Dear Sensitive Soul,

How are you? Things here are exciting. My sweetie and I are in the process of buying a house, which is a challenging experience in some ways, and delightful in others. I seem to keep falling in love with the houses that are just out of reach. But my inner guidance tells me that we will find our place at exactly the right time. It's my monkey mind that wants to think differently. So the house shopping continues.

On the sensitive souls front, I had a wonderful time teaching my introductory "Are You Highly Sensitive?" class at the Elephant Pharmacy at the end of April. It is quite gratifying to connect with other sensitives in person. I look forward to returning there May 8 to preview my new Space Clearing for Sensitive Souls class. I'll be teaching it again by phone in July for those of you who aren't in the San Francisco Bay Area. Check the calendar for specifics.

I've also added another class, called Protection & Boundaries for Sensitive Souls. I've expanded my original Energy Skills class into two more in-depth classes, now called Basic Energy Skills and Protection & Boundaries. I'll be teaching them back-to-back this month on May 18 and 25. Even if you took the original class, consider coming back for greater detail. I'm offering a special low retake price to make that more enticing. Also, for those of you in far-away time zones where my classes are offered in the middle of the night, I'm working on making recorded versions available online. Stay tuned! The best way to be notified about this, and my other class announcements, is to sign up here: TeleClass Announcement List.

And last but not least, very soon I'll be offering a lower-cost, group-coaching version of my Embrace Your Essential Self coaching program. This group will only be open to six participants at a time, and will require an interview with me prior to joining.


Feature Article
Your Questions, Answered

I thought it was about time to answer some of the excellent questions you've been posting on my blog. The questions have been edited for brevity and clarity; they can be read in their entirety on the Your Biggest Questions page on the blog. Each question raises the topic of working with emotions.


Is it normal to hide out to avoid upsetting and overstimulating situations?

On April 18, 2006, Jessica asked: "My biggest question is if it's 'normal' for a highly sensitive person to cry, run away, hide out in their room, and avoid all future situations where their sensitivity was strongly provoked or brought out? I'm 20 years old. Anyone would think I'd already be driving a car, going to clubs with my friends, having 150 friends at that, going to college, having a job, making money for myself, or just living my LIFE outside of my bedroom, my computer, my books and my sketchbooks. But I don't because I have very, very strong emotional reactions to situations.

"Everyone says to just 'get over it' but they don't tell me how. 'Suck it up and shut up. Stop caring. Move on. Get a job. Go to school. Drive. Go out.' It alienates me and makes me feel as though I am abnormal, in a bad way."

Dear Jessica,

I answered your question because it reminded me very much of how I felt when I was 20. First of all, yes, I do think it's normal to avoid situations that have felt traumatizing. Second, there is nothing wrong with you for being sensitive. Third, what I suggest you focus on is letting go of the notion that you "should" be like a non-sensitive person and live a non-sensitive's life. This doesn't mean that you won't socialize, have jobs, or go out. But it does mean that you'll do it in a way that works with your sensitivity rather than against it.

Pushing through what doesn't work for you will only increase your aversion to it. Instead, I suggest that you begin exploring what YOU, Jessica, would LIKE to do and would feel comfortable with, and head in that direction. For example, it sounds like you love to sketch. Perhaps a comfortable place to connect with others would be in an art class or small sketching group. Gradually venturing out in ways that you enjoy will help you feel more comfortable and more self-confident, which will gradually build your ability to tolerate emotional challenges. Also take a look at my answer to Karyn, below, for more about handling emotions.


* * * * * * * *

How can I feel my feelings without such intensity?

On April 20, 2006, Karyn asked: "Without realizing it, I sometimes avoid feelings because they are so strong. I recognize that stepping over one's feelings does not work. But I also wonder how to feel the feelings without such intensity. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated."

Dear Karyn,

You make the point that avoiding feelings doesn't ultimately work, which I believe is part of your answer. The expression "What we resist, persists," applies here. Since many sensitive souls have been shamed for being "too emotional," and because our culture isn't exactly emotionally permissive, many of us try to repress our emotions as much as possible. This in turn makes them feel MORE intense.

I also think that many of us have a deep fear that if we "go into" our emotions, they will never end. As much as we might like to think this is true, it is not. We will not die, or be swallowed by pain as we fear, if we allow ourselves to experience our feelings. In fact, allowing ourselves to fully experience our feelings is what ultimately makes them feel less intense.

Our emotions are part of our own powerful inner guidance system. For instance, anger can be an indicator that our boundaries have been violated. (Read more about this in the October 2005 e-zine). Or, depression can let us know that our spirits have left -- usually because we are trying to force ourselves to do something we don't want to do (like trying to live a non-sensitive's life). Our upsets let us know that something is off for us, and needs correcting.

The key is allowing yourself to tune into your emotions and discover what they are here to tell you. Your emotions are a source of valuable information. Think of them as your friends, guides, allies, and healers, and see how that shifts your experience of their intensity.


* * * * * * * *

How can I stop crying when my daughter sings?

And here's an older one: On October 8, 2005, Donna asked: "In addition to being sensitive, I'm also very emotional. I wear my emotions on my face. I couldn't wear a deadpan expression if I tried! Is there a technique I can use to stop an embarrassing emotional response I have in public or anywhere, whenever my daughter sings? I start to cry! I can't stop. It wells up inside of me and my eyes start to water.

"Mind you, she has made other people cry too! She has a lovely soprano voice which belies her years -- she's only 8 -- and we're told she's going to go all the way. (Her dream is to be an opera singer when she grows up.) You can imagine how I feel each time I hear her sing -- that amazing voice coming out of her little body. But this crying business is so embarrassing. How can I stop it?"

Dear Donna,

The tricky part about your question is that many people will agree with you that crying in public is embarrassing. However, I want to suggest to you that your tears are a beautiful expression of your love for your daughter and a true reflection of the gloriousness of her singing. It sounds like it touches you deeply, and why wouldn't it? Her voice seems to clearly be a gift from Spirit.

As I said to Karyn: "What we resist, persists." Consider allowing your honest and authentic emotional expression to come forth, rather than struggling against it. That may shift the discomfort you feel about it. Breathe while you cry, and allow the tears. (I think we stop breathing when tears come as a way to resist them.) Your tears are beautiful and welcome.

I believe that our culture is uncomfortable with tears because we are collectively uncomfortable with emotions, not because crying is inherently bad. You can be a powerful model for truth and beauty in the world. Why would you ever stop?


Do you want your questions answered? Jenna responds to questions on her blog and in this e-zine when she can. Post your questions on the blog here and Jenna will periodically answer a few selected items. Or, if you'd like a personal or e-mail consultation with Jenna, sign up on her website, here.

The Art of
Sensitive Living
May 2006 Contents

feature article

upcoming events

web site resources
















Upcoming Events


Space Clearing
for Sensitive Souls

Monday, May 8
2:30 to 3:30 p.m. PDT

Elephant Pharmacy
1607 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, California
Introductory In-Person Class, F.r.e.e.

Energy Skills
for Sensitive Souls

Thursday, May 18
4:30 p.m. PDT

Sensitive Souls
TeleClass Series

Protection & Boundaries for Sensitive Souls
Thursday, May 25
4:30 p.m. PDT

Sensitive Souls
TeleClass Series

More upcoming classes and events on my website here.




Thanks for reading!

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