Friday, 19 April 2013

Abide with me..

Foreword - for those sensitive who are simply needing guidance  through the haze. Don’t worry about reading my story at this moment. Further down this scroll are a couple of lists with suggestions that might help you to feel more conscious and reconnected again.
Abide with Me - Emeli Sande


Last summer my time was split. I was living  in a hostel, where incredibly close connections were made.  The sort that big brother contestants talk about, without the cctv. And whilst it was wonderful to meet so many people, for being sensitive, it was not always so ideal.  There was

 Lack of space to maintain my own energy
Distraction from good diet, and a good sleep pattern
Crowds of people constantly around
Periods of change, in group dynamics, chemistry and emotion.

No possibility of exercising my normal vehicles of strength - horses, music, dancing. 

I was younger I'd be profoundly affected by somethings more than others. We had a utility room built into the house. And I could not get used to its strong smell, but I did develop a technique  of holding my breath to collect towels, or to pick something out of the freezer. Sometimes dad would put on Scottish music on, for a family ceilidh (non Scottish people, pronounced kay-lay) and I love to dance. For the fast dances, I would skip around, when the waltz was played, I would retire to the sofa feeling unusually sad. I had my own room, and Sunday afternoons, I would spend hours making mix tapes. I think this is when strength in music started to grow. When I used to get frustrated about things, by brother would say, "but you're just sensitive", and only now does it make sense.

 The year before last, I'd go out partying with my sister team, and I preferred one place to others. It had a reputation for being tacky, but the chemistry was great, it was a place I could feel good vibes from. Take me to the place next door, and it was itchy for a fight. Yet working in the countryside, I could feel aware of other things spiritually. But felt I had an understanding, I respect their space, they respect mine. And it worked there. There were sometimes somethings tried to "play" but my sense of being in control was strong, and it seemed to balance things.  But moving Amsterdam, well it took things to a different level.And toward the latter part of my stay there something opened my eyes to other things. To be called high sensitive. I think there are different layers and different levels. From what I see on forums, some are more perceptive in some areas than in others

 It put into an experience where I could witness how strong and malicious something can be.  There had been a fellow cleaner at the hostel, and for three weeks of her stay. She ignored me. But something, and I can't remember what, well it changed. She would begin to wake up at same time as me. .."good morning.. How are you?" with tone that even now gives me shivers.  Things spiralled unusually. With very unexpected behaviour from her. And one night, it began to disturb my living more. If you touch your face, what feels natural is the pressure of your own skin, the pressure of your own touch,  your own muscles moving in your own hand.  Its an unusual change, that as you prepare to sleep, the tension in your own hand changes, and then tension in your own lips change. And sounds are made, that you would never expect to make. My body is a control freak, the dentist could tell you that.  So  to lose that control of your own body, is un-nerving. The first time, I gave situation three chances, like I require the universe to give me three bits of proof to accept that something is a reality. Three times, happened, and to myself it was a extra acceptance, that I should have to confide in the member of night staff on. He was a fanatic, and I have a low tolerance with religious fanatics. Through three hours of conversation, we gained new respect for each other. He offered to pray, and it worked, it was like anaesthetic.

 Night 2, and it happened again, except the tension in my hands, felt like those of a dirty of a dirty old man. And those dirty hand began to fondle my precious hair. If you are in a bar, well this speaking from  Scottish perspective. You can give a dirty old man a good scorning, with vicious tongue or a good smack to the face.  But if its from an unseen entity, where you question your own sanity, and reality, then it not only confuses, but it violates your soul.  It makes you feel dirty, and the next morning fills you with so much grief to look a friend in eye invokes a flood of tears that can't be explained. To gain composure I went to the toilets, and screamed, but the scream was still not my scream.

 That morning I was due to work, and from there found that the lady I worked with was also sensitive, and in calm caring ways, mothered my sensitivity and its new wounds. That afternoon, I snapped at a brother figure who I respect a lot for strong attitude, realistic, cynical, and slight humorous tone of grumpy old men at Christmas.

"..are you alright love?"

" know what, I'm not going to answer that today, because you're just going to give me bullshit that it's in my head, so ask me again tomorrow."

Quietly and steadily.."..are you feeling attacked?"




Not much more was discussed on it, but I felt a strength of support from three friends and mentors at that point, the sensitive lady for care and encouragement, and the strength that a scientific mind found validation in my reality.  A third mentor came in the humour, voice and guidance of a wonderful Australian who swore outright in a christian hostel.  From what i learned from them, i hope that if there is also someone in the situation, this might give you a little strength or guidance.


Take comfort that your reality is real.


Remember that the feeling of panic is sometimes more than the actual happening.


Take time to concentrate on a balanced, calm, loving "line" that centres your body, and breathe from it

Take full concentration to the texture of something beside you.

 Concentrate on The feeling of your weight in a seat


Imagine that there is a bubble wrapped around you, with that same feeling of the loving line.

Really take time to feel the weight of your feet on the ground. I found it useful to walk barefoot, and feel the texture and temperature of the ground I was walking on.

Take time to concentrate on how you breathe. Remove yourself, detach yourself from drama. If you feel yourself pulled towards drama, take time to breathe and balance again to that "line".

Find a place of prayer, prayer works. I don’t care which religion. I did find that there was a strength in Jesus name, but the name alone, was the entirety of the process.

 Take time to sing. and if you are not able to sing. listen to music that you connect with. and hold onto it like rope. some people suggested soft gentle music, but i am someone that likes punkass strong energy. Enya on this kind of occasion would just not bridge the gap. For me at this time, strength came through songs from Emeli Sande, and a dutch hiphop group called Zwart licht. they are more than worth a listen to.
Freestyle by Zwart Licht, (a future solo album from one of Zwart Licht is Daar Ergens)
As activity with friends went on, I had to take further time apart. It was frustrating at times as I missed out on fun. Or it felt like that. I could communicate one hundred percent but I was nowhere near one hundred percent connection. On a sunny afternoon, they playing guitar, laughing, shouting, and it was too much. So I sat, with a brother figure. Friends jamming with guitars on the other side of the court yard.  It was another brother figure that I talk to in Dutch, hoe is het meisje?

 "its shit. I want to be there. But I cant focus on them. The only things I can connect with from their reality at this minute, is to listen to the sound of the fountain on the water, or look at the sunlight shining through that segment of that leaf there on the branch. more than that, and i am lost. Do you understand?"

 "its deep. Pffff. But I do understand, but your learning is deep, you are just a special person."


Things got a little worse before it began to ease. its an alienating experience when things happen that disturb your comfort and reality, but which you cannot truly relate to the majority of your friends. Despite my struggle, "normal" life was going on regardless, passing me by without me being able to enjoy in a fully connected way. For ten days, until lady left, I was allowed to sleep on the padded chillout bench in the garden. There I  still had some attempts to settle to sleep.  But to hear the fountain was my focus.  The challenges became more intense, I would have lets say "invasions" whilst the lady passed, or as I looked in the mirror.  A blessing further came in two christian friends who also had discernment. Some Christians call it discernment, other more traditional and conservative minds, call it sin passed down from generations. these to two girlfriends became my anchors when things became unbearable. i am so grateful to have them in my life.

 It came to one final morning, when the feeling around me was crushing. and i think I'm allowed to be a drama queen at this point, when i say crushing i mean superman and kryptonite. bad ass.  The bible discussion that morning had been "appropriate", the manager looked at me to confirm that I understood. Stand strong and let the lord battle for you. That is all very good and well, if its in visual reality, you can see a bus coming hurtling towards you and know you were given legs to run. But how on earth when you feel that same force coming towards you, but you cannot account it to any proportion, how can you trust that the crippling will stop.  In that day, I stood with a friend behind the counter of the cafe, and she held my hand. And I breathed.

 "why on earth, would anyone want to open themselves to voodoo or ouija, they have no idea what they are playing with, and I have to martyr the consequences of her life choices and decisions.."

 The next morning, it was enough. The cleaning lady sought ought my space again in an unusual way, but I showed no negativity. The cafe team prayed. And I took five minutes to talk with the lady.  And towards the end, she looked me with tearful eyes. " know its not my heart, they come through my head". I knew it wasn’t her heart, she was a kind lady. But her choices in spirituality led me to weeks of discomfort and detachment.  In the end she chose not to pray, and she chose search out new religion, and she followed a path back to prostitution. As a sensitive,  walking through streets of prostitution in Amsterdam, ties feeling of a rope round your neck, and it pulls tight, and rejoices as it does so. and its not ashamed of rejoicing and defiance.

 Since then, regaining consciousness, and feeling connected is returning in baby steps.  Its unstable, but its given me new appreciation of the world around me. Though mostly still in small proportions, its given me focus and discernment in my own reality. Its most important for me to feel clean, to act in a clean way, to be clean. This is also small steps. as slow as it has been, its been a blessing in requiring me to reassess what is around me, and from that, what is important to honour.

On one of the last summer evenings, we sat in a group by the canal, hitchhiking a boat ride. and towards the end of a special evening, i sat back looked at the two groups of friends. how rich is this small tapestry of happening? one group, people from all corners of the world sharing a joke. so many kinds of different laughter and humour, the second group, well how amazing is life that it can bring two people from different life perspectives, and share their stories of Singapore. bringing understanding to one, and self worth to the other.  someone has created the brickwork that we're sitting upon. then towards the lighted bridge, how many stonemasons, and carpenters made the bridge and how many wives, families, pieces of bread and drinks of beer supported them?..and the lights on the bridge, those who connected the electricity, those who found inspiration to create electrical light, and those people who supported those pioneers to go forward in inspiration to create the environment that we are now in. As i was thinking about this, and thinking also about how not to get too deep in thought on this. how wonderful life has created itself, life is also the wind that blows ripples along the canal. its both the inspiration and action of man, yet also in nature and elements that I've taken for granted along the way. its a rich tapestry and it all connects.

 A list for the sensitives! and also of interest to others..
Firstly get to know your reality, make friends with it, by being sceptical that it feels clean. to illustrate  this further, this from spoken word artist UNOM, who belongs to part of the Poetry Circle Nowhere . An Average Citizen,


Take time to look and feel  whats been created around you. Nature and man made.
Take time to consider  the smallest bits and pieces around, and appreciate it.

Make time to praise.

Be thankful.


Paddle in the sea.

Keep some stones around you - amethyst, rose quartz, black tourmaline, jade..
Make time for animals. Make effort to be around nature. Make time to notice it.

Take time to detox.

Be sceptical of the food you eat. Eat clean organic food when ever possible.

Listen to, or read wholesome  or inspiring words. By this I don’t necessarily mean just the bible or books of faith. Something written by the heart, that inspires you, that moves you, that fills you with positivity.

Go see something human. Or organically human. Theatre, acoustic music, something performed from the heart. Something with energy.

 its a difficult process, but support yourself through it. keep going! should a wonderful event draw a large crowd. go enjoy it anyway! just find a wall to stand beside.

                                                                     Celebrate life!
This tune. though christian (i don't say this in a disrespectful way. but most christian worship songs focus that Jesus is the only way to following god. i do not sit with that as a truth, and therefore will not sing it. which makes for patchy chorus!) having said that, it is a very poignant song for me,  and would mostly appear at moment where i most needed confirmation that life or god, or the universe, was in control. I liked it because i could connect with with my experience, and the learning that i should not fear, or worry, but that things are, and would be taken care of, and that my simple roll was to rejoice in blessings, and celebrate life around me. This is an ongoing lesson. Because of the strong connection of this song with last summers happenings, it has the power to uplift me when i am rejoicing good things in life, or with the simple crack of an egg, it yokes every emotion of powerlessness and worry from me.
The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes
And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

I returned to meet friends from the hostel at new year. and this song which had been so poignant , unexpectedly appeared at the singsong shortly before the fireworks. it led me to emotionally meditate, feeling like i passed the finish post from a year that tore the rug from my feet and rebuilt me again, i was standing at the finish line. feeling somewhat battered and bruised but  I'd survived the difficulties with the support of life around me, and i stood weeping at the skies, feeling like i deserved every colour exploding from every firework.

These days, living outwith Amsterdam, i am able to feel more balanced and building reconnection, and still have some healing to do,  and so to honour and celebrate my hair that took the brunt of violation, for meaningful occasions, and those days i need reminded of beauty,  i adorn a flower.

Photography courtesy of Gudrun Sjoden

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