Archive for Highly Sensitive

Heather Dominick, mentor to Highly Sensitive Leaders, is teaching “Weekly Activation calls” on A Course in Miracles, and I’d like to share something that spoke to me from a recent call.

(While I’m not sure what I think of A Course in Miracles itself, I do like the way Heather gleans very practical principles from it and applies it to being Highly Sensitive. I also like the Course’s definition of miracle: “a shift in perception.”)

The Miracle she taught on that so struck me was #30, about guilt. She talked about how so often, guilt is used as a means to control. How many times has someone tried to guilt you into doing what they wanted?

So I asked her: How do you handle it when someone does this—they try to guilt you into something that isn’t right for you? (A situation I was currently experiencing.)

Heather asked me, “What do you usually do?”

I admitted that I usually want to be gracious, so often I give in. (In my case, the person was using all kinds of things, from “we’re family after all” to “A good Christian would….” The latter especially tended to hook me.)

Heather then helped me to see that being gracious does not mean giving in. I could trust that I can handle conflict from a place of grace, which doesn’t mean saying yes out of obligation. It means that I can fully accept that other people have feelings and viewpoints of their own, and they may not like mine, but I can come from a place of “both/and”– which is grace.

“Grace in not an act, but a way of acting,” she said. With grace, I can consider “you and me,” rather than “you or me.”

Coming from a place of “you or me,” someone has to lose, someone has to give in. I was thinking that giving in was somehow grace, but it would be an act. Approaching the situation with grace means I can approach the other person from a “both/and” place. I can access the words that communicate what I need, acknowledge what the other person needs, and be OK with the differing needs being at odds. If I’m in alignment with my own deepest values, I can stand firm, and trust that the other person will be able to take care of themselves.

And if they can’t—if they try to draw me into the Dreaded Drama Triangle of Persecutor-Victim-Rescuer, I can refuse to be pulled into that triangle. So often when people use guilt tactics, they try to pull you into one of more of these roles.

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In a seminar for caregivers of people with dementia, I learned of a new (to me) technique that switches the nervous system to the parasympathetic (rest and digest) mode.

I’m thinking it would probably be especially helpful for those of us who are Highly Sensitive. (Take the quiz if you’re not sure you are.)

It’s called 5-4-3-2-1 and it only takes a couple of minutes.

When you feel yourself stressed or overwhelmed, stop, notice, and name (actually say the words out loud):

  • 5 things you can see.
  • 4 things you can feel.
  • 3 things you can hear.
  • 2 things you can smell.
  • 1 thing you can taste.

This will ground you in the present and send your nervous system the signal that you are safe. It will turn off stress and allow healing to happen.

You can also do this with children, or your partner, or a friend who is in distress.

And if you’d like more help in ways to alleviate stress so that you can heal, check out the free resources and coaching at HealingCodesCoaching.com.

On one of my routine checkups, my doctor reminded me of four pillars of health: sleep, nutrition, stress management, exercise.

When I googled “pillars of health” I came up with anywhere from 3-12 suggestions.

Most of them mentioned, in one way or another, “connections.” It is this that has taken the biggest hit with the pandemic, yet it’s so crucial to our emotional, spiritual, and even physical health.

So today I’d like to guide you to explore what your “crucial connections” are, if and how they’ve become disconnected during the pandemic, and how you can reconnect.

What are your “crucial connections”?

By this I mean, what kinds of connections do you absolutely need to be well in spirit, mind, soul and body?

CC BY-NC-ND by true2source

It’s not the same for everyone. For instance, Extroverts get their energy from connections to the external world, while Introverts gain energy from connections to their inner world.

Extroverts need connections to the outer world in terms of travel, social gatherings, visits to museums, volunteer work. All these took a big hit of course with the pandemic and the changes it wrought.

You may think Introverts fare better with the isolation of the pandemic, but that may not be true. Introverts still need people, they just need fewer and deeper connections. These too are harder to come by because of the pandemic.

Highly Sensitive People (HSP), whether Introverts or Extroverts, usually need connections with nature and a spiritual practice. Nature often soothes the Highly Sensitive soul like nothing else.

We all need connections to people we care about and who care about us. It takes time and effort to keep those relationships going. It’s all too easy to let friendships slide when you can’t get together in person. Yes, there is Zoom and Facetime, but connection through a screen is just not the same as a steady diet.

A crucial connection is a connection to God. You may have a block here—many of us do, from bad experiences with religion and/or parents who were not very godly.

This needs to be healed. A spiritual connection is crucial to a sense that our lives have meaning and purpose—proven to be a key ingredient to health and healing.

For instance, Dr. Ben Johnson credited a big part of his healing from ALS to his faith and his will to live. I believe these things are key to activating and amplifying the healing power of The Healing Codes. From working with thousands of clients, I have seen those with an active faith healing at a different pace and level than those with little or no spiritual connection.

What about connection to your body? How aware are you of what your body is telling you, in terms of its needs? If your body were to talk to you, what would it be saying? (Hint: it is talking to you.)

Then there are more personalized connections that are important. For instance, I need to feel connected to my books, to ideas. Some people need music to feel alive or fully themselves. Some need a beautiful, orderly environment.

Do a little self-assessment. What are your most important connections? Have any of them gotten neglected or torpedoed in the last year? What can you do about reconnecting?

For me, I realized some of my important relationships have been neglected. So I reached out. It was an effort, in some ways, because my life has become more complicated and there are more things to deal with now.

I’m finding myself more exhausted by “screens,” yet phone calls or Zoom get-togethers are often the only options, so I limit other exposure to screens. For instance, I don’t watch online video summits anymore. This way I can use the “screen time” to connect with the important people in my life.

When I reconnected with my body, it told me clearly that sleep has to be my #1 priority, and that I need more “breath breaks” throughout the day. (Click here for an audio “Voo breathing.”) Slowing down is not easy for me, but it’s a message my body keeps sending me.

After reassessing, what is the ONE THING you will commit to in the next week to make a change? It does not have to be a big thing. My motto: “A little is better than nothing.”

Once you decide on your One Thing, ask yourself what do you need to do differently to make your commitment happen?

For me, the commitment is to be to be IN BED before 11pm. What I need to do differently: set my alarm for when I will quit and start to wind down for the evening. And actually STOP when it goes off!

As I go through the week, if I find myself NOT doing what I need to do, I will stop to figure out why? Did I fall prey to doing “just one more thing,” did I get distracted by my phone, did I find I was just too tired and so went slower, did I not take into account the things that must be done before bedtime?

(Feel free to ask me whether I did it in a week!)

Assess your connections on a regular basis, and address any blocks with your healing practices. Keeping those crucial connections strong could be THE thing that will turn things around for you.

And if you need anyone to come alongside you in this endeavor—sometimes we can’t see it ourselves—or need someone to whom you are accountable, consider getting coaching at HealingCodesCoaching.com.

Why Healing Your Heart Matters

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You don’t need me to tell you that we live in very troubling times. It’s all around us, and we can’t escape it. Political polarization, uncertainty, job loss, the pandemic, social media nastiness (which I avoid totally), natural disasters, racial injustice, violence. Even if you limit your news intake, as I do, you still can’t avoid the negative energy all around.

For some of us, especially if we have the trait of High Sensitivity, the energy is palpable; we may even feel it physically.

Authors Dr. Lise Van Susteren and Stacey Colino wrote a book about it, calling it Emotional Inflammation. It’s a state “not unlike post-traumatic stress disorder, but one that stems from simply living in today’s tumultuous world.”

Some symptoms include sleep problems, hyperactivity, persistent grief, or inescapable worry about the future.

In such a climate as ours now, we need to be especially intentional about our own healing. Because healing the heart matters. Read More→

I’m Listening . . .

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I think I’ve cried at least once every single day for the past several weeks, if not months.

As someone who can’t help but feel and think deeply about everything, I have taken my time to respond to what is happening in the world, but especially in our country, about racism in particular.

I am and have always been about “healing heart issues.” I have worked with clients in 39 countries, and of all races and religions. Because I usually only use phone or Skype voice, I do not see my clients, and this gives me and them the freedom to relate at the heart level.

I have found that no matter the color of one’s skin, the same heart beats in all of us.

Having said that, I know that we are all affected by our culture and the surrounding culture. We have the same heart issues, but we don’t have the same experience. In our culture, there is wide disparity between socioeconomic and racial cultures. We can easily find many areas of injustice that need correcting.

I recently wrote a blog about distorted thinking, with the challenge to filter everything you hear or read—even what comes out of your own mouth—through this lens. Our culture’s polarization, for instance, is a perfect example of most of the thinking styles mentioned. And racism is built on ALL of them.

We need to first confront the distorted thinking, the heart wounds, that exist in our own hearts before we can clearly engage in any conversation about healing on a larger scale. As Jesus said, we need to remove the log in our own eye before we can see to take out the speck in our brother’s eye.

With that said, I am prayerfully asking God to show me any way in which my own heart and my own thinking need to be changed.

And I am listening. Deeply. With humility. Listening to my black brothers and sisters, to my friends and colleagues, to people who demonstrate that they are thinking clearly.

And I want to listen to YOU. If there is anything you have seen in what I have said that shows any kind of distorted thinking like that on my blog, or just plain ignorance, call me out, please. I promise to listen.

I believe that love is what is needed now more than ever. And love listens. Love allows space for another to be heard, without judgment. That is what I have always sought to do with my clients, friends and family.

After talking with thousands of clients the world over, I believe one of the greatest aches of the human heart is to be validated. To be heard.

I want you who read this to know that I believe you should be heard. That your experience matters. That YOU matter. Growing up in a home in which I felt like I didn’t matter because I was different (with the trait of high sensitivity), I get that deep need. “Black lives matter” is a very moving statement to me.

I am also listening to God, searching his word for his perspective. What I find is that to God, ALL lives matter, simply because he created every person. God himself loves diversity. You see this in the very first book of the Bible, Genesis, when he made an incredible variety of things, and you see it in the very last book (Revelation), where the vision is of “peoples from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9). From beginning to end in the Bible, God loves and values diversity.

And so should we, for that very reason.

God loves diversity!

Years ago in 2006, I wrote on my Abundant Gifts blog a post called “Room for All Kinds.” It moved me greatly to write it, and I offer it to you now: https://abundantgiftsblog.com/room-for-all-kinds/

This is the vision I hold to, and pray for. Before God we all stand equal . . . and beloved. When you know yourself—and every other person–as the Beloved of God, it changes everything.

My work is to help you see that you are the Beloved, and then I trust that God and your own aligned self will make clear the unique contribution you are to make to a world in which God’s celebration of diversity is meant to be made manifest.

The events rocking the world at this time, especially the U.S., are staggering.

I have felt deep pain in my heart space over all that is happening. So much pain, loss, heartbreak. Evil exposed (this is a good thing, but so difficult to witness). Injustice and violence.

The latter two especially make me feel physically ill. I learned recently that there’s a name for this stress that can affect us even physically, that feels almost like post-traumatic stress. It’s the pain that stems from taking in the energy of a tumultuous world (and, for people of color, the energy of passive and active discrimination and racism), and it now has a name: “emotional inflammation.” You can listen to a podcast about this here, or check out the book by Dr. Lise Van Susteren and Stacey Colino here. It helped me to understand how much we are all affected by what’s going on in the world.

(For the 20% with the trait of High Sensitivity, emotional inflammation is almost unavoidable; we take in so much more, and process it at such a deep level.)

The problem is, there are many narratives out there. So many nuances to an issue. So many people twisting the facts to fit their own narrative (or ignoring key facts). I feel mentally and emotionally exhausted just thinking about making my way through all of it to the truth.

But I am committed to doing so, through prayer, as God leads. I want to be part of the solution, not the problem.

One thing I notice, among the maelstrom of media, social and otherwise, is how rampant the dysfunctional thinking is behind so much of the narratives. When a friend sent me a link to a very helpful graphic on “unhelpful thinking styles,” I began to apply it not only to my life, but to what I was hearing and reading. Read More→

I am seeing an interesting phenomenon with my clients and friends, especially those with the trait of High Sensitivity: it seems like somehow we are all taking on a bit of the overall energetic “spillage” from all that’s going on in the world right now.

How this shows up in clients varies, but many of us are feeling things like “heartache, anxiety, grief” as well as the fear, loss of control, etc.

Some clients are finding that issues, including physical issues, that had been healed before are now showing up again. Others are finding it hard to pinpoint any memories of their own, but they nonetheless feel some sort of generalized and/or anticipatory negative feelings.

I believe what’s happening is we are experiencing what authors Dr. Elise Van Sustenan and Stacey Colino call “Emotional Inflammation.”

There may be a very positive side to this, though. I think that as we heal ourselves, we are also in some way contributing in a very real way to the healing of the collective. To the extent that we’re tapping into that, is the extent to which our own healing will help the world.

If all you feel you can do right now is focus on your own healing, that’s OK. Doing just that is making a contribution that may be much more than more “concrete” acts of service.

And if you would like some personalized coaching, check out HealingCodesCoaching.com. The Healing Codes and Immanuel Prayer are exactly what is needed for this issue.

As I write this, many people from all over the world have been “sheltering in place,” to one degree or another, for at least a month.

In that time, we have all been thrown into collective grief and shock, because the changes have happened so swiftly, so totally.

Every aspect of our lives have changed—forever.

Things will never be the same.

We need to grieve that. There are some days when grief looms large indeed for me.

Grief not only for what I’ve lost, but as a Highly Sensitive empath, I also feel the pain of countless others who are suffering.

Suffering the loss of loved ones. Loss of work. Loss of a business into which they have poured themselves.

And I can’t even think of the children who are abused, trapped in homes with parents who formerly could not bear the stress, and who now are at the breaking point.

Or other victims of domestic violence.

For everyone, a way of life has been changed forever, more or less, in one way or another.

How do we cope? Is there any way to come out of this crisis stronger?

I believe there is. If we can embrace the hidden invitations of this strange time, we will develop strengths that we can bring into the “new normal” we will soon, we hope, be able to forge. 

What we need is resilience. Here are two steps  to develop your resilience.

Step One: Find the Joy Amid the Suffering

The first hidden invitation, and a big part of the healing process, is to learn to find joy even in the midst of the suffering.

Joy? In the midst of suffering? Is that possible? Read More→

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I hardly ever promote products (other than summits). 

That’s because, frankly, I have to get that “click in my spirit” that tells me there’s something really special about this, before I can really get behind it.

That’s only happened a few times in my life. Each time, the results have been significant–for me and for others.

It happened when I first heard about The Healing Codes. Result: thousands of people helped to heal through the book I helped Dr. Alex Loyd publish, and the clients I’ve personally coached.

 It happened when I heard about Immanuel Prayer, and got trained. Result: an ongoing, unbelievable personal connection with Jesus Christ, and many people I’ve facilitated experiencing the same thing.

It happened with the Halo. Result: I and many of my clients who bought it got healthier.

It happened when I signed up for a coaching program for Highly Sensitive Entrepreneurs. Result: business miracles are already happening for me, as I’m learning tools to move me toward using my HS strengths (and developing some of my own–for you!). Side note: If you are Highly Sensitive and self-employed, or want to be, sign up here so I can keep you posted on resources that will help you, too, thrive.

It happened when I signed up for Julie Bjelland’s course and Sensitive Empowerment group. Result: the skills I’m learning to use to move from HS coping to HS thriving have been life-changing—for me and my clients.

These are the few products that have produced a “click in my spirit.” As I come across more, I will add them here.  If you have signed up for my Healing Heart Issues Weekly Digest, you’ll hear about them! Here are my further, more objective criteria for what I recommend.

Gifts from My Mentors

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From Thanksgiving to Christmas, I like to acknowledge the people who have enriched my life during the past year.

This includes, of course, my personal friends and colleagues. But you don’t know them. You can know and benefit from some of my “virtual mentors,” and those are the ones I want to tell you about.

As I reflected on those whose work has enriched either my spirit, soul, mind or body through sharing their expertise, several people came to mind.

Spirit. The most influential–and healing–approach I have ever come across is the Immanuel Approach, developed by Dr. Karl Lehman, a psychiatrist and the author of Outsmarting Yourself and The Immanuel Approach (which we Immanuel Prayer ministers, and he, refer to as “the big lion book” because it’s exhaustive at 759 pages!). From Outsmarting Yourself, I learned about “implicit memory” and how we get triggered, and how to calm body and mind. Dr. Karl Lehman’s work is all about how to let God come in and be with you in the pain, and thus heal it.

I was trained by Margaret Webb and Jessie Handy from Alive and Well in Immanuel Prayer, and continued with training from Dr. Karl Lehman through his Advanced Training seminar and monthly meetings in which local prayer ministers gather to watch and discuss a video of Dr. Lehman facilitating someone in Immanuel Approach. I also meet every other week with other prayer ministers to give and receive Immanuel Prayer. Read More→

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