Sensitivity is a Gift

From my earliest days I remember being often told that I was "too sensitive". When my brother was relentlessly teasing me (as older brothers do, bless their hearts) and I became upset, I never heard my parents tell him that he was being too harsh; the burden was always on me to buck up and develop a thicker skin. The trend continues in adulthood, something I find surprising though I think I shouldn't - we're really all still just our childhood selves masquerading as adults. Some of us present this better than others in our day to day, our jobs or our outward demeanor, but in times of quiet seclusion we still may experience childlike (if not childish) emotion or patterns that carry over from days gone by. 

To a point, I understand the impulse to subdue the delicate flowers. The world is not always a kind place and it's a good quality to be able to roll with the punches. But the older I get the more I realize that sensitivity is a trait that has long been suppressed by our society, and I think that the efforts to breed this condition out of our children has lead us astray. 

Sensitivity is not, and has never been, a bad quality! Being conscious and perceptive allows us to empathize with others and makes us kinder. Sensitivity allows us to recognize a lot of injustices about the world around us, even to the point of changing unnecessarily harsh laws. It helps us to nurture those who need a little extra care. Most importantly, sensitivity makes us human - and being human is an incredible gift. 

The toxicity cultivated from being forced to quell one's feelings is a drag on society; a sickness that certain industries are all too ready to medicate. I don't doubt that if our culture put more of a premium on sensitivity, we would all be a lot better off. Kinder, gentler, more willing to view each other as equals rather than as competition or worse, as adversaries.

We're all in this together. It's okay to be soft. It's okay to be human. 

Spirit Animals and the Genesis of Mama Coyote

Mama Coyote was born in the dead of winter in Joshua Tree National Park. 

Joshua Tree National Park; birthplace of Mama Coyote and also my favorite National Park. 

Joshua Tree National Park; birthplace of Mama Coyote and also my favorite National Park. 

The story is a long one and to be honest, not one I fully remember, as camping necessitates inebriation, particularly on a cold desert night when your insides beg for warmth. I was wearing faux fur and my partner, who has since evolved to be my husband, spun a long, meandering story which culminated in the discovery of Mama Coyote beside a roaring campfire, ominously awaiting the arrival of weary desert wanderers. The story was so delightful, so completely off-the-cuff and perfectly told by my poetic wordsmith then-boyfriend, that our laughter echoed off the rocks, boomeranging into the silence of the vast and nearly vacant national park for what seemed like hours.

I want to mention that Mama Coyote, though I identify with her as the mysterious entity that she is, is not what I would consider my Spirit Animal. I think it is partially human nature to identify with certain creatures, but I am of the opinion that calling something one's Spirit Animal, particularly if one is not actually Native American, is a misstep.

The phrase "Mama Coyote" rattled around in my brain for a while, reminding me of the epic tale and the joy we shared because of it, bringing me laughter on dark days. Mama Coyote remained gestating in the ether before being birthed into the world as a way to share my creations with as many people as will let me. 

Thanks to Patrick, my delightful and ever-supportive husband, for putting a name to my creative endeavors and helping to empower myself and Mama Coyote, day in and day out.