Being quite sensitive, as in having senses that are very much alive, awake and aware, can leave someone shaking with overload or feelings of being overwhelmed. Working with the senses we find that it is truly a gift, not a curse.
I am a very sensitive person. Not just in the emotional sense but also in my physical senses. I have very acute hearing (though sometimes selective, my husband says). I am very sensitive to light levels. I am extremely sensitive to changes in the weather, barometric pressure changes often giving me headaches or feelings of nausea. I have very delicate tastebuds – food that is barely spicy for most people sets my mouth on fire. My sense of smell is such that it can often hinder as much as help me in my life – I find it hard to overcome any smell that I find unpleasant. As for touch, perhaps it has to do with living with practical awareness as much as possible that allows me to really feel things – when I’m typing on the keyboard I really feel the keys, when I am driving I feel the road through the steering wheel – I have very vivid memories relating to the sense of touch.
I can easily be overwhelmed by today’s society. Walking in the local garden centre a few months back, I had to leave as I was bombarded with visual displays in every aisle, each one making a different noise, talking about a different product, clashing with each other and taking attention away from other things. It became one big not-so-background mess of noise and sound and sight that I had to leave. I later emailed the garden centre to tell them of this – they agreed that others had complained as well.
If a thunderstorm is coming, I know it. If it will soon clear, I know it. I can feel it in my bones. It can leave me on the bed, nauseous. However, when it does arrive, I can also revel in the glorious energy that it brings. It needn’t always be a detriment.
When walking in the woods, the slightest sound or flicker of movement makes me aware of the presence of deer, ghosting through the trees. My fingers touching the bark of an old friend, an old oak, I can feel the years of its growth, its songs and its stories. Listening to the waves of the North Sea lapping upon the shingle beach, I can hear the songs of my ancestors.
Like all things, I’ve simply learned to adapt my sensitivity and to avoid situations where I become overloaded. Large cities are difficult for me, so I tend to stay away from them. Cinemas are far too loud and so, if there a movie I must see in the cinema and cannot wait for the dvd or television release, I bring earplugs. Similarly, I can use those earplugs when at the garden centre, though they seem to have toned down on their visual displays since I last contacted them.
I see my sensitivity as a blessing. I can smell winter approaching. I can feel the point when the sun has set past the horizon. I can stroke my cat’s fur in full awareness. Work with the gifts that you are given. Nothing is great and glorious, everything has a shadow side. Learning that the shadow is not something negative is truly freeing and enabling.