Dear Sensitive Soul,

heart's desire

What a month! I had many adventures in May, including a weekend trip to Chicago to experience Sonia Choquette's "Creating Your Heart's Desire" mastery course, and a subsequent weekend to the beautiful Esalen center in Big Sur for Elaine Aron's workshop, "The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive in a Not-So-Sensitive World." To top it off, my sweetheart and I headed to Mount Shasta for a much-needed restful Memorial Day weekend. Lots of traveling for a sensitive soul! I couldn't have done it without lots of downtime and alone time in between.

On June 20, I'll be appearing again at the Elephant Pharmacy in Berkeley, teaching "Energy Skills for Sensitive Souls" to help you learn techniques to clear away and protect yourself from the energy and emotions of other people. If you're in town, please join me.

Also, later this summer I'll be leading a workshop at the Pacific Northwest HSP Gathering Retreat at the Whidbey Institute in Clinton, Washington. If you're planning to attend, I'd love to meet you there! See the sidebar for details.

This month's feature article explores how to explain your sensitivity to less sensitive types, a frequently asked question of sensitive souls. I've also introduced a new segment called "On the Blog" to give you a taste of the latest and greatest. Enjoy.


Feature Article
Explaining Your Sensitivity

Explaining your sensitivity to people who "just don't get it" can feel next to impossible. As sensitives, we comprise 20 percent of the population. So at any given gathering, only one in five people will be sensitive to subtle stimuli. (And it doesn't feel subtle to us!) It's important to remember that everyone eventually gets overstimulated; for sensitives, it happens more quickly. Our threshold for tolerating stimulation is lower than it is for others.

Something to keep in mind about explaining your sensitivity is deciding when or if to do so. Sometimes relationships don't warrant it. For instance, I wouldn't explain my sensitivity to an acquaintance, but I certainly would to my intimate partner. Family members and coworkers fall into the "as needed" category. Remember, sometimes a simple, "No thank you," or, "I'd much prefer . . ." will suffice -- without explanation.

When you do choose to explain your sensitivity to a "non-HSP," author Elaine Aron recommends that you talk about it in the context of the temperament traits of everyone involved. Dr. Aron points out that traits such as persistence, flexibility, expressiveness, and openness all have shadow sides, including stubbornness, flightiness, drama, and distractibility. This is also the case with high sensitivity. The upside: intuitive insight, expanded awareness, conscientiousness, etc.; the downside: overstimulation, criticalness, perfectionism, etc.

So what does this mean on a practical level?

* Find a quiet, calm time to talk about your trait. Wait until you're not overstimulated or upset (and neither is anyone else).

* Use your best communication skills. Be polite and considerate, speak directly, and listen well. Ask, "Do you know what I mean?" periodically to ensure your message is getting across.

* Bring up your sensitivity as something that you've discovered about yourself. Describe it as a neutral trait, with both positives and negatives. Talk about being highly sensitive in simple terms. For example, "So this means that I'm more sensitive to sensory input, like loud noise, bright lights, crowds, and other people's emotional states, and I get overloaded by those things more quickly than people who are not highly sensitive." In the case of a close loved one, you may want to offer Dr. Aron's book The Highly Sensitive Person as additional reference material.

* Talk about other traits as well. Focus on the contributions each of you makes as a result of your different traits. For example, "Just like your flexibility enables us to come up with creative, spontaneous solutions, my sensitivity enables us to thoroughly plan things."

* Present your trait as something you are responsible for managing for yourself. In other words, let the person know that you take responsibility for taking care of yourself and for asking for what you need and want.

* Ask for support. If there are things that you are finding challenging, ask for support. For example, "Because I'm sensitive to sensory input, I find it challenging to work/relax/focus. (Include your situation: with loud music playing, with bright lights glaring, without privacy, etc.) Could we collaborate on a solution that would work for both of us?"

And when challenging situations do come up, be ready to: 1) take responsibility for your needs, and 2) ask for assistance if you need it!

On the Blog

~ Jenna's Recent Posts ~

The Cassandra Effect
Ask Jenna: How can I help my sensitive grandchild?
Don’t go global with your emotions
Overstimulation can feel like an attack


~ Recent HSP Articles ~

Ted Zeff article in CC Times, on HSPs
HSP article by Anita Colbert available online


Tips for Sensitive Souls
Rather Than Worrying, Pray

Sonia Choquette, author of Trust Your Vibes and Creating Your Heart's Desire, teaches that it's better to direct your energy by praying rather than worrying. Most of us know in our hearts that worrying is a waste of energy, though many of us secretly harbor the belief that it will prevent bad things from happening. Sonia's wisdom is that sending positive energy through prayer is ultimately much more powerful, and it helps us put our faith in the Universe to create the best possible outcome. She suggests praying or asking for assistance, envisioning the person you are concerned about as surrounded by a beautiful, white light, and then letting go. I, personally, have found this to be incredibly freeing.

Doreen Virtue, author of "Angel Medicine," recommends sending angels to surround the person or thing you are worried about. She believes that angels are thought-forms of love, and that there are an unlimited number of angels available to us at any given time. When I'm feeling low, my sweetheart sends me angels to cheer me up. And it really helps, despite what our skeptical minds have to say about it.

Whether or not you believe in angels, prayer, or the power of the Universe, consider this concept: energy used positively is much more likely to create a positive result. Use yours wisely.

The Art of
Sensitive Living
June 2005 Contents

feature article

on the blog

tips for
sensitive souls

upcoming events

web site resources

other events



Upcoming Events

Monday, June 6 & 20
4:30 p.m. PDT

Berkeley Sensitive Souls Walking Group

*Date Change*
Thursday, June 23
4 p.m. PDT
TeleGathering for Sensitive Souls
A free gathering with like-minded souls.
Third Thursdays of the month.
Sign up
for details and announcements.


Monday, June 20
2 p.m. PDT
Energy Skills for Sensitive Souls
Elephant Pharmacy, 1607 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, California
Sensitives are often unknowingly affected by the energy, emotions, and desires of others. This can be both confusing and overstimulating because we are unable to distinguish whether we are operating from our own center or someone else's. In this class you'll learn about techniques and resources to help you protect yourself and clear away the energy and emotions of other people.

Thursday, July 21
11 a.m. PDT
TeleGathering for Sensitive Souls


Web Site Resources

The Embrace Your Essential Self Program

Other Services

Five-Star Products for Sensitive Souls


Recommended Reads


Calendar of Events

Centering for
Sensitive Souls


Other Events

Elaine Aron
at Omega
Rhinebeck Campus

The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive in a Not-So-Sensitive World
Sept. 23 to 25, 2005: Omega Institute, New York

Pacific Northwest HSP Gathering Retreat
August 27 to 31
Whidbey Institute,
Clinton, Washington

A Call for Assistance

What would you LOVE to see written about in this e-zine? What are your burning questions and curiosities? Your feedback is welcome and desired. Please e-mail me your thoughts or ideas for future issues. Please be advised that I will be unable to answer your questions directly, though you may request an e-mail consultation if you're interested.

E-mail Jenna: ->
E-mail consultations: ->


Embrace Your Essential Self Through Coaching

If you're ready to find a deep sense of inner rightness and acceptance of yourself and your sensitivity, call me at 510.528.1696 to schedule a complimentary
half-hour phone consultation. We'll talk about whether my Embrace Your Essential Self coaching program would be right for you.

Here's what others have said about my program:

"Jenna, you have a way of making sure I take the time and make the time to connect with my inner self." - T.W., Ventura, CA

"The whole process was profoundly moving, at times I felt tears of joy, a great sense of relief and happiness with myself."
- A.D., United Kingdom


Thanks for reading!

From time to time, I provide links or make recommendations about books and services I find useful. In some cases I earn commissions on these recommendations, such as from and Centerpointe; more often I do not.

You let me know that you wanted to receive The Art of Sensitive Living e-zine by signing up on my website. The e-zine is delivered on the first Friday of each month. Occasionally, you may receive other announcements from me about other work I'm doing that I think may interest you.

Were you forwarded this e-zine?  To receive future issues directly, visit my website here.

Other mailing lists you may be interested in:
San Francisco Bay Area Events
TeleGathering Sign Up
Berkeley Sensitive Souls Walking Group