Here’s one of my life stories which illustrates 3 steps you can take to create your Authentic Life and make your dreams come true as a highly sensitive person.
Step #1: Heal Your Emotional Wounds so You Can Excavate Your Authentic Self.
It was the late 1990’s and I had just ended an emotionally abusive relationship. I was exhausted from all the conflicts. My two Siamese cats were dying. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but they were my steadfast cherished friends for 14 and 16 years. They welcomed me home every day and slept with me every night. They were there for me when no one else was. Peri-menopausal mood swings, tears, hot flashes and insomnia were my daily companions.
I didn’t know it at the time, but these crises were just what this highly sensitive person needed to help birth her Authentic Self.
I had already done 20 years of deep personal growth work, but I still had not touched the core of my emotional pain that desperately called for healing.
The Dark Night of the Soul lasted three years. I couldn’t get out of it no matter how hard I tried. The good news was that my spirit was leading, even though my personality didn’t know it.
St. John of the Cross coined the term, “The Dark Night of the Soul,” to describe a time of feeling lost and full of despair. It’s a time when our old coping strategies don’t work any more. It feels like hell because our known identity is disintegrating. It’s scary because we can’t hang onto what we think we need for security.
After much anguish in the Dark Night of the Soul, we’ll connect intimately with our spirit and with the Holy Spirit.
Some psychologists mistake the Dark Night of the Soul for depression. But for me, it was an intentional time of deep searching to find my Authentic Self and an intimate relationship with my Sacred Inner Beloved, the romantic name I gave to the Holy Spirit within me.
The Transformational Process of the Dark Night
I examined my insecurities instead of striving for external success or romance.
I took a sabbatical from dating because I realized that romantic relationships were the main way I avoided the deep level of emotional insecurity way down deep inside myself. If I was in a romantic relationship, I could cover up the deep-seated emotional insecurity with hope … hope that the relationship would fulfill all my dreams.
Hope and romance had become my drugs of choice.
My muscles ached every day and I was exhausted. I awakened many nights with my body stiff from fear. I couldn’t relax even though I meditated two hours a day. My inner voice told me to walk every morning no matter what, so I’d take myself to Lake Lanier and walk in the park. The connection with Nature soothed me at least for a little while.
My greatest desire was to stay conscious through my pain and to face my emotional insecurity so that I could develop unconditional self-love. I needed to feel intimacy with all of myself, especially with the part of me who felt so insecure. I intended to heal the old wounds and coping patterns so my Authentic Self could emerge.
Every couple of weeks, I’d get a massage. Miera created a safe place for me to unwind and process the memories that bubbled to the surface. I remembered how I yearned to be loved by my father as a little girl. I felt that pain and processed it.
I processed the ache of friendships and romantic relationships gone sour.
I dealt with my need for perfection that covered up lack of self-love.
I felt safe under Miera’s nurturing hands. She held sacred space for me to process the emotional anguish. The pain oozed to the surface as she touched my muscles. Tears soaked the face cradle session after session.
Step 2: “Form a Vision Anchored in Your Heart.”
As the tears subsided in the massage sessions, the same vision arose in my mind time after time. I saw a cabin in the woods surrounded by tall trees. It was private. It was safe. I felt at peace.
After the massages would end, I would return to my normal daily activity. I accepted the fact that I lived in the Atlanta suburbs. But I wanted to live two hours north, tucked in the forest of the North Georgia Mountains overlooking Lake Chatuge. I didn’t see any way I could afford to live there, however.
For a long time I didn’t choose to act on the vision. I wasn’t willing to give up the financial security I knew in the city. I settled for a good life, but it didn’t fully feed my spirit.
As the weeks passed, the vision of the cabin in the woods appeared again and again. I realized that God was showing me a particular environment that would allow me to heal and thrive. I knew the vision was from God because it always occurred after my mind-chatter had quieted down, and I felt at peace.
I am a highly sensitive person, and highly sensitive people thrive in quiet beautiful Nature sanctuaries.
I incubated for three years in the Dark Night of the Soul, accessing all the deep layers of pain built up like sedimentary rock.
Deep emotional intimacy grew between my personality self, my spirit and the Holy Spirit.
I call this my relationship with My Sacred Inner Beloved.
Eventually, I regained my energy, and the emotional and physical pain subsided.
I designed the blue print for my house in the woods overlooking the lake. After working on it daily for over 6 months, a crisis occurred. My father suddenly died. Reeling from the grief, my heart opened in a way it never had. It hit me like a ton of bricks that I wouldn’t live forever either, and I assessed the quality of my life. Everything was great except I didn’t live in the mountains overlooking the lake, surrounded by the tall trees.
Step 3: Take the Risk to Act on Your Vision.
After praying with my friends, I decided to take the risk to build my dream home. I realized that my fears about not having enough money would never go away. I had to proceed in the direction of my dream, taking one step at a time. I asked God to reveal the next step, day after day.
It’s been fifteen years now, and I am so grateful every time I look out my living room windows at the lake and mountains and the tall trees. No matter what is going on in my life, stressful or blissful, I am happy living in my beautiful Nature sanctuary.
Now It’s Your Turn.
- Find a therapist whom you trust to help you emotionally heal. Examine your most deeply held values and dreams. Intend to open to your Authentic Self and to God. I’m here to help you heal at the deepest level so you can let go of limiting coping patterns that once helped you survive, but now they hold you back. I’ll help you access the most enduring love of all, the love of God.
- Meditate daily long enough to experience deep inner peace – at least 30 minutes. Invest the time. Don’t skip this step. Listen to the still small voice inside yourself. Join the on-going conversation already in progress in your innermost being. I produced the “A Journey into Wholeness” guided meditation to help you do this.
- Find healers who understand the mind-body-spirit connection. Heal your emotions and your body. I highly recommend counseling and life coaching along with bodywork. Tight muscles hold unresolved emotional memories that set up old coping patterns. ….
4. Attend Highly Sensitive Person weekend retreats so you have plenty of time to dive deep into your emotional pain and develop the strength to be your Authentic Self.
By engaging in practices such as these, you will be shown the visions anchored in your heart. You, too, will be able to move in the direction of your fondest dreams.
If you are a highly sensitive person … and you want help to excavate your Authentic Self and create your fondest dreams … check out these resources.
- Attend a Highly Sensitive Person Retreat. Click here for the schedule.
- Contact me Benita Esposito. Blairsville, GA and Atlanta, GA
- If you live outside Georgia, contact me for Spiritual Counseling via videoconference anywhere in the world.
Life Coaching and Spiritual Counseling: www.SensitiveIntrovert.com
Copyright 2017. The Esposito Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.