The more adept we are at understanding what engenders our sense of belonging, the better able we are to truly house ourselves. As you awaken to your whole being, you will learn what it means to take care of your highly sensitive and aware nature.
You may be, even unknowingly, highly attuned to the nuances of light, spatial flow, acoustics, geopathic stresses and other environmental features. Thus, as a sensitive person, you may absorb a great deal of sensory input that most people do not even register. It is helpful to remember that you need to take care of yourself and not expect that others will share your experiences.
The more you can name your experiences for yourself and make any adjustments you need to maintain a balanced state, the more you can participate with others as a confident, energized being.
One area of self-care is called energetic hygiene. It includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual practices, any actions you take, to help ensure that you are as clear and aligned in your energetic being as possible.
Here are some areas to pay attention to as a sensitive when practicing your personalized energetic hygiene routine:
Become Aware of What You Take In:
Limit certain stimuli.
Highly sensitive and creative people can be overwhelmed by stimuli. Changes you can make to avoid this occurring may involve limiting your exposure to the media, making changes to your diet, changing reading, movie and music choices, limiting music listening, movie watching or reading, reducing ambient noise in your environment, avoiding unnecessarily dark or angry communications, reducing scents, limiting certain kinds of learning, and changing your social relationships.
Increase certain input.
Creatives and sensitives may need to introduce new and different stimuli to their environment: flower remedies, new herbs or foods to help clear and strengthen your energy field, new kinds of music or books, new relationships, and new kinds of movement, thought, images or scents.
Attend to Situational Changes.
When your routine as a sensitive is disrupted, you may need to increase or decrease certain input to take care of yourself. For instance, in a city you may need to eat red meat to stay balanced. When you fly, you may need to increase your yarrow flower intake.
Clear Your Energy Field:
Clearing your energy field is one of the most important components of self-care for the highly sensitive person. As someone who lived for three decades before understanding what an energy field was, I was late in coming to this concept.
We take baths, dust our homes, vacuum our carpets and wash our dishes. Why would we not clear our energy fields? You can explore the nature of your energy field and how to take care of it through classes and books on the topic. It may help to remember the facts listed below.
- Our fields can be more or less inclined to pick up external resonances, depending on how sensitive our nature is
- We can clear our fields
- Our habits and thoughts can make it more or less easy to maintain a clear field and clear a muddied field
- The more regularly we clear away internal clutter, the more resilient our fields become
- The more we choose physical, mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual habits that support centeredness, the less clearing we require
- We each have different ways to clear including: baths, prayer, flower essences, meditations and running our chakras
- No one knows better than you what is most effective for you
Responding to New Environments
Throughout your life, there may always be settings and parts of the world where you feel more at home, and places where you feel less comfortable.
Visits to Others
For extended visits, it is imperative that as a highly sensitive person you practice your clearing methods on a regular basis. Dietary changes may help you to adjust. Most importantly, the more you can name any unhelpful stimuli you are experiencing, the more you can become neutral to it.
Changes in Your Home Landscape
Artists, healers and other sensitives no longer have the luxury of limiting our focus to activities that occur within our own four walls. Issues of affordable housing, traffic congestion, environmental deregulation and sprawl demand the sensitive person participate to shape and protect the places we love.
To sensitives who seek havens in quiet, rural places, the inundation of those places with retirees – or by tourist economies, can be profoundly disheartening. Artists, writers, teachers and mystics live in magical spots not just because they are beautiful but because they are quieter and less stimulating. They are the “in-between places where light, reflection, texture and form merge to create energy and life and force, and they speak to each of us in a different way”. (Quote by Wilhelm Worringer)
While some sensitives attempt to cope with changes in their landscape, others respond by seeking ever more remote locations to live.
Sensitives may be motivated to move for a variety of reasons that fall outside the considerations of most people. These reasons may even be impossible for the sensitive to verbalize. Whether a sensitive leaves an area because of a sense of geologic unrest or chooses an area because it feels invigorating or calming, he or she is often responding to qualities beyond the visual and social factors that most people acknowledge as influences.
Assistance on the Healing Journey: Choosing a Practitioner
The many healing modalities are tools for physical, emotional, spiritual and energetic expression and change. These tools facilitate such things as: the clearing of trauma, the opening of internal channels of energy and communication, and the integration of structural, energetic and emotional learning. Ideally, the practitioner has chosen a modality of practice in which he/she can participate as a neutral facilitator. Discovering the modalities that speak to you as a sensitive person and finding the right practitioners to assist you on your journey requires clarity and discernment.
Define What You Need
Defining what you need as a sensitive person may be a helpful first step in choosing a practitioner. For instance, at one point you may need help in expressing your emotions, and at another point you may want support in clearing toxins from your body. At yet another time, you may need help in several different areas at once. And often, you may simply place yourself before a person who you sense can help you, with no specific idea of what you need.
Through the work you do, you will discover what healing means to you. Your definition of health and your goals for your treatment may differ from the philosophy and goals of the practitioner you see. You may want to find peace and acceptance with a condition, while a practitioner may be committed to eradicating your symptoms of your sensitivity. A doctor may talk about fixing something, while you believe the presenting condition needs to be understood.
It is also important to remember that practitioners may offer a variety of gifts and levels of care. Beyond their declared fields of expertise, they may be offering you trust in yourself, metaphors for your experience, a framework for healing, new paradigms, and new models of how to care for and listen to yourself. It is your job to assess what the practitioner offers you, both at a skill level and at the level of intention. You can then evaluate whether what he or she offers is in alignment with your needs as a uniquely sensitive person.
Listening as well as you can to your system’s experience is part of your job during your healing process. The needs of your system may evolve over time. Decide for yourself how long you should see your practitioner if you are not experiencing results. Find out if your practitioner is committed to seeing patients for the shortest number of visits possible.
Part of the gift of this experience is that through it, you learn that you are your own best authority.
Be Your Own Advocate
Your ability to advocate for yourself as a sensitive is extraordinarily important when you interact with the medical establishment. Unfortunately, while their intention is to help you, most practitioners – whether they are practicing Western medicine or complementary therapies – are still unaware of what it means to be highly sensitive person (even if they themselves are sensitives).
As a sensitive person, it’s important for you to find ways to access your own authority when you are interacting with helping professionals. Once you become your own advocate, you can:
- tell someone what you need
- work with your practitioner as a peer
- keep your field clear of others’ thoughts and emotions
What to Look For in a Practitioner
These qualities tend to insure integrity in a practitioner:
- ability to admit mistakes
- lack of ego-based work
- respect for your experience
- intuitive knowing that respects your boundaries
- giftedness that goes beyond training
- commitment to ongoing learning (personally and professionally)
- inner solidity that allows for openness, calmness and lack of fear in interaction (no need to use authority to feel safe)
- trust in process
- openness to feedback
- interest in efficacy of work
- recognition that their way is one way, not the way
- willingness to refer to other practitioners and admit limits to their abilities
What to Avoid in a Practitioner
Here are some examples of what it looks like when a practitioner fails to respect boundaries, privacy, sensitivity or the power of the environment.
Allowing phone call interruptions; allowing strangers to enter your session; disregarding your feedback; ignoring limits you have set; calling to see if you want another appointment; doing unsolicited energy work with you at night; sharing their personal lives; initiating friendships while you are in treatment.
Violations of Privacy
Leaving medical records unattended where patients can access them; inadequate soundproofing; insufficient screening between spaces; inadequate seating in waiting area; allowing insufficient time between client appointments; discussing other clients.
Insensitivity to Sensitivity
Presence of strong odors of chemicals, incense or herbs; inappropriately bright lighting; noisy office location; inappropriate or loud music; inability to modulate room temperature; loud and clashing wall colors; distracting artwork; failure to adequately prepare you for what to expect in the treatment.
Disregard for the Power of the Environment
Unclear directions, unclear location of office entrance; unclear bathroom location; unclear protocol on any aspect of your visit; excessive clutter; an invasive receptionist; inappropriate magazine selection.
Experiences of Abuse in the Therapeutic Setting:
- Being told you are resisting
- Being criticized
- Being yelled at
- Being shamed
- Having your request or stated need ignored
- Having your limits ignored
- Being told you don’t know what is best for you
- Having someone do long distance work on you when you have not requested it
Points to Remember:
- You are your own best authority
- You need the vocabulary to explain and advocate for yourself as a sensitive person
- Meet your practitioners as peers
- Ask practitioners what they can do; say no when the answer does not fit your needs
- Blind trust is an abandonment of yourself
- Have compassion for practitioners; recognize that they carry their own fears and are also learning
- Never abandon yourself-always keep yourself company though any procedure
- Honor your inner wisdom
Inner Challenges on the Road Home
Discomfort with being different
- Rage/fear/despair at being different
- Fear that being in your truth is dangerous – that it isolates and alienates you / that you will get blamed / that you will get punished
- Denial of your uniqueness and sensitivity which denies your truth
- Expectation to be like others / treating yourself like others
- Belief that something is wrong with you when others don’t understand you
- A lack of vocabulary for your internal experiences
- Absorbing the experiences of helpers and those around you without knowing it
- The experience of disbelief – If nothing is wrong with you, how can others be as they are? How can things be as crazy as they seem?
- Loss of self by taking on the reality of the therapist or helper
Inability to honor your own process
- When you fear emptiness – the space in which things unfold
- When you turn against yourself by: doubting your choices, comparing yourself to others, thinking that your healing process is a waste of time, looking for the product
- When you absorb the cultural fear of crisis and pain / when you believe in the need to “fix” rather than witness, attend to and deepen
- When you respond to surface experiences – “bounce”- rather than going deeper to your core and the place to anchor
Tools for Clearing and Integration
My work with clients has convinced me that there is much a highly attuned person is required to pay attention to that exists below the radar of traditional therapy.
When it comes to healing work, many types of intervention are like sledgehammers to a sensitive person. Sensitives are required to go beyond the world of allopathic medicine, (where all that is treated is the physical manifestation of the energetic misalignment), and move toward work that addresses the core energetic state.
The following fields of subtle work can be extraordinarily helpful for a sensitive:
- craniosacral work (www.upledger.com)
- vibrational medicine
- Touch for Health
- Educational Kinesiology
- Sensory integration
- Neurological integration (www.handle.org)
- Soul-level astrology
- Flower essences (www.fesflowers.com)
- Imaginal Studies
- process acupressure
- Chinese medicine (this is a broad category)
- neuroemotional technique (NET)
- eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- DNMS for trauma
- energy psychology
- ayurvedic medicine
- visceral manipulation
- somato-emotional release
- jin shen
The list of healing options is always expanding. This can increase the challenge of discerning which therapies are best for you throughout the course of your healing. I am happy to discuss different modalities with you.
Because I can not keep track of changes in the nature of a practitioner’s practice, nor of personal changes that may impact the practitioner’s work, I no longer provide referrals on my website.