Uncover the Sun

Grief Styles

All of us grieve differently, and depending upon the culture there may be expectations of how to do so “properly.” In some cultures, talking about the person who died is considered taboo, because it may bring back their spirit, resulting in a haunting of the living. Mentioning them by name or even naming a child after a departed soul may be frowned upon. In other cultures, naming a child after a dead relative may be a way to honor the relative and impart some of their strengths to the child.

In many countries, mourners create an altar in dedication to their ancestors, treating them as if they are still part of everyday life. The dead are not considered to be really gone, just physically away for now. Some folks keep many mementos visibly displayed around the house, others may have a special corner, or not want to share them with guests at all. And one woman told me that in her country everyone knows that sometimes dead relatives get into fights with other people’s dead relatives, and she has had to leave parties because of the spirits arguing so much.Continue reading

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Connections

We label them: mom, dad, brother, sister, son, daughter, husband, wife, lover, teacher, student, etc., but many of our connections have no description that fits easily. Sometimes we meet someone and we are instantly friends for life. Or not.

Our connections may defy explanation, like how we may tolerate the behavior of one person, but not the same behavior in another. Our friends may be as varied as our personalities. We might have many friends that we could invite to a party and they would blend well, or we might wind up with a hodgepodge of disparate folks who can barely relate.

Some people bring out the best in us; we feel safe, comfortable, and expanded in their company. Around them possibilities abound. We feel loved and accepted. Around others, we may feel small and unheard. And there may not be anything these folks are saying or doing to make us feel this way, we simply do not feel comfortable. We may love them dearly too, but not want to spend a great deal of time with them.

We might meet someone who is highly skilled and very successful, like a teacher, doctor, therapist, or business person, and we may not be able to connect to them or they with us. And because that person may be an authority, we might assume there is something wrong with us, especially if everyone else we know thinks they are amazing. And they may be exceptional, just not for us. Continue reading

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Being Sensitive

Maybe you’ve been to a doctor’s office and were told that despite your symptoms, there’s nothing wrong with you and therefore, it’s all in your head. And by the time your ailment shows up on a test, it’s become much more serious.

Maybe you avoid stores with strong scents, and you avoid going to concerts or the theater, because people wearing cologne or perfume make you nauseous. And you get tired of explaining to friends why you won’t go to concerts with them; loud noise gives you a headache and wearing earplugs all of the time isn’t fun.

I use the word “sensitive” to describe someone who perceives at a heightened rate, feels things deeply, and notices or experiences energy, emotion, and sensations that others may not. Many of us are sensitive on different levels and to different stimuli, and that may even vary one day to the next.

Physically sensitive individuals may: experience extreme side effects when taking medicine, and in fact may respond better to wholistic medicine like naturopathic, homeopathic, energy work, or acupuncture. They may have food allergies, react poorly to changes in the environment, and notice the effects of pesticides, Wifi, perfumes, and pollutants. They may be able to discern between scents easily, and startle easily at sudden sounds.

Sensitive folks may respond badly to being touched, even casually, by people they don’t know. They may dislike labels on their clothing and complain about rough seams. They may feel pain more quickly and intensely than the average person. They also may be highly attuned to their bodies and feel sensations at subtle levels that most people aren’t even aware is possible, like feeling the coursing of blood though their veins, micro movements of fascia and ligaments, etc. They may discern shifts of energy with their hands.
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Uncover the Sun

On Grief

Grief may make it hard to sleep, hard to function, hard to focus, hard to care about activities that used to bring you joy.

It is hard to feel so intensely for days, months, years, decades in a culture in which sad, angry, uncomfortable emotions are considered “negative,” and socially unacceptable.

It is hard to wake up wondering why you are still here when someone you love isn’t, and it is hard to pretend everything is fine, when it isn’t.

But what is the alternative to feeling? Closing up, pretending, being isolated in your grief, having your body protest later by becoming ill, having a breakdown, or becoming more depressed than you might have been before the loss? Continue reading

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Alien

When I was a kid, I literally thought I’d been dropped off on the wrong planet. Once, I had to get a blood test, and I was worried that the doctor would discover my blood was green or purple, and I’d get busted for being an alien. The nurse stuck the needle in, and I passed out. Later the nurse told me it was really common to faint at the sight of your own blood. But actually, it was due to relief that my blood was as red as anyone’s!

Throughout my childhood, even though I loved my family, I kept waiting for someone to come get me and take me back to wherever I came from. By the time puberty hit, I realized that I would have to stay here for the rest of my life. No one told me that I wasn’t really human; it was merely my assumption based on how weird I felt. I genuinely didn’t understand people, their behaviors, or what they valued.

And, my perceptions were odd. People had light all around them, which changed into different colors depending upon their moods. They were accompanied by sound, smells, textures, and pictures that other people didn’t seem to notice. When my eyes were closed, there were images like a TV station. While listening to music, there was a huge light show, with smells and flavors too. Numbers, and letters of the alphabet, had specific colors and personalities. When I looked at objects, I could feel their textures in my hands. There was a glow around everything, including tables, chairs, socks…Continue reading

Uncover the Sun

Welcome!

In this blog, I will be exploring different facets of being a sensitive, spiritually-oriented person in a culture that cares more about money than people.  It can be difficult when your deepest, heartfelt values do not match the general population’s, however, there are others out there that have similar concerns.

I welcome your input, and will be taking suggestions for topics, as well as answering questions you may have.

In order to be a happy, fulfilled human being, there are certain experiences and qualities that come in handy, like having your basic necessities covered, living in safety, being with kind and compassionate folks, and having a good sense of humor.

Face it, being human is pretty absurd.  We have these big brains and still haven’t figured out how to live together peacefully. Being able to laugh at ourselves lightens things up. And for those of us with sensitive nervous systems, and who tend toward empathy, a bit of lightheartedness may soothe our souls.

To be aware, joyful, and kind, we don’t need to eat perfectly, avoid all sugar, and meditate every day. We may or may not have a consistent, formal spiritual practice. Sitting quietly and checking in with yourself regularly to see how you’re feeling and what you need, can be really helpful. I sit silently sometimes when I feel the urge, but most of the time I live in an open, playful state of relaxed optimism. Or, as my youngest daughter used to say, back when she was alive, “you’re freakishly happy for no reason.”

Yes, my youngest daughter died at the age of 23. And despite terrible grief, I still manage to experience joy as well. How? Like a kid, by feeling everything as deeply and as thoroughly as possible, while still understanding that we humans are not merely our feelings. We are more than what has happened to us, what others may think of us, or even how we perceive ourselves. And after a loss we discover that love continues even after death.

Most of us are intimately acquainted with fear, sorrow, anger, frustration, disappointment, loss, jealousy, and numerous other emotions. The trick is not to  judge yourself or others for having feelings. You might think of them as indicators that you need to pay extra attention to some part of yourself. And most of us respond better to kindness and acceptance rather than condemnation. It’s also helpful not to throw your feelings around all over other people, or to hold onto them for too long. Not easy to do, and we all have varying degrees of success at this.

Maybe we don’t need to achieve perfection, or even a formal idea of enlightenment, but more a state of loving kindness for ourselves and others, as much as possible in this little human form. If we embrace being human in the absolute sense of what that means, flawed, annoying, foolish, quirky, creative, mortal, amazing, and all the rest, we may find out it’s actually kind of cool. And if we are kinder to ourselves, we will find more comfort when life is painful, which it will be at times, no matter how spiritually or emotionally adept we are. Continue reading