Fiery Politics – Thoughts for Sensitives

Temperatures are running high in the US and the world – and it’s not only global warming. The current politics have become so polarized. Respectful debate? A lost art. But wait a minute. Remember the John Adams historical fiction TV series? It depicted our forefathers – sure they had passionate disagreements. Yet, they stayed respectful and honorable toward one another. Some were even deep friends. Even twenty years ago, that was still the case. No, it wasn’t perfect, but intelligent debate was known to be crucial to democracy.

Sensitives, light workers, creative types, are sensitive to moods, anger, conflict, pain, loud noises, and over-stimulation. They’re more negatively impacted by other’s pain than most (more info on the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) here ). Does this mean all sensitives need to hide or withdraw? Not necessarily. But you may have to get uber creative to find ways to make your contribution, and stay engaged.

It’s hard for anyone to know what to do with today’s volatile atmosphere. The common approach for the overwhelmed might be to tune out. Pray for the best. Others are able to hone in on an area of concern and passion and dedicate their time and efforts there. In the scramble to just exist in crazy times, keeping the roof over your head and the family on track can feel like it takes most of the energy available. Being informed/engaged politically takes a toll. The heat behind the bickering doesn’t make sense, and the news focuses on,  and endlessly repeats, the negative.

Today’s issues often have deep roots to foundational values which don’t seem to have room for compromise. It’s complicated when these values and needs don’t get met. These are hard times. Economic uncertainty, national addiction crises, threats of war, out of control health care or student loan costs, more frequent environmental anomalies, whew! Throw all of this in the mix, and it’s no wonder the nation and world is on edge.

When there is a threat of any kind, our brains go on overdrive. Stress and the fight or flight response kick in. In that place, folks get cranky, bitchy and defensive – and they look for things to blame. Drastic words and actions can ensue.


For myself, doing work that focuses on healing and truth-telling helps. I take that whole “the other side” and “enemies” with a grain of salt. Other sides don’t really exist, underneath this convincing show.

The communication theory, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) or Compassionate Communication is also a helpful framework. People have similar needs and they’re doing their best to get them met. They’re trying to take care of themselves and their families. When those needs aren’t met or something important is threatened, inner alarms go off. When you recognize the human side of this, you can stay calm and be curious – what needs are not getting met here? It helps understand others, and ourselves; these needs are important.

Unfortunately there aren’t too many courses you get in school on how to communicate and negotiate with others. And it’s not that everyone else should serve you. But life is about creating worthwhile landscapes. To do this you may have to able to speak up and request alternatives when the outer world is about to pave over your old growth forest, so to speak. This can be done, if you use a few key skills.

There is positive impact from prayer and maintaining a loving heart. The Golden Rule, treating others as you would wish to be treated, underlies many world religions. While HSPs may not be out at demonstrations as often, (unless they have special support cocoons and ear plugs), this part they can offer. Their voice and energy matters, as does that of everyone alive now.


Not all light workers and creatives are HSPs. And, HSP characteristics are not the only aspects of a person. Those so called limits or guidelines can be exceeded at times. For example, HSPs are supposed to avoid performing or public speaking. But this HSP did a one woman show and other performance work for years. It was probably harder than it may have been for others. And, the discomfort was way worth it.

Sensitives do not have to force themselves to be activists out there on the streets. Yet, you may need to lean into the winds of these times, and examine whether your needed contribution is being made. Holding space for kindness and respect IS a huge contribution. And, there may be more that your deep self, your soul, is asking from you. During performance time, my day job work wasn’t enough. I had to write and perform on the side. The soul work needs to keep growing, even if it’s ten minutes at a time. Just enough to keep that light growing.

Further explorations to come. I’m curious about:

  • How do you best cope with stress? Times like these will stretch you; you’ll see what is still working, and what isn’t quite working so well anymore. Time to expand the repertoire.
  • What are the best ways to communicate under pressure? This is not taught in school, but such a crucial skill in life and these times.
  • What is a good perspective to hold both spiritually and functionally, when the world seems to be falling apart? Is this surface reality real, or illusion/samsara? If so, how do you best work it?
  • How does our defensive, fight or flight system kick in, and what role does the fear of death play?
  • What are excellent ways for sensitives to stay engaged, and contribute their voices and gifts?

Keep holding the light kids. It’s another of those rubber-meets-the-road zones up ahead.


Denise Barnes

Resources for creatives, sensitives, light workers

Reiki Telephone Healing Circles
My wonderful colleague and Reiki Master, Meg Sullivan is holding free telephone healing circles on Thursday evenings. She is the best! Here is what it’s about:
Healing our hearts, our communities, and our world.
Receive Reiki to heal our hearts. Then together with others, offer your
good wishes, prayers, or healing energy for the benefit of our loved ones,
local communities, nations, and our planet.
Everyone is welcome, no matter your political or religious beliefs or
non-beliefs! This is done mostly in silence, with a short introduction and
periodic inspiring words.

Straddling the Aisle – Book List – Boulder Public Library (love love love it) had a display of relevant books from both sides of the aisle. Keeping with Van Jones’ suggestion to be informed beyond our own point of view, check some out some of these gems.

Communication training by a Master
I noticed that has a very affordable online training on communication skills by the master / creator of Nonviolent communication, Marshall Rosenberg. This work takes some practice to master, but once learned, changes lives.
(not an affiliate link)

Compassion for World Events – short blurb from Psychic Horizons

The Two Year Phone Conversation that Changed a Life

About Denise Barnes

Licensed Therapist, Life Coach and Spiritual Counselor, Denise has an office in Boulder CO and is a certified Telehealth provider.
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