Beyond the 5 Senses: The Gift of Feeling

February 28, 2024

“Intuition is one of the senses that may be one of the greatest forms of intelligence, which is largely disregarded and dismissed in the current world.”
-Paula Marie

If you are like me, you were born with an innate sensitivity and ability to track and discern emotions, attitudes, and patterns. This unique trait allows you to feel what others are feeling as if it were your own. Like other types of energetic exchanges this occurs through what neuroscientist Dan Siegel refers to as somatic resonance. This fine tuning of the sensory system can be thought of as an extreme form of empathy that uses sensory cues such as body language, voice tones, or energetic imprints to discern another’s experience.

This gift involves a skill called “sentience” which is the ability to use sensation to gather information rather than the use of logic or reason. It is often spontaneous and a very tactile and somatic experience.

In my life, this gift was often over-looked and unrecognized both my myself, others, and the world around me. At my best, I could use it to create peace in a room where tension lived. Other times, I was left holding more information in my body than I wanted with no place for it to go.

With no mentor in site, I spent a great deal of my childhood trying to dampen the noise of the body often carrying the remnants of others’ emotions with me, struggling to discern what was mine and what was not. This contributed at times to a great deal of what could be called in psychological terms as anxiety.

Learning how to use this gift of sentience effectively is a skill set that is not offered in our mainstream schools or social settings. Fortunately for me, I was able to cultivate this gift into an artform through my training in therapeutic approaches, which I then mastered through modalities like Focusing and Gestalt Therapy. As a young professional, I had an opportunity to fine tune my skills while opening a treatment center in Hawaii, with Dr. Anita Johnston. The Ai Pono Treatment Center was uniquely designed to support clients in gaining a new understanding of their gifts of sensitivity using myth and metaphor to aid clients in tapping into this gift through the wisdom of the body.

Once I began my journey into more embodied forms of therapy (i.e. Somatic Experiencing and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, the doors opened further and my use of the body as a biofeedback machine had new meaning and purpose. Suddenly, I had a language - the language of the nervous system - that I could use for this skill set of tracking another person’s nervous system using my own body.

As I ventured more and more deeply into the world of body-oriented therapies through touch work and then sound healing, the nuances of what I was tracking became even more clear. In the world of body-based modalities and energy-psychology, I discovered the multitude of layers of the human experience that can be tracked through the various senses.
Today, I have come into a new understanding and reverence for this gift as I help others to deepen into their own skill set and use of embodied sentience.

We all have an ability to cultivate this skill as it is part of the art of embodied attunement. Today, there are many practices and programs that offer support in developing more sentience like those offered through Thomas Hübl at https://www.artofattunementcourse.com/.

These programs are available today to help you learn how to become better attuned and better able to use your own body to increase your level of empathy and attuned listening with others.

Not sure if you have this skill set?

Below are some key features about the gift of feeling.

  • You can sense or attune to another person’s emotions easily.
  • You have an ability to read a room energetically so would know if the room held tension in the space.
  • Others have referred to you as “sensitive”.
  • You feel overwhelmed around the expression of big emotions of others.
  • You must decompress and have alone time after being with others, reading the news, or going to a large public gathering.
  • You pick-up on what others are feeling. For example, you may feel an emotion such as sadness from out of the blue when you are with someone or feel an emotion through a sensation like a constriction in the chest.
  • You can feel the energy of a location, stored grief or pain that is associated with a certain space where there has been loss.
  • You can track like a Biofeedback machine where tension or emotions are held another person’s body. In my case, I can do this in person or remotely.
  • You are drawn to the fields of psychotherapy, bodywork, somatics, or energy healing.
  • You tend towards social responsibility and a desire to help the larger causes around you.

Does This Sound Like You?

If this sounds like you, there are a few steps you can take to come more fully into embodiment of this gift.

If you haven’t already embraced this aspect of yourself as a gift, perhaps it’s time for you to do so.

You see, when you don’t celebrate these gifts as aspects of who you are, it sends a big message to the universe that you don’t matter. Since feeling worthy or feeling “enough” are key aspects in our ultimate quest of belonging as humans, it is in our best interest to start accepting all of our unique gifts that we are given in this lifetime.

If you are like me and you tried to push away your gifts or ignore them, then there may be some self-forgiveness that needs to occur for you to more fully embrace yourself.

Below is a Mantra to Get you Started:

Try this mantra over the next week and sit with these words for about 20 minutes before you begin to journal about the experience.

“I forgive myself for ever judging myself for having the gift of emotional insight and sentience. Because the truth is, I don’t have to discount or deny myself for having this unique gift any longer. Today I know that this ability is one of the distinct qualities of that is part of my unique blueprint and my essential Self.”

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