Life as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)

I wince at the roar of machines churning, the walls of my basement shaking. Others are numb to it, but to me this defilement of the environment is likened to a dentist drilling into someone’s gums, the churning teeth and veins the same as butchered wood and roots. It is all a bloody, gory mess either way. For me, this is what it means to be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

For those who consider themselves a HSP, loud noises and large crowds are a common deterrence, but for someone who is spiritually and emotionally connected to the Earth like me, the abuse the environment takes every day is a particular nuisance. It’s not easy being a HSP and living where I live. Now that it’s summer, someone in the neighborhood is always cutting down a tree, pounding down into the earth to get rid of it’s roots for some project out of self service. As if they don’t have enough non-indigenous plants that require loads of chemicals and water rather than using the space and resources to feed themselves, Earth’s ultimate gift to humanity. I’ve always said that humans are a species that rake up leaves so that they can put down fertilizer. Everything we do is backwards and without consideration.

Where I live, the population is 7.6 million, higher than the country of Norway, on a piece of land that spans 118 miles. It wears on someone like me, and there is not a passing moment where I am desperate to leave the bickering, angry people who do not even realize just how unhappy they are, that life is not a fixed state but something ever-changing and separate from their perceived reality. It is the collective unconscious that I seek to escape, the people who do not want to ask questions, who do not work on themselves and merely exist for empty pleasures.

On a side note, I’m here because there’s no longer a place in the country where a recent college graduate can live off of minimum wage while looking for a job in their field (if you know of a place near the coast, let me know).

Most are numbed, and raised to accept the desecration of nature. They are completely disconnected in their minds and hearts, although not in their physicality as science refutes this. Atoms in your body are derived from the universe, with our planet being our closest relative. Everything is recycled and necessary for a healthy biome, and since humans live here and were created here, they are not above this.

As a HSP, I feel this without a choice, and I walk around with a wall around me just so that I don’t get sick, but this is no way to live. I sometimes wonder if I don’t know who I truly am, as I’ve never been able to live in a constant outward expression of authenticity, although I’ve been doing the best I can to slowly put pieces of myself together to see the whole picture. Walls make it difficult to reach out to anything, to open up and experience what is left, or meant to be experienced.

Perhaps what is worse about everything is that us highly sensitive people are also expected to not be bothered by these things amidst a world of desensitized zombies. It is not normal to be on edge, to be tired, to not want to go out into loud clamoring nonsense. I hear the voice of the collective unconscious, the voice we’ve created, it says “Now go behave and party your evenings away until you no longer have the capacity to think or feel. You do not need real relationships, only people to pass the time with. Also, make sure you have a job that supports this habit, and don’t forget the gym membership. Running on a treadmill for 2 hours burns more calories than a stroll through nature. You’ll need that from all the drinking.” Now, I never partake in this atmosphere because it is in complete dissonance to my being, but it’s a constant roar that can be heard in the background, a thriving culture for much of the human population.

If by any chance you are a HSP and have a blog, I challenge you to write a post about what it’s like for you. Include whatever you want in it, whether it’s a focus on what deters you the most, or additional thoughts on the matter. Tag me in the post or let me know so that I see what your input is. If you don’t have a blog, let me know by leaving a comment.

Featured image by Ryan Wilson 

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The Utility of Doubt, Lethargy, and Other Perceived Negatives

Lately I have had one subject come back to me repeatedly over the last few weeks. It came at the right time when I felt, and still feel like I have no time to accomplish my goals and dreams, that each minute not spent writing, or not looking for jobs in my field is time wasted, that every move I do not make is a step backward. What I’ve been shown through accounts that I follow and through the guidance of others are the necessary functions that doubt and inertia offer.

You may already be aware of these functions, or think they are obvious, but they easily go unnoticed despite their transparency. For example, there are instances where doubt is necessary to attain true confidence. When you experience doubt, you are asking the right questions, and taking the right initiatives. You are pushed to think about the things that need to be dealt with in order to achieve a goal. With this process of self checking and examination, you can eventually find yourself in a validated place. The same works for when you have writers block, or when you find that you can’t bring yourself to complete a task. When you experience one of these ruts, it is best not to fight against it. Stillness, meditation, and remaining quiet can birth ideas and action:

“Taking attention away from your goals brings you to a state of receptivity”                                                                                        -Wisdom of the Oracle

    Trust in the timing of your life is also necessary. There are going to be times of traffic and red lights, and times of green lights and accelerated lanes. Fighting against this natural flow that cannot be changed is exhausting, and a waste of effort.

It is also in this way that our perceived enemies become our allies. The more a negative force is applied, the more light that wants to shine through the fissures. I will soon be approaching a scene in my writing where I directly address this concept, using the example of a fallen angel and a guardian who become entangled in a dark dance. After the most intense suffering subjected to the guardian from the dark entity’s intent, the bringer of light calls out “How does it make you feel? That the more you exert your darkness onto me, the brighter my dim light shines in it’s shadow?”

So you see, if it was not for polarity, for the opposing forces you’re up against, your light would not shine as bright. Just remember that the next time you have someone or something giving you a hard time. The challenge is your chance to shine.

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Who Are We?

   I cleaned out from under my bed today. Everything under there was from elementary school (somehow, at age 22). It seems as though I was quick to throw away middle school, but not so much my elementary years. I can recall having a fulfilling 5th grade. I had 3 best friends, one of which was in my class. Even though life got strange at times, I felt capable despite insecurities and obstacles. Right after that, all three friends moved, my muse died (I was a creative kid), and I distinctly remember going into every department store and finding nothing that would fit me, a metaphor for the times.

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I was a better artist at 10 than I am now apparently.

   Despite having a fond recollection, I look back and I feel detached from this person. I cannot connect to the photos or memories, although they are still strong and clear in my mind. I’ve never been one to dwell on the past, “It distracts from the now” as Edna from The Incredibles famously stated.

   Several weeks before this mass removal of childhood paraphernalia, I found myself dwelling on the little known fact that all the atoms in our body are recycled every 7 years or so. It was a topic I naturally gravitated towards given my recent checkpoint in life. We are not made up of the same composition we had when we were born. Everything was replaced, and deposited somewhere to maintain a general form. In this sense, we do not have the same exact makeup when we were seven either, or during our favorite adolescent memories compared to now. Even the expression of our DNA can alter slightly when environmental cues turn certain genes on and off  (This is called epigenetics in science. In a spiritual sense of ascension, it is called DNA activation).

   For me, there is this disconnect, and relation existing simultaneously. It’s as if it is already a past life, with a line of consciousness connecting all physical states of being, holding them together. Coincidentally, my Uncle sent me a quote from James Gleick he thought I’d like that pertains to all of this. It states “Mind must be a sort of dynamical pattern, not so much founded in a neurological substrate as floating above it, independent of it.”

Perhaps past lives are like that when we die and finally remember what we are. Although these past character states used to be our most recent self at one point, we moved on and no longer associate it with our compete identity. Perhaps our identity is more of what we are now and where we are going than what has happened to us and what we previously experienced.

Who are we, or perhaps, what are we? Just a thought…

Facing the Blind Deaf Stone Alone

“…the sea’s only gifts are harsh blows and, occasionally, the chance to feel strong. Now, I don’t know much about the sea, but I do know that that’s the way it is here. And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once, to find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions, facing blind, deaf stone alone, with nothing to help you but your own hands and your own head…” – Primo Levi


Let me just say, I hate this sculpture.

I don’t know where it came from or why it’s there. All I know is that I’ve had to look at it almost every morning for three years. Three years and thankfully not four, as I spent one year in California, which only seems like a dream now.

It is displayed up on a hill that the express bus passes on its run from the South parking lot to campus. Every morning I saw this wretched thing and questioned what it’s supposed to mean. What’s the point of a concrete swing frozen in time? Why is it pale yellow? I don’t know what the actual intentions are for it, but to me it symbolized something very cynical, dark even. Like a warning sign to anyone entering campus, there’s a subliminal message of fruitless efforts, inhibition of joy, and an overall sense of hopelessness. Fruitless efforts for when you’re on a swing but the chains are fixed. Joy of a favorite pastime activity taken away. Knowing that even if the thing were to come to life, you’d only go back and forth indefinitely, until you got off. As of 5/20/16, I got off this swing and walked away.

It must be very hard for others to understand, with the great reputation for “higher education”. I understand this, and I also understand that this is my journey and you have your journey, and there aren’t going to be equivalencies at ever turn. But I mean every word when I say this was the hardest part of my life. To me, this was a time when I was thrown into a dark room with no light and no exit point. It was like being stuck on a road that never ends. I strapped myself into some sort of machine that looked like Kerry, but was not Kerry, and went about my life in the way that was asked of me. I didn’t feel like my life was my own. All efforts I put forth were washed down the drain so consistently that it brought me to the point where I even questioned if there was some divine intervention putting all it’s strength into sabotaging my plans and putting me on an entirely different route. It put a veil between me and the rest of world so that when I went to push, nothing moved. Every visualization of of trying to become something was squandered, and no one who knew me saw it. I don’t know how they could. When you’re moving through a similar medium, and people experience something entirely different from what you are, it is almost impossible for them to put themselves in your shoes, and so on top of everything also came isolation and loneliness.

Thankfully, when I turned away form the world and went inside, I found something. It was Metanoia, a light in the dark, something with potential disguised as something small and ambiguous. It was a seed, and it’s this seed that I’m going to water and nurture from now on.

The human race is dissonance, a cacophony of emptiness. People castrate their consciousness with alcohol, drugs, sex, money, and comfortable routine. Being even just a little disconnected from that in developing years allowed for an authentic emanation of self. This sets me apart more than anything else from my peers. It just may be the disruption in the pattern that made my efforts ineffective here. I found essence, and thats all I want to experience now, untainted by the vibrational garbage drowning it out and forcing it under. I look around to see that family and friends have not been as lucky to have a center. Or am I the unlucky one? Facing the blind deaf stone alone, it sometimes feels like I was placed in some sort of solitary confinement born out of the collective unconsciousness. When you enter, you begin to live another life entirely. Facing the blind deaf stone alone, I’m not accompanied with anyone who has the capacity to see me, or know what it is I’m trying to achieve here. I’m up against so much right now. I’m up against my unconscious peers when I seek enlightenment. I’m up against my genetics which was born out of generations of people who were afraid to take risks and lived comfortably numb, asleep at the wheel as my brother likes to put it. I have no role models, or examples to follow. I have no way of navigation. I have no finances. I only have a vague sense of the home that lies somewhere on the other side of this, far, far away. I desperately want to get there. I am uncertain, but determined, and maybe I needed Stony Brook University for this reason, to be plunged into darkness so that I would no longer tolerate anything but light, and everything that comes with it.

To all those listening, thank you, and I love you.

 

Artwork credited to Niken Anindita

The Freedom to Choose

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

  Hello to all my loyal followers, and hello to any newcomers.

   Now that the spring semester has begun, most of my time and energy will be funneled into school, especially since I am trying to secure my graduation for May. This unfortunately means less  posts, and allotting any free time I have to writing my novel, so I apologize for the lack of posts over the next few months.

   I’m finding that this is a very unnerving time in my life where there is much uncertainty for the future, and fear of this unknown. It is not so much the typical scenario for all youth where there is a dilemma in not knowing ones purpose or passion. Its more of an anxiety brought on by the apparent lack of opportunity after a life of trying to produce just the opposite. This discomfort brings me to what I wish to talk about today.

   I see it in others and I see it in myself. Very often we believe that we are stuck in life. We don’t think we can get out of our career choice, our job, our relationship, our geography, our finances, or anything at all. Perhaps the mindset comes from knowing that these situations were completely circumstantial, which often is the main factor controlling where we end up in life at some point, despite our best efforts, and despite what we’re told about things like hard work and perseverance. But recently I was reminded of something, and it prompted me to take my own advice.

 

   I’ve seen horrific things that people must endure on this plane of existence, things I will not go into detail. I’ve been fortunate enough, and thankful for having a life in which I did not have to go through these things, and yet still be able to learn something from being a bystander. What I’ve learned from these people is that there always is a choice, no matter what. There really are no excuses.

   I must convey what making a choice actually entails here. When you are depressed for example, you do not simply decide to start feeling better and make it so the day after. This is what many people mistakenly say to others, especially those who have never been through great hardship (or for those who have and see this as a way to avoid their baggage rather than working with it and truly moving on). Change doesn’t work like that here. For some, it takes an entire lifetime to bring forth some manifestation, or a change in destiny. For these people, it was between that and never breaking free, and they chose freedom. With this, you are presented with the option to let life happen to you, or to gather up some courage for the long haul. I suppose everyone is different, but I  would rather have a life trying to get somewhere. I would not want to give my power over to circumstance. I do not believe thats what I, or any of us were meant to do. As the saying goes, “After all, none of us are getting out alive anyway”. In the end it didn’t matter what occurred for the people who took control of their destiny. What mattered was that they acknowledged their position, had a conversation with themselves, and started looking for a way to make a change. They evaluated what was worth taking and what was worth leaving behind.

   I have no idea if this will strike a chord with any of you at this time. Perhaps it does for some time in your past, or perhaps it will somewhere down the line in your future. Either way, I felt compelled to say something about this.

   For me personally, there is this feeling of being lost, but not in life, in another way entirely. I recently heard someone present the question “Where is my Joy?”. Yes, where is my joy? Where is that old friend? For me, it is misplaced in the distractions and the checklists and the obligations. I warn myself not to disconnect from the path that leads me to my bliss, because when I do, I could temporarily lose my way back to that. This is where I find myself now. Overcoming this may be the way to dislodge myself from the clingy sap of self doubt, mistrust, and disappointment.

   Perhaps getting back to oneself in this way is not as complicated as it feels. There’s a song by my favorite artist Aurora I wish to share that resonates with this.

   In her song, it is extremely frank, and yet so eloquently put.

   “I know I can. Thats why I do it.”

 

Featured image credited to Folkert Gorter

Embracing the Intellect of the Heart

   In our society, there is an enigmatic taboo that leads many to distrust what they’re instincts tell them to do, where to look, how to be, etc. Sometimes for good reason, but sometimes in excess. From a very young age, all we want is to be accepted, or perhaps to at least be considered “acceptable” in some way if you were not someone who cared what others thought. Either way, we have all struggled to meet a standard at some point in our lives. This is how we’re guided to follow the grain from square one, until we come to a point in our maturity where we completely forget we are following something external at all and are tricked into thinking everything we want and strive for is related to our authentic selves, or true purpose. It is because of this that we sometimes stray away from what we are intuitively pulled towards by the heart, and replace it with our mental constructs and external ideas.

Over time, I’ve been lead to the idea that the heart has an intellect that either no one knows or no one acknowledges. To many, this statement might be very confusing because we’ve made the very definition of the word ‘heart’ to serve as an antonym for the word ‘intellect’. Perhaps this is a symptom of living in separation of the two: “Use your head” or “Follow your heart” we say. We seem to use one or the other depending on the situation. But what if we merged these two concepts together, and used them at the same time? What happens then?

   Personally, I have found that I’ve used my heart to figure out where my mind is supposed to go, upon which my mind takes over and synthesizes what its given. Then, it would be my heart’s duty to feel out the conclusions I’ve drawn, and so on. It goes back and forth in an ebb and flow continuously. In rare instances, I find the two coalesce, like two bodies in space that circle around one another until gravity finally leads them to join in an epic blaze of light and color. They become the same thing essentially, that is what I meant by there being “an intellect to the heart”, which opposes the separation the two concepts.

Two white dwarf stars orbiting each other every 5 minutes.

Photograph courtesy NASA/Tod Strohmayer (GSFC)/Dana Berry (Chandra X-Ray Observatory)

 

The result of this has always been interesting. I’ve come up with my best ideas and produced my best work in these states. But for whatever reason, I see many people not trusting the way they feel, and rely on what they see, or vice versa. I can’t help but notice that we as a society live in a sort of disconnect that keeps us from reaching our full potential, truthfully in many ways apart from what I’ve even discussed so far.

But allow me to diverge for a moment, because I have something I wish to convey.

   I truly believe that certain instances call for you to act on your instinct rather than what is customary. The right thing to do just might be the opposite of what your mind advises. For example, life-changing inventions and problem solving skills generally require an “out of the box” method of approach, as we like to call it. Well, what is this vague “out of the box” thing people speak of? I am no expert but logic would lead me to believe that it involves avoiding the perception that is no longer providing any solutions to the problem, and what most likely lead to the problem in the first place (a rewording of the well known quote by Albert Einstein “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”).

   Sometimes we seem to think that something needs a lot of thought and intellectualization, which is likely a product of our education. However, you may inadvertently think yourself into a box that will not lead you anywhere beyond what you can see. A problem may call for a solution that requires a completely different angle of approach. I have found a method that works for me to avoid this trap. It is one simple statement: ‘I know that I don’t know’. It is known as the Socratic Paradox, where one knows that they know nothing. It is possible to have conclusions come out of this approach that are not entirely accurate, but at least it comes from an honest place that lacks any bias that may steer me away from the truth. It’s a good start is all I’m saying. And truth is so subjective that I really can’t ever say anything with complete certainty as we all have our own truth, with threads of validity woven through it all. But when I am listening to someone preach something or share their opinion, I now always ask myself this:  “Where did they begin with the creation of that belief?”

In starting with “I know that I don’t know”, I’m choosing to be careful about contaminating my own understanding with someone or something else’s (which is probably already riddled with mistruths because I’ve never known anyone to approach life in such a clean-slate way).

I can hear everyone’s thoughts right not at this point. They say “But Kerry, what does this even have to do with what you were saying in the beginning with the heart nonsense?”

Calm down, I’m bringing it home.

   Perhaps for some of history’s game changers, the “out of the box” notion is disguised as this moment where the idea of the head and the heart connects, creating the capacity to reach conclusions that could not be made otherwise. Its a sort of reaching out of the five senses, with knowledge previously gained guiding the way, and the willingness connect to something greater than yourself or what you already know.

   If we are to be guided by a true purpose, or wish to live a life of authenticity, we must challenge preconceived notions, understand where it is that they come from, and in doing so, open up to the intellect of the heart.

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Featured image credited to Jacob Jugashvili 

The Hidden Dogma in Science

   I was an extremely good student in high school. I did everything I was supposed to, taking on as many extracurriculars as I possibly could, while still getting good grades and taking charge of all my responsibilities. I played the flute and made it into our school’s wind ensemble. I was a girl scout and a member of the national honor society, as well as other honor societies. I took on literary clubs and was extremely involved with the community. I also took a great liking to science, particularly biology, and english (depending on my teacher, shout out to Ms. Stern). I like to forget that high school happened sometimes, but I was coerced into thinking about everything despite this when I ran into my 11th grade AP bio teacher as I was writing Metanoia in a nearby Starbucks.

   What can I say about the difference between then and now? Well, I’ve learned that I’m actually a terrible student. But how (after I just explained everything) you might ask? Five years ago, and to this day, I took an interest in science because there wasn’t dogma, and a type of thinking that was open to many possibilities. I liked it because it was a way to test the unknown, and come up with explanations that lacked bias and opinion, unlike  many areas of society (I could name quite a few). After I worked so hard at trying to secure my future and bring myself to a place where I had several options for college, my financial status and life circumstance eventually brought me right into my own backyard at a local SUNY school. This is where my perception changed.

   More and more, I began to see several things that people rarely acknowledge about the academic world, one of which is how biased science could actually be. Everything in this world is driven by money, including the types of studies and experiments that are performed by experts in the field. Thankfully, there can be important discoveries made that are unrelated to the question at hand despite the reason behind funding. However, it can still be very biased.

   The second thing I noticed can be explained through something that I heard from a youtube channel I subscribe to called Ascension Pioneers. The woman said something I have come to find on my own. She said “It doesn’t have to be religious to be dogmatic”. Dogmatic meaning not being able to see the light of a new opening, not being able to accept any other possibility other than the idea, or way of thinking, that you currently have. I’ve seen this methodology leak into every facet of society. It is just so ironic in this case, as science claims itself to be different from religion in that its separated from opinion, from the interests, motives, and beliefs, in an attempt reach an honest conclusion. But even now, it has fallen victim to these human idiosyncrasies. (On a side note, I really do believe scientists have good intentions when entering their field, but like most they get sucked into beliefs and ways of thinking that act as a hindrance to our development).

    I am not a good student because my natural tendencies goes against this. The current system favors obedience. I go about my studies very differently. I ask questions that aren’t deemed important, and my process has too much sentiment (Its also because I’m terrible at multiple choice questions that have two right answers, but thats besides the point). Later on, I am going to write another blog post relating to this, but lets stay on topic for now. School no longer feels like learning to me, it feels like a task that earns a right of passage. It feels like something I have to complete so that I have time later to do my own tests and address my own questions.

   So ironically, while I went into a science field because it is proclaimed to be an honest quest for truth, I have seen little of this. Instead, I’ve seen people who are happily pigeonholed in their career, biased from all the papers they’ve read and specialists they’ve interacted with, who are no longer able to approach an issue (say and environmental one for example, since that is my major) from a different perspective. I think that very often, if a problem still exists after a long period of time of trying to come up with solutions, it is because the people involved with it are not looking at it correctly. The truth in this lies in a quote from Albert Einstein that states “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.  And yet not many people dare to try things differently. In fact, depending on the environment you’re in, many scientists are criticized, and their work attacked if they stray too far away from the norm. This is an environment that works against innovation, and puts the ultimate development of our civilization at risk.

    It seems now that almost anywhere I turn, there are people who are so set in their ways and will not budge. It inhibits development and growth in both their personal lives, and advancements in our society. “The only constant is change”. That is how our world operates, we are meant to have an ever evolving view of what we believe to be true. The discoveries of the future are meant to show us something completely different from the way we look at life now. That is human, that is part of the reason why we are here.

Perhaps one possible explanation as to why it has gotten to this point is that the current strict system was designed so that we could have reliable information in the first place. In a way, I am happy that things are the way they are right now. It is definitely an improvement from the distant past, when information was largely hearsay and invalid. Im glad that I can at least say a few things with certainty as a result of this academic standard. But something tells me that Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, and the Wright Brothers didn’t spend a lot of time making sure their knowledge was up to par with academic/scholarly standards. 

These are strange times we’re living in. Beautiful and unique and momentous, but strange times nonetheless.

   In upcoming posts, I will be discussing things very similar to this topic. Some of which include the role that the heart may play in the midst of our intellectualization. Also, I want to share a TED Talk called “The Science Delusion” by Rupert Sheldrake. It goes further into the truth about our process in science, and how human nature can tamper with the accuracy of our conclusions. Until next time, shoot me a message, comment below, let me know what you think! 

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Featured image credited to Kevin Bourland