Hello Highly Sensitive Souls, Empaths, and All,
I hope you are doing well! I am sending my love and appreciation to all of you and especially those of you who follow my posts! Thank you!! I am feeling a camaraderie with you and a deep empathy for the unique painful rollercoaster journey that accompanies being a highly sensitive soul and an empath. We are so complex but sometimes all it takes is for us to feel very seen and heard and validated for the injustices we experience and then we are renewed and recharged to get back out there and shine our lights in the world!!
I’m feeling very renewed at the moment and so I want to offer hope to any of you who are suffering right now and not feeling hopeful!! There is hope! You are special and you are sensitive for a good reason! You are enough and just your being here on the planet raises the vibration, even if you don’t feel like you are!
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted because I’ve been going through so much. March was intense and I feel compelled to reach out and connect with you all because well by nature I always want to help others–if you are having a hard time with sudden life changes well I understand completely and I am right there with you! I made it through to a very positive place and so I want to pass on to you what I learned. There is so much hope!
Oh my gosh! Where to begin? I don’t want to speak in generalities and I don’t want to vent about my personal life too much so I will try to just be vulnerable and truthful. Life had been going along one way for years and now I’ve been on this spiritual awakening journey and gradually things had turned upside down for me. Twice in the last week I started spiraling and even my usual supports weren’t helping. I was shocked! I’m the one who has it all figured out and helps others how can I be feeling so out of control and panicky, I felt like I was falling in a black hole. Everything around me felt like it was crumbling away. I didn’t have a panic attack, I’ve been fortunate to never have had one– what I had was an excruciating migraine that was caused by my own negative spiraling thoughts, for hours! …Until I asked, what in my life would make me feel better. The answer that came to me was, something big in my life had to CHANGE.
Then I looked up online Dark Night of the Soul and found what Eckhart Tolle said about it. I was immediately comforted just because what was happening to me had a name. I was having an existential crisis. Here are some parts of Eckhart Tolle’s article that helped me the most:
The Dark Night of the Soul–“It is a term used to describe what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life…an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness.” “…Really what has collapsed then is the whole conceptual framework for your life, the meaning that your mind had given it. So that results in a dark place. But people have gone into that, and then there is the possibility that you emerge out of that into a transformed state of consciousness. Life has meaning again, but it’s no longer a conceptual meaning that you can necessarily explain. Quite often it’s from there that people awaken out of their conceptual sense of reality, which has collapsed.
They awaken into something deeper, which is no longer based on concepts in your mind. A deeper sense of purpose or connectedness with a greater life that is not dependent on explanations or anything conceptual any longer. It’s a kind of re-birth. The dark night of the soul is a kind of death that you die. What dies is the egoic sense of self. Of course, death is always painful, but nothing real has actually died there – only an illusory identity. Now it is probably the case that some people who’ve gone through this transformation realized that they had to go through that, in order to bring about a spiritual awakening. Often it is part of the awakening process, the death of the old self and the birth of the true self.”
Besides the migraine, I also was experiencing this falling sensation of impending death and as if the walls around me and life as I knew it was crumbling away. So at a point of desperation I asked my Self, what in my life would make me feel better. The answer that came to me was, Something had to Change. I started imagining some of these changes in detail and magically my migraine started to slowly dissipate, I felt hopeful but perplexed and awestruck by this Dark Night of the Soul experience and I was able to finally feel hopeful and get some sleep after what seemed like the longest night of my life. (Reading Eckhart Tolle’s article had helped too–full article is here).
The next morning, I felt a new sense of aliveness and I took some action on these changes feeling more empowered then I had felt in a long time. But surprisingly the changes that I imagined didn’t end up needing to be THE THING after all–but some painful conversations with certain people in my life opened up what REALLY needed to happen. Then surprisingly my heart just burst open with clarity and LOVE and gratefulness for everyone involved like never before. Suddenly all the changes that I wanted I no longer needed but it was actually the experience of having the dark night of the soul that had changed me–I felt like my heart had grown 3 sizes like the grinch when he got super powerful and turned the sleigh around–I no longer needed other people to change and I had all the answers inside all along. My compassion for myself and others in my life and gratefulness for my journey had grown exponentially as well and a renewed passion in my career of coaching and energy healing and my music! I’m sooo excited like never before and with such clarity and newfound energy about my true purpose in life. Wow!
I feel grateful that my Dark Night of the Soul experience was shorter than what some people experience. After researching this, I have new empathy for the hell other’s go through. I am also aware that this may not be my last experience with this–one never knows how the Universe is going to challenge them to grow when we are unknowingly resisting change with all of our might and our Higher Selves have a different plan for our souls’s journey. What I have learned is more Trust! I trust that I am being guided to experiences that are opening me up and challenging me to grow in ways I didn’t know possible. Holy Hell LOL!!–the pain I went through was excruciating but I guess it had to be purged and experienced so that I can be a hand to hold for others going through it too.
There seems to be no way to skip over this process if it is happening to you. I am not a licensed therapist for those of you experiencing a prolonged depression. But I can share my experience of healing which was by way of writing and doing deep inner grief work in a journal which for the most part started for me in 2003 and then all the songs of hope and healing started pouring out of me in the years that followed. I credit the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron for helping me find this positive True Voice that was inside me all along. Whatever you journey looks like please know that I believe you will come out the other side and that your journey is teaching your soul something that will be of great value.
After my Dark Night of the Soul experience last weekend, words can’t describe my new vitality and passion to get on with my life’s work. All winter long I had been soul searching looking for direction and energy and drive to move forward consistently with this blog, my spiritual counseling and intuitive coaching work, energy healing, and my performing and writing my songs of hope and empowerment. AND I am so grateful now to be experiencing this new gift of realizing I’m a channel and always have been–It is profoundly honoring and a humbling experience for me that I now feel stronger to fully step into this role and say yes, I’m a channel for spirit here, having a human experience to help others, who are struggling with deep questions about how to embrace their gifts of sensitivity in an insensitive world. I’m here to tell you when you step fully into loving yourself and taking responsibility to learn tools to daily rise back into your truth as a shining light for the planet you will start attracting more and more positive people and experiences that will help you feel like life is all falling into place. Then you can relax and just be YOU! And you are so wonderful, just as you are, my dear sensitive souls, I’m grateful that you are here with me to help raise the vibration of the planet!
Sending you so much comfort, love and light as you continue on your healing journey,
Hi everyone. I’m happy to be back. I had a wonderful vacation and it is also great to be back home. I am feeling renewed and energetic now (five days after we returned) but I was extremely exhausted when we first got back. And my husband bounced right back after like one day–and so, comparing myself to him, I was feeling very much lost and empty and discouraged…. and then started wondering how will I ever write another post and even…how did I ever write all that stuff I already wrote–I was spiraling negative thoughts again–my inner critic took over! And it was so hard to decipher–I just felt bad and exhausted with no hope in sight. So I wrote in my journal and it helped!–so I thought I would share with you my technique.
First of all, in journaling you must tell yourself that no one is going to read this ever! –and mean it and believe it. Then you let loose with all your feelings. I started out saying ” I feel horrible! I can’t remember who I am or how to feel good.” Within 2 sentences though I remembered, ” I used to feel this way all the time as a child.” And then, “Oh yes this is childhood pain coming up to heal. I just had a wonderful vacation! My inner child is expecting to be punished.” Then my own compassion kicks in with ” I need to be extra nice to myself. I am being too hard on myself. Do nice things for myself today. I am a highly sensitive person. No wonder I am tired–vacations are highly stimulating–just give myself extra time. Everything is going to be okay.” Before long I am cheering myself up. I have over-ridden my inner critic–that negative voice inside my head. This process always amazes me because I feel like I should be “fixed” by now and should never feel bad again. But that is the negative voice in my head–the pressure from my mother to “be happy — just get over it, you are too sensitive blah, blah, blah.” That is the opposite of what I needed as a highly sensitive child. On vacations I would get overwhelmed, over-tired with all the new sights and activities. I know I deserved kindness instead of impatience, rest instead of guilt for slowing them down, compassion for my ability to see the beauty in the small things like nature instead of annoyance about my questions and my disappointment in their lack of carefulness with my feelings. There was nothing wrong with me. There is nothing wrong with me now. My only mistake was believing them when they blamed me. I don’t believe them and choose to be around people who are safe and kind and who like me easily. My husband is one of those people and was the first to remind me to not be so hard on myself and to take it easy. He was right.
Do not be discouraged if this technique of journaling does not come so easily to you yet. This takes a long time and lots of effort deciphering the truth of what you went through and what you truly deserved as a highly sensitive child. The book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is SO helpful in guiding people through the journaling process that helps unblock creativity (finding your voice and your true self!)
Many different techniques help me to find my voice and vitality again. Sometimes it is playing my songs when I am feeling so lost I don’t remember being able to write songs. Reading your own journal helps too especially if you are the kind of journaler who ends up feeling hopeful after you write. (You have to make yourself do it–it doesn’t come natural to read your own stuff when you are feeling bad about yourself–you’ll be surprised how your own words lift your spirits.) Other times I read books or blogs by people with a compassionate voice and I recover my own compassionate voice. Elaine Aron wrote the book on “The Highly Sensitive Person” and was the catalyst that started the HSP support groups that have grown and spread in cities and online. Online, I read her article on “the problem of bearing an unbearable emotion” that she wrote in her newsletter for Feb. 2006 and I immediately felt “found and validated” just by her compassionate words–my energy came back and I was excited about my life again. I hope my blog does the same for you.
I was fortunate to have some time to find myself and work on myself and read self-help books and write in journals while my children were growing up because my husband was so grateful that I was home raising emotionally healthy kids–he is a “thinking” type although a highly sensitive guy (an INTJ), whereas I am a “feeling” type (an INFJ). (See the book by Keirsey and Bates in my Recommended Books section for a test on temperament types.) He had an even more difficult childhood than I did and is grateful for my compassionate ways. When I think of how far I have come, it feels rather miraculous so I want so much to help others who are as lost and hiding as I was. I believe that those of us who are the most sensitive and almost destroyed are an important resource to this planet if we can join together and rise up as a voice of love, peace, and compassion. The fact that you are feeling beaten down is the very indicator that your sensitive ways have been misunderstood and need to be put to better use. All you need is a witness to validate the injustices you have suffered and then you can rise up and start speaking your mind and being a messenger of compassion that the world needs. DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE! You are exactly the way you are supposed to be. Be kind to yourself and learn to love yourself.
Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life is a book I have been reading on and off for 15 years. The positive affirmations in her book I use daily now but felt so foreign to me when I first got the book. One of my favorites is “I give myself permission to be the best that I can be”. Growing up I was not allowed to express my authentic self (or be my best) because it threatened my narcissistic mother and she would withdraw her love and approval. My mother was jealous of my many gifts. I didn’t know I had any gifts at all because she was determined to control me and keep me close and, in her view, if I knew I was gifted I might leave her. That whole concept was hard for me to grasp because it would never occur to me to be that way or be jealous of a child of mine–it is my responsibility to help my child see all his/her gifts and how special he/she is. So this explains why I couldn’t have compassion for myself–I trusted so completely in my mother. And also then came the question “why would God give me a mother who was so manipulative and unloving?” That was another chapter in my life that I now have completely resolved. God did not arrange for me to have this emotional pain and hardship but has given me the inner strength and compassion to overcome it and become strong. Had I not had a mother like that I would not be reaching out to help others who also experienced a mother like that right now in this moment.
In this moment, I am happy and complete and grateful for all the pain I went through to make me this strong. But while I was in the pain and lost and alone and not knowing how to let God’s love in, I was not grateful–no way! But there was a pivotal moment when I was crying in despair that I became aware that no one but me was going to rescue me–of the two of us, my husband and I, I was the stronger one emotionally. Something Eckhart Tolle said in his book A New Earth helped a lot. He said something to the effect of… I am not all that happens to me–I am ” the presence” that observes all that happens to me…. It made me realize I am not this abused child who is forever a victim. I am all the wisdom from what I have learned from it and can comfort my inner abused child through it. I still keep learning it over and over and each time it gets easier to find myself again. So do not give up. You who are hiding and afraid to speak up–it’s okay and you have every right to be afraid. But that it is not all of you. You have a gift, a wisdom, a compassion, that is sorely needed in the world. Don’t let the bullies and controllers and competitors win. They are not like you and so cannot understand you. But you can understand you! You are on this planet for a reason exactly as you are. Change only the people you are around. Elaine Aron says that HSPs have an easier time overcoming depression just by changing our environment to being around people who love us and accept us as we are. She says “get out of competitive environments where you have to fear that you will be judged, rejected, or seen as a failure, and stay around those who like you.” (see her newsletter the Comfort Zone , and the article called “A Few Happy Things Regarding Depression”). I am adding her website to my blogroll. It is hsperson dot com. I hope I have helped you to feel more hopeful and happy. You deserve it. You are a highly sensitive person and that my friend is a gift. Thank you to my readers.
My very first post, Dec. 30, 2009:
I Was Lost But Now I’ve Found Me
Lyrics By Roxanne Smith
I am strong but they can’t see me
I am wise but they can’t hear me
You are there to help me sigh
And surrender to the truth
That I learned from my youth
That I had you all along
The painful lesson is now a song
I am sad and you are there to hold me
I am weak and you are there to guide me
I am scared and you are there to love me
I was lost but now I’ve found me
I was lost but now I’ve found me
I was lost but now I’ve found me
Original Song © Roxanne Smith