Canaries and Crusaders

Can you easily read or sense energy in a person, place or environment? Are you able to detect when something doesn’t feel quite right – even if you can’t exactly pin point what it is…?

Perhaps in your workplace setting, while others seem to be content to go along with the person in charge, information or action plan, you can sense blatant holes or misalignment that need to be addressed first?

In social settings, does loud music or bright lights bother you? Do busy fast moving people make you feel uncomfortable?

If so, there is a good chance you are a person with exceptional sensitivities and you have an important role to play on the planet.

Similar to the canaries that mining workers would carry into the tunnels with them to provide an early warning that dangerous gases were leaking, so they could evacuate safely; those who are said to be “living like a canary in a coal mine” refers to those people who serve as a warning or whistle blower for others.

As one highly sensitive friend put it; it’s like walking around the planet with your inner wiring hanging on the outside – everything feels more animated, intense, sharper and closer.

This challenge is also the reason however; you have a unique role to play.

Unless one is sensitive and attuned to the energy and subtle dynamics in the environment around them, they cannot sense issues, nor provide a heads up to others.

Perhaps similar to the life path of those learning how to manage energetic sensitivities are the many children around the globe who are dealing with the 4 A’s: Anxiety, Allergies, ADD & Autism.

With these issues quickly on the rise, we are being called to consciously address our modern day lifestyles that are filled with stress, environmental issues, relationship disconnection and poor nutrition. These children are the canaries giving us a huge warning sign to crusade a new path.

Well over a decade ago, I took “The Highly Sensitive Person Test” by Elaine Aaron who is the author of the test and many well regarded books on this subject. It put into words my own life experience, and I no longer felt so alone.

According to Aaron, the scientific term to describe this “gift” is called Sensory Processing Sensitivity and is found in about 20% of the world population. This is too many to be called a disorder, but not enough to be well understood by the majority of the world.

The brain of a highly sensitive person works a little differently than others. The trait reflects a certain type of survival strategy, and a tenancy to be observant before acting, process information longer and reflect on it more deeply than others. They will notice more and become more easily overwhelmed and prone to overstimulation if things are too intense, complex, chaotic or novel for a long period of time.

Can you relate to that description? If so, there is a good chance you are also a Highly Sensitive Person.

Likely, when you were young these sensitivities were not necessarily understood, affirmed or celebrated by those around you. Parents, teachers, relatives and friends, may have even called you a worry wart or too darn sensitive.

While this ability to tune in and acutely feel people and environments is a tremendous gift, it also has a price to pay unless we have self-awareness, and healthy strategies/tools to communicate our needs, set boundaries and strengthen our internal system.

In too many cases, highly sensitive people turn to ignoring and shutting down their radar and instincts, especially if it was judged by those around them. This can result in unhealthy coping strategies such as control issues, addictions, introverted tenancies or wearing an extra couple layers of body fat in an unconscious effort to self protect.

Been there! I almost failed kindergarten because I was so quiet and introverted. When I had to accept that the full and long days of school was not an option, I carried extra weight in my childhood years just to get through it.

As life progresses, there may be a turning point when the highly sensitive person recognizes and owns their gift, or they simply don’t want to hide anymore.

When this happens, the canary rises like the phoenix to become the crusader they are destined to be. No longer blocked by their sensitive nature, they transform into a courageous individual who, because of the gift of their sensitive wiring, can take on the role of a teacher, leader or advocate, and use their energy to campaign for political, social, or religious change.

Of all the folks out there in the world, they have the sensitivity to perceive things most clearly, the compassion to feel most deeply, and when called into action, they have the drive to make things better, and make a difference. They personally know how crucial it is.

Alas, the canary blossoms into the crusader!

If you are reading this, I’m sure you can relate.