Who are you? How do I know you?
I ponder these questions and sense what comes to me.
Images appear, of trees, forest, places special to me on and near Mt. Rainier in WA. There are places here that I have felt loved and held by Mother Earth. But not only loved and held, there is a visceral experience of Oneness. The trees, my siblings, kindred beings. Maybe, older, wiser siblings who watch the child-like human flitting about from thought to thought, never staying still. And they offer their steady, slow witness to my existence. Yes, I am fast but I am also slow when I bring my awareness within and pay attention to the depth and density of moments. Then, the layers of reality become apparent, the soft awareness of just being, of existing in a moment expanded by sensitivity. My senses pick up information all at once, in a variety of ways, some say it is the curse of the sensitive soul, but it's in the unpacking that beauty is found.
The Forest: hear it.... the creaks of trunks and branches, the rustle and swish of leaves, the songs of birds, the rush of breeze through the trees. See it... the juxtaposition of light and shadow playing between trunks and branches, the shapes made by the outlines of trees and twigs, the monotone colors of Winter the vibrant colors of Spring, the frogs, birds, animal turds. Feeling... the air temperature on my face, touching bark, touching dirt, water, leaves, pine cones. Feeling the rough, bumpy, slippery, smooth, grainy... touching everything. Smell it. Smell the damp earth, the light mold of old leaves. Dare to kiss the trees. Get close up. I sense and feel and know..... the steady beat of presence and awareness as I tune into individual trees, or rocks, or river or nature spirits. All of this and more is packed into a single moment, there for the taking for those willing to unpack it.
When is it safe to unpack these moments? In quiet places, when there's time.
What if the forest is instead people? People carry pain and longing. They cover it with smiles and laughter, but underneath, way down, are places that are sad and dark. It's too much to be open and sensing all of it at once. Pain is personal, I don't want yours. I have enough of a job to keep on top of mine. Yet without pain how can we know just how deeply and unconditionally we are loved, how sweet the pleasure and joy that is ours?
So, we numb the senses, play on the surface where it is safe and only delve into the layers of the human experience with a trusted few, for we have to be responsible for our own reality. I'm not safe when you throw your pain and anger my way, it's not mine.
Sensitive souls, people with highly sensitive nervous systems, tend to be easy targets. We want to help and we don't always know what is ours or what is yours. Holding strong boundaries with compassion is essential for self-care and preservation.