For as long as I can remember, people have either hinted or told me outright that I have "too much" of one quality or another. Early on, my mother told me that I was "too sensitive." To my grandmother, I wanted too much to KNOW EVERYTHING." People all throughout my life have told me that I am "too intense." Almost everyone says I am "too intellectual" and that I "think too much." To hyper-intellectuals on the other hand, I am "too sentimental." To some, I offer "too many compliments," or compliments that are "too intimate."
Because I try to be on my guard against being too intense with people, I regularly back off, making me seem "too detached." To my daughters, I am sometimes "too silly," and I ask their friends "too many questions." Most people think I spend too much time pondering the meaning of life. "Why can't you just LIVE?" they inevitably end up asking. During one period in my life, I worked hard to uncover the sacredness hiding within the intense energy of male desire. I discovered, however, that men were simply NOT interested in this endeavor, while others saw my work as "too erotic." Up until recently, I myself joined in on the "too much" mantra and castigated myself for having inner boundaries that were "too porous," a situation which caused me to make friends with virtually everyone in my life, thereby precluding the possibility of being able to receive payment for my counseling skills.
Because of all of these "too much" traits, I embarked early in life on a spiritual journey to find a greater Presence who would accept me just as I am. What I found was a God who is "too hidden" in the depths of the heart and a Goddess of Nature who is simply "too beautiful" ever to satiate my desire. Because they could more than match my intensity, I fell in love with these manifestations of the Divine, especially as they reveal themselves daily in meditation and within the natural world.
Today it occurred to me that this "too much" quality is actually OK, even if other people don't understand. For my intensity becomes the spiritual "fuel" that is necessary to ferret out the mysteries of the Great Beyond. I discovered, in fact, that the famous 19th century Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson understood me perfectly:
"Nature sends no creature, no man into the world, without adding a small excess of his proper quality. Given the planet, it is still necessary to add the impulse; so, to every creature nature added a little violence of direction in its proper path, a shove to put it on its way; in every instance, a slight generosity, a drop too much. Without electricity the air would rot, and without this violence of direction, which men and women have, without a spice of bigot and fanatic, no excitement, no efficiency. We aim above the mark, to hit the mark. Every act hath some falsehood of exaggeration in it."
For those of us who are called to be visionaries, we NEED a well-developed intensity to push through all of the obstacles, all of the naysayers, and all of the mediocrity and passivity of a society that would work to drag us away from our creative spirit. As a result, I now accept and embrace my "too muchness," realizing that it has an important and necessary part to play in the overall scheme of things :)
Photo: Ice patterns on Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
Please visit: http://www.resourcesforspiritualgrowth.com/
Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.