Sensitivity, awareness, and pain.
Last night, on our Discover Mastermind Call in the current Sacred Circle round, we talked about pain. About the idea that sometimes we don’t want to change at all until the pain gets too bad. Until the pain of staying the same is greater than the discomfort of changing.
But here’s the thing about pain: it takes awareness. Right now, if I were to ask you how uncomfortable your butt is right now, you’d immediately feel the discomfort (or comfort) of your seat. It’s not that your body wasn’t registering that feeling before. But you’re tuning into it now. You’re aware of it now.
Believe me. I know this one well. I’m always shocked that I somehow used to be able to work a really hard day in PR, giving my everything, only to come home and be out at bars and restaurants until 2am, and then get up early and do the same thing the next day. And I did this for years. Nowadays, a few powerful calls is enough to send me straight to the bathtub.
I didn’t realize how exhausted I was. Deeply, emotionally exhausted. Until I stopped. Until I left that lifestyle and started my business. And I was basically knocked out on the couch for six months. Six months! I called myself lazy and not good enough and all of those other words. Because, once I finally stopped, I felt all of those years of over-giving and under-receiving catch up to me.
It wasn’t that my body wasn’t registering it; it was that I wasn’t paying attention before.
Sensitivity could simply be defined as increased awareness. That’s it. Us sensitive folks aren’t anymore plugged in than the rest of the world. We’re all experiencing and registering a whole range of emotions; we’re just more aware of what we’re actually feeling.
So that means that when you’re experiencing pain, you’re already more aware. It means that the Discover energy (in Sacred Circle terms) is alive and present. And it’s the fundamental reason why new awareness often brings pain. Because, when we weren’t able to see something, it was really easy to keep acting out dysfunctional patterns. But, once we see it, we can’t unsee it. It’s everywhere. And we’re shocked that we tolerated that level of pain for so long. Except we didn’t. Because we couldn’t feel it. We didn’t have the awareness.
Clients often tell me they wish they weren’t so sensitive. And, believe me, I get it. It’d be nice not to have to call a restaurant about dietary restrictions every time I’ll be getting a tasting menu. And it’d be nice not to have to spend so much of my day on self-care. And it’d be nice not to get so emotional about something seemingly so minor.
And the more I do this work, the worse it seems to get. What I could tolerate before, I can no longer tolerate.
And there’s the magic in it all. Why the fuck am I tolerating things that aren’t good for me? Before I was so ‘sensitive,’ it wasn’t like gluten was good for my body, I just wasn’t connected to my body enough to know the damage it was doing. And it wasn’t like my emotions were way more stoic; I just wasn’t tuned into what I was feeling.
Sensitivity is about awareness. And awareness gives us a choice. It shows us what’s actually happening and empowers us with all of the information. The heightened emotions and sensations. The joy, the pain, the love. It’s all there. Live is more alive. Because we’re not intentionally unaware. We’re not covering our eyes to not see what we don’t want to see.
Discover is about literally dis-covering the cloak over our eyes. So that we can’t unsee the truth in front of us. In fact, that’s a really good definition of awareness. Simply witnessing the truth.
So, yeah, this work can cause some pain. And, yeah, pain might be a really good motivator for change. But the pain we’re experiencing didn’t come out of thin air. It was there all along; we’re just finally brave enough to look at it head on. And that’s ultimately what gives us the empowered decision to change or not.
All change—all decisions, in the first place—start with awareness. It’s why it’s the first energy we journey through in the Sacred Circle. Because, with awareness, the whole world looks entirely different.
And that’s where we can really start to change the world.