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Entries organized under True Living

What really matters?

In True Living, True Self, True Work on June 8, 2016

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If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re the kind of person that believes life is precious.

From time to time I imagine you stop to think about what really matters and how you want to live your life.

You care about this stuff but, if you’re like most people, it inevitably slips off your radar amongst the everyday busyness of life. I get it, I really do.

This week someone whom I admire deeply, have been inspired and supported by, passed away. Way too young and way too suddenly. It hit me in the heart and I’ve been enveloped ever since in a deep sadness for her beautiful family.

It has made me stop and think deeply.

We’re good at pushing through, striving, keeping going, getting it done and keeping quiet.

We’re good at wearing blinkers to shelter us from how we really feel and what really matters.

I wonder how many words, emotions, wishes and desires lie inside each one of us waiting to be let out? How many are buried so deep that they struggle to be heard?

When do we take the blinkers off? When do we halt the activity, press pause and lean in for long enough and deep enough to feel, to hear, to know what matters?

I pressed pause this week and listened to the whispers inside. Checked in, grounded myself and made adjustments.

I would love the chance to sit face to face, soul to soul with you and press pause on life together.

To allow you to hang out with yourself.

To rekindle your relationship with your inner being and gather all the bits of yourself you’ve lost or buried along the way so we can put them back together and see, unfiltered, who you are at your precious core.

To witness your friendship with yourself blossom as you trust yourself, hold your own hand and walk your journey of life with meaning.

Maybe one day we could do this (drop me a line and I’d love to) but until then stop a while from your journey of keeping going and striving.

Take a seat, a sojourn, a rest.

Switch off the noise that encircles you and feel cradled in space.

Breathe.

Intimately scan your body and tune into how it feels.

And start a conversation with yourself. Write it down or speak it out loud, but mainly listen.

  • Deep down, what’s aching to get out?
  • Where do you feel lacking in your life?
  • What do you crave more of?
  • What are you ignoring?
  • What feeds your soul?
  • How intimately do you know yourself?
  • When do you feel alive?
  • Who understands you?
  • What truly matters?

When you truly know what matters, I believe in;

  • saying it, compassionately and honestly, not leaving it unsaid
  • doing it, with dedication and courage, not leaving it undone
  • living it, with love and intention, not pushing through life unlived.

And remember you matter, not a little bit but so much. So;

 Ring your bell so we hear it.

Shine your light so we see it.

Share your soul so we feel it.

The formula for flow

In True Living on April 27, 2016

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I’ve been a planner since a very young age, even if I didn’t know the word for what I was doing.

The cycle of getting clear on what I wanted, setting a plan and putting my head down to work hard and make it happen, was a constant in my life. There’s no denying it served me well and many good things have come into my life as a consequence.

Yet, there’s also no denying that many things in my life haven’t transpired according to my well intentioned plans.

Like my degree course which was discontinued during my first year leading to a new plan that involved changing universities and delaying my studies by a year. So much strength, friendship and confidence came to me as a result.

Like the plan my husband and I made to start a family which took 5 years longer than expected, but gifted us an incredible son and more growth and clarity than I thought possible.

Like renovating house after house with the aim to settle peacefully in each one for many years and, for a range of reasons, ending up selling each one and moving on. Not only did we grow in confidence with renovating but we found the house we now so joyfully call home. And yes, we are renovating it!

So now you’re expecting me to say ‘don’t plan‘ , but really that’s not what I believe.

What I know now is that I tried to push my plans through time and time again, despite the unexplainable resistance I was experiencing. Tirelessly working to make it happen.

Each time I accepted the plan wasn’t working, I felt deep disappointment and failure, went into rethink mode, rewrote the plan and kept moving on more driven to make up for lost time.

Who was I kidding? I was thinking I was achieving so much and yet at what price? How much easier could it have been?

A plan is an idea, a best guess, a way to focus our action towards something we aspire to achieve. It’s not real. It’s not a guarantee. There’s so many variables, one being ourself, none of which you can fully control, predict or force.

Life is full of surprises and often they don’t make sense.

And yet, at the same time, life is truly beautiful.

The meandering of so many lives into one creates moments, situations, lifetimes that can never be predicted. Some which take our breath away and some that shock us to our core.

A greater force is present. Whether for you that’s God, the universe or an unknown element, it’s bigger than anything in us individually or collectively. It flows through us if we let it. Like when we’re writing or painting we are literally taken on a journey, not knowing or even thinking about where it will go because we are in it. At one with it.

How can we trust this life force enough to be “in” our life? To be at one with it? To truly live and not get rigidly fixed on the plan.

How can the plan be clarity of what we desire in the knowledge that sometimes we don’t have the complete picture in our hands at the time of setting our course?

How can we not feel let down when we need to give up on a plan we have been working towards and evolve towards another?

How can we surrender to the flow of life?

For me, it’s literally summed up by;

Clear desire + spacious & focused plan + mindful work + curious acceptance of life’s unpredictable force = Flow

Clear desire
Knowing what you want, truly want. Not what somebody else out there thinks you want or thinks you should want, but what you truly want. For this you need to know yourself and compassionately trust yourself.

Spacious & focused plan
A clear plan with a focused path but with lots of open space for changes, for unexpected twists and turns and no sign of unrealistic timelines.

Mindful work
It takes work and this is rewarding because it is taking you towards your true desires and yet it is still work. This work is quality time, mindful time, true focus.

Curious acceptance of life’s unpredictable force
The undefinable factor which we can’t plan for and yet by loosening our grip, we can allow it to have a place alongside us knowing it’s such a critical part of finding our flow.

How would I say this to a the structured, driven, planned me of the past?

Would it feel like I was talking another language? Or would the me that’s always been inside, let it in just a crack, a slither and cradle it until it grows and builds and takes over? Or would I dismiss it as not being part of the plan?

I will never lose my passion for planning, I find it so helpful in focusing me in a world which often feels like it has no focus. Yet, if you have been like me and been welded to the plan, rigid, stuck, locked on, exhausted and exasperated then there is another way.

There is a way for life not to feel like a constant disappointment by accepting what has always been, what is and what will always be….life. Not giving up on what you desire but working with life and not against it.

Life simulation

In True Living, True Self on March 16, 2016

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As Benjamin Franklin once said, “nothing in life is certain except for death and taxes”.

At times this reality can create terrifying fear whilst at others joyful excitement around the unknown journey ahead.

Of course we have a huge influence over so many aspects of our lives and yet, for all of us, uncertainty weaves its way into our every day.

Whether it’s the state of health of my family, the fluid timeline of our renovation, the response to my work in the world or something else, there’s always so much I can’t control.

And these are only the things I know about. If you add in totally unexpected events like health fluctuations, accidents, job changes, economic shifts and the like there really is no end to the possibilities of what could happen each day, each hour and even each minute for each one of us. The mind truly boggles.

When I take a step back (because it’s so hard when you’re in it) and look at these things, I realise that more than anything, these circumstances are the scenery of our lives but not life itself.

Our precious life is the evolving relationship we have with ourselves, the emotions and perspectives we gain from what we experience and the growing awareness we have around who we are and our purpose for being here.

Our lives are our internal world.

In a way, these outer circumstances we navigate act as a unique inner training simulator. A place where we are given the opportunity to learn about who we are. I mean who we truly are at our core.

As a mother of an almost 5 year old, these thoughts conjure up images of an intergalactic flight simulator offering smooth voyages, bumpy voyages and full on catastrophic ones. I envisage the pilots with a real alertness, focus and thirst to learn and a willingness to engage fully and whole heartedly in each voyage.

The things we navigate in our own ‘life simulation’ act as an opportunity to deepen our knowledge of who we are. Like the simulation pilots, we will make mistakes, big and small, and if we hold the outcomes loosely and engage fully and mindfully in each and every experience, we have the chance to live so much and so deeply on the inside which is surely the only place we can live?

Of course, I hear you say, life is not a simulation. There’s no reboot option. It isn’t a dress rehearsal, it’s real. Beautifully real at times and excruciatingly real at others.

Maybe the realness of life is the motivation to engage with it fully on the inside. To delicately hold the circumstances that come our way on the outside and allow them to teach us and share their wisdom about the precious person that we are so we can truly live our lives.

I believe that if we can focus on life being what we experience on the inside, the fear of the uncertainty of the outer world loses its intensity and in many ways importance. That’s not to undervalue the external world, trivialise the challenges it brings or encourage us to stop engaging with it, more to remember where life is really lived.

If you want to find out more about how to experience your life fully on the inside, I’d love to talk.

 

When the going gets tough

In True Living, True Self on February 17, 2016

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There are days when I feel totally and utterly lost. Days when I have no idea at all about what to do.

That’s right, even now when I know myself so much better and so much deeper. It happens much less, but it still happens. Maybe you’ve felt it too?

For me, it feels like the light has gone out of my life, the mist has rolled in and I am surrounded by a deep, all encompassing and everlasting darkness. A darkness that used to scare me, stop me from seeing the contents of my own head and heart. That made me feel so alone and utterly separate from the rest of mankind and separate from myself.

I feel stranded in the darkness and zapped of every inch of my energy.

On these days I used to deeply crave guidance on what to do. In the past, and even at times now, if someone came along on one of these days selling the holy grail in some form or other, I’d pretty much find myself sorely tempted to sign up for it. A marketers dream!

In the past I would try to scramble out of the darkness, to run and flail through sheer desperation to reach the light no longer wanting to be trapped.

Now I sit and label it life. Often I say it out loud, ‘this is life’.

I remember the fog will lift, the sun will shine, the light will return. For now I sit in the dark, no longer with fear or drama. The breathing steadies and I feel safe.

I also remember that it’s ok to down tools and stop and that being ‘unproductive’ is the most ‘productive’ thing I can do.

The deeply refreshing and replenishing benefits of blissful nothingness are within my reach. It truly helps. The last time I felt this way I watched a film, balled my eyes out and had hot soup and tea wrapped in a blanked on the sofa.

I focus on coming home to myself, rather than busying myself in activity, by noticing and befriending my body and really focusing on how I feel.

I write to shine a light on the darkness in the knowledge there may or may not be an explanation. The writing brings me back to what I do know and I sink into it like putting on a cozy glove on the coldest of days.

I return to some of my favourite writers  and bloggers (Wayne Muller, Elizabeth Lesser, Eckhart Tolle, Jen Louden, Lissa Rankin, Anna Lovind, Hiro Boga, John O’Donohue, Rebecca CampbellSusannah Conway, Rachel W Cole, Hilary Rain, Carrie-Anne Moss, Kelly Wendorf and Julie Daley). I nestle into their words, their wisdom, their hearts.

I read through notebooks and feel the words of myself and others washing over me, bringing back the memory of who I am as it guides me home and allows me to settle into myself.

I go out for a walk, or as a minimum breathe some air allowing it to wash over me and ground me.

All these things slow me down, reel me back and stop me from rushing headlong into mindless activity in an attempt to burrow me out of the black hole.

It’s a kinder, more compassionate approach which gently encourages the mist to dissipate and the sun to rise allowing me to see myself and the world around me.

Life is filled with a mixed bag and none of us can avoid the tough times but when they come it is such a relief to stop running from them and melt into a gentle and loving home.

 

 

How to Make Sense of the World – Introducing The Wise Woman Series

In True Living, True Self, Wise Woman Q&A on January 20, 2016

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I’ve been blessed to work, soul-to-soul, with hundreds of intelligent and beautifully open women from around the world. It’s a privilege I don’t take lightly and one of the deep blessings I count in my life.

Each one of these women are preciously unique, as are the reasons they courageously embark on a journey with me. These reasons are vibrantly varied in their specifics sitting somewhere within the realms of career, life transitions, health and relationships with themselves and others.

Yet, nestled deep inside, under those outer layers, they all share one thing – a deep yearning for guidance and wisdom on how to live as themself in this modern world.

This is a world that is more demanding, faster, noisier and busier than ever before.

This is a world in which it has sadly become common place to experience feelings of overwhelm, dis-ease, confusion, fear and loneliness.

It’s understandable that when these feelings surface, which they do for us all, we crave guidance and wisdom to support us to make sense of them and find our way in living our life in this world.

It’s my belief that so many of the answers lie within. When we find the space, courage and practice of listening inwards, in whatever way feels right, so much treasure can be found. This belief is core to my coaching and is why it’s my chosen way, alongside writing, and not one of the advice giving professions.

Yet, I deeply believe in the powerful and sacred effects of sharing our wisdom and collectively growing in consciousness on how to live.

Not every piece of wisdom will be right for us. As a recipient of wisdom we have the opportunity to catch it, place it within and discern whether it feels at home there and part of the lived experience we have already had. Maybe, even if we haven’t felt it yet in our own lives, it feels important enough to store it until the time comes when we can really experience it. Or maybe it’s meant to be released back to the outside world for someone else to catch.

There have always been challenges and complexities in life. Surely that’s an integral part of the journey of life, and in many ways is the catalyst for bubbles of wisdom to form and be captured. Yet times have changed.

For many generations wisdom sharing took place around fires, over meals, during daily working life, in places of worship and in writing and by consequence reading. Generations of women passing on their wisdom so it could be benefited from and retained within the circle of life.

Some of this exists today, yet it appears not to be as core or wide spread as it used to be for a range of reasons not least:

  • shifts in the central place of spirituality and the wisdom and philosophy it offers as an anchor to life
  • increased ease of movement creating shallower connections and a reduced role of family, a key vehicle for wisdom sharing particularly between generations
  • a loosening in the sense of community
  • excessive sharing of information via ever-growing technological platforms making it hard to find, sift and absorb the gold
  • increased busyness, speed and complexity of life
  • less celebration of and wisdom sharing at key life milestones
  • decline in the art and practices of letter writing and story telling

I have benefitted hugely from the wisdom of many dear kindred spirits and family members who role model and share freely their golden nuggets that now nestle within me.

I want to make a step towards filling the hole created by the loss of deep wisdom sharing by the modern day woman.

I want to unearth and share the wisdom of beautifully open, courageous, inspiring and deep women, rich in vulnerability and lived truths.

I am overjoyed, to the core of my being, to share with you every month a ‘Wise Woman Q&A’ interview.

A deeply introspective chat between kindred spirits sharing the stories of their journey home and their deeply lived and experienced wisdom.

This is not the beautiful dressed up in a bow, preachy, ‘you should’ kind of wisdom. It’s the real, rich, hard earned and compassionately shared wisdom which feeds the soul.

It is my hope by sharing this wisdom each one of us can walk forward feeling that bit clearer on how to live our life and can share it with future generations.

We kick off our Wise Woman Series next week with the beautiful Ana Ottman who deeply shares herself and her journey home. The inspiring Rachel W Cole joins us in February and the precious Anna Lovind in March with lots more wise women to come. Please join us and sign up here to receive notes from my heart and home and the Wise Woman videos.

What do you yearn for this year?

In True Living, True Self on January 13, 2016

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I used to say I wanted a simple life.

Come to think of it, it’s actually one of the first things I said to my now husband when I met him 14 years ago. And I meant it.

But now I really want simplicity, in fact I hear it calling me home.

For me a simple life means so much, yet in many ways is filled with so little.

The world seems to be anything but simple these days. We’re sucked into doing more, juggling more technology, being ‘on’ for longer, going to more places, having more, learning more, working to achieve a state of unachievable beauty and on the expectations go.

Amongst all the busyness, I often find that life is lost.

As we try to cram more in, I fear less is experienced. Less of our precious moments are savoured.

Amongst all the busyness meaning is lost. Beauty is confused. Daily miracles are taken for granted.

To step away from the might of this busy machine can be hard.

To step away requires a deep sense of permission which can only come from within.

A simple life looks different to us all. For me right now, a simple life looks like;

  • lavish quantities of time with my husband and son, pottering at home and exploring natures playground
  • watching, cherishing and learning from my sons journey and being there with him at each step of the way
  • nurturing the love my husband and I are beyond blessed to share
  • deep connection and friendship with myself and care for my mind, body and spirit
  • inviting the creative muse in, riding the waves with her and releasing the gifts she bestows on me into the world
  • deeply connecting with soulful women who are trying to find their way in life
  • being a kindred spirit for a handful of soul sisters

Yet it also means;

  • being super clear on what’s enough as it relates to so many aspects of my life from money and information to social contact and giving
  • being able to tune out of the noise, expectations and excitement of the frenetic world
  • listening to my body and respecting the wisdom it shares
  • saying no once and for all to striving, pushing and ‘should -ing’
  • welcoming in lashings of blissfully unscheduled time

In essence it means spaciousness which, it will come as no surprise, is my word for 2016 (if you fancy picking your word for the year check out Susannah Conway’s amazing ‘Unravelling the Year Ahead Workbook’)

It takes work and consciousness to make space in your life.

This seems ridiculous as I read it back to myself, but it’s true. It seems ironically easier to make your life busy than it does to make it spacious.

So this year I consciously and willingly give myself permission for spaciousness.

I choose to let the treasure within my life shine bright and to share it with others in a meaningful way. I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with you.

Whatever your hopes for the year ahead, may they be a guiding light as 2016 unfolds.

Rewriting Self Care For You

In Poetry From Home, True Living on December 2, 2015

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As a sensitive soul, self care is everything. In fact, in my book, whether you’re sensitive or not, self care is pretty much everything.

Yet I, like most of us, have battled to find my way towards truly taking care of myself.

This battle has been varied, taking me far and wide.

Like many of us, I was so attuned to the needs of others that mine lay by the wayside. I promised to deal with my needs when a series of actions to support others were complete. And of course, they never were.

Like many of us, I created a rigid and seemingly never ending prescription of things to do. I was able to juggle them and push hard to achieve them for a while, and then fell into an exhausted pile of overwhelm.

Like many of us, I enlisted the support of others who claimed to be my holy grail. They were ‘experts’ at creating plans and programs, but ultimately that meant busyness. One by one I became disillusioned knowing they weren’t experts in me.

Like many of us, this seemingly never ending journey left me with feelings of self-loathing. Why could they do it and I couldn’t?

My battle felt lost and I collapsed with exhaustion. The scary kind of exhaustion that you wonder if you will ever recover from. This was the most giving of gifts wrapped in the scariest of wrapping papers. It gave me a chance to find my deeper meaning for self care and I will be forever grateful for.

I took the chance to uncover who I was, to deeply unearth and fall in love with my sensitivities, my gifts and my soul purpose.

I was given the chance to become my own sweet friend, to genuinely be mesmerised by, cherish and take pride in who I am.

I took the chance to put myself back in the centre of my life and work out what makes me feel good and supports me to live my purpose in this world. To work out how to be there for others whilst being there for myself. To work out how to bring the little girl inside of me out to play.

I took the chance to become my own expert in me. If I did desire the support of others (which was invaluable at times), I sought out those who helped me to unearth this expert within, instead of stealing its thunder.

No more pushing and forcing. No more feeling not good enough. No more expectations and dictates.

I was back.

My self care was, and is, a gentle and compassionate journey of listening and befriending myself and my soul purpose every day.

My self care and sense of meaning go hand in hand and are fuelled by my deep belief in myself, whilst believing in each and everyone of you.

Here’s a little poem from me to you to act, I hope, as inspiration to take care of your deeply precious self.

 

Taking Care of Me

I am a beautiful soul

A gentle and sensitive being.

Placed inside me are life changing blessings

The world desperately needs to hear.

I choose to live each day with intention

To take care of my precious body and soul.

To listen deeply to the wise whispers from inside

Allowing them to effortlessly guide me to sparkle.

It’s not because I have to, should or must

But because I truly desire to let these blessings be heard.

I believe in each and every one of us

And for that reason I believe in taking care of me.

 

If you want help to find your inner expert, your purpose or your very own approach to self care, it would be my honour to support you. I truly believe in you. Drop me a note.

When the last thing you want to do is tell the truth

In True Living, True Self on November 18, 2015

Truth
I’m a fierce advocate for slowing down, turning inwards and listening deeply.

I believe in listening to the wisdom of our inner homes, unraveling our truths and building our lives around these truths.

I passionately believe that when we lead our lives from our unique homes within, we’re more able to live our lives. The unique lives which our blueprints, and nobody else’s, were designed to live.

From which point, we feel a solid and serene confidence within, an anchor that grounds us for a journey of fulfillment and flow – despite the inevitable waves of life around us.

Yet, I know how incredibly hard this can be.

Reflecting back on one such time in my life a few years ago lead me to question whether I do a disservice to this journey of finding our inner home, and acting out our lives around it, by making it seem easy.

Do I make it seem automatic?

A simple process to follow through from A to B to C?

Yet I know, time and again, this couldn’t be further from the truth. This stuff is frequently hard, and terrifying.

One hard scenario of this in my life was when a big, scary ‘I don’t want to hear it’ truth popped up a few years ago.

I wanted to run a million miles with my hands in my ears shouting, “La la la la la la la la la.”

It hit me in the heart, telling me what I think I’ve been ignoring for many months.

A friendship I’d been in for many years was no longer feeding me, or bringing out the best in me.

In fact, it has started to drain me, leaving me feeling sub-optimal and compromised.

Once said, I wanted to take it back. Somehow erase the memory and move on. Yet, I knew it felt real and true. I had to take heed.

I forced myself to think about what had changed in our friendship, what was no longer serving me and how I felt about this.

A serious and painfully honest conversation with myself, forcing me to unravel my authentic, yet terrifying path forward.

Once unraveled, the decision to share the truth with my friend made, the terrified voices in my head kicked in.

“It’s not that bad.”

“Maybe leave it a few more weeks.”

“It’s ok to have a few friends who don’t serve you.”

And more.

If finding our inner truths wasn’t hard enough, being able to accept them and do something with them can often be harder.

It takes great courage, determination and belief to act authentically and speak our truths – especially when we believe others may not want to hear them.

I know my determination to live truthfully from my inner home gets stronger each time I hear it and act on it.

Maybe I don’t give the terrified voices in my head quite as much airtime as I used to, but they are undoubtedly still there.

Yet, without any doubt, I know that once I’ve communicated my truths, I feel a step closer to being whole. Feeling lighter. Feeling in flow.

And it genuinely makes the fear of the unknown all worth it.

Interestingly, my friend was feeling it too (isn’t it funny how that is often the case?!), and we both recognised that our lives were moving in different directions. We were able to move forward with respect for each other, in the knowledge that taking a different path at this point in our lives was what we needed. No bad feelings, no painful ending, no needing to avoid them or worry about what they were thinking. Just truth.

I take my hat off to every single one of our wonderful species who dares to speak their truths, if only once.

You are an inspiration to us all. We need you.

 

What truths lie inside of you, waiting to be released to allow you to walk closer to feeling at home in your life? Contact me here, I’d love to hear from you and help you as you walk the journey home. 

 

 

Shinning the Light on Sensitivity

In True Living, True Self on November 11, 2015

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Friends, clients and colleagues often ask me for advice and information about what it means to be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

They ask me questions like:

  • “What is an HSP?”
  • ‘’How did you know you were an HSP?”
  • “What careers are best for HSP’s?”
  • “Is my child an HSP?”
  • “As an HSP, how can I make my boss/partner/family/friends understand what I need?”

This is a topic I love talking about for so many reasons.

I’m an HSP

I proudly identify with the term HSP. My life changed so profoundly when I understood and accepted this aspect of myself. No longer did I feel an intense pressure to morph into someone else; instead, I embraced the precious and sensitive person I am.

When I did this, it was as if the light in my life switched on for the first time, and I could finally be at peace with myself.

I’m a mother to an HSP

I have a wonderfully sensitive little boy who has, unbeknownst to him, taught me so much. I’m honored to have him by my side on this journey called life – yet, like any mother can appreciate, it’s not always easy.

Together with my non-HSP husband, we have found our way and my little one is thriving.

I work with HSP’s

Having spent the last 8 years as a coach, and 7 years prior to that working in Human Resources, I have coached many wonderful HSP clients.

Each one, undeniably whole as they are, has suffered from the pain that comes from not feeling at home within themselves or their lives.

The life-changing journeys I have travelled with these beautiful souls mesmerize me. Seeing their results gives me conviction to support other HSP’s in finding their place in the world, where they can thrive as they are.

I learn about HSP’s

I have read everything I can get my hands on in relation to HSP’s, and I attend training courses run by the National Centre for High Sensitivity in the UK. I also connect with other HSP professionals around the world.

Today, I want to start the HSP conversation in an attempt to brighten the lives of those who may be in the dark about a beautiful part of who they are, at their very core.

I want to shine a light on these precious souls, so they can be exactly who they are and own their unique place in the world.

Key facts about HSP’s

Through my research and my personal and professional work with HSP’s, I have found so many trends but the core of which are:

  • One in every five people are HSP’s: The first researcher to identify this unique and meaningful trait, and confirm that every fifth person possesses it, was renowned psychologist and author Dr Elaine Aron (fascinatingly, she has found more than 100 species with this same prevalence of the trait)
  • An equal amount of men and women are HSP: Although many of us assume being HSP is more likely to be found in females, there’s actually an equal split between the genders
  • Being HSP is a natural, inherited feature: Just like your eye or skin colour, being a HSP is a quality that’s genetically inherited
  • HSP’s can be extroverted as well as introverted: Almost one third of HSP’s call themselves extroverted, even though many of us would assume that being highly sensitive is more likely in introverts
  • HSP’s have sensory sensitivities: They tend to notice and feel very subtle changes in their environment, like light, sound and temperature – and well as emotions in others
  • Deep reflection and processing occurs in every HSP: This processing could be in the form of taking time to make decisions, coming up with more creative or detailed ideas or having a greater appreciation for the meaning in their lives
  • They find it easy to feel over-stimulated and overwhelmed: New, busy, intense, noisy or chaotic situations can often cause overwhelm and exhaustion in HSP’s – and in today’s bustling culture, these feelings are increasingly common
  • The highs and lows are intense: Whether they’re reacting more strongly to beautiful scenery or artwork, or affected by negative feedback or emotions of others, HSPs feel emotions powerfully and forcefully
  • There are even biological differences: As an example, blood flow to the areas of the brain responsible for processing emotions is significantly higher in HSP’s
  • HSP’s can thrive, with the right support: When they’re in an environment that nurtures their sensitive side, HSP’s can flourish socially and academically – and, they can achieve an ideal state of wellbeing

As you can see, many of the characteristics that HSPs can have challenging aspects including:

  • A deep sensitivity to all types of pain: HSP’s feel physical and emotional pain very intensely
  • A strong desire for time to recharge: They often require regular time out to recharge from the stresses, pace, competing priorities and noises of modern-day life
  • Being easily impacted by others: HSP’s can be deeply affected by violent films, negative moods and the complex emotions around them
  • Sensitivity to loud noises: They are often easily startled by loud or sudden noises
  • Being careful with the types of foods they eat: It’s common for HSPs to be sensitive or allergic to a range of foods, eg dairy and gluten
  • Needing time to adjust: They may need to take time to feel comfortable in a new environment which can be incorrectly seen as shyness

The gifts of HSP’s

Being an HSP undeniably has its challenges, particularly when it can feel like the world is designed for non-HSPs. Yet HSP’s possess many precious gifts, which are a blessing not only to HSP’s but to those around them and the world at large:

  • Powerful intuition: HSP’s can access a hugely powerful force in their lives with far reaching impact for themselves and others
  • Heightened sense of pleasure: they experience immense joy and meaning from positive experiences
  • Inner depth: HSP’s have a rich and multi-layered inner world which often result in meaningful and significant perspectives
  • Creative: they can have great appreciation for, and skill at, creative pursuits such as music, arts, literature
  • Empathetic and compassionate: HSP’s are likely to be in tune with the emotions and energy of others and can use this positively in their careers and family lives
  • Deep connections: HSP’s build deep friendship and romantic connections
  • Love for nature: they take immense pleasure and energy from nature

Are all HSP’s the same?

I believe we are all preciously unique, whether we’re an HSP or otherwise. I believe the more we learn about ourselves, the more we can befriend ourselves and feel completely at home – in ourselves, and in our lives.

Starting my HSP journey allowed me to bring my pure self into this world, unfiltered and unapologetically. Yet it’s not the only reason I am who I am.

I believe each one of us is the delicious sum of a unique combination of parts, creatively layered together in an individual manner. Who we are, and how we choose to live our lives, are not simply reflections of one layer – they’re the multi-layered whole. And, the more we get to know each layer, the more we get to know the whole.

It’s my wish that we’re all given the opportunity to know the multi-faceted layers of our unique selves.

I value your help in spreading the word about the HSP layer. I encourage you to share this information with those who may benefit from it, and contact me with your questions and thoughts whether your an HSP or not.

Twenty percent of the population are HSP’s, and so many of them are thriving; the world needs each one of us, no HSP needs to be alone.

If you want to know more about being a Highly Sensitive Person, here are a few places to start:

  • The Highly Sensitive Person by Dr Elaine Aron
  • The Highly Sensitive Person in Love Dr Elaine Aron
  • The Highly Sensitive Child Dr Elaine Aron
  • The Strong, Sensitive Boy Ted Zeff
  • Sensitive the Movie – a recently released documentary on HSP’s

And if you are interested in reading some of the scientific research papers start the journey here.

I have also benefitted from reading about HSP’s who share the many aspects of their multi-layered selves on their websites. Two of my favourites are:

If you’re an HSP yearning to feel at home or wanting to take some time out to retreat in an HSP friendly manner, connect with me here and let’s walk your journey together.

Rewriting the plan

In True Living, True Self on October 21, 2015

Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside of you that is greater than any obstacle.

I used to live my life according to strict schedules and rules.

I surrounded myself in black and white.

Life often felt like baking a cake by following a recipe: Step 1, 2, 3.

There was a time for everything and no time for nothing.

A schedule to be followed to the ‘t’. A list to be completed in its entirety.

This way of life felt like the only way.

It felt like the only way to get things done in order to feel a sense of achievement, progress and value.

It felt like the only way to deal with the intense expectations I placed upon myself (and I believed others did so, too).

It felt like the only way to be ‘successful’ using an insanely unachievable definition I took from the world around me.

To add to this pressure, I understood that there were things I ‘should’ be doing to be ‘well’, ‘good’ and ‘happy’ – and I baked them into my cake and by doing so added more and more pressure to the mix.

Individually each of these things were wonderful and helpful for someone (possibly not always me) but together they created a HUGE load and expectation to deliver. To be more.

There was rarely an unscheduled minute to be filled with blissful nothing. No opportunity to glide where life wanted to take me. No time to simply be.

Most of the time my body and soul gave up trying to share their wisdom as I overrode them, time and time again. It was exhausting.

Yet, somehow amongst all this, I managed to make some decisions that really were “me” and involved no thought, just soul:

  • Married my soul mate
  • Grabbed the opportunity to stay in Australia for 8 years more than our 2 planned years
  • Made my coaching skills official and stepped away from a senior HR career
  • Wrote to fuel my soul

These were the seedlings of me living my life from home. Allowing the plan or schedule to be rewritten or suspended. To, dare I say it, listen to what I truly wanted.

It is in those times that my head, and therefore the plan, were switched off, and my soul was driving the way. These were the glimpses of what I wanted my life to look like all the time.

Over time I became more and more comfortable tuning out to the external world and listening to me. Nurturing the seedlings of my soul. Opening up to my way, however that looked. And befriending the person I am, and have always been.

Fast forward to today. Sometimes my life benefits from a schedule and process to guide me, whilst at other times it’s free reigning without a recipe.  Sometimes I benefit from gaining insights from others, whilst at other times all I need is some time to listen to the wisdom within.

Today it looks like finding my way and trusting it to guide me home. 

It didn’t happen over night. It isn’t perfect all the time. But it’s rewarding, much more me and feels deeply like home.