Updated: Aug 24, 2020
I discovered the power of mantra/prayer/positive affirmations in a time of childhood transition- and have since learned new ways to harness its power.
My very first memory is one of separation anxiety. Whether it was a dream or a real event is debatable (could I possibly remember when I was small enough to be in a baby carrier?!) Either way, the experience of true fear was real. And even though my parents are as caring as they come, my first memory is one of being left alone in a strange room after drifting off to sleep. Terror took over when I woke up in an unfamiliar environment and was absolutely positive I could hear my father talking about leaving me behind. As soon as I began to cry, he rushed in to check on me.
This was the first mind-game I ever played on myself.
The separation anxiety followed my throughout my childhood. When I first attended school, I cried (ok, SOBBED) for a full week. My teachers didn't know what to do with me and considered sending me home for another year. Luckily, I adjusted with some time (and support from a boy who would become my best friend for the rest of my school days). School had slowly become another safe place on my internal map.
Things were gravy for a few years until all of my classmates began having sleepovers. Naturally, I wanted to try! They had so many cool stories about staying up late, eating chocolate, and, most importantly, I saw them bonding and creating deeper friendships. I was scared that if I didn't try I would be left behind by my peers.
So I tried. And I cried. And I was taken home.
And I tried again. I made myself physically sick with fear. I was taken home again.
This happened many times before I was successful. And even at this young age I felt the guilt and shame of my sensitivities. Why couldn't I just be normal??
This childhood rite of passage also ignited a quiet determination. I wanted to find the inner power to survive a night away from my parents and 'kick' the separation anxiety to the curb. So I started praying. Using the Christian scaffolding under which I grew up, I learned about the power of intent, shifting from a place of fear to a place of internal safety.
I had grown up in the Catholic Church. Prayer until this point was a mere act of memory recall. I'd memorized a full list of prayers in my church school programs without understanding the true meaning behind the words.
But now, I found a practical application for prayer. I practiced praying with REAL connection and focus to help me fall asleep in my own bed at first (another feat, considering I had a very "active imagination").
Feeling empowered by my newfound connection to a Divine Power, I knew I could accomplish The Sleepover.
I had my parents arrange another attempt. (Bless them, they never gave up on me after several failed tries.) I had a fun-filled day with a friend and her aunt. I was feeling strong. Then, she began to get sleepy and I felt the familiar anxiety begin to bubble up from deep inside me.
With shaking hands, a weak stomach, and an inner resolve to overcome, I laid awake for what felt like hours praying, PRAYING for help to get through the night... positive self-talking my way through the inner horror of being a vulnerable child in an unfamiliar environment with no conscious soul to lean on but myself.
I don't know when I fell asleep.. but I awoke in the morning with the warm sun beaming on my face, welcoming me to a new, triumphant day.
My life had changed for the better and a lifelong practice was born. I have since learned more about the power of conscious shift, and I use it as a daily practice, as well as during times of great transition.
Being highly sensitive comes with challenges. But it also comes with a deeper energetic awareness and the opportunity to build internal strength. Through application I have built a deeper connection with, and appreciation for, myself.
And it's my mission to help others tap into these small (but also GIANT) wonders.