by Joey Von Hoven
This is a call-out. I normally choose my words carefully and with beauty, but I don’t have the time to do that right now. I take that as a sign that I’m ready; this is a message to myself as much as to you. This is a message for a small but very definite percentage of people. You know who you are. You’re sensitive and you know it. You’ve probably been told you’re too sensitive, and you’ve probably learned to be ashamed of it. If you’ve ever done a Myers-Briggs assessment, you’re an intuitive feeling type.
Since you were a kid you’ve had the ability to perceive things that other people around you, especially the adults, haven’t been able to perceive and usually don’t believe you that you do either. You’ve felt things, sensed things others have seemed to be oblivious to–both interesting and beautiful things and disturbing, upsetting, painful things, both spirits and faeries and voices and tension and trauma in your family. And because your body and mind wanted to live by those perceptions those adults found it inconvenient and problematic, and they tried to make you different, and you learned to internalize shame and blame for the way you are and to try to be different yourself.
And you’ve lived your life that way, feeling a subconscious or conscious pressure to be someone else all the time, not understanding or maybe slowly gaining an understanding of why it seems easier for other people to be in the world and fit in than for you. Even though you may have been told you have considerable talents and gifts, you’ve probably struggled to actualize them and are consistently underemployed. You tend to be guarded about your pain and struggles so few people really know how hard it is for you and you have no idea how many others feel the way you do. It’s likely you’ve been given labels like depression and anxiety, it’s possible you’ve been addicted to substances, and you might even have contemplated suicide but didn’t because you knew in spite of everything there’s a reason you’re here on this planet.
This is a call-out to you–there is a reason you’re on this planet. It’s really important. It’s critical right now. There is no time to waste. I know you’ve been led to believe that the way you are is useless, that you haven’t been recognized or seen or valued very well, but the same things for which you’ve learned to discount yourself are actually the greatest hope for humanity.
“The Second Coming” by the poet William Butler Yeats describes a time when “the best lack all conviction/ while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” That is our time; it’s been our time for a long time now. “The best” who are referred to in that poem is you, not that you’re better than anyone else but as in the best ability to see and change, best equipped for what is needed, best to lead. The “lack all conviction” part is what has happened to your own sense of self-worth and belief in your abilities.
And “the worst are full of passionate intensity”? That’s a world where all the things you think you’re supposed to be–professional, calculating, able to check out from your feelings and “get it done” and to objectify whatever you need to objectify to do it–are seen as the only valid way to be. You know: that’s what it means to “get with the program” whether you’re a student, a teacher, a builder, a city planner, a soldier or a doctor; whether you’re a Wall Street trader or you work for a non-profit. Those who are able to do it well are rewarded and rise to leadership and learn great confidence, and those who aren’t able to do it, like you, are left feeling like there’s something really wrong with you and lacking in confidence.
This is insanity. In the vast majority of cultures that there have ever been, including those of whoever your ancestors were, the especially sensitive people have been seen as important leaders and indispensable if the culture is to survive, be in harmony with nature or the cosmic forces, and have everyone’s needs met. It’s only in cultures where all three of these things are lost sight of because a runaway process has taken over–call it a mind virus or thought cancer–that seeks to objectify, dominate, separate itself from and elevate itself above everything else that sensitive people are not recognized as leaders, guides, seers, healers, and intermediaries with larger forces.
That kind of culture is the culture of the late Maya and the culture of late Rome. And it’s our culture right now–the culture of late modernity and late capitalism, which is a globalizing culture that seeks to take over the whole planet and to colonize space, and has been doing a pretty damn good job of it for the past several decades.
You see, when the Mayans and Romans collapsed, it was horribly catastrophic for the people of those empires and millions died of disease and starvation, but the effects were geographically limited and there were places for survivors to disperse to. That is not the case now. There’s nowhere to go. In fact there’s less and less land as sea levels are on their way to rise over the most populated areas in the world. In fact the desertification that has caused thirst, homelessness, disease and starvation for millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa is now happening in California, from where half or more of all food in America comes.
And that’s just the beginning. It’s not that I’m being alarmist, it’s that we’re in the middle of a global catastrophe that is very unpopular to point out. We’re losing biodiversity at an alarming rate; mass extinction is not a pessimistic prediction, it is reality, it is already happening. Our biospheres are sick. That is an indication of how much we have gotten out of tune with the cosmic forces and natural world by being led by people who have no regard for them–instead of us leading, which is what’s needed.
Dale Pendell has said,
[the gods] been pretty much shut out of the public discourse, and yet they probably have something to say about their mountaintops being ripped off and their air poisoned. That is what is sometimes called the sacred….the earth we live on and walk through is already owned and inhabited and filled with intelligence, and maybe the job of the poets is to try to find some crack in the dominant worldview that sees the world as dead objective matter, to seek those cracks where light or a song breaks through.
That’s us, the sensitives, whether you identify as a poet or not. Poet and prophet are the same job, along with chief, priest/ess and medicine person–people who know the soul and are tuned into the deeper or larger soul. And right now, part of that job is finding cracks in the dominant worldview and letting the light break through. The dominant worldview is causing mass misery, death and destruction. Mass misery, death and destruction are all we need to qualify a situation as apocalypse–what more could be needed? It’s not time to respect the dominant worldview, and it never has been for us.
Here’s what we need to start doing: turn the tables on everything you’ve been conditioned with about the way to be in the world, how to succeed, what’s appropriate or allowed, what and who has value, and who and what to listen to.
You’ve been told that if you want to succeed with your gifts that you need to follow certain steps, make it through the right gates, perform the right analyses, make the right impression on the right people, and have the right attitude. These things all have in common that they are thinking ways to navigate your life, and they see your body and whole being as a machine operated by your thinking mind. They inherently disregard your feeling-orientation and your inner-knowing, which operates on time and on principles that are not constrained by any of these strategies or expert opinions, and aren’t served by them either.
You’ve also been told to focus on the “real world,” what’s tangible, what’s conventional, and to work from within the status quo even if you want to change it. This is a surface way of sensing and relating to the world. It inherently disregards your deeply intuitive nature, the fact that you see behind and through what’s immediately obvious. Most can only see the immediately apparent and don’t see the value of the whole field or of what’s possible but not yet actual. That includes most gatekeepers, managers, experts and advice-givers, and most people who get air time and publication space in the media. They have no use for dreamers.
So I know you’ve gotten a lot of that conditioning, and it’s still coming from all sides and affecting you, but it’s time to stop letting it have power over you. Look inside, listen inside–that’s where the expert is. That’s the one who knows. If no one else will give you permission, I’ll give you permission. Your truth is inside you, and you don’t have to listen to anyone else. And when someone else is saying what’s really true, you’ll know, because you’ll feel it in your body resonating with your truth-receiver.
Let your own truth-receiver guide you especially about following your own path, being successful, getting your message out, and making money. Let it guide you about caring for yourself, and where to live, and how to use your time, and who to share time with in your life. Take what feels right that comes from others and disregard everything else, because if it doesn’t resonate with you it will wind up bringing you down and causing you to doubt yourself. And it’s so, so important that that loses its power for you, starting now. That deeper soul and that larger field that you are sensitive to have an interest in your being successful and well-provided-for. And they also have the wisdom that no experts do, no well-meaning friends or parents or teachers do.
Go ahead and call yourself a teacher, a leader, a coach, a healer, starting now. I know you’ve had huge doubts about whether you’re entitled to, whether you know enough or are experienced enough. It’s human to have doubts, but honor your gifts anyway, because other people who aren’t so scrupulous are doing it and getting the clients, the microphones and the publication space that you’re not. If you don’t have letters behind your name, that’s fine; consider yourself fortunate that you’ve been less indoctrinated by the ethos of professionalism and the academic tone. And if you do have letters, let the truth inside you use them, rather than the other way around.
Write your heart out, speak your heart out. Create a workshop or a presentation; it doesn’t have to be exhaustively prepared for. You already have things that are very important and very needed; get an audience and they’ll have a chance to come out of you. You have the authority. Skip getting qualified or creating the perfect thing. Just do it, even if you get three people, and do it again. Ask for money for sharing something that’s really important.
If you don’t feel like an expert, relax, because no one’s really an expert. If you’re extroverted, which some sensitives are, please use that, because we need it. If you’re introverted, use your gifts as a passionate introvert–you understand people 75% better than most other people do anyway even if you interact with people less.
If you really don’t think you have anything that you can go on, even though that is far from true I promise you, get ordained as a minister by the Universal Life Church so you can call yourself a minister and get speaking engagements. And this is something I’ve had trouble with too, but you can have a blog and you can write on it, even if just a WordPress or Blogger subdomain. That’s something that almost anyone can do. I know it seems pointless when only five people read what you’ve posted, but keep doing it and the right people will find what you’ve written, and you’ll be connected and seen, and you’ll have more of your power and more will come.
You have exactly as much time as you need, even though we don’t have time to wait to start. We all have the same amount of time, whatever your schedule, however old you are. You don’t need to become well-known or have a wide influence overnight; the only true timetable is inside. All there is to do is what comes to you every day to do. Touch the lives you can touch, spend your days in love and in devotion to wholeness, and relax knowing you showed up for your day and that was all that was required, and appreciate yourself for it. Some days you still won’t want to do anything, and that’s to be expected, but I’m hoping for everyone’s sake that more days, you will be moved to do just enough.
I know you have issues. I know you have pain. I know that sometimes you feel like a piece of nothing. I know because I do too. And I know that we don’t have time to wait until those issues are resolved and those wounds are healed. The world needs our leadership now. We can keep working on our healing while we’re leading and doing what we’re here to do; you don’t need to be healed to be a healer, you don’t need to have it all figured out to be a guide and a leader. Our being small, invisible and silent is not helping anyone but those who are profiting but the status quo, and it isn’t ultimately helping them, either.
I want to say one last thing that’s important. We are here to serve the world. The rest of the people in the world are our people; we’re a part of them and they’re a part of us. We are not a different species. The abilities we have are abilities that everyone has, they’re just much more developed in us. And they’re more developed because they’re needed to be more developed, not because we’re elevated or here to replace anyone. I know there’s a temptation to secretly hold beliefs like that to compensate for how much we’ve been hurt by the dominant culture. If we were mutants, we need to take Professor Xavier’s attitude, not Magneto’s, which is a poisoned attitude that comes from pain and only reproduces it.
Please remember that love is the basis of all things. You are love. Love loves through you. I love you. You love you, too. So let your love be what helps you. Love might not replace your fear; you may still feel fear. But your love is stronger, and can recontextualize the fear to make it be how you know you’re doing something at your growing edge.
And this, which came to me in a dream recently: “More imagination always wins over less imagination.” It’s what I say after I and a bunch of other magician-teachers drive out the forces of apocalypse and evil from a school for disturbed children. It now is on my wall to see every day. I want you to know it too, and I think you actually already do. I think we have more imagination than the mind virus and the dominant culture. I think the other magician-teachers are you.
Joey Lovechild Von Hoven is a writer, a poet and a modern shaman whose work includes our connection with the Imaginal and reclaiming and healing the soul.
He writes at thedreamtongue.wordpress.com and does soul healing work in Portland, Oregon.