If you were told you were “too sensitive,” over and over again, until you began to believe it—this is for you.
This is for you, who feels overwhelmed often, bogged down by the mundane, by the violence, by the unjustness.
For you, who feels like maybe you were born too late, that you were meant to ride stagecoaches, or at least rugged, rusting trains, to write with ink and by lamplight, to lively slowly instead of spinning through this loud, electric world.
For you, who has poems or paintings pulsing through your blood.
This is for you, who feels and feels and feels.
Avoid cubicle work, avoid malls. Avoid being anywhere with glaring, fluorescent lights.
Instead, find and follow your natural rhythm, which is likely different than the breakneck pace of Western life. Set up your days in a way that supports your deep needs for sleep, walks in the woods and tea with friends.
Make room for spontaneous ocean breaks and naps.
Keep the company of nature—it’s as strong and as sensitive as you are. It’s as intricate, too, as perfectly imperfect. It reminds us that just existing as a tree or a patch of star moss or a human is beautiful and enough, and we don’t always need to do and do and do.
If you do visit the mall, know that you will need approximately an extra hour of sleep or time spent rolled up like a burrito in a tightly wrapped blanket for each hour you spent in the mall. Plan accordingly.
Find your tribe of likeminded, like-spirited souls. Understanding and being understood will save your sweet a** over and over again.
Your friends are your balm against everyone who tells you in words or with actions that you’re unright.
Watch for too much of anything—addictive behavior is a sign that your spiritual or emotional needs aren’t being met. If you’re sinking into too much food or TV, sex or alcohol, investigate. Those huge feelings that make us want to escape won’t go away if we cover them up, they’ll just smolder, and eventually erupt.
Keep things simple—weed your life regularly of anything that doesn’t serve you, anything that is too small for your vastness. Let go—with love if possible—of people and things that shrink you.
Limit your intake of news. Too much bad news will stick to your skin, making you feel helpless and hopeless. Especially in an election year.
Hold onto your wildness. Even as you root. Even if, just for instance, you are a middle-aged mom who is mostly tired. Stoke the fire of your heart often, even—especially—if it feels like only smoking coals remain.
It’s not too late to travel, to fall in love, to let go and start again.
The world is still yours when you are older than you’ve ever been, and sleepy.
Listen to music. Listen to silence. Listen to the spaces between silence.
Wrap yourself in poetry. Leave little poems and quotes that inspire you by your bedside. In your car. On your mirror. Bookend the day with them.
Let star-streaked words trail all around you, let them comfort the world’s bruises.
Know that you are enough. That you are not alone. That you’re not “too” sensitive, since there is no such thing.
All the great songs, stories and sonnets come from tuning in, from feeling everything deep in your body, from hurt and heart.
Mostly, know that your deep feeling is a gift, and not something to be whittled away. Use it. Make your mark, your sweet, sensitive, free-spirited mark.
Scrawl it out.
Tell us how it was to be here, to be you, to feel everything.
“Anything and anyone that doesn’t bring you alive is too small for you.” ~ David Whyte, “Sweet Darkness”
Author: Lynn Shattuck
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: LMAP Photography