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Sensitivity

In recent years, sensitivity has undergone a profound reevaluation. It's no longer seen merely as a trait but as a form of intelligence—a gift of having a deeply attuned connection to the rhythms of our internal landscapes and the external world. This ability to be deeply attuned means there's an extraordinary capacity to be present and relational in a way that is aware, generous, and inviting. Sensitivity isn't just about feeling emotions more intensely; it's about being exquisitely responsive to energy, our felt experience. Sensitivity allows us to be beings of high attunement, which is sensitivity plus relationality. This means that, in addition to being exquisitely responsive to the energy surrounding us, we can also be exquisitely responsive to the interplay of energy inside us and around us. Energy, constantly flowing through us and between us, or the absence of energy flowing through and between us, forms the very fabric of our existence. In essence, sensitivity is a unique ability to sense this energetic dance to a degree that is more tangible than most. It's an ability to touch and be touched in a profound way. Picture sensitivity as an intricate instrument, finely tuned to produce harmonies of profound depth and beauty. Just as a skilled musician nurtures their relationship with their instrument, so too must sensitive individuals cultivate a deep understanding of their nervous system, or music maker. Through this writing, I hope to create more awareness around how sensitivity—our permeability to emotion: energy in motion, and the condition of our nervous system to allow that energy to flow, has a great impact on the overall health of us as individuals and as a collective whole.


Sensitivity is a combination of the amount of sensory information or energy being absorbed, the length of time that energy is felt, and ultimately how deeply that energy penetrates the layers of our body. High sensitivity equates to energy absorbed in large quantities, felt for a longer duration of time, and penetrating into the deepest layers. As we delve into this realm of sensitivity, we encounter both its brilliance and its shadow. For many, innate gifts are misunderstood, belittled, dismissed, or even criticized by the world we need to welcome them. When the parts of ourselves that hold these innate gifts are not welcomed into the world, we resort to hiding them, rejecting them, or even abandoning them to survive. In early years, a large part of survival is the ability to maintain relationships. When we perceive that certain parts of us threaten the quality or even presence of relationships, to survive, we have to separate ourselves from those parts. This disconnection from parts of ourselves can have profound consequences, such as chronic stress, emotional turmoil, and over time, trauma. The capacity of the environment to hold space for the entirety of the child sets the stage for the health of the child and thus the child’s nervous system. A healthy nervous system is one that remains open, flexible, and fluid. This ability of the system to have movement, or flow, means that the energy, absorbed as our felt experience, can be digested into usable forms of information and intelligence. In an unhealthy or even traumatized system, energy does not have the same capacity to be received, flow, or become grounded and transformed. Instead, it gets lodged and locked into certain areas of the body. This eventually echoes as physical pain, medical issues, and emotional and mental health issues throughout a person's whole being. In the same way, we need any external electrical system to move charge and be wired to take that charge to the ground before it can surface as power or light; we need our internal electrical system, our nervous system, to be wired and flow in a similar manner.


For example, a child who is less sensitive has an experience that “hurts their feelings,” something almost all of us can understand to some degree. During the experience, a less sensitive child may only absorb the equivalent of 5lbs of energy, and that energy may only live in their field and body for about 5 minutes. Meaning that the child will remember, recall, or experience the hurt of that exchange for 5 minutes, and as such, that hurt may only penetrate skin deep. In other words, the child will move on from that experience quickly and quite unscathed. Now let's look at the same scenario through the lens of a highly sensitive child. The amount of energy absorbed during the experience of a highly sensitive child is equivalent to 35lbs of energy that lives in and around their body for 60 minutes, and as such, touches deep into the core of their being—their belief system. Meaning that the weight of the experience is carried and felt by the child for some time. As this is carried, the hurt continues to move deeper into the child’s being. Ultimately, this energy traveling through the layers of the body drops into the subtlest layer, the belief system, where the energy of the experience forms a long-lasting internalized belief. The child will carry this belief until that energy can be digested or moved through and down the body. From this example, we can see that so much of our experience is subjective, AND also really happening.


Our nervous system is responsible for how we are able to digest and perceive our experiences. When our nervous system has not been able to digest the past, the past continues to be the current life experience. In other words, even if the experience of now time is different from the experience of past time, we will still feel the unprocessed energy of past time as though it is now time. We will feel like the past is continuing to repeat itself. We will believe things about ourselves that create cognitive dissonance. In that unprocessed energy, parts of us are stuck in the past as non-flowing energy, even though parts of us will be able to participate with now time. The wounded parts of us and the life-affirming parts of us are living in two very separate and isolated places. Thankfully, as we participate in attuning to that past hurt, we can create space for that past energy to be received, to move, to be digested, and ultimately integrated back into life. As this happens, we can gain wisdom from the past stuff and create space for the freshness and richness of present life to land. As we participate in digesting the energy that we can feel or even the feeling of numbness, over time, our nervous system learns to be wired in a way that is akin to a flow state. Instead of feeling unsafe, reactive, recoiled, contracted, or avoidant in the presence of energetic or emotional material, we remain soft, flexible, and receptive to its presence.


Like Thomas Hubl's teachings on collective trauma, we realize that our sensitivity and the energy we may be processing are not just personal but also deeply interconnected with the traumas of our ancestors and the collective communities we live in. It is as if we are carrying the echoes of that pain within us and the longing of that pain to be acknowledged and felt so that it can be transformed into the wisdom it was meant to be. The journey to reclaiming our sensitivity, which is interdependent on rewiring, stretching, and strengthening the capacity of our nervous system, is one of personal healing that can have a ripple effect on collective healing and transformation. It involves not only rediscovering the beauty of our own emotions but also learning to navigate the intricate dance of energy that flows through us and between us. This journey requires us to confront the ways we've learned to cope with past hurts and traumas, often by uncovering buried parts of ourselves deep inside. Ultimately, embracing our sensitivity is about reclaiming our power—the power to feel deeply, to connect authentically, and to transform our pain into wisdom and compassion. It's about honoring our vulnerabilities as sacred gifts and learning to hold space for ourselves and others with grace and compassion. Healing is possible. By embracing our sensitivity and learning to regulate our emotions, we can begin to untangle the knots of trauma that bind us. This process requires courage, vulnerability, and above all, grace—for ourselves and for others. As we learn to hold space for our own pain and allow others to witness and hold welcoming space for us in this process, we also expand our ability to create space with and for others to do the same. As a result of this, we are able to experience life in its fullest spectrum of vibrancy and offer that rich experience to others. In this way, sensitivity becomes not just a personal intelligence but a catalyst for collective healing and transformation. As sensitivity is reclaimed and nurtured, we once again feel harmonious flow in and between our inner and outer world. This harmonious flow radiates out to touch everything along its path with the same beautiful tone.

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