shadow? Is it moving the dial forward in any way? Save your precious energy resources (which are finite) for enriching your life. Guard your strength for those who may really need your help right now.
5.) Do not ruminate on toxic thoughts.
Focusing on the insanity only makes us insane. When you find yourself recycling an internal thought commentary of hopelessness, fear, anxiety, inadequacy, comparison, confusion…know that the old paradigm, the one that’s crumbling, has you exactly where it wants you. If it’s going down, it wants to take you down with it. I can promise you that for every terrible thing you tend to focus on, there’s something equally beautiful happening right alongside it. Even tragedies bring increased awareness, community resolve, empathy and outpourings of generosity. The world is healing. I know that from deep within my soul. Sometimes healing is terribly messy. It’s ugly, scary, and painful. But there is so much manipulation happening in the collective. When you find yourself spiraling into hatred, ask yourself if that’s your heart leading you, or your fear. Ask your spirit to step in and lead. Remember, action is good! But making yourself sick is not. Each one of us has to find the right action for our energetic makeup. Don’t let anyone tell you what your right action is, or that you need to do things their way.
And please know this: You are not alone. There are infinite numbers of good, brilliant, helpful souls in this world making revolutionary, beautiful, courageous strides to pull our planet into a harmony that has never before existed. If you’re focusing only on those who seek to destroy, then you’ve temporarily extinguished your own light.
Redirect, refocus, pivot. Stay illuminated, my dear friends. The planet needs you.
P.S. — Please be sure to share with me how you’re doing, which steps you’re going to work on, and/or where you’ve been excelling! As always, your thoughts are so important to me, and your expression helps others express themselves too. Remember, this is a community of big-hearted introverts, so speaking up can be a generous contribution to all.
And if you haven’t yet, be sure to check out my super nourishing conversation with Emmy Award winning Stephanie Himango on her new podcast, Another Door Opens, available on Apple, Spotify, & iHeart Radio. We talk about starting over, Universal lightening bolts, and what is waiting for us on the other side of fear. She drops a beautiful new episode every Thursday, so be sure to subscribe. xo!