Growing up, my parents called me “the princess and the pea.” They were alluding to one of my favorite fairy tales— the one in which a girl’s hypersensitivity allows her to detect a pea beneath a stack of twenty mattresses. In the story, this hypersensitivity is honored and taken as proof that the girl is indeed a princess, but when my parents said it, what they meant was “stop being so sensitive.” And they were right that I was especially sensitive.
When I was in college, I had a doctor call me “a canary in the coal mine,” referring to the coal mining practice of carrying a caged canary into the mine. If the canary died, the miners knew that the air had become toxic and it was time to get out. The point is that the environment affected all of them, but the canary felt it first.
This doctor was trained in both Western and Eastern medicine. I visited him for acupuncture when nearly every system in my body began experiencing debilitating symptoms. I was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 20, and by 22, I was diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases.
Eight years later, my symptoms have all nearly completely disappeared.
Healing Through Energy Work
The symptoms started disappearing six years ago when I began meditating and practicing yoga, gradually vanishing as I explored more and more alternative wellness practices. Plenty of studies have shown the numerous health benefits of meditation and yoga – from managing anxiety to chronic lower back pain and lowering cancer risk – but the question remains, why do these practices work? According to psychosomatic theory, the mind and body are connected. The state of the mind affects behavior in the body and vice versa. As a canary, I was especially sensitive to my environment. Meditation and yoga— as well as tarot, astrology, and energy work —taught me how to process my environment differently. They gave me greater control over my mind, and in turn, my body began to heal itself.
As my health improved, I began noticing a different dimension to my sensitivity. I began noticing its power and strength rather than the ways it made my body sick and weak.
Being an Empath
My first year in New York, I saw a therapist who worked out of her apartment. I’d visited her there many times. One day, I walked in, and the moment I crossed the threshold, I stopped dead in my tracks. Something was different. My eyes scanned the apartment looking for what had changed, and as someone who was called the princess and the pea for being persnickety and whatnot, I was very familiar with the precise placement of everything in that area of her apartment. But as I looked around, I realized that nothing had moved, yet I could feel an immense change in the space. My eyes continued to search for the cause, but couldn’t find it.
“What’s wrong?” my therapist asked.
“Something’s different. I can’t figure out what it is.”
She gasped a bit, and she told me: “I didn’t move anything, but I decided to move, and this week I began emotionally disconnecting from the space. You must be able to feel it.”
I’d certainly felt something. It’d hit me like a thud. Perhaps her emotional connection had previously imbued the space with a particular energy? Who knows, but since that time four years ago, I’ve worked to harness the power of my sensitivity.
This sensitivity drew me to choose my Grandpa’s high school yearbook from hundreds of books in a used bookstore.
This sensitivity also allowed me to feel the mountains in the middle of New York City.
And this sensitivity allowed me to smell faulty wiring in the half bath of my parents’ home, sensing its danger and begged my mom to call the firemen. “It’s a good thing you called,” they said, “this would have started a fire at any moment.”
This sensitivity is what inspired me to start my own healing practice.
As I grew to understand my hypersensitivity, I realized that I was not alone. So many of us are hypersensitive, psychic, powerful, magical people, but we don’t understand what this means because no one ever taught us. We were told that we were too sensitive, that being psychic isn’t real, that magic doesn’t exist. And so we repress our empathic powers until we can’t repress them any longer.
Over many years of self-study and mentorship, I’ve mastered my sensitivity. I learned to protect my boundaries in order to heal my body, and I learned to focus my sensitivity in order to psychically channel other people’s energy and life stories.
My own healing and evolution were pulled together from so many different places. It felt like putting a puzzle together, and I wish I had found a teacher who could have put it together for me (or helped me put it together). I never found that person, but because I’ve taken years to do it myself, I’m now able to be that person for others like me— other hypersensitive people.
And this hypersensitivity is neither proof of any special royal status nor an insult. It is, I think, simply another mode of experiencing the world— a way of processing information that can feel both like a blessing and a curse, but once you understand what it means for you and you learn to channel it into your work, you will see that it is truly only a blessing.