Longing for Aliveness

IMG_4934It’s often during this time of year in the Northern hemisphere, when the entire natural world is quivering with a restlessness to birth itself anew, when the animals are shaking the last snowflakes off their backs and the flowers are poking their heads above ground, that the projection of, “I’m not attracted/in love enough with my partner” emerges loud and fierce in my work with clients.

Why would this be? Why would the transition of seasons cause the projection about attraction and in-love feelings to rear its familiar, compelling, and insistent head?

Let’s break it down:

Transitons, for the highly sensitive among us, activate grief, restlessness, and vulnerability. This is true for the larger life transitions – getting married, moving, buying a house, having a baby – as well as for the ones that receive little to no attention in this culture: dusk and dawn, birthdays, and the change of seasons, to name a few. Said simply, exquisitely sensitive people – the deeply compassionate, aware, thoughtful ones who populate my practice, my courses, and my household – are exquisitely attuned to death in all forms: the change of house, the change of year, the change of one moment to the next, the change of seasons. I’ve now heard several clients repeat almost verbatim the teary-eyed words that came out of my son’s mouth when he turned seven: “I’m so sad that I’ll never be six again!” Or the time he approached me while I was writing at my desk and said, “Mommy, I’m so sad that the moment that just happened will never happen again.”

Attuning to and feeling the emotions that underlie the change of seasons isn’t the problem. The problem is that, because so few people were honored for their sensitivity growing up, as soon as they feel the slightest inkling of sadness, vulnerability, or restlessness with the passage of time and change of seasons they automatically turn on themselves with self-judgment and then project the initial core feelings outward in the form of “something is wrong with my partner”. This usually happens so fast it’s not even conscious, but the unspoken dialogue looks like this:

Feeling sad. I don’t know why. What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong with me. Everyone else seems just fine. In fact, everyone is so happy about spring. Something is definitely wrong with me.

And then…

I’m not attracted enough to/in love enough with my partner. 

If you don’t understand projection and intrusive thoughts, you will bite the hook, which means that you will believe that this thought/feeling is true and then, from that one moment of taking the thought/feeling at face value, you will tumble down the rabbit hole of anxiety and ruminations. What begins as a natural and quite beautiful response to life’s frailty – attuning to the death/rebirth cycle – morphs in a nanosecond into self-judgement (what’s wrong with me and then projection (not attracted enough). It’s these two pitfalls – self-judgement and projection – that live at the core of relationship anxiety for most people.

If the thoughts/feelings aren’t true, what are they? They’re an opportunity. They’re gifts. They’re arrows shot directly from your soul designed to grab your attention so that you will crack open the projection/intrusive thought and peel back the layers until you arrive at its heart.

There are many spokes to the wheel of lack of attraction and lack of feeling, some of which I’ve written about here. Alongside all of these is the opportunity to connect more deeply to your Self – your physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual realms – and to ask yourself what’s needed in any particular moment. Intrusive thoughts, like dream images, are metaphors, meaning that they’re not meant to be taken at face value but ask that we crack them open to discover the gems hidden at the center. In the case of a client I worked with last week, the gem inside of “not attracted enough to my husband” was her longing for aliveness. As she’s been working with her relationship anxiety for many years, she was able to resist becoming deeply hooked by the thoughts, and as we worked during the session she arrived into the core:

I know this isn’t about my husband at all. Now that I’m saying this out loud, I can see that I’m longing for some fun. I need a vacation. It’s been such a long, cold, hard winter and I need something new, some freedom, a change of pace. I’m also aware that I’m longing to nurture my spark by taking some online classes. Yes, that feels alive and exciting! **

Here’s the sequence in its entirety:

I’m feeling restless and sad about the change of seasons.

I judge it because everyone else seems fine and I haven’t embraced my high sensitivity as a gift; it often feels more like a burden.

As I reject and judge the initial feelings, they morph into projection: I’m not attracted enough. I’m not in love enough. Internal gets pushed down and then emerges outward onto other so that I can see it more clearly. 

I reel back the projection, knowing that it’s a clue that there’s something inside of me that needs attention.

I remember that lack of attraction = longing for aliveness (among many other equations). 

I’m needing more aliveness. I’m needing something new, both in response to the intense winter and in a more ongoing way in my life. I can meet this need by taking a short vacation and signing up for an online class. 

Contrary to what the culture teaches, it’s not your partner’s job to make you feel alive. It’s not his or her job to make you feel worthy because you’ve landed a partner that the culture deems “attractive”. It’s not your partner’s job to light your fire or make your life worth living. All of that is your job, and embedded inside every projection and intrusive thought is the gold of your own evolving awakening, clues to how you can embrace more fully the depth and breadth of who you truly are. Every projection is your inner Self pushed outward onto the movie screen of your partner.

It’s helpful to remember that these projections tend to emerge in technicolor during liminal zones, the in-between times of transition when the veil is thin: the space between seasons, the end of the day, the few moments between sleep and wakefulness when our toes are still dipped into the waters of another world. They emerge during the bigger transitions as well when our familiar life stage and identity hang in the balance between death and new life, when we are asked to let go of what we have known to make space for something new and must sit in the blurry, amorphous unknown until the known comes into focus. But it’s the lesser talked about transitions that effect the highly sensitives that need to be brought to even more light, as they occur daily, monthly, and seasonly.

These times are blessings in that the familiar structures of defense and story fall soften and eventually crumble, and in the rubble of the unknown, undefined space we can see with greater clarity the diamonds inside ourselves that long to be known. When we can bring context and compassion to our inner world, the projection doesn’t have to take hold. And when we can remember that sensitivity is a gift, the intense emotions that accompany it become guideposts toward helping us create a more connected, meaningful life, one in which we can allow our gifts to shine out into a world that desperately needs them.

** Session excerpt published with grateful permission from my client.

44 comments to Longing for Aliveness

  • lalalove

    So beautiful!! I melted at this line: the few moments between sleep and wakefulness when our toes are still dipped into the waters of another world. I love that imagery so much; so gorgeous! 🙂

  • Shared, you write so beautifully, each post is like meditation time for me when I get to reading it. Thank you for all that you do Sheryl, you have made me feel normal.

  • ecojewels

    Sheryl, it is as if you have a direct line to my mind and my heart. You write my feelings into consciousness. You are always in tune with my emotional transitions and I am so grateful for your site as it is like a soft place for my searching mind to fall. A million times, a million ways, thank you.

  • Angela

    Sheryl, we have been taught as a culture that our prince charming will look after us emotionally, financially, just like in the movies fairytales. We all know it takes 2 to make a relationship work,
    Much love XO

  • onedayatatime

    I am grateful for this article today. A big message I am also taking away in your article is to honour the gift of sensitivity. Since I have started a new job it has been really difficult for me to bring compassion to my sensitivity. I feel like I have just graduated and know nothing. My inner struggle is more then just it being new. I am sensitive and I become overwhelmed, then anxious, then freeze, then self-judge!! I have noticed how this can easily turn into projection not only about my relationship but other things. I have been able to acknowledge that “wishing I weren’t so sensitive” doesn’t allow me to move forward. So I have been, at the least, committing to practice gratitude. So thank you Sheryl!

    • YES! Honoring sensitivity as a gift is definitely a core message in my work, and I’m glad to hear that you’re starting to bring a bit more compassion to your wiring.

    • Ali

      Onedayatatime:
      I feel exactly the same when I am doing something new. For the longest time I assumed I was slower or not as smart as others when trying new things, meeting new people, starting new jobs, etc. I am finally starting my master’s degree in May and I am so grateful that I am aware of what to expect as a sensitive person as I take on this new stage in my life. Thanks Sheryl, for making space for sensitive people to honor and celebrate who they are!
      Ali

      • onedayatatime

        Hi Ali, thank you for sharing. The “I’m not as smart” is a big one for me right now.

  • Lifelines

    I love this article Sheryl! I’ve noticed that my anxiety does tend to spike when the sun is going down and when I am first waking up in the morning. I never thought about the daily transitions of life and death. What a beautiful way to talk about this. Thank you for helping me reframe this into another beautiful truth about life, sensitivity and human suffering, as well as an opportunity to be more alive to the world.

  • Lifelines

    Oops, I don’t know why I’m logged in as lifelines….this is sb124 🙂

  • melinda

    I found this very helpful! I recently got engaged which I had been longing for (and my boyfriend and I have been arguing about for years). Almost immediately after I began to wonder if I was making the right decision! I feel terrible for hurting him by wondering. I have never been this anxious for the last two weeks I don’t know why.

  • Rita

    Thank you for reminding us that “sensitivity is a gift.”

  • Lindsey

    I am once again just blown away by the incredible gift you have, Sheryl. I found your website, truly believing that not only was I alone in the way I think (obsess, ruminate, become paralyzed), but was a freak, the “pain in the ass” sensitive girl and truly never meant to be happy or loved. I found an amazing husband who loves me and supports me, and my favorite past time is to figure out why marrying him was a mistake, why I’m not capable of loving him, etc. This article truly spoke to me in that I am very sensitive to all changes such as holidays, family outings, birthdays, even mini vacations for myself (I stress myself out so much on my “fun quota”, I have to meet my quota of “fun” for the trip to be worth it). Anytime these changes occur I ALWAYS look at my husband and think “If you were better in A, B, C, or D, I wouldn’t be feeling this way”. It’s been a difficult journey (and such a long way to go) in accepting that my happiness/sadness is truly my own, and not his responsibility to fix or fill. Thank you from the bottom of my heart 🙂

  • Sarah

    Hi Sheryl,

    Thank you so much for this post. It came at just the right time. I’ve noticed that I’ve been picking my husband apart lately and now I’m reminded of all that’s going on… my Grandfather’s passing, my birthday coming up tomorrow, spring happening, leaving my job 2 months ago and not sure of what’s next, not to mention trying to conceive! Reading this helped me to realize perhaps why I’m feeling sad, negative, overhwelmed and why my IC is asking me to “stop.” I’m in a few liminal zones at once! I’m going to make more time to journal, meditate and all the other things that nourish me. 🙂

  • Jessica

    The topics of your posts are always so timely! I was having a really restless day yesterday and now it seems completely normal. I love the message to look within rather than externally, it’s always a great reminder! Thanks so very much for the work you do 🙂

  • Anne

    Thank you! We are moving out of state tomorrow and the men hired to pack our belongings just left. I was feeling sad as I don’t really want to move and was annoyed that my husband wasn’t making me feel better. Then it dawned on me that I NEED to go through the sadness of this transition. So I cried for a while with my husband. When I saw this post in my email, it was like an answer to an unspoken prayer.

    On another note, I feel it was generous of my husband’s new company to pay for our relocation, but as a sensitive person, it made me feel vulnerable and anxious to have strangers pack our belongings. By not packing, I also missed an opportunity to grieve our move.

  • Shelley

    Hi Sheryl
    You always hit it right straight on. Many years I suffered as a sensitive individual that felt lost, alone, weird and lonely that I wasn’t good enough. Now after living a great life of 52 years, dealing with serious life challenges and ending up in therapy with a fabulous therapist I can finally understand and make sense of this. Wow. You are so amazing. I will read this to my daughter who is like her mom: sensitiv to life and transitions. Thanks from my heart

  • Rebecca

    Sheryl, thank you so much for your reminders about projection. I needed to hear this.

    I’m wondering… can projection take the form of feeling critical and angry about our partner’s differing political beliefs, and lifestyle choices? Are those also part of the “not the right one for me” story that anxiety can create?

  • Tessa

    This makes a lot of sense. As soon as I started feeling homesick, I started to question whether or not I really loved my boyfriend (who I had moved cities for). But almost as soon as I had booked a holiday home and the homesickness faded a little, I felt the attraction coming back!

  • openingmyheart

    I love this article, Sheryl! It is such a great reminder about all of the transitions we deal with in our lives. Last week I was preparing to go out of town on a business trip for 4 days. I kept thinking how excited I was and I wasn’t really letting myself feel the sadness about leaving my partner, our dog, and our home. I just kept telling myself, “This is going to be good for me!” For as long as I can remember, I get homesick pretty easily. Also, I have a fear of flying and I hadn’t flown for like 5 years.

    Anyway, the night before I left I cried to my partner and told him I was going to miss him. Then I thought I let it go. I woke up the next morning to prepare for my flight and the moment i woke up, the thought, “I don’t love him and I have never loved him,” popped into my head. I immediately became hooked! I now realize that the thoughts were there to get my attention…to remind me that I was scared to fly and sad to leave. I wasn’t allowing myself to feel those feelings, so my psyche knew how to get my attention. Leaving for 4 days was a transition as well. Thank you so much for this article. I am glad that I am learning so much about myself through your wise words.

    Much love.

  • growinginlove

    Sheryl,

    This post was beautiful. I will need to read it over and over again to fully let it all sink in. I was reminded of how transitions heighten my anxiety this past weekend when I attended my Grandfather’s funeral. I was in clear projection mode towards my husband and was bombarded by intrusive thoughts of him not being ‘the one’ etc… And last night he told me he felt like I was holding back my thoughts and feelings from him and that hurt him. I sat beside him last night and was amazed at how closed off I have been during this grieving period. Here is my husband standing there with open arms, begging me to let him in… and I am so closed off. I don’t want to loose that. but apart of me feels like I am letting this all happen, like it’s my choice in staying silent and not expressing my grief. I wonder what I am so afraid of in opening up and expressing those raw feelings and thoughts? But I still have hope that I can overcome this and step over the walls I’ve built up over the years.

    Thank you again, Sheryl.

  • Katherine

    Sheryl,
    Once again I am amazed at your uncanny ability to seem to read my mind 🙂
    I have been feeling sad the last few weeks and couldn’t put a finger on why. Needless to say I began to project my unease to my partner and our wonderful relationship as I seem to do when I feel detached from myself. I was able to take a step back and see how I’ve been working 50 hour weeks, stretching myself very thin a on top of that we’ve been seriously thinking of getting engaged, looking at rings together and such. I’ve come to realize that my feelings of unease come from my being unsettled. I still feel sometimes like I should just “suck it up” and not be so sensitive.I think I still need to learn to be more kind to myself when these flare ups inevitably happen. Thank you so much for your constant guidance!

    • Pema Chodron says that there’s a fundamental unease about being human, and I agree. And the more sensitive you are the more attuned you’ll be to this unease, especially during times of transition. I’m glad you were able to put the pieces together so that you can reel back the projection and attend to what’s truly needed inside.

  • Annie

    I have struggled all my life with getting restless at dusk and never understood what it was. I struggle with sadness that comes up when ever I must leave loved ones or friends even if it’s only for a day or two. Going from having a great time with friends at dinner and heading to my car is fraught with emotion. I’ve known that I am a highly sensitive person and now from this wonderful article I realize that transitions are just a normal part of my sensitivity. I have thought there was something dramatically wrong with me that I was so sensitive to the time of day or simple transition from friends to my own time. So thank you Sherry for your wisdom and insights. I’m looking forward to taking one of your courses soon.

  • Lauren

    Can I just say to you, Sheryl, and to all of you who have commented before me, what a relief it is to read these words and comments and to finally feel like I am not alone in my anxiety. I have been following your blog since November, when I suddenly became haunted by intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, and debilitating anxiety. Not knowing what else to do, I accepted these thoughts at face value: “of course I don’t love my partner, how could I? He”ll just hurt me, eventually, so I should leave him now.” Something inside kept me from doing so, and though I have struggled along the way, your posts have helped me tremendously. This one, in particular, really speaks to me. I am a highly sensitive person, born on a transition – the liminal space of early morning, on the last day of winter. I cannot thank you enough for your work!

    • This is really powerful, Lauren: “I am a highly sensitive person, born on a transition – the liminal space of early morning, on the last day of winter.” I do believe the our birth time/season/story does affect how sensitive we are to transitions.

  • Under the Sun

    Dear Sheryl,

    Again greatest of insights on the amazing self that targets us from within. Reading the beautiful comments of you all it seems sometimes we need knowledge more than company as we deal with that flustering voice throughout our lives.
    As a man, as i am reading your lines my eyes are welling up.
    Still strugling, i’m slowly shedding tears again over losing the love of my life.
    She, the love-to-be whom i had proposed to 3 months ago, recently enveloped to me that she doesnt portray me anymore me as her true love. Saying the horrific words if i was the right one she wouldn’t have doubted me for so many nights, saying she had been weeping in despairing loneliness for nights without sleep over the future we were going to have. The last 2 months have been tormenting she said. We have been separated the past two months for reasons out of our hands. It was the like a glimpse of hell having no contact but i was holding on because the prospect of being with my love again never lost my thought. I managed. She didn’t. Instead of rekindling our love after months separation she was distant, cold. Refusing to let me get close to her she said there wasnt any future for us anymore. She had been thinking and this is it. No contact wanted anymore, no calls, no words, no texts. And i have been trying. Tried to convince her to let me in again, make her remember the incredible moments we had together, even optioned to slow down, to give her space to see me again as somebody worthwhile.
    It is with great grief and a gap in my heart that i now say to no avail..i dont know what else to say or what else to do. All i tried in the beginning seemed to work a little for a short period only to make her more bitter and stubborn afterwards. I dont wanna let go..

    But she has been harder in her rejections and now not accepting calls or responding to me at all. It is like i lost to a demon i couldnt match up to. Please give advice. I dont wanna give up.

    • Maja

      Under the Sun, I’m not Sheryl, but I do know about some resources that might be helpful for you. I hope it’s ok that I share these, Sheryl. Divorce busting (founded by Michelle Weiner Davis) has lots of experience dealing with situations like yours, and offers telephone coaching I believe, as well as the book “Divorce busting” and several others. Andrews G Marshall has written a bok called “My wife doesn’t love me anymore” (and others). I’m not affiliated with any of these, I have read one book by each of the people mentioned, and many articles. Ultimately no one can offer you any guarantees, but it might be worth a shot. Good luck!

  • Kayla VanOrmer

    This was so perfectly timed. All day today (4.1.15) I had been struggling with those thoughts of not being attracted enough to my partner and fear of cheating. I got to read this post just in time which helped me avoid grasping onto those intrusive thoughts and taking them at face value. Though it’s still a daily struggle, I’m amazed at how spot on you are with the intrusive thoughts. When all of this first started, I thought I was crazy. Then I found your site and it really helped me put things in perspective. I was able to believe what you were saying because the thoughts you were identifying as intrusive thoughts were the exact thoughts I had. So thank you for this post! Very much needed today.

  • Imperfect Goddess

    Hi Sheryl,
    I’m currently in your Trust Yourself program, and I’m really finding myself starting to turn inward and trying to examine the root of my relationship anxiety.
    For the longest time ever since the first intrusive thought “What if there’s someone better suited for me out there?”, it’s been nagging me in my mind for more than a year–the intensity of the thoughts come and go, but it’s always there—“what if he’s not ‘deep’ enough for me, “what if he can’t provide the life I have envisioned for myself?”., “Is he smart enough for me?” Etc. etc.; and I go around and around with these thoughts. Sometimes I think I would feel a sense of relief if I was just single, but the thought terrifies me, and I think that maybe I would feel this way with all my partners because it’s me not him that’s lacking in something. I just feel hopeless that these annoying intrusive thoughts will never go away, and that terrifies me.

    • Just by asking the question – “What are these thoughts pointing to?” – you’re turning the focus of your attention were it needs to be: on you. The answer is less is important than the question and when you ask the question enough times the sense of what you need will start to arise. By contrast, the more energy you give to the initial intrusive thoughts, the bigger that fire will grow. Your anxiety has nothing to do with him and everything to do with you.

  • Kirsten grace

    Words can hardly describe my gratitude for the insight and wisdom you share. I’m gradually learning to accept and nurture my sensitivies with the help of an amazing therapist and stumbling upon your blog. I’m 27, highly sensitive & feeling very overwhelmed and lost in a confusing world. Just reading through your material has helped me understand myself, my projections and where my self-work needs to be done. Thank you so much for helping me grow and helping me find courage in the midst of fear.

  • ladygold

    This post is hugely comforting. I’ve followed your writing for years–I’ve struggled with anxiety and intrusive thoughts for most of my life, especially after getting into a serious relationship with my now-husband. Even before I was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (which was empowering, in so many ways), I found so much peace and strength in your work. Recently, I haven’t been tending to my mental health in the ways I know I should– no therapy, no medication, no time for mindfulness, poor sleep schedule, lack of exercise/fresh air, and the terrifying and exhausting cycle of intrusive thoughts (ROCD/HOCD) have me hooked again. This piece is a wonderful remainder that all of the ugliness and disintegration I’m thinking and feeling right now is distracting me from the really painful experiences that defined my childhood and persist into adulthood; hyperfocusing on the “outcome” my marriage and obsessing about my sexuality are all-encompassing distractions that prevent me from connecting with the very real pain of being an adult child of an alcoholic and an abuser, and now losing one of those parents to alzheimer’s. I find that when I connect with that pain, allow myself to cry, feel the grief of these realities, the cycle of intrusive thoughts is interrupted– so, it’s always amazing to me how accurate and relevant your work is!

    • “I find that when I connect with that pain, allow myself to cry, feel the grief of these realities, the cycle of intrusive thoughts is interrupted”. YES. The intrusive thoughts are the inner Self waving red flags, trying to get our attention. When we drop in and turn in, the thoughts evaporate. Thank you for sharing.

  • Brianna

    I’ve been getting very anxious today about thinking of how it would be like to be with a celebrity that I like. I had a dream about being with them and thought about sleeping with them. Obviously I know its never going to happen but it makes me feel so anxious because I love my boyfriend. I know its okay to have celebrity crushes and I have many of them, but I dont like those thoughts that I was having. Anyone else get like this??

  • Lizzie

    Beautiful and inspiring, as always ! This came at the right time. I’m really considering taking one of your next courses.

    How can one get through theese transicions and find the essence and meaning, how to help the arrow peel the layers?

  • katie

    not sure exactly how much this has to do with this particular article but I feel like it has to do with your overall work and could be very helpful for people to read. This was posted on Elizabeth Gilbert’s facebook.

    “…or maybe don’t!

    Dear Ones –
    “TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS” is perhaps the simplest and most common piece advice out there. And on the surface, it seems perfectly reasonable. It’s an easy statement to share and to endorse.
    At the very least, it seems harmless, right?
    But I don’t always love these words.
    Remember what an “instinct” is, after all — it’s something that you do without thinking. An instinct is a reflex. An instinct is subconscious. An instinct is a reaction.
    It would be lovely to think that we are born with a pre-installed software package of perfect instincts, like a beautiful migrating bird, or hibernating bear. When migrating birds and hibernating bears follow their instincts reflexively, subconsciously, reactively and without thinking, then everything works out beautifully.
    But humans are a bit more complicated than birds and bears. Or at least I am. And life has taught me that when I do things reflexively, subconsciously, reactively, or without thinking, the results aren’t always so great.
    Take my twenties, for instance. Back then, my reflexive instincts told me to do all kinds of crazy things. My instincts told me to jump into the arms of a bunch of random men, for example, without giving much regard to their character, or to the consequences of my actions. My instincts instructed me to tell lies whenever I was cornered, in order to protect myself — again, no matter what the consequences. My instincts told me to eat all the donuts whenever I was sad. My instincts told me to bury my feelings and to run from problems rather than facing them. My instincts told me to engage in dysfunctional friendships based upon co-dependence, rather than respect. My instincts told me to buy a bunch of stuff that I didn’t need, or (in the case of my first house) that I flat-out could not afford.
    If you had asked me back then what the hell I was doing with my life, I would have said something like, “I’m just going with the flow, man! I’m just following my instincts, baby!”
    Honestly, you guys? I sort of feel like adulthood began for me when I finally learned to STOP following my instincts, and to start THINKING.
    I’m a big fan of thinking — especially if you’ve noticed that your instincts have perhaps led you into trouble. Around the age of 30, I started finally noticing the patterns of self-created chaos in my life, and questioning my instincts and learning to pause before I leapt. Maturity sometimes means stopping and asking yourself, “Wait a moment — have I ever been in a situation like this before? And how did that situation turn out? Weren’t the results terrible? So what have I learned? So am I SURE I want to do this, then?”
    I have spent years now learning how to act with consciousness instead of instinct. I worked with a therapist to determine WHY my instincts often created chaos in my life, instead of peace. I have learned to do the brave thing, instead of the automatic thing. And again and again I have instructed my intellect to override my instincts, in order to prevent chaos from repeating and repeating and repeating…
    In so doing, I have retrained myself. I have changed my reflexes and my responses. Which means that slowly, over the years, I have shaped new instincts. Which ULTIMATELY means that finally (in my mid-40s) I am back to trusting my instincts again…but this time, it’s because my instincts can finally be trusted.
    All of which is to say, dear ones, definitely always trust your instincts….but only if your instincts have a proven track record of being trustworthy. If not, then for the love of god and all that is holy, please stop trusting your instincts for a while, and sharpen your intellect, instead. Look at facts of your life, instead of blindly following feelings. You have a beautiful and rich mind — don’t be afraid to use it. Try to THINK, instead of just acting and reacting. Wake up to yourself. Study yourself. Look for patterns in your history. Be open to change. Become a student of your own behavior in life, and do the work to find out why your reflexive actions haven’t always benefitted you. Call in the pros if you need them. Do whatever it takes to trade in dysfunctional behaviors for life-affirming ones.
    And then — carefully, wisely, patiently, consciously — create a whole new set of brand new, sparkling, trustworthy instincts…and follow them.
    It can be done; I am living proof.
    ONWARD,
    LG”