Our guest is Courtney Marchesani, author of Four Gifts of the Highly Sensitive and developer of the Highly Sensitive Gifts Test.
Every individual carries a level of intuition. In fact, it can even be measured scientifically. But how can your intuition, or sensitivity and such, play a role in your life? In this episode of The Fit Mess, Courtney Marchesani talks about the book she authored entitled Four Gifts of the Highly Sensitive, the four types of highly sensitive people, how sensitives can channel their sensitivity, and as well as the uncanny story of how she discovered her intuitiveness. Before and after the interview, Zach and Jeremy also talk about the value of listening to one’s inner voice and how always powering through life isn’t always going to power you through.
There is a ton of value about sensitivity and what it can mean to you in this episode of The Fit Mess with Courtney Marchesani!
A Hundred People and a Japanese Puzzle
When Courtney was asked whether high-sensitivity can be developed consciously or not, she brought up a study conducted by Dr. Garry Nolan of Stanford Institute to highlight an idea. Every human being has intuition, but to what level for every individual is what differs. In the study, Dr. Nolan gathered one hundred participants to engage with a Japanese Puzzle as his small sample. These individuals weren’t just picked randomly. The test participants were considered ‘high performers’ in their field, be it in business, health care, labor, and so forth. After the test, participants were examined through MRI Machines to look at their neuro-anatomy. When the scan was completed, the images of the participants’ brains showed a different appearance compared to the average brain. These results produced more potential when the brain scans of the participants were compared to those of their family members’ and revealed a similar appearance in brain neuro-anatomy. For Courtney, this hypothesis is a slice into how an individual’s thinking process, sensitivity, and patterns can be genetically pre-disposed.
Find out about The Four Types of Highly Sensitive People from Courtney Marchesani in this episode of The Fit Mess!
About Courtney Marchesani:
Courtney Marchesani is the author of Four Gifts of the Highly Sensitive and developer of the Highly Sensitive Gifts Test. Named as the 2017 Hay House Writer’s Workshop Award winner, her insights into sensitivity help readers identify their gifts of intuition, empathy, vision, and expression to maximize their potential, while also learning how former trauma may have shaped them.
Courtney’s health and wellness coaching style focuses on holistic medicine and finding balance while living with sensitivity. Since sensitivity is closely interconnected within the nervous systems and brain functioning, it is not something to “get rid of.” Her empathic style emphasizes nonjudgement and acceptance, learning how sensitivity’s silent effects can impact mental, emotional, spiritual health and wellness.
Outline of the Episode:
[01:51] Being in a different place doesn’t always quiet the negative voices that question you.
[04:56] Get intentional with your schedule and activities!
[10:08] The story about how Courtney discovered the power of her intuition
[15:31] Courtney Marchesani – on connecting the dots of intuitive phenomenon
[19:36] What are Intuitives?
[21:25] What are Empaths?
[21:55] What are Visionaries?
[22:49] What are Expressives?
[26:42] Can high sensitivity be considered as a defense mechanism?
[28:42] A study on the natural neuro-anatomy of intuitive people by Dr. Gary Nolan
[34:28] How can someone highly sensitive not live in chaos?
[37:41] Sensitive people are always focused on other people.
[43:12] A panic attack during a yoga session
Also, read Four Gifts of the Highly Sensitive, Book by Courtney Marchesani!
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Robots wrote these transcripts. Forgive their errors.
Learn the Four Gifts Experienced by Highly Sensitive People with Courtney Marchesani
[00:00:41] Jeremy: What does it mean to be a highly sensitive person? And can that sensitivity protect you from danger or even help you? Correct? A course, your life has taken without you even noticing high sensitivity is a gift, not given to most people. And this week we'll explore what makes it a superpower you can harness to benefit your life and your choice.
[00:01:27] We'll do that with our guest Courtney marquee Sani. She is the author of four gifts of the highly sensitive Embrace the science of sensitivity, heal, anxiety, and relationships, and connect deeply with your world.
[00:01:37] All right. So anyone who's heard this show for any period of time has heard us talk about intuition and the value of sort of listening to that inner voice to guide you, to make the kinds of decisions that you want to make to reach your goals, reach your dreams, all that kind of stuff. I had an experience last night.
[00:01:53] That was kind of the opposite of that. Ever since we moved, uh, my work-life balance has been a mess. My kids got sick this week, so there was no balance to anything. It was just whatever the need of the moment was interrupted, whatever I was in the middle of. And, you know, trying to build a business financially is challenging.
[00:02:13] My wife is working a ton and it's challenging. And I moved here. With what I knew was the naive idea that things were going to just magically be better just because we moved.
[00:02:27] zach: Okay.
[00:02:29] Jeremy: I knew it was wrong. And, and by every measure it is better. But emotionally there are still tons of challenges and, and being in a different place.
[00:02:40] Doesn't quiet. The voices that tell you, you're a fraud, you're a failure, you're a hack and you have no business doing this. You're going to be a failure, all these things. So those voices have been getting louder. And, uh, there was one day this week. I literally didn't leave the house until 11 o'clock at night.
[00:02:55] Just, I, I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Didn't leave my couch until 11 o'clock at night.
[00:03:03] zach: At least you were sitting on the couch and not like a hard floor or kitchen chair. I mean,
[00:03:08] Jeremy: or a sidewalk or a
[00:03:09] zach: well, if it was a park bench or a sidewalk, you would have been outside defeats the purpose
[00:03:14] of your story.
[00:03:14] Jeremy: yes, it does defeat the purpose. So last night I went out for a walk, uh, just cause you know, the dogs got to go out as you just heard their color probably in the background. And I just kept it wasn't, it wasn't like an audible voice, but I heard this message in one way or another.
[00:03:33] That was just, it was like, it was almost like a threatening, angry message. That was just saying, this is not the gift I gave you. You're not living the life. You came here to live. And it was, it felt like this threat of, if you don't start living with the intention, you came here with, I'm going to take it away
[00:03:53] zach: Okay.
[00:03:54] Jeremy: and it was kind of this wake up.
[00:03:55] And it, honestly, I think is what sort of shook me into a, a bit of an emotional breakdown today, realizing how true that was, how much I, I came here for the nature and for the. Safety and all these great things that brought me here and all I've done is work. I just threw myself into work. Yeah. That's not what I came here for.
[00:04:16] I came here for a different life and I'm making choices every day that go against what I came here for. So it was kind of this wake-up call and I've never, I've never experienced that in that way. I think where it was sort of a negative, intuitive message saying you need to change this usually it's.
[00:04:34] Yeah. Yes, quit that job. It sucks. And there's greater things waiting for you. And that's what I did. And I felt great about it. It was awesome. But in this case, it was very interesting to hear, do better, like honor, honor, the decision you made on or what brought you to this point and stop falling into this awful trap.
[00:04:51] zach: Right. So what are you going to do about it?
[00:04:56] Jeremy: Well, I, it started with breaking down this morning, like just totally emotionally opened up. Talk to my wife, sort of shared these feelings of failure, fear insecurity, like worry about the future, uh, that helped. The other thing I need to do is get a lot more intentional about my schedule. I keep doing this thing where, you know, we're two weeks out from school starting here, and I keep thinking, this is just, I just gotta get through this period. I just gotta get through this to get to that point, and then I'll be happy, right.
[00:05:26] Then I'll be able to send them off to school and I'll have nothing but free time for six, seven hours a day to really just focus on work, undistracted, really get it done, and then be there for them. That's bullshit. I can do that today. My schedule is up to me. I can make that decision, but I've not been making that decision.
[00:05:44] So I need to, uh, and, and my plan this weekend is to like really get real with my schedule and plan out. Even if I can't plan, you know, I'm going to work from nine to noon or whatever it is, and then take a break with, I'm just going to carve in these times, our family times nothing gets in the way of that.
[00:06:03] Like, unless something is like, literally on.
[00:06:05] zach: which it won't be.
[00:06:07] Jeremy: That time, that time will be my time to do whatever. And so that, that, that I think is the only way that I'll be able to hold myself accountable to the life that I came here to live. You know, I came here thinking, oh, this, this beautiful place we're in the mountains or in the wa like I have a, a bedroom door that opens to the back deck.
[00:06:23] I'm going to wake up every morning, go out and do yoga and just meditate and just like, be with nature and all. And then I'll go in and I'll make coffee and I'll sit on the deck. Bullshit. I wake up and I get online immediately. That is, it's just toxic. So that's the thing. That's the first thing I need to do is just get more intentional about
[00:06:42] zach: Yeah, it's interesting how less motivation your future self has than your current self. And you're dreaming these ambitions and doing all this stuff. And then the moment comes and, you know, you, you make the wrong choice sometimes.
[00:06:58] Jeremy: And part of it is the addictive nature of the screen. Like it's so easy to feel like I'm getting it done. I'm working, I'm getting things at Facebook. I'm getting I'm back working Instagram. Oh, you got to tweak real quick back to work. How much of my time am I wasting?
[00:07:16] Just kind of feeling like this artificial participation in whatever thing is that I'm doing is productivity when it's really just another distraction to feel like. Doing something productive.
[00:07:29] zach: Yeah. Having boundaries on your time is so critical, especially now when you know, we're working from home and the office is always with me. So it, you know, I really do try to close my laptop at four o'clock and not touch it again for the rest of the day. So, um, and making that family time and making time for the commitments that I want to, you know, Do better with everything that I, all the growth I want.
[00:07:58] I need to schedule those and make time for them and then hold myself accountable for them. So I, I completely understand so, you know, we got, we kind of, you went into like a time, man. Spiel there, but like the origin of, of the issue was really was your intuitive side. Right? It was an intuitive thing that hits you, that allowed you to come to this logical conclusion of slicing your time up appropriately. Right.
[00:08:26] Jeremy: Right, .
[00:08:27] zach: So good on you for good on you for listening to your intuition. It's a skill that for some of us comes really easy for others. It's a learned skill to listen to that intuition.
[00:08:37] Jeremy: and I think one of the challenges is when you're open to that voice, when you're open to that intuition, uh, it's, it can be a really raw experience, especially if you are someone who identifies as a highly sensitive person, something we've talked about on the show, quite a bit, something that Zach, I know you, uh, identify that way.
[00:08:53] I do. I know at least one of my daughters does just really feeling like, uh, any, any external stimulation can. Uh, a massive overload, but I think that also works internally. I think when those voices, when you listen to them, when you really open up to them, it can, it can really alter the course of your life.
[00:09:12] And I'm hoping that this little wake up call I had last night, uh, does that for me, I hope that it's enough motivation for me to implement the changes that I've talked about. Which brings us to the point of our conversation this week with our guest, her name is Courtney Marcie Sawhney. She is the author of four gifts of the highly sensitive embrace. The science of sensitivity, heal anxiety in relationships and connected deeply with your world.
[00:09:37] . The story of her discovery of her own intuitive voice, her own high sensitivity is a remarkable one. And that's where we pick up this conversation as well.
[00:09:47] How she
[00:09:48] discovered how powerful
[00:09:49] her own intuition is.
[00:09:52] you've probably told it a thousand times, but I'll ask you to tell it again, just sort of your, your origin story here.
[00:09:57] What is it that sort of set you on the path to, to exploring, uh, you know, the power of intuition and highly sensitive?
[00:10:06] Courtney Marchesani: Well, it, it, it, I, it didn't tell him in the book. I didn't tell my personal story in the book. I did more of like a prescriptive method for individuals who are sensitive and to go into the gifts of it.
[00:10:18] But my personal story, uh, it was very powerful, transformative experience. I was actually living in Seattle at the time. I was working at Harbor view medical center as a counselor and in housing and homelessness. So I had a pretty tough job, but I loved it. Challenging. And, uh, I enjoyed it and I was living in Capitol hill and one of my girlfriends asked me to move a bed because our other friend who literally lived over on queen Anne, they were going to move in together and did a little studio apartment and it was a Saturday and they asked me to do it kind of impromptu.
[00:10:54] And I said, sure, it was a bit of an inconvenience. We were all single. So we kind of had to band together and, you know, help one another out. And so I said, sure. Plus I had a truck. So if you have a truck and you live in Seattle, you move here.
[00:11:08] Jeremy: Yeah. The phone always rings for the person with the truck I've
[00:11:10] Courtney Marchesani: been there for sure.
[00:11:12] So I had a little truck, so I went to pick up my friend, her name was Rebecca and her two boys and Capitol hill. They were just, you know, in my neighborhood. And as I picked her up and the, her and the boys got in the truck, I immediately immediately felt this sense. Like I shouldn't move. That I should. I actually heard the words, don't move the bed, pass through my mind.
[00:11:34] And I noticed it immediately and I thought it was odd. And then I didn't say anything. So I kept driving over to queen Anne and, you know, on the weekend, driving across Seattle, you know, it takes time. So as I'm driving. I just continue to feel visceral sense of unease and discomfort. And it was a nagging.
[00:11:55] That's the only way I can describe it. It was like a raw nagging to go back. And I also heard like a couple of times don't move the bed. And so it was bizarre. I felt it was bizarre. But then I finally said to my friend, I think we should go back. I think that we shouldn't move the bed tonight. And she was just like, oh, I'm sorry, we inconvenienced you let's just push on, you know, push through it.
[00:12:19] And so I said, okay. So I just kept telling myself rationally, I'm just, this must be anxiety or something nervousness. And, but it was out of place. So we finally got over to queen Anne. And by that time I felt like it was a signal blaring top volume, like need to leave now, need to leave now. And so. I had the bed all taken apart.
[00:12:41] I had it in pieces and I have my tools and I just dropped everything. And I said to my other girlfriend, Amy, we need to leave right now. And she just looked at me and she said, that's okay. Let's just come back. We'll do it, you know, tomorrow. And I said, okay. And so I, I kinda yelled at Rebecca and the kids get in the truck.
[00:12:58] We need to go. And she looked at me and she said, now you're starting to scare me. And I said, I just think we need to get back there. I don't know why. So I just drove like a bat out of, you know, what to get all the way back to the other side of town. In Capitol hill, I went up to the second floor with her, where her studio apartment was and the whole second floor was full of smoke.
[00:13:16] It was a light, light smoke. It smelled sweet in. So I thought she left the oven on and that's what I said to Rebecca. I said, did you leave the oven on? And she said, no, no. Cause I thought maybe she's making cookies or something. She's fishing through her purse trying to find her keys. Finally, she gets them.
[00:13:34] We're all pushing through the door and she'd left a three wick candle burning on the window cell. And so I went into the kitchen. Took a breath. I didn't know what it meant. I was still kind of in shock and the boys started to scream and the, the brownstone, it was just a three story. Brownstone was very small.
[00:13:54] And so I was like, shh. You know, like quiet everything's okay. We got here in time. Rebecca's like no look and the boys are pointing and they're all like a Gog. And I go over and look, and here was a bamboo light cover, like a light shade and it was milking. It was black and it was smoking and it was about ready to go on fire,
[00:14:14] Jeremy: like, oh my
[00:14:15] Courtney Marchesani: God.
[00:14:16] So I just looked at Rebecca, I looked at the candle, I looked to Rebecca and her face was ashen white and her lips were blue and I took a step back and we both thought, well, In the name. And so I just went back to my apartment. I poured a glass of wine
[00:14:34] Jeremy: and I'm telling you
[00:14:37] Courtney Marchesani: it was life. I just went, I don't know what that was, but I'm going to, I'm going to find out what I'm going to find out.
[00:14:44] Cause I had had some mornings like through lucid dreams before this happened, but they were through the dream state. And so I had kind of been aware that there were warning signs through my dreams. And one of them actually came true in real life. And so I had had the experience, but not in the daylight time.
[00:15:02] Like not my waking, not that I know it's not, not that I noticed. And this was so powerful and so big. I couldn't deny it.
[00:15:10] Jeremy: Wow.
[00:15:11] zach: Wow. That is really, that is crazy. Um, so, so from, from that point on, I mean, are you so fast forward to today? Like, are you a more in tune with, with those messages and, and yeah. I guess, tell me a little bit about how you went from there to here and having a book and being an expert about all of this stuff.
[00:15:34] Courtney Marchesani: It wasn't a quantum leap. So I went back to business as usual at Harbor view, but it wasn't. So I was like in this state of awareness where I wanted to talk about it with my peers, I wanted to talk about it with the other counselors and social workers, you know, in the psychiatry department. And I was like litmus testing.
[00:15:53] I was trying to figure out, well, who else has this. Experience because I was one excited by it, but I was also fascinated by it because I didn't understand it. I didn't understand the predictive quality of it. And that was the piece that I think my scientific mind. Just honed in on. And so I found out that not everybody was the same and not everybody does have these powerful experiences, but I did find others that did.
[00:16:17] And so over time I just kept digging and digging and digging into what's psychotic, psychic phenomenon. How does it work scientifically? How does it work? And so I just kept sifting through everything was out there and I. It felt like I was very much in a silo alone working on it, but it also felt like a passion and a little bit like an obsession.
[00:16:42] I don't know how else to describe it. And so I became consumed by it, but I have to say I became a great documenter. So at any, you know, clinical social work, you have to document everything, right. You have to write notes, you have to chart. And so I think that I parlayed all. Documentation that I was doing in my job to the anomaly and to the anomalous phenomenon, because I wanted to say to myself, this is real when other people didn't necessarily experience the same thing.
[00:17:09] But I also want to document document when it was right when it was on. And when it was. So I did that for a very long time, and I felt like it was my personal job and ambition to document that it was a real phenomenon. So flash forward, flash forward over the last 20 years. And what I've been able to do as an intuitive, obviously myself, is to make the connections between sensitivity, which I didn't know.
[00:17:36] At first, I didn't even conceive that this was related to sensitivity. I was mostly looking at the anomalous funnel. But then after doing all the work that I have, I connected it. So I feel like I connected the dots in a way that makes sense. And it's real. And I would explain it as I'm a teacher to teach other people what I've experienced, but also what people I've worked with experience to help other sensitives get through it.
[00:17:59] So they know they're not alone. So it took time.
[00:18:02] Jeremy: So let's talk about those lessons and what it is you teach now, uh, in the book we talk about the four types of highly sensitive people. Can you kind of go over who they are and what those four, I guess, traits are what they like.
[00:18:17] Courtney Marchesani: Well, I took the sensory systems that are very clinical and medical, and I tracked them to this giftedness.
[00:18:26] So I look at it as a spectrum sensitivity as a whole spectrum. And there are these types of innate abilities that appear. And flow and what I call a multi-sensory intelligence. So if you read a little bit of the book, you can kind of understand my perspective that I believe that multisensory intelligence is the ability of the census to inform the mind and body in certain ways.
[00:18:50] And then these gifts evolve through the personal experience of the individual or the sensitive. I also connected it to. Which is something that's unique about my work with versus other individuals who talk about sensitivity. They don't necessarily connect that. I mean, Dr. Erin, the original doctor who did the highly sensitive person scale did what she noticed in her study was that there were individuals who were obviously genetically predisposed.
[00:19:16] Two had sensitivity. And then there was other groups of individuals who had what she called troubling childhoods. Well, when I looked into troubling childhoods, I started to see more patterns within trauma. And so that expands on the spectrum. And you have people who are just very far out, I call them hypersensitive.
[00:19:35] So the hypersensitivity leads to more greater expanded awareness. How it breaks down into the four is I took the. Patterns that emerged through my studies. And the first one we can talk about is intuition and intuitive because that's the one that I noticed first and intuition are individuals who experience that, those leaps in decision-making without conscious reasoning and they call it cognitive anomalous phenomenon.
[00:20:03] So it's an intuitive reasoning that gets lightning fast answers without knowing how or why. So you're going between eight and nine. Not knowing how you're getting there. And the answers are usually right. It's through subconscious processing. That's at lightning fast speed. So intuitives are taking in a huge amount of information into their subconscious awareness all the time, but it's not a mindful process.
[00:20:25] It's kind of like a mindless processing actually. And when they need, uh, you know, answers, they, they bring it. And they know what's right. They also connect patterns. They're able to look at the big picture and see these different, uh, layers, or almost like a web where they're able to make interconnections between, um, the minutia and connect it to the big picture.
[00:20:49] So intuitives are thinking on a subtle material level, but they're connecting it to the wider expanse of reality and that's can run the gamut from. Business decisions, entrepreneurial things, uh, discoveries, uh, relationships, the right people to partner with. So in the book, I kind of break that out, all the real world applications of intuition.
[00:21:11] The second one that I go into is empathic and the empathic awareness, which is being able to feel the subtle feelings of others in your environment, in your own body. And that sounds like mysticism, but it's very real. And for anybody says it isn't there's research to back it up. We have empathy and so do over a hundred different other species.
[00:21:36] So impasse are the deep feelers. They're also able to detect the subtle motivations of others, their, their passions, their desires. They can really intuitively that's where the intuitive and path crossover and connect. Um, but. There's no other way to put it. They feel so deeply. These are the counselors of the social justice advocates.
[00:21:59] You have spiritual impacts. And so I go into different types of empathy in the book, a compassionate empath versus a spiritual path. Then there's the visionaries. Visionaries are the industry who are taking mental leaps forward in time using their visual field or the minds. To, uh, I mean there's different types of visionaries.
[00:22:21] So that's the thing that kind of gets confusing. Just like there's different types of end paths or the different types of intuitive intuitives visionaries have different types of, uh, visual processing they use. And that expresses itself in different ways. So without going into all the different types of visionaries, they have, uh, capacities to have spatial.
[00:22:42] Spatial reasoning. They are great at, uh, solving problems, visually turning things over in their mind and looking at them three and four dimensionally, and then applying that they could have a great literary imaginative mind as a visionary. And so you see them as Saifai writers solving problems of today through their literary visual capacity.
[00:23:04] Then there's the expressives. So the expressives are the individuals who are in the studies and in the science, I found this type of sensitivity called a synthetic aesthetic sensitivity, and aesthetic sensitivity is being a heightened, aware of your environment and having perception. And I, my opinion about this and looking at all of it is that it's a subtle perception for people.
[00:23:28] And so the expressives perceive beauty in the environment, and then they synthesize it through their own mind and body, and then they find expression for it through creative arts. Once again, through, um, could be a literary capacity as writers or a dancer. Any kind of artist. Um, so the expressives actually need to use that sensitivity in that capacity or other, they kind of quell their creative energy and they can actually get sick by not expressing it.
[00:23:59] So that's the, um, that's the delineation between the four?
[00:24:06] zach: Sorry, I had a question and then I like everything you just described half of what you described as is my life.
[00:24:13] Courtney Marchesani: I'm glad, because that means that it's. Correct or accurate.
[00:24:17] zach: Yeah, I've, I've always had the, you know, like making decisions or somebody asking me a question and I just have the answer and I spit it out or I make a decision.
[00:24:27] And then I later in situations where I have to defend that answer. I can't do it. I don't have the details. I have to sit down with a, you know, a PowerPoint and actually start building the bullet. So. Why that decision is right. And it's usually right. Unless I'm, unless it's a decision in front of my wife, then I'm always wrong, but
[00:24:48] Courtney Marchesani: you know, know when to hold withhold,
[00:24:55] zach: but yes, I've got, so I've got the intuitive side and I've definitely got the empathic side. Um, and I'm, you know, in some of the research that you were talking about, right. The genetic trait, which I clearly have because I passed it to my daughter. Um, but I also had a traumatic childhood at the same time.
[00:25:14] So am I doubly sensitive or I I'm just curious whether or not it's, you know, I'm as sensitive as I would have been had I had a normal childhood, um, or if you know, that really does add to it by having both of those facts.
[00:25:29] Courtney Marchesani: It does add to it. That's my opinion. And I think that the studies have shown that we are genetically predisposed.
[00:25:35] It's called the biological sensitivity strategy. And it's an evolutionary trait that was, um, discovered about sensitivity. That gives us that heightened perception in a way. For safety, detecting harm, keeping ourselves and our family, or even extended to our tribe safe. And so it is genetic and it's a predisposition.
[00:25:57] I do believe this is my opinion, that it becomes more. And you become more and more sensitive as you are exposed through childhood development to adversive experiences. And the reason why I believe that is grounded in the fact that complex trauma has sensitivity as part of it as part of the symptomology, as we become more sensitive, when we have to go through any kind of disruption in development, any kind of attachment issues.
[00:26:26] So children becoming. So finely tuned and adept to perceive those, uh, Harbinger's of danger, whether it's through the parental dynamic, whether it's through the chaos of living in anything. I mean, poverty, um, moving multiple times throughout childhood. I mean, it can be attributed to anything because the child becomes so sensitive.
[00:26:47] Even my. Stimuli can become traumatic because we're already so sensitive. And so what one adverse experience might not mean to one person who's not as sensitive. It will traumatize a child because they're already so sensitive.
[00:27:05] Jeremy: Do you think in some way it's a survival mechanism? Is it, is it the body preparing itself or I guess being, being more aware of potential danger or traumatizing things and it opens up the ability to be more sensitive.
[00:27:22] Courtney Marchesani: Yes, very close, very close. You have a predisposition, so you're already genetically predisposed to having it. And then through adversive experiences, you become more sensitive through those different experiences because it's very well-documented, especially in PTSD, that sensitive states are part of the diagnostic picture.
[00:27:42] And so I think the thing that, that separates my work, maybe from other people who work in sensitivity is I took that deep dive. And connected those, and maybe it was intuitive, but like you were talking about when you saw yourself in the book, I read a book, uh, it was by Judith Herman, uh, called trauma and recovery.
[00:27:59] And I read that book and I just went, I saw myself in it and I saw it so closely that I thought this has got to be connected. And so then I started diving into trauma in a new way because I had already had studied. You know, for my psych background, but then I started to look at it differently. And then over time I started to connect all those dots between the survival strategy and having it being an evolutionary trait.
[00:28:24] And then because the, the, the theory is the prevailing theory is that it is a survival strategy, but that it's only in the 20% of the population. Because it's only as good as the metabolic demand that requires of us because we have to process more information. We have to be more, our nervous systems are so delicate.
[00:28:43] We have to be always constantly healing and undergoing, you know, this balancing act between perceiving so much while also staying in homeostasis or equilibrium. So that's why there's only a small percentage of the population, according to the prevailing theory that are sensitive. We can't have everybody in the same
[00:29:03] Jeremy: boat.
[00:29:03] Wow. Right, right. So on that same line of thinking, I guess if, if this is a response to a traumatic event, but it's also kind of a superpower. Is there a way to develop it in a healthy way, rather than being traumatized. If I decide I want to be more in tune and I want to be able to put out the fire before it happens, or I want to be more in touch with the voices or the guides that are out there putting us on whatever path can I develop that.
[00:29:31] Is that something that just anybody can.
[00:29:35] Courtney Marchesani: Well, I asked the specific question to Dr. Gary Nolan cause he's down in Stanford. And so he did the study. I don't know if you came across it in the intuitive chapter, but I go into detail about the neuro anatomy, uh, of people who are intuitive. And so. Because this is a question I've always had and everybody has an intuition, right?
[00:29:55] I mean, humans are intuitive. We, we have that capacity, but what makes it different from individuals who are highly sensitive and especially if there's trauma involved, is that. Neuro anatomically, there could have been more growth, more Ronald growth in a certain area of the brain. Now this is all a hypothesis.
[00:30:18] It's not proven yet, but when Dr. Gary Nolan did this study down in Stanford, they took a hundred people that was their sample size, and they had them do a puzzle. It was a Japanese puzzle and they found that. Before I go into the results. They were also what they called high performers. So they were very intuitive.
[00:30:38] They were very, um, gifted in their job and the way they applied decision-making. And so there was a whole host of things that put them in the intuitive and the intuitive, uh, Okay. So they, they have them do this Japanese puzzle. They do very well on it, and they put them in an MRI machine and look at their neuroanatomy.
[00:30:58] And they found in the cottage putamen, the area of the brain, that's like midbrain, there's basal ganglia. They go down the spine into the central nervous system. It's very complex. It was once thought to be an area that was mostly. Motor coordination, voluntary motor movement, but they have found and targeted this area because the intuitives in the study who were more intuitive, had thickening white matter in this area.
[00:31:23] So they actually targeted it. They connected it to intuition and then they widened the study and brought their family members in and found that they also had it. So they were able to confirm that it was a genetic predisposition, that it was handed down through the families. Now, to answer your question, cause I asked him specifically, can this be developed?
[00:31:42] He said, of course it can be developed, but not if it's not there. And so if you have individuals who have this thick and white matter in that area, and they're already more intuitive yes. That can be applied and developed. But if you don't have it, you most likely can't. Cause you had, there's a physiological difference, an actual physiological difference in the neuroanatomy of these individuals who are considered.
[00:32:05] Yeah. And they saw lights in the sky. There was other anomaly. They heard voices, you know, I'm raising my hand. So, and then you also, they, they saw discarnate beings. So they had visual, uh, anomaly and they called them in the study hallucinations because they wanted to tease out, is this a mental illness? Is this actually abilities, intuitive abilities?
[00:32:27] And they found that it wasn't hallucinations. It was actually intuitive abilities.
[00:32:33] zach: So I have, I, I consider myself like hyper sensitive. I am, you know, as a kid, I always felt, you know, just different from the rest of the world. And then I got really, um, cautious about, um, hiding my emotions and hiding everything because I assumed everyone else was just as sensitive as I was and noticed.
[00:32:58] But that's not the case. Nobody noticed any of my sensitivity. Um, and it's taken me a long time. Kind of comfortable in my skin. And I think it's a lot of the, you know, drawing on other people's energy that I wasn't used to. I've got really high anxiety from lots of things. And part of it is, you know, just feeling all of the feelings from other people.
[00:33:20] So, you know, as a highly sensitive person, if for me or anyone else who's listening, that's like, huh, you know, that might be me. You know, this is a normal thing. It's kind of uncomfortable sometimes. So what are some tools or techniques or things that we can do to make friends with it or, or just be okay with it and just feel a little more comfort.
[00:33:44] Courtney Marchesani: I like make friends with it. I like that you said that because I felt that same separateness or there's something, you know, that's different and you don't know how extremely different you are until you're in community with others, or you go over to someone else's house, you know, it's like that contrast where you're like, oh, this is so different.
[00:34:04] I'm surprised that nobody noticed that you had the intuitive or empathic ability. When you were around them. Cause that does usually come out somehow where somebody will notice
[00:34:15] zach: it doesn't surprise me with, with the childhood that I had. It was, um, there was a lot, I had my, my mother disappeared for days on end when I was five and was just left alone.
[00:34:29] I had teachers who didn't realize that I was smart and they would tell me I was dumb, like in second and third grade and yeah, turns out 20 years later. I'm pretty smart. No what's going on. So, um, it surprises everyone that I tell because of who I am today and how I got past then, but living through it, it doesn't surprise me because everyone just passed me by.
[00:34:53] And then I became the problem. I became got in trouble with the law and did a whole bunch of things I wasn't supposed to do. So
[00:35:00] Courtney Marchesani: those are what I call the bad girl days. Those were your bad boy days. What can we do? What can we do? So that's one of the reasons why I wrote the book. It was really an advocacy piece.
[00:35:11] That was my heart. That I wanted to share that you don't have to live in chaos. You don't have to push those boundaries if you don't want to. Now, certainly we go through that rebellious phase and we're proving who we are and showing our metal, but there is another way to live more peacefully and with tranquility and.
[00:35:33] For sensitives, because everything is so intense. And we feel things a lot of times like an onslaught coming in, I wanted to provide strategies for individuals who didn't necessarily want that cacophony coming up all the time. So the first thing to do, especially for empaths is to do the base level groundedness.
[00:35:55] The other thing that's so important for impasse is to do the exercises that help you learn me and not me. So that was my first like exposure into deep empathy was that I couldn't filter out. I wasn't filtering out. Emotions from others versus my own. So I went through years of exploring me, not me, grounding techniques, energetic techniques that really work to help impasse perceive when they're in contact with another individual, the information that's emotional that's coming in is not theirs.
[00:36:31] That's the first level that I always recommend for people to especially empath who cannot filter out that energy. Information coming in emotionally, because it really helps you take control of your environment and what's coming in. And then the second thing for impasse that I like to teach as a strategy is to do the, um, the clearing work.
[00:36:54] So if you're, let's say you're working in corporate wellness and you're an empath, an empath empathy can be an incredible skill to use in the corporate setting. It's important to recognize when you're going into meetings or when you're going in with one-on-ones with individuals to recognize your empathy is working.
[00:37:10] And if you start to feel discomfort, sensations, thoughts that are coming in that are disturbing, it's important to recognize it's not you because you're already doing the work to recognize the me versus not me then to step up. To step out of those situations and go into nature, take a walk outside. And if those things drift away pretty much immediately, you know, it's not you.
[00:37:34] And so that becomes a very nice gauge between the empath and the world, to be able to understand this will pass. It feels less overwhelming. And then you can also use these strategies frequently to keep yourself in balance, because I think that's the most disconcerting thing. When you recognize that this isn't some you can get rid of, you cannot get rid of your empathy.
[00:37:54] It's part of your central nervous system. It's part of who you are. It's part of your sensitivity. So self care is my big approach and finding the self care strategies that work for you as a sensitive, uh, is going to be an internal. Yeah. You can get people to help you with it. You can get great therapists, even Bodyworkers or a yoga people that can help you, but you have to discern what you need.
[00:38:19] And then you have to provide that to yourself. Because the thing that sensitives are kind of famous for is they ignore the sensory warnings that come in that say, okay, you're approaching danger caution, because it feels too sensitive. Like it takes too much time to address their own needs. And so a lot of times we push through because we feel like it's going to take too much time, but it's worth it to do the stop observe and then provide the self care.
[00:38:52] Even if it's just brief. You know, because once you do these things, you can realize you can prevent a panic attack through, through, through breath work. You can use mindfulness to track emotions and then stem them off or discharge them in a way that's healthy. So those are the root level things I recommend right away.
[00:39:11] Me, not me make sure that you're observing your environment and getting out of it. When you feel like there's an onslaught to be able to, to detect what is yours. And what's not yours in settings with.
[00:39:24] Jeremy: Those warning signs. It's, it's kind of spooky how you just brought that up because Zach and I, we were, we were recording another episode earlier today and we were talking about how, just this last week on father's day, we both had just this sort of overwhelmed, this like, feeling of like, Sort of just exits existential dread.
[00:39:41] Couldn't really put a finger on where it came from or why. And he did a much better job of recognizing it and going, okay, here's what I need to do to address it where I went. Oh, no, I'm just going to power through. Um, I, I don't have time for me. I got to do this. And it wasn't until the next day when I did what I needed to do and totally solved the problem.
[00:39:57] So, I mean, it's just, you're you're way too, in my head with, with particularly that comment. Cause we just had this conversation like an hour ago. It's so crazy
[00:40:07] Courtney Marchesani: though. I'm glad that you recognize it because imagine if you didn't, I don't imagine if you didn't have a safe person to talk to about it, to try to find where that existential angst was and track it, then you're just sitting with it and a lot of sensitives do and they don't communicate.
[00:40:21] Side of themselves, the processes internally that are happening and then there's a hurricane happening and they feel, you know, literally that threshold just way far past it. And that's when you go into hypersensitivity and it's just, it's not helpful. It's not helpful. You're not thinking clearly you're not, you're not being kind to yourself.
[00:40:41] You're not going to be kind to other people. And sensitives are pretty much, you know, Focused on others a lot of times, right. Really to be there for them. So the dads, right? The quintessential dad, the be all, everything for everybody all the time, but dads need that love and kindness too. And so it's kind of a societal thing where we expect that.
[00:41:00] Yeah. And we expect men to be, you know, tough and, you know, carry on and carry through. But if you recognize what your pattern is and you start to stem those things off, it becomes a lot more. Um, like riding the waves, riding the waves and be able to ride through them rather than feeling like. The hurricane, the hurricane still happens, but as long as you know, what's going on and you can course correct.
[00:41:29] Jeremy: I've got three or 4,000 more questions and I would love to get you into this conversation. Um, but we are, we are out of time. Thank you so much for taking the time. Really appreciate the work you're doing. It's very important. And, uh, just really great to talk to you about
[00:41:41] Courtney Marchesani: this guys and thanks for your questions and thanks for having me.
[00:41:45] And I'm always. Reach out if you need to.
[00:41:49] Jeremy: Definitely. Okay. Uh, and also, uh, quickly, where can we learn more about you and follow your work?
[00:41:55] Courtney Marchesani: People can't spell or say my name. I say, I go to inspired potentials. I'm the number one on inspired potentials. And so for people who want to know what their gift is and think they might be sensitive, take the test.
[00:42:06] It's free. I write you a personalized email. I share with you what it is. And then I provide a little bit of a window after like an intuitive connection. If you have any questions about that. I leave that open. So sensitives have somebody to talk to. Contact me get in touch.
[00:42:24] Jeremy: Awesome. Awesome. Thank you again so much.
[00:42:26] Really appreciate your time.
[00:42:28] All right. Hope you enjoyed that conversation with Courtney Marcus Sani her book for gifts of the highly sensitive embrace the science of sensitivity, heal, anxiety and relationships, and connect deeply with your work. Just echoes so much of what we talked about at the beginning of this, uh, of this particular episode, just especially there at the end, talking about ignoring self-care and sort of putting everyone else first.
[00:42:47] And, you know, I've, I've been doing all these different things, trying to improve my sleep, And one of the things that has really been a struggle for me is how much, uh, you know, since I moved, I'm still like frustrated with so many things and, and angry more than I thought I would be, you know, in this situation. Right. Basically complete freedom. And I know that that when I get depressed, the main trigger is overwhelmed, but yet I will continue just digging the hole, digging the hole, digging the hole.
[00:43:16] I just a few more scoops and then I'll be there. And then eventually I crack. And that was, that was what happened last night. That's the story I illustrated by going for this walk, getting out in nature, like she said, and, and just trying to let what's not real fall away. And that allowed me to hear that voice that said you're not honoring what you came here for and that's, what's triggering the change for me.
[00:43:39] So, uh, just increase incredibly valuable lesson there from her. And especially if you are someone who's highly sensitive, you're going to just be so much more prone to this kind of thing. And Zach, I know the same is true for you. You push and push and push until you break.
[00:43:51] zach: Yeah. Well, you know, I break and then I go get it checked out and I'm really not broken. It's just, I think I'm broken.
[00:43:59] Jeremy: Hmm.
[00:43:59] zach: Um, interestingly enough last week was, um, I had an experience in that. Um, and I had a really stressful week coming up. It's just been a really interesting time in my life and, um,
[00:44:12] yes, transitioned, um, and I'm prone to panic attacks.
[00:44:18] In the past, I have really high anxiety and sometimes it gets away from me. And sometimes I have a panic attack, which manifests itself as you know, heart attack symptoms on top of the fact that I have like a bum left shoulder and I've got nerve impingement on the left side. So like on a regular basis, I have heart attack symptoms all the time, just from the nerve impingement.
[00:44:40] So when I get a panic attack, plus those symptoms. That are going on. My mind will quit quickly race. And that's what happened last week. I actually lost a little bit of control and surprisingly enough had a panic attack while I was in yoga. Um, yeah. Um, so I always turn on my heart rate monitor when I'm in yoga and yoga.
[00:45:05] I never taught before. 80 beats per minute. And I, my resting heart rate's about 60, but the entire hour of yoga, I was running about 125 beats per minute. So like double my resting heart rate.
[00:45:17] Jeremy: That's that's like cardio. That's like, you're going for a
[00:45:20] run. That's
[00:45:20] zach: Yeah. And I was just laying
[00:45:22] there, just laying there. I couldn't get my breath under control. Um, I was hearing like a ringing my ears that was with my heartbeat and, and of course I had all the pain in my chest that that's associated with the, the shoulder injury that I have. So of course in yoga, I was like, well, here we go.
[00:45:39] I'm going to die in yoga. Um, yeah, like I got out of yoga. I got in the car, I stopped at a
[00:45:48] Jeremy: What are they, what do they call the last pose when you lay down and relax? I always
[00:45:51] forget what it is.
[00:45:52] zach: Savasana.
[00:45:54] Jeremy: That's it. That would be one long
[00:45:57] zach: And, and I would feel bad for the yoga teacher too, to have to peel a body up off the floor. But anyway, so I got out of
[00:46:06] Jeremy: that's not that doesn't make a good Instagram post peeling, the dead guy off the
[00:46:10] zach: our Savasana is so great. We die
[00:46:15] Jeremy: Our students are dying to get
[00:46:17] zach: literally, and they won't leave.
[00:46:22] Jeremy: They have to be carried out.
[00:46:24] zach: But anyways, I, I got done with yoga and I drove to an emergency clinic and just, you know, like I, I felt okay, but, you know, they a got the best of me and I felt like there was a problem. And of course, you know, the doctor came in and he's like, I think you just need to calm down, maybe do a little yoga. And I was like, huh, that's ironic.
[00:46:48] So, yeah, no, I just let everything build and build and build and build, and I snapped and it happens to the best of us. And I'm definitely not the best of
[00:46:59] Jeremy: do you have warning signs before it comes? Like had you felt for the week leading up to that, like, oh, I, I shouldn't that looking back, I should have
[00:47:08] zach: Yeah. And I didn't pay attention to him because I had so many things going on in my life. Like listening to my body is something that's relatively new to me, like in the last four or five years. Um, and so it's easy to dismiss it. If I'm in a situation where I've got to focus on something else and that's simply what I did, I dismissed all the warning signs.
[00:47:29] I probably could have managed this a lot better, um, with some meditation and just getting, getting down into the emotions of what I was feeling, why I was feeling overwhelmed. And I didn't and it caused me to have to go to a clinic and have a doctor tell me I need to go to yoga.
[00:47:47] Jeremy: That doctor probably thought he was giving you some really like brand new advice, like, oh, you just need to chill out Google. Like how many times I, I went to, when I got my physical, before I left America, uh, knowing that was probably the last time I was going to a doctor for a while for insurance reasons or whatever.
[00:48:02] It was just funny hearing him giving me the advice that we talk about here every week. Like, oh, have you looked into like meditation, yoga, like just finding ways to really deal with your depression, your anxiety, that way. It's funny. How. How, when I hear medical professionals or stories of medical professionals sharing that information, it is always like this.
[00:48:21] I know this sounds weird. Maybe you haven't heard of this, here's this new thing. Um, but it is, it, it just works, like just finding this, this world ain't slowing down, uh, you know, bad news. It's not going to get better. This is the most chill your life is ever going to be. So if you can't find a way, if I can't find a way.
[00:48:42] To make the time for self-care and to meditate and do yoga and do all the things that I promised myself I was going to do.
[00:48:47] When I moved
[00:48:47] zach: Yeah.
[00:48:49] Jeremy: this is just going to keep happening. So listening to that, intuition, listening to that voice, looking for those warning signs that say, take a break, calm down, whatever it is, uh, find ways to listen to it, find ways to tap into that voice and listen to it because it's got some pretty good idea.
[00:49:05] zach: It's usually right. I've rarely has my intuition been wrong. Would that Jeremy might, intuition is telling me that the show is
[00:49:15] Jeremy: my intuition agrees with your intuition. They are
[00:49:17] on the same
[00:49:17] zach: Do you concur?
[00:49:20] Jeremy: and so with that, we will direct you to our webpage, the fitness.com, where you can follow us on your favorite social media. Subscribe on whatever podcast player you're using and of course sign up for the newsletter. So you never miss an update.
[00:49:32] Thank you so much for listening to this episode. Thank you to our guests. Courtney Marcus Ani links to her book and her work are all on our website. Uh, thanks so much for being there. We will. We'll talk to you next firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clinical Health Coach
Courtney Marchesani, M.S., Clinical Health Coach of Inspired Potentials, is an integrative mental health and wellness educator. She is a certified health coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (NYC) and attained her Master's of Science in Mind-Body Medicine from Saybrook University. Courtney provides education and holistic coaching programs for mental health issues such as anxiety, attention deficit, and depression.