It is easier for some of us to get caught up in worrying, overthinking, and overprocessing (which I kindly abbreviated as W.O. O.).
When I’m exceptionally tired, my state of woo-ness influences and amplifies nearly every nuance from the minute the sun taps the sky, with its colors, until nighttime deepens the queries. Lately, my insomnia has been triggering my sensitive woo trilogy, into overdrive.
Dr. Elain Aron, researcher, and psychologist for highly sensitive people (HSPs), refers to this as D.O.E.S.
D: Depth of processing. Highly sensitive people, go deep and do so naturally with just about everything.
O: Overstimulation. Too much of a good or not-so-good situation can really create havoc on sensitive souls.
E: Emotional reactivity and empathy. We feel others' emotions as well as our own. Therefore, we need daily doses of extra quiet.
S: Sensing the subtle. Sensitive people live inside the sensing world of the subtle. Every flicker, undertone, overreaction, every critical, or not critical word, (said or unsaid) is felt. Nature is part of our being.
What helps me to navigate this state of sensitivity?
What I have found helpful is to write about my woo state in my Morning Pages. I have a great appreciation for my Morning Pages, and that gratitude goes to Julia Cameron, for her book The Artist Way, where Cameron insightfully shows and teaches the reasons for writing Morning Pages. My journals hold tender revealing moments, however, they also free me to write more creatively.
Morning Pages vs. Evening Pages
In addition, to my Morning Pages, I’ve added another layer. In the evenings, especially after a longish day, when I really need to tap into my soft soul space, I write my Evening Pages. I don’t know if Evening Pages are a thing, but it feels good to me.
What I do in my Evening Pages is quite a bit different than in the morning. I write a sentence or two, daydream for another page, then explore the sounds present. I find a beautiful connection with gratitude and enjoy the heartbeat with Nature. Life slows down to a sweet quietness and I can finally relax.
Sometimes I ask myself: In this very minute, what am I grateful for?
I almost always grow teary, just because that’s who I am and it doesn’t necessarily mean I am sad. For instance, this time, I was overcome with joy. I wrote:
I am grateful for the spaciousness of being single.
I am grateful when alone isn’t lonely.
I am grateful for how life is a gift to be able to do as I please.
And then, as if I couldn’t go any deeper, I did. And I wrote:
I’m teaching myself to notice joy.
I’m starting to understand I don’t need to be a certain way to fit in. There’s no requirement to be thinner, wiser, busier, quicker. I don’t have to be bolder, louder, and more successful.
Why? Because I no longer need or want to fit into a particular persona or image.
As if Maya Angelou joined me that evening, her words reinforced my sensitive soul:
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.” ~ Maya Angelou
I am letting my heart be my lead. She is my partner with all her sides — from the not-so-perfect to the immensely subtle, sensitive, and sensual.
“If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?” ~ Maya Angelou
Please know, you and I are completely, undeniably, epically beautiful.
Just as we are. Isn’t that incredible?
Let’s shower ourselves with love, which leads to self-acceptance. Let’s teach this to each other and embrace our differences. Let’s start now.
Originally published on Being Known: I'm Teaching Myself to Notice Joy: A short exposé on the beauty of self-acceptance and joy
Carolyn Riker is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in private practice. She is also an author of three books. Her most recent book is "My Dear, Love Hasn't Forgotten You."