One of the advantages of being a Human Hedgehog (or HSP, hello there!) is that you are strongly geared towards noticing things and learning. A LOT of the time.
OVER TIME, this adds up to a big benefit in life even if early on it may look like we have mostly struggles and overstimulation to contend with.
This time of year is important.
Not because “it’s Christmas” but because the culturally strong threshold of the old year ending and a new one beginning lends itself perfectly to reviewing and articulating what we’ve learned.
I’d like to support you to harness your learning from this year and to celebrate your life by sharing with you a one page Annual Review Ritual: a PDF I’ve created for clients.
The most important learning I’ve had in 2018
I’d also like to tell you about my single most important discovery this year.
Both to encourage you (in several ways) and also because once you’ve named your biggest learning, it’s time to start making use of it any way you can.
Riches are for enriching life, to benefit the whole, not for hoarding, right?
My single biggest revelation of this year is about living from purpose and it’s becoming a revolution in my life. Hopefully, one way or another it will affect yours too.
Learning from role models
Let me tell you how my revelation about the power of purpose came about.
Ever since I remember, I paid attention to people whose ways of living impressed me (and usually it’s somebody having both love and power in their life, not only one).
When I made a commitment to champion sensitive people in particular, my search for role models became about finding people who were sensitive and had both love and power in their lives.
One such person to me is Miki Kashtan, an international trainer of Nonviolent Communication (NVC).
I was lucky to be able to learn with her again this year during the three days dedicated to “Working for Transformation Without Recreating the Past”.
I was learning about the difference between good intentions and true transformation but I was also observing Miki closely.
Watching her like a hawk and listening like an owl, my attention peeled, from hunger to understand how she does it.
How can she be highly sensitive (she identifies as one ) and work internationally, run big groups and such a full on schedule?
If I understood that, I could better support my goal to help those who see and care most deeply to impact the world more.
Much more of influence from sensitive, caring people is needed if you ask me, but I digress.
From all my senses peeled, I finally got it, when Miki talked about purpose. From HOW she talked about purpose and from the fact that she clearly navigated her decisions, chose what she did and didn’t do depending on that.
It explained her strength to me and it showed me where sensitive strength comes from.
“Purpose is fuel”
When Miki said that purpose is fuel, it named an alternative to being stalled by circumstances, including by whatever constitution we were born into.
I’d like to interview Miki one day to tell you the story of how she orientated her life to purpose so strongly.
For now, I can only share what her way of being and working has taught me: that living from purpose, articulating purpose to yourself, makes you stronger than you’d be from only operating by your nature or nurture.
What this means if you are highly sensitive
Being sensitive, seeing and being affected by life deeply, naturally brings out love and compassion. It’s a natural strength that comes with the trait.
But having thin skin in a busy, power-over culture, can mean getting overwhelmed and upset a lot, i.e being drained of power. And also it can mean being suspicious of power because of how unloving the use of power has been in the world.
But love without power (the ability to act) is ineffective. We need both.
Without power, without fuel as Miki put it, we live in excruciating pain of seeing what is not working but being unable to act for change. Which further adds to overwhelm and entrenches powerlessness.
So here is what I understood and is revolutionising my life.
When you live from purpose, rather than navigating circumstances, you access the best kind of power: the strength to take loving action.
How drowning in overwhelm ceases
Being sensitive and choosing to live from purpose is how drowning in overwhelm ends.
If you have sensitive system in this world, you’ll always be bombarded by more than is good for you. But when you have a purpose that focuses and strengthens you, you won’t let your life become ABOUT that. You’ll find ways to self-regulate as fast as you can in order to be available to your greater purpose.
Now, it may be worth clarifying what I mean by purpose here. I wouldn’t want people to get bogged down in big searches for purpose and get overwhelmed about that.
By purpose I mean ANYTHING that is resonant for you enough in a given moment or period of time, that you will be completely motivated to get over your self-judgements and go show up for that.
Please understand. I’m using strong language here not to criticise but to shake us out of the place of experiencing sensitivity as a reason to be powerless.
It’s not. You can experience anything as an obstacle or an opportunity depending how you relate to it.
And when you add power/fuel to your sensitivity, when you combine love with effectiveness, you have means at last to be the change you want to see in the world.
This matters because the world really needs sensitive intervention.
But only everywhere!
What does living from purpose look like?
It’s early days in my integrating this insight in my life but I like what is becoming possible with it.
Instead of looking for how to spend my energy (the pressure of love) but then worrying about being energetically bankrupt, I look to articulate what my purpose is first.
When the day starts.
Before I meet or communicate with someone.
Before I spend money or time or energy.
The difference I’m experiencing through this is less overwhelm and healthier energy balance.
I have more to show for my day and less worry.
I dare to reach more people and to say ’no’ more than I risked before.
It’s a more promising balance: for my health, for my finances and for my work life.
Next steps from here
Watch this space because I’m likely to become more visible, to have new ways to make your life better in 2019 and to offer them with more conviction.
Because your being strong as well as loving matters to me and is necessary for the survival of the planet.
In the meantime, and to support your power and living from purpose, please email me YOUR top learning from 2018 and while you are at it, also your number one struggle.
You never know, I may have an offering: an article or a program to help with that, in 2019.