Dear Sensitive Soul,
Welcome to this month’s issue of The Art of Sensitive Living. It’s been an interesting month for me. My sweetheart and I have been working through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, which has been a powerful way to strengthen our relationship. By the time you’re reading this, we’ll have completed the “reading deprivation” week, which has been particularly challenging for us! Read more about “Finding Yourself with The Artist’s Way” in today’s Tips for Sensitive Souls.
This month’s feature article, “Living Your Calling: Taking the First Steps,” was inspired by the January TeleGathering, in which we focused on how to deal with pressure in our lives. One theme that turned up was this question - how can we leave our old jobs behind to begin new careers when it seems like such a challenge? This month’s article contains some of my best ideas about how to take the first steps.
If you’re in the Berkeley area, consider joining me at Elephant Pharmacy this month for a talk called, “Are You Highly Sensitive?” It will be replete with energy tips and self-care strategies to make living a sensitive life easier.
Living Your Calling: Taking the First Steps
As a sensitive soul, working in a “regular” job is fraught with challenges. Many of society’s seemingly tried and true working standards are simply intolerable for us. Mainstream work culture and ethics exacerbate what is already seriously misaligned for sensitive souls. This sad fact is a real loss, though the average company or boss doesn’t recognize it. As sensitives, we bring so much to the working world – creativity, caring, warmth, intuition, originality, conscientiousness, attention to detail, thoughtfulness, thoroughness, spirituality, perceptiveness, and supportiveness, to name just a few. These qualities make us highly valuable employees.
But despite our strengths, I’ve watched fellow sensitive souls become burned-out, exhausted, overwhelmed, lost, bitter, and frustrated by continually casting ourselves against the harsh shores of the traditional working world. I believe this is because working 40-, 50-, or even 60-plus-hour workweeks is a disaster for our sensitive nervous systems. Fluorescent light bulbs suck our energy dry. Cubicles without fresh air and natural daylight sap our strength. Office politics and corporate bureaucracies drain our passion, idealism, and creativity. Our bosses’ expectations, combined with unspoken peer pressure inherent in working culture, tell us that work, deadlines, and clients come first before life, family, and well being. These pressures, along with our frequent inclination to put other people’s needs first, override our own natural reason when it comes to self-care and self-preservation.
So. What’s a sensitive soul to do?
For many of us, working on our own is ultimately the best answer. Getting there can seem like an impossible dream. What I’ve seen, however, is that working solo is entirely possible. And, there are many ways to get there.
The first step, of course, is knowing what it is that you want to do. (See my article, Work That Works for Sensitive Souls: Six Steps to Transform Your Career.) But then comes the next, and sometimes more challenging, step. Once we’ve tapped into our passion and discovered our calling and we know that we want to work for ourselves, how do we get there?
Here are a few ideas to get you started: ->
|Embrace Your Essential Self
Not doing the work we are called to do can be like existing in half a life, and can be incredibly painful at a soul level. What I’ve seen, however, is that when we get in touch with who we really are, and start living in alignment with ourselves and our sensitivity, we are naturally inspired to begin living the life we are here to live. It becomes a necessary requirement instead of a longed-for option.
So what I do is take sensitive souls through a three-phase program, designed to put you in touch with your Essential Self, the power of your sensitivity, and what you are here to do.
Here’s what one participant said about the program:
"Jenna, I am so grateful for the work we did together. You helped me synthesize so much and connect to the grief work that I am called to do in this incarnation. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude! I'll be in touch from time to time if that’s OK. I need the support of spiritual midwives as I continue to move through the big labor pains of birthing my essential self into this plane. Thank you again for all that you've done thus far."
– J.C. of Crowley, Texas
If you’re ready to start living your calling, call me at 510.528.1696 to schedule a free half-hour phone consultation session. I currently have one space available in my coaching practice, so if you’re interested in exploring the program and what it might do for you call now to reserve your space in this important program.
| Sensitive Souls in the World
I’d like to introduce you to three interesting sensitive souls who are out there in the world doing work that honors and employs their sensitive nature. Perhaps they will inspire you!
Christina Carroll is a sensitive artist who creates beautiful works of art. Here’s what Christina has to say about her art and her sensitivity:
“As a sensitive soul, I feel intensely. My childhood was beautifully non-judgmental, neutral, and playful. But it wasn’t until I maneuvered through life, like a pinball through the flippers, bells, and obstacles, that I learned there might be something ‘wrong’ or that I had a ‘gift’ born out of my sensitivity. I was praised for this sensitivity when it came through my artistic ability. Art was where I was accepted. The shadow side of that same sensitivity brought alienation in the sandbox, and still does in an office setting or close relationships. But my artwork is a safe haven, a place of peace. It's how I learned to rescue myself. I celebrate my ability to feel so deeply the light and shadow sides of myself and hold this gift in the highest regard. May you walk in the light of your own soul and find some peace and tranquility in my imagery and colors.”
See more of Christina’s artwork at her website: ->
Julie Hunn is a home-birth midwife based in Pleasant Hill, California. She’s a close friend and fellow sensitive soul. Julie has also been a godsend to my sister as she navigates new motherhood. Here’s what Julie has to share about her passion for the birth process:
“I believe birth is a highly individualized experience that must be treated with great care and respect. Midwifery works well with my sensitivity, because I am able to use my natural intuition and sensitivity in my interactions with clients and their babies. As an independent practitioner, I decide how to set my schedule. I support families in creating their unique vision for birth. I specialize in creating positive, natural, supportive birth experiences for mother, partner, and baby.”
Julie offers her expertise on pre-natal to post-partum issues ranging from nutrition, herbs, and birthing alternatives, to natural, individualized solutions for post-partum depression. She provides phone consultations for new mothers on these and other pregnancy, post-partum, and parenting challenges. You can reach Julie at 925.685.3985 or at the e-mail address below.
E-mail Julie: ->
Diane Armstrong, also known as the Queen of Plan Be, has spent a lifetime balancing her soul's call for solitude with her knowing that connection with people, places, and things is where her purpose lies. Because of this she is sensitive to the energetic vibration within every ‘thing,’ and has come to know how energy can either energize or drain our personal energy level.
Through the challenges of her own relationship with clutter, Diane has developed a way to tap into and access the energy of our "stuff" to discover what is attracting – and blocking – the flow of MORE into our life. Diane offers a self-guided e-Course on “30 Days to a Clutter Free Castle” and a “virtual workshop” on “De-Cluttering for Creatives: Metaphor and Meaning in Creative Spaces.”
Find out more about Diane’s courses: ->
30 Days to a Clutter Free Castle
De-Cluttering for Creatives: Metaphor and Meaning in Creative Spaces
The Art of
in the world
web site resources
other HSP events
Thursday, Mar. 17
11 a.m. PST
for Sensitive Souls
A free gathering with like-minded souls. Third Thursdays
of the month. Sign
up for details and announcements.
Monday, March 21,
2 p.m. PST
"Are You Highly Sensitive?"
Event at Elephant Pharmacy, 1607 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley
Do you often feel overwhelmed? Has anyone ever called you shy – or worse: “too sensitive”? You may be a highly sensitive – with deep empathy, high intensity, and powerful intuition. Come find out how to thrive and what it means to be a sensitive soul, including a self-assessment quiz, self-care tips, work strategies, and energy techniques.
Thursday, April 21
4 p.m. PST
TeleGathering for Sensitive Souls
Your Essential Self Program
Five-Star Products for Sensitive Souls
HSP East Coast Gathering
April 21-25, 2005
Bryn Mawr Mountain Retreat Center in Honesdale, Pennsylvania
Finding Yourself with The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, is a wonderful guide to reclaiming your inner artist. The book includes a number of insightful exercises and techniques to put you back in touch with your creativity – and more importantly, with yourself. I’ve long been a fan of this book, and highly recommend it to my clients. (See also my article on “The Power of Morning Pages.”)
What’s profound about Cameron’s work is how it helps you find and reclaim yourself – who you really are – through a series of seemingly simple exercises. This process of intuitive inquiry keeps returning you to who you are, what you want, and what’s most important to you, time and again. Being engaged in this inner dialogue will awaken you to yourself, and require you to begin to make the changes you’ve been longing for in your life.
I also find that the power of working with other individuals on the same path is highly rewarding and deeply healing. It is the process of “witnessing others back into a state of wholeness” that is intensely healing. If you’re interested in a group like this in the near future, Jacquelyn Strickland will be offering one soon. Both Elaine La Joie and I offer one-on-one Artist’s Way mentoring. Or you might consider starting a group on your own to explore this powerful material, or even investigate it yourself.
Contact me about one-on-one Artist’s Way mentoring: ->
A Call for Input
What would you LOVE to see written about in this e-zine? What are your burning questions and curiosities? Your feedback is welcome and desired! Please e-mail me your thoughts or ideas for future issues.