We all deceive ourselves and those around us. Our illusions are, by and large, the reasons why society is able to function. Without the lies to cushion our reality, wouldn’t everything we’ve built begin to crumble?

That bit of truth doesn’t make coping with deception any easier, though. For those of us who always know when someone is lying directly to our faces, it can be a battle to keep an open mind. The things people choose to hide, sugar coat, or completely fabricate are so ridiculous at times that one can’t help but wonder why they’re wasting the energy!

A set of questions which always arise during my discussions about deception are these:

Where do you draw the line?

When is lying wrong?

When is lying immoral?

When is lying intolerable?

Is that line the same for everyone in your life?

If not, why?

I’ve come to accept that everyone lies, and it’s not about me. The only time when I refuse to tolerate that behavior now is in romantic relationships. For me, being intimately involved means forming a partnership. How can a partner in life, someone you trust implicitly, be counted on when they aren’t being completely honest?

Friends and family members alike have pointed out that lying is normal in a committed relationship. I realize that, for the majority, that is true. However, my relationships aren’t typical. Why should lying be acceptable to me simply because it is expected by the rest of society? Being entirely open with that single person, for someone as truthful as me, is about being safe with one another. Isn’t that ultimate level of vulnerability, and the trust which follows, the epitome of love and romance?

Tomorrow We Begin Again the Bitter Dance of Self Deception


Victory at last!

I finally tipped the scales.

Moving forward now.

After one entire week of deep depression, I decided that I am ready to move forward. It was necessary for me to experience that sadness. I needed to accept that something changed dramatically in my life, and that everything in my future will be impacted by that change. Now, though, I see the grand potential in what lies ahead, once again.

The pain is still there, centered in my chest, reminding me that the trauma of this year has left a mark. Who wouldn’t still be in that place, or worse, after so much loss? A breakup, devastating as it has been, isn’t even the beginning. It hasn’t even been a month since my Uncle Bill left us. Before him was my grandfather, William Marsh. Just four months before that, his wife, my grandmother, Mildred Marsh. Two days after Christmas last year, it was my Aunt Debbie. One year, and four deaths of family members who meant the world to me.

Some might struggle to find the silver lining in such a terrible set of circumstances. There are many positives, from my point of view, but the greatest one is this: I was able to endure the suffering with such strength that I allowed myself to open up to deep, passionate love. Brief though it was, having my shields shattered, and the level of intimacy which arose as a consequence, has created a lasting, positive change. The experience brings a favorite poem to mind, in fact:

My Candle Burns at Both Ends.jpg



Tell me that I’m special;

that you’ll always cherish me.

Tell me that we’re destined;

that I should let love be.

Tell me that you adore me

more than anyone in your past.

Tell me that I’m the one

with whom you’ll always last.

Show me that those lovely words

were more than empty vows.

Show me how to feel that passion;

how to melt into the now.

If your promises were empty,

  just a way to pull me in,

I’ll hold onto those memories.

Keep your pretty words within.

When that genuine one comes to call,

and unbridled resonance abounds,

I’ll open up the floodgates.

Let go, float on, spellbound.

Burning Passion

The Dark Side of Awakening

The Emotional Quotient is something that I have to explain to most people, and even then, they still don’t seem to fully grasp how incredibly important it is to be emotionally strong and healthy. Most people are so preoccupied with maintaining the material status of their lives that they never stop to think about what might be motivating them, or why they just can’t stand that one co-worker. They live on the surface of human existence.

For the last ten months, I have gone through the motions of life at 50-70% of my normal capacity. Pain, grief, and a particularly brutal round of existential depression had me living day to day, without the ability to concern myself with the future. It was all I could do to just take care of necessities, stay in touch with friends and family, and laugh whenever possible.

My vacation to Washington, D.C. brought my mind back out of the abyss to the extent that I began to look forward to normalcy. What turned everything around, though, was recovering from my surgery. Once the pain and dizziness subsided, I felt as though my core had been re-awakened from a long sleep. It’s amazing what we can grow accustomed to out of necessity!

An acquaintance said something yesterday that really inspired some deep thought about this reality and its implications:

I think there’s even more going on, on a subconscious level. Descriptively, I often think most people are floating down the river of life in a boat and they experience nothing of the water! I on the other hand, have my hands over the side and can feel the undercurrents that are moving me along and in some part unnervingly understand the relation of the current to the movement of boat on a very basic level.” ~Lee Thompson

What, then, is life like for those who jump into that water, and spend their lives discovering its mysteries? The short answer: it is an enhancement of everything which currently exists in our mortal world. Every aspect of what makes us human is ever-present; what marks the difference is degree, not some well-defined line.

The deeper I explore, the more I relate to everything and everyone around me. I gain experience, understanding, and insight, and I am forever compelled to continue on to new discoveries. When a profound moment arises, my addiction to exploration is sent into hyperdrive, and I fervently seek out anything which will perpetuate the feeling, or provide it once again.

110 Light Year Nebula

After twenty-seven years of this cycle, I have come to question my Self, my perspective, and my current path. A crossroads has appeared, and the choices are undefined. My personal growth has led me to a point where my expectations of others may never again be reasonable. Is it possible to change this one aspect of my mind, or can I only move forward? Should I attempt to boil myself down, once again, for the world – even with the awareness that my efforts are doomed before they begin?

An Empath with LLI: The Cacophony of Life

We’ve all dealt with it at one time or another: the noisy neighbors, the douchebags in rush hour who believe that we all want to listen to their low-quality speakers spewing a rap song the artist wrote in three seconds, or that one annoying family member who has such a problem with silence that, any time it does pop up, they behave as though their behind has caught to flame. Noise is everywhere in the world.

This phenomenon is called misophonia in the medical community, although this definition doesn’t always apply to every aspect of the issue for our minority. What is it? In short, misophonia is oversensitivity to noise. The word translates to “hatred of sound,” and for good reason!

For the Empath, and especially those with LLI, noise can be a serious cause of stress. Having LLI means that you can’t drown things out the way most people would, and being an Empath means that you’re hypersensitive in a way that impacts you emotionally. Most people can just turn to ear plugs, or turn on some music, or read a newspaper, and everything around them goes quiet. For people like us, however, there aren’t any instantaneous solutions.

What can you do when the noise of the world is too much, and you need to put an end to it? Well, that’s going to depend on where you are and what works for you. Some people can effectively cover up background noise that keeps them awake at night with white noise, such as a noise machine or a box fan. Many of us use music as a way to escape in most everyday situations – such as when you’re walking around in Wal-Mart and don’t care to engage the weirdo who likes to wear pink panties over the top of his camo pants. I’ve even known people who pretended to be deaf so that random strangers would leave them alone!

When headphones or ear plugs aren’t an option, the world can become a quite hostile place. We’re left with two choices: either find a better way to cope, or suck it up and try not to blow a gasket on anyone nearby. If you’re like me, you’ve probably done the latter throughout your life. What other choice do you have when nothing else seems to work? Stuffing it down and trying to heal after you get home is probably one of the worst ways to cope, though. Eventually, you’ll find yourself in a situation that doesn’t allow for you to recharge, and you’ll either blow up or start to have health problems.

The first thing you need to do is to figure out which noises are triggers for you. No one is truly sensitive to every type of noise 100% of the time. Usually, there is a situation, person, or specific noise that triggers your hypersensitivity. For example, if I am sleep deprived, I will be annoyed by everything from the clacking of the keyboard keys to the sound of a car door shutting outside. Normally, I notice these things, but they don’t cause an emotional response.

A majority of people who are sensitive to noise find that their sensitivity increases exponentially when they’re stressed for one reason or another. It can be helpful to recognize this in yourself, but that isn’t necessary in the beginning. What you can do is try to prepare yourself for the extra sensitivity when you’re in any sort of stressful position. Simply remaining conscious of the issue is often enough to hold it at bay – even if it’s just until you get home, where you can don your boxing gloves and blow off some steam. Or just do some yoga.

Here is a list of the coping strategies fellow Empaths have tried:

*Telling those you interact with the most about your sensitivity, and offering suggestions, such as not trying to have a serious conversation in a location that has a lot of background noise.

*Using a charm or totem to remind yourself to remain grounded when the world is too much. It can be anything, even a button or a piece of ribbon.

*Try to turn the noise into a song, if only in your head. This is especially helpful when the sounds are rhythmic, such as a ticking clock or a beeping noise.

*Sing a playlist of your favorite songs to yourself.

*Do something creative, or turn what you’re doing into something creative. Our sensitivities can disappear if we’re having fun, if only temporarily!

*Do something physical with your body, such as dancing or repetitive exercise.

*Tell those around you that the noise is getting to you, and they might try to help you drown it out.

*Mimic the noise. This sounds counter-intuitive, but it can help you to take away the power the noise is holding over your mind!

*If it’s another person annoying you, try to synchronize your actions with theirs. That way, you’re mostly hearing your own noises, and you can begin to mentally downplay theirs.

*Try to associate your most problematic noise triggers with a positive memory, and use that as a starting point for changing your emotional ties to that noise.

Take a look at these classifications and see where you fall on the misophonia spectrum:

Misophonia Test

If you have any other suggestions for coping strategies, please suggest them in the comments, or on the LLI page on Facebook


Originally written and published by Natalie Marsh on

The Energy Sponge Toolkit

Everyone who has Low Latent Inhibition is highly sensitive, but not always to emotion. We all experience an astounding amount of stimulation every second of every day, but what we take in and how varies from person to person. There is a delicate balance within the LLI community between intellectual, emotional, and spiritual endeavors.

Those who have been labeled as ‘too sensitive’ or ‘overly emotional’ throughout their lives are often unaware emotional energy sponges. These individuals regularly take on the energy (emotion) of those around them – which is often negative – without realizing that it’s not their own. This can result in the belief that they are bundles of emotional chaos, which is something very few people understand. Without reciprocated empathy, these people suffer.

How, then, should one go about improving upon such a miserable situation? There are many steps that can be taken, and the path is going to be different for everyone. The first thing an Energy Sponge should do is accept that they are always going to experience more energy flow than other people. Acceptance has to be the beginning because, without it, you will be flying blindly.

From there, it is important to become aware of conscious and subconscious habits. Until you know how you’ve learned to cope with the bombardment of energy, you will not know how to improve upon your current Self. Most of us tend to Depersonalize and create some sort of shield around ourselves – often excess physical weight. We might also withdraw socially and become reclusive. Be critical of yourself so that you can discover these habits, but don’t forget to forgive! Coping mechanisms are perfectly natural, and we all have to learn how to improve at some point in our lives.

Depersonalization Disorder

A spiritual perspective on Depersonalization Disorder

What should you do to pinpoint these habits? Quiet time, meditation, and the practice of being present in each moment will help tremendously. Simplify your life as much as possible, including your diet. Plan out your interactions with difficult people as often as possible and pay close attention to your reactions and the way you feel during and afterward. If you’re having trouble keeping track of these things, keep a detailed journal. You will probably feel overwhelmed at some point, and that’s okay!

Once you have mapped out your coping mechanisms and when they take over, you can begin to improve upon them. Continuing with quiet time and meditation will certainly give you the energy and presence of mind you will need to tackle this problem. Practice Mindfulness techniques as long as you can every single day. If you aren’t familiar with this, read about it here:

Four Mindfulness Techniques

Mindfulness Exercises

Optimizing your physical body is going to be an important step as well. Do whatever you can manage for exercise, even if it’s only 5 minutes of yoga per day. Moving consciously will not only improve your body, it will also have a positive impact on your mind. Recommended gentle exercise, aside from yoga, would be swimming and Tai Chi – both of which can be done in a lake, pool, or river!

Change your diet if you haven’t already. Too many of us eat and drink things for pleasure, or out of habit, which are detrimental to our health. Don’t ever forget that your gastrointestinal system (Enteric Nervous System) is your second brain! Once you’ve learned to eat for sustenance, you will experience a new sort of pleasure when you take your meals. Nourishment becomes its own reward. One useful tool for determining what sort of diet you should try out is Ayurveda. You can find out which is your dosha and learn about it here (If you aren’t sure about some of the answers, ask someone who knows you very well.):

Dosha Quiz




In the event that Ayurveda just doesn’t resonate with you, there are other options. For instance, if you’re prone to blood sugar issues, you can follow a low-glycemic diet. If you have cardiovascular problems, you might benefit from becoming a vegetarian. Buy more fresh produce and reduce your consumption of highly processed foods. Switch refined sugar in your meal plan to healthier alternatives like honey, xylitol, and agave nectar.

Low Glycemic Diet

Vegetarian Diet

Tips for Cutting Out Refined Sugar

Benefits of Xylitol

Where do you feel the most relaxed? Many people would answer beach, forest, tropical climate, desert, etc. Do you need to be near water frequently? Identify which environment is best for you and make an effort to put yourself there, even if it’s only in your mind. If you enjoy nature but happen to live in a city, try walking around barefoot on the lawn. Feel the bark of trees as you pass by. Stand under the shade of a tree for a few minutes. Grow some rosemary, which smells very much like a pine or fir tree. Desert can be a bit more difficult, but you can always keep a jar of sand nearby that you can run your hand through, and cacti aren’t difficult to grow.

Grow Rosemary

Grow Indoor Cactus

For those of us who need water but aren’t near any real source, we do have options! Shower as soon as you get home. If you need salt water, make yourself a saltwater bath. Buy yourself a fountain to put by your desk or bed, and a CD of running water that you can play in the background during your quiet time. Even a squirt bottle full of fresh water can help with your mood. Just squirt your face or the back of your neck whenever you need a pick-me-up!

Indoor Fountains

Water Noise

Most importantly, you need to learn to say ‘No’. When you’ve become aware of how and why you’re taking in the energy of others, you can readily recognize situations in which you shouldn’t be their dumping ground. We all want to help others, but you have to be aware of your limitations. If you’re already soaked, so to speak, it’s alright to say No! They will find another outlet, and you won’t have to hide in a closet from the world.

Say No

To recap, here are our steps to freedom:

  1. Meditate
  2. Quiet time
  3. Mindfulness training
  4. Exercise
  5. Diet
  6. Environment
  7. Learn when to say ‘No’

Originally written by Natalie Marsh and published on in April 2013.

An Empath with Low Latent Inhibition

What is Low Latent Inhibition? Please read about it here, or visit the Facebook page here.

What is an Empath? Well, a simple, logical explanation would define them as people who operate mostly or even entirely through empathy. Feeling empathy allows you to understand something or someone deeply, and to resonate with that object or individual. Someone with this ability will feel extremely in-tune with certain aspects of the world. Here is a list of traits:

30 Traits of an Empath

The difference between your average Joe and an Empath, however, is how often that connection occurs. Nearly every human being is capable of empathy, but they tend to use it on a limited spectrum of interaction with the world. Feeling in-tune with a significant other or pet is considered normal. Some people may even extend it to their friends and acquaintances. There is always a limit, though – and for a majority of the population it doesn’t go far.

As many here may already know, LLI can be a blessing and a curse. We all have our positive and negative moments. Just two days ago I couldn’t handle any extra noise, and yesterday I wanted absolutely nothing to do with other people. Rest, for body and mind, is necessary at some point for everyone – but those who have LLI have to pay much closer attention to their energy levels.

An Empath with LLI is even more complicated! Experiencing empathy (emotional stimuli from every direction) and LLI (sensory stimuli from every direction) 24/7/365 creates a lovely sort of chaos. It is my belief that most of those who happen to be Empaths with LLI suffer greatly, and often succumb to mental health issues. The reality is that someone with one condition or the other can, over time, adapt appropriately; when you have both, though, you’re going to be tested beyond your capacity incessantly.

Just yesterday I was required to attend a court hearing. The case load in that county is astronomical, so they have to put 40 or so cases on the afternoon calendar – which means that you’re likely sitting in a courtroom with people who have high levels of anxiety for far too long. I was in that room with nearly 100 others for almost three hours. My mind processed the environment, the sounds and smells, and every detail regarding the people around me, including body language. On top of that, my Empath abilities allowed me to feel everything they were feeling all at once, and to discern the intent of each person there.

As time wore on, the levels of anxiety increased. When they finally called me up to the stand, I was so tense I didn’t hear them say my name. It was then that I realized that I was allowing all of that information to sort of swirl around in my mind without a destination. I’m not in court often, or any social situation that involves that sort of emotional load, so it will take some work before I’ll be able to sit through something like that without becoming overwhelmed. Keep this in mind, though: I’ve had over 20 years of experience. What would happen to a person who, inexplicably and without method, was suddenly gifted with these abilities without the experience?

There are pros and cons to every aspect of the human condition. Being an Empath with LLI isn’t always a walk in the park, but I wouldn’t give it up if the opportunity arose. Millions of positive moments have existed in my life solely because of those two conditions. Not only do they allow me to see the beauty around me, they have allowed me to help countless people.

One talent I have always possessed is the ability to read potential in anything or anyone. Seeing something like that everywhere you turn allows for an incredible amount of creativity. As always, there are far too many examples to state for an article. The first one that comes to mind is when I was in elementary school. I spent many hours every week just walking through the woods, which happened to be full of pine trees. All of those green needles on the ground looked to me like wasted potential, so I learned to weave baskets and other things with them.

Reading potential in people is a bit different, though it does sometimes involve creativity. Over the years I’ve learned to coach those who want to improve their lives, but don’t know where to start. What seems to me to be self-evident is often a mystery to another person. For instance, one of my co-workers is an incredible performer. She loves to be in the spotlight, and has a fascination with Burlesque. I pointed this out to her and asked why she is working in a candy store when she could be dancing for millions of people every year. She replied that she never noticed her talent.

Overall, it is my opinion that this combination shouldn’t be dropped on just anyone. It takes a certain sort of person to handle all of the sensory and emotional stimuli while continuing to function normally in life. Anyone who is unable to handle this tsunami of information would end up with an extremely low quality of life.

Do you know an Empath, or even an Empath with LLI? Could you be one? This quiz is short and decent:

Empath Test

Universal Eye

Originally written by Natalie Marsh and posted on in April 2013.