Embracing Intensity

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Now displaying: 2019
Jul 8, 2019

As my summer really gets going, I am looking forward to gaining some momentum on expanding our community offerings. I'd love to hear from you where you'd like the podcast and community to go in the future to best support your needs!

In this episode:

  • Reflections on the World Domination Summit 2019 and community.
  • My thoughts on the direction I'd like to go in increasing engagement and facilitation in live groups online and off.
  • How you can help shape our Embracing Intensity Community.
  • Upcoming events for the summer!


Embracing Intensity Community

XPress Your Power Merchandise

Jul 1, 2019

If you’re the parent of a gifted or twice-exceptional child, then you know the struggles that come with the territory. Parents need a voice and an advocate, and today’s guest promises to be that voice--the one screaming out for the needs of these amazing kids.

Jen Torbeck Merrill is an Illinois-based writer and gifted family advocate who is the mom of two teen sons. She homeschools one, but happily sends the other off to public school every morning. Her book, If This Is A Gift, Can I Send it Back: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional, struck a nerve with families who suspected Jen was living in their closet. Her second book, on the needs of gifted parents and self-care, is in progress. Jen is a Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Ambassador and is slated to be one of the SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) Conference keynote speakers at their annual convention in Houston this July. She intends to support the parents of gifted and twice-exceptional kids because they are the ones doing the heavy lifting and are too often ignored, patronized, and discredited. She hopes that her sons never have to deal with these issues when they raise their own likely gifted children. I first encountered Jen when we contributed to the Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hops together, and I was always delighted with the humor and relatability in her writing. I’m excited to see her next book come out! Jen is also teaming up with past EI guests Kate Arms and Chris Wells to put on a series of webinars for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children.

Show Highlights:

  • Jen’s life as a musician, reluctant homeschooling mom, teacher, writer, and parents’ advocate
  • How Jen is intensely passionate about life, screaming for the needs of these amazing gifted and twice-exceptional kids for the past 14 years
  • How Jen was/is characterized as “tightly wound,” overly stressed, emotionally intense, and strong willed
  • How she never recognized her own intensities and strengths until she learned them from raising her kids
  • How she grew up in a diverse community with people of all ethnicities and backgrounds
  • Why Jen wanted to be average as a teenager and “not stand out”
  • How Jen’s intensity gets out of control sometimes, when she’s not taking care of herself, not sleeping well, and taking on too many projects
  • How she uses vulnerability and honesty in her writing
  • When parents AND their kids are profoundly gifted
  • How Jen uses her fire for good in helping other parents
  • Why it’s easy to discount the things that come to us easily
  • Harnessing the power of intensity by being aware that the power actually exists
  • How specific aspects of her intensity have made her a better writer and musician
  • How personal habits have helped Jen harness her intensity
  • How Jen embraces her “subtle arrogance”
  • The best advice she’s ever received (even though she typically doesn’t listen to others’ advice): “Your book is good; you should write another one.”
  • Two books that have helped Jen: Giftedness 101 by Linda Silverman and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  • How Jen helps others use their fire by modeling hers
  • Why she wants parents to trust themselves and believe in themselves


Find Jen:  Laughing At Chaos

Find Laughing At Chaos on Facebook and Twitter

Giftedness 101 by Linda Silverman

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Jun 24, 2019

Last year at a regional SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) conference, I had lunch with someone who followed my podcast and online community. She asked me, "what exactly do you do?" Today I'm sharing more clarity what I do with educational assessment and consultation, and my shift towards doing more group facilitation. 

In this episode:

  • What psycho-educational assessment is all about.
  • How educational consultation can help understand existing testing.
  • Moving towards more interactive facilitation in group calls and courses. 


Embracing Intensity Community

Contact Me

Jun 17, 2019

Every so often, you meet someone who has had to fight for where they are in life. It’s usually the people who have faced the greatest difficulty who learn to be the most resilient and truly have a heart of gratitude for what they have in life. Such is the story of today’s guest. Join me to learn more.

Zaakirah Muhammad Demba is someone I met through a podcasting group on Facebook called She Podcasts. Once I got to know her, I realized she would be a great guest on the show--and here she is! Zaakirah is a brand-cultivating strategist, professional photographer, and digital marketer. She helps small businesses make their social media pages look good, and she advises the best social media tactics for growing and being consistent with their brand. At 6 months of age, a camera saved her life, and at 9 months old, she was taken into surgery to have her right eye removed due to a rare cancerous tumor that was detected by a camera in a photo taken by her mom. Her hearing slowly began to decline as she grew older, but her other 3 senses kicked in and are doing well. At age 5, her mom gifted her with her first camera, and she received her first digital camera in middle school. She attended technical high school and went on to study commercial photography and never strayed far from her purpose in life. She moved to Washington, DC, to expand her education and work in professional photography and videography. She currently resides in Nashville but has traveled to 10 countries with her camera, most recently to South Africa. As a people-person and an empath, Zaakirah wants her legacy to be the fact that she was able to see the good in people, help them live their best life, and step outside their comfort zone.

Show Highlights:

  • Zaakirah’s intense passion for photography as a way to share her mind and her voice
  • Her podcast, Living Legacy, is a way to get her story out
  • How her mom taught her to fight for herself and her health
  • How she’s faced cancer, eye removal, hearing loss, PCOS, and infertility
  • Why she chooses to live a holistic life to be more in tune with herself
  • Growing up as an intense person who was labeled GAP--Genius African Princess--by her mom
  • The difficulties in school because of bullying
  • The cultural factors Zaakirah has faced as a Muslim woman of African-American descent with a deaf-blind disability
  • How yoga helps her quiet her mind
  • Why 2019 is the year of “No More” for Zaakirah
  • What she learned in test-taking about listening to her intuition
  • A breakdown in high school due to anxiety, anger, and stress
  • How Zaakirah uses her fire to help others grow their businesses, tap into their potential, and recognize their purpose
  • How writing out her thoughts and feelings helps her tap into her creative juices
  • Why she needs quiet time to recharge
  • The best advice she received was not to allow negativity to overtake her
  • Why Zaakirah focuses on forming good habits, like consistency, gratitude, using a vision board
  • Some favorite books: Chicken Soup for the Soul series, The Diary of Anne Frank, and autobiographies
  • How Zaakirah helps others through her coaching and her podcast


Zaakirah Nayyar

Living Legacy podcast

Jun 11, 2019

These last few weeks of school my schedule has been thrown off whack, but as school approaches the end it opens up my schedule to do more great things with Embracing Intensity and more!

In this episode:

  • What I've been focusing on this year.
  • Where I'm headed into the new year.
  • What I learned about myself on our last group call in terms of prioritizing my time. 


Embracing Intensity Community

XPress Your Power Store

Jun 3, 2019

Today you’ll meet someone who manifests his intensity through music and dance. In sharing his passion, he also stays connected to his Indian culture and brings it to people across the US as he celebrates all things FUN.

I first met Prashant Kakad in his role as a Bollywood DJ. I’ve loved attending his dance events because of the diverse variety of people and the open and free spirit of celebration. He is one of the best examples I know of psychomotor or physical excitability. As I’ve gotten to know Prashant better, I realized that he is gifted and intense in many different ways. From Orcas Island to the Florida Keys, this multifaceted Bollywood entertainer has spent the last 10 years traveling across the US sharing his passion for Indian music and culture. An Indian-born, first-generation immigrant, Prashant’s unique perspective as an Ivy League graduate and ex-Intel engineer-turned DJ transforming American nightlife has inspired many South Asians who seek to pursue a life beyond their tech job.

Show Highlights:

  • How Prashant has always been intensely passionate about dancing, music, and creative expressions---not being an Intel engineer
  • How he travels the US with dance parties in various cities, along with dance classes and workshops
  • Prashant’s natural inclination toward intensity in his dancing and in his meditation practice
  • How he has had to “find the middle” of both extremes of his intensity
  • How he grew up with a very intense life in the city of Mumbai, which has over 19 million people
  • How Prashant stays connected to his Indian culture and loves giving others a window into that world
  • How he had to downplay his passion for music and dancing as he grew up, mainly because of his family’s disapproval
  • How his intensity sometimes gets out of control
  • How Prashant finds opportunities to self-reflect and course-correct
  • How he helps by holding opportunities sacred in bringing his culture to people and helping them connect to it
  • Harnessing the power of his intensity by being around people who resonate with him
  • Prashant’s personal habits of jumping headfirst, thinking later, going with his instinct, and embracing the unknown
  • The best advice Prashant has ever received: “Live and go, based on your personal experience, not on what someone else does or says.”
  • Prashant’s favorite books to recommend: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews
  • How Prashant loves to help others in teaching dance because it’s both external AND internal


Find Prashant on Instagram:  Instagram: Dream Prashant

Find Prashant on YouTube:  Dream Prashant

Find Prashant’s website:  Dreams Perfected

Consider supporting the podcast:  Embracing Intensity

From last week’s episode:  Side by Side: A Model of Healthy Relationships by Kate Arms

May 27, 2019

In May we are focusing on shifting perspective, and part of that is in shifting our perspective of intensity. For our Embracing Intensity group call, Kate Arms will be talking about Thriving with Intensity. This is the talk she did at the SENG 2018 conference.

Thriving with Intensity:

Dabrowski believed overexcitabilities enhance our capacity for self-actualization. How can we take advantage of this extra capacity? This presentation will focus on how adults can grow beyond coping with the challenges of being super sensitive and move toward greater fulfillment.

Once a few tools are identified for getting the most out of extraordinary sensitivity, the potential for self-awareness and life-changing transformations are profound. Using a coaching and leadership skills framework, Kate Arms will explore how to discover the gifts in individual overexcitabilities and how to use those gifts to create a greater sense of fulfillment in any moment.

Kate Arms is a personal and business coach at Signal Fire Coaching. She loves helping smart, sensitive, and creative people harness their many passions, skills, and sensitivities and use that energy to thrive. She is at her best with complex people facing complex problems. Particular passions are teaching emotional self-management to intense people, supporting parents of twice-exceptional kids, and teaching leadership, collaboration, and relationship skills to software developers. She is the parent of four gifted kids, three of whom are twice-exceptional and a different three of whom are triplets. Her current writing projects are focused on healthy interpersonal relationships at home and work and how to have effective high-stakes conversations.

Call recordings for the discussion and past calls can be found in the Embracing Intensity Community.


Embracing Intensity Community

Thrive with Intensity

Thrive with Intensity Facebook Group

Thriving with Complexity Webinar Series for Parents

May 13, 2019

Do you have a hard time explaining what goes on in your brain? After reading a post from Intergifted on High, Exceptional & Profound Giftedness, the concept of "Matrix Thinking" really resonated with me! I wrote a blog post about it last week, and decided to share my thoughts on the podcast as well! I have already found it a handy tool to help outside-the-box thinkers to articulate how they visualize their own brains. 

In this episode:

  • Linear thinking

  • Skip thinking

  • Different types of Matrix Thinking


Embracing Intensity Community


May 6, 2019

Today’s guest has an amazing story to tell about her experience as a highly, exceptionally to profoundly gifted (HEPG) person. She and I met in gifted adult groups, and I knew I had to have her on the show.

Kari Betton is a coach and mentor for sensitive, gifted, and highly creative individuals and has much knowledge about how we can visualize the brain. Starting the Chicago Neurodiversity and Acceptance Community, as well as her work around kink openness and sex positivity, encouraged Kari to write her blog, Follow Your Own Flow. The blog focuses on her life as a multi-exceptional and gifted adult, analyzes the essential elements of creativity and presence, and challenges extrinsic paradigms.

Show Highlights:

  • Kari’s intense passion for taking the extrinsic and integrating it with the essential
  • “Extrinsic”--anything that is not the essential nature (“the fluff”) of a person
  • Gifted people, perfectionism, and nature vs. nurture
  • How Kari’s intensity forces her to “call people out on stuff”---and they don’t always like it
  • How Kari knew she was different, even before she was found to be HEPG (highly, exceptionally, and profoundly gifted)
  • Why Kari felt like “an alien” when she was radically accelerated to 5th grade as a 3-year-old, and then put back into first grade a couple of years later
  • How Kari was recognized as a prodigy
  • How being black and her positive disintegration affected how Kari expressed herself
  • The revelation about structure that changed her life
  • How Kari had to tone down and tune out her intensity all the time, as she struggled to connect to the totality of her inner self
  • Why creativity is the essential element of her multi-potentialism
  • How Kari felt that her intensity was out of control with positive disintegration, “going to the underworld every day”
  • How Kari lets out her fire by running and doing yoga
  • Meta-thinking, spiral thinking, and parallel processing of anxiety
  • How sleep helps Kari harness the power of her intensity, but she had to work hard to figure it out
  • How and why she resisted all routine for awhile
  • How she uses personal habits to be in the moment wherever she is
  • The best advice Kari’s received has often been from herself because she’s found it difficult to find good mentors
  • How she learned to integrate her body and mind, realizing that her mind is multidimensional, but the body only exists in this dimension
  • How “one-upmanship” plays into the gifted culture
  • How Kari creates space for the intellectual intensity
  • How Kari helps others through her coaching business and her neurodiversity group
  • Kari’s parting words: “We need to understand that the more that we holistically assess everyone, we’ll start to understand what we need for our gifted communities.”


Square Space

Belonging Here: A Guide for the Spiritually Sensitive Person by Judith Blackstone

Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential by Marylou Kelly Streznewski

Visit Embracing Intensity for more information about our community and our upcoming May 11 Group Call with Kate Arms on Thriving with Intensity.

Apr 29, 2019

April's theme is Time & Energy Balance. As a tool for finding balance, Rukshana Triem joins us to talk about connecting with nature.

Connecting with Nature is an amazing session to help everyone understand the importance of our health when we expose our mind and body to the outdoors. The simple things that we can practice and implement into our daily lives so we have more inner peace, love and energy. The audience will have clear understanding that nature is not intimidating but taking one step at a time that builds confidence to taking bigger steps towards other things in life. In this workshop Rukshana will share the five key values that she Teaches in her various coaching programs.

Rukshana has a huge Hunger to serve, to bring deep connection to transformation women all around the world. Rukshana Hafez Triem is an Author, inspirational Speaker, and CEO of a Womens Lifestyle Coaching LLC. Her journey started in Zambia living in a Refugee camp. Due to Trauma and overcoming her sexual abuse past, she was able to create a comfortable lifestyle that supports her family. She shares her story with others as she travels around the world, doing public speaking, workshops and Retreat and her New Mission Building schools in Africa, in Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia. For upcoming events in your area, sign up for the news letter here.

Call recordings for this and all past calls can be found in the Embracing Intensity Community.

In this episode, Rukshana shares: 

  • A brief guided meditation on nature.
  • Her 5 steps to connecting with nature.
  • How nature helped her get through leaving a war torn country as a young refugee. 
  • How connecting with nature helps connect with yourself.


Embracing Intensity Community

Embracing Intensity Patreon

Rukshana's Website

Firmina Foundation

Apr 22, 2019

Do you or someone you love struggle to find balance in life because of the effects of ADHD? This is the show with the answers! My guest has been where you are because he has ADHD and his passion is to help others.

Brendan Mahan has a Master’s of Education and School Counseling. He’s an internationally-known ADHD Executive Functioning consultant, coach, and host of the ADHD Essentials podcast. He helps people manage the emotional, academic, and lifestyle impacts ADHD has on the people who have it and those who care for them. I was introduced to Brendan when he appeared on the ADHD ReWired podcast with Eric Tivers, where Brendan talked about his concept of “The Wall of Awful.”

Show Highlights:

  • The things Brendan is intensely passionate about: helping parents and non-ADHD people understand, storytelling, being a husband and father, and martial arts
  • How Brendan’s intensity shows itself in stress and sensory overwhelm
  • How Brendan grew up as a sensitive kid who was afraid to disappoint adults
  • Brendan as a product of the 80s and 90s toxic masculinity who also had a nurturing side
  • How he learned to say “the quiet parts” out loud
  • How ADHD makes you impulsive and large, and Brendan tries to rein it in and not overwhelm others
  • Establishing boundaries when people unload on you
  • How to decompress
  • Two recent moments of overwhelm for Brendan
  • As an ADHD coach and consultant, Brendan works with kids, adults, families, schools, and mental health organizations as a speaker, podcaster, and (now) interim principal
  • How Brendan inverts the fire of anxiety to use it to be more compassionate and empathic
  • Why we need to give each other permission to struggle with mental health issues just like physical issues
  • Habits that help Brendan the most: a calendar for scheduling time and commitments, and his wife and kids who help slow him down at times
  • Why Brendan doesn’t believe in “lazy,” but believes it’s learned helplessness born out of a lack of skills
  • Why you shouldn’t tell a kid, “This is easy”
  • How much of Brendan’s coaching work comes down to problem-solving
  • Why you CAN do that thing you think you can’t
  • How you disempower those who want to help you when you don’t accept their help
  • Brendan’s advice: “Be willing to be vulnerable with those whom you care about and care about you.”


Find out more about Brendan and his work:

Brendan Mahan


Self-Reg by Stuart Shanker

Three upcoming events: Visit the Embracing Intensity Facebook page to join our EI Community or Patreon--

April 27: Seasonal Potluck in the Pacific NW

April 29: Ignite Your Power course: Time and Energy Balance

May 11: A (10:00 am Pac.) group call with Kate Arms on Thriving with Intensity

Apr 16, 2019

This week I was going to share our group call talk with Rukshana Triem, but life happened so instead I thought I'd share a quick story about my own school experience and how it led me to crash hard in college! 


  • My best educational fit in school.
  • The importance of interpretation beyond just test numbers.
  • Why learning more about how we learn and process information can help.
Apr 8, 2019

Can you look in the mirror and say, “I love you”? Today’s guest explains why this is important, along with cultivating a passion for lifelong learning and learning that you can’t carry the negative emotions of those around you. Dive in deep with us!

Shannon Meade is a homeschooling mom of two boys who is a Pacific Northwest native but also a global traveler. Most recently, she took her family to Thailand for 14 months to provide space and time for them all to be together and to provide her husband a respite from his busy career as a 911 dispatcher. As the “Queen of Ease,” Shannon offers workshops and speaks to women about their inner critic and ways to foster better relationships with themselves.

Show HIghlights:

  • Shannon’s intense passion for being a learner, embracing new ideas, and understanding and connecting people to the resources they need
  • Why Shannon loves “slow traveling” to get a feel for other environments
  • Shannon’s intensity in getting fired up about things and not letting them go
  • How she’s learned not to carry other people’s emotions and to let heavy emotions go
  • Shannon’s cultural factors that affected her intensity in childhood
  • With a bipolar dad, she had to tone down and tune out to tiptoe around his mood swings
  • How she would “push buttons” on purpose just so she could have some control over family meltdowns and blowups
  • How Shannon’s intensity got out of control with interactions with her sister
  • How Shannon sees the gift in her intensity and can speak to others’ needs for insight and resources
  • How Shannon harnessed the power of her intensity by working with a hypnotherapist and life coach
  • How this podcast and a book by Suzanne Mathis McQueen helped Shannon
  • How Shannon learned to let go of the “shoulds”
  • How Shannon uses her fire in a positive way by engaging as a learner
  • Shannon’s work in hosting retreats and speaking to women’s groups
  • How we can overcome the polarizing effect by finding similarities and common threads with others
  • Why you should say “I love you” to yourself


Find Shannon Meade, Queen of Ease on Facebook

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

The Joy of Genius by Gay Hendricks

4 Seasons in 4 Weeks by Suzanne Mathis McQueen

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, MD

The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald D. Davis and Eldon M. Braun

Dyslexic Advantage by Brock L. Eide, MD, M.A.

Apr 1, 2019

Navigating relationships successfully can be one of the most challenging things we ever do. The intensity and outside-the-box nature of twice-exceptionality (gifted plus disability), adds in a whole new layer of challenge. In this episode, Dr. Melanie Hayes shares both the joys and the hurdles of twice exceptional relationships.

In this episode:

  • Common issues in all relationships.
  • Additional challenges for twice-exceptional people.
  • Meeting our unmet needs in relationships.
  • A recipe for twice-exceptional people to connect with who they really are and have fulfilling lives. 


Embracing Intensity Community

Support Embracing Intensity on Patreon

Mar 25, 2019

Why is intensity often cast with a negative connotation? Today’s show highlights an intense and “extra” person who is finding success in the world of filmmaking, embracing intensity, and happy to take the risk to be a shining creative!

Marc Smolowitz is a multi-award-winning director, producer, and executive producer who has been significantly involved in over 50 successful independent films. He wears many hats across the film and entertainment industry, and the combined footprint of his work has touched 200 film festivals and markets on five continents, yielding substantial worldwide sales to theatrical, television, and VOD outlets. He’s experienced notable box office receipts, numerous awards, and nominations, and his long list of credits includes films that have screened at top-tier festivals. As a director/producer, his 2011 film, The Power of Two, premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival and went on to screen at 35 festivals around the globe, winning major prizes, garnering theatrical release in the USA and Japan, and selling on Hulu in the USA and Netflix in Japan. Marc is currently in production on two feature documentaries. The G Word is a film about giftedness, intelligence, and neurodiversity, and is slated for 2020 completion. The Lonely Child is a film about the unexpected present-day footprint of a little-known Yiddish lullaby written during the Holocaust. This film has been developed with the Jewish Film Institute’s Competitive Filmmaker in Residence program in San Francisco.

Show Highlights:

  • Marc’s passion: to work in the film process from the kernel of the idea to the production and marketing pieces
  • Why Marc is passionate about art, activism, social change, LGBTQ issues, public health and community issues, diversity, and inclusionism
  • Marc’s intensity as a kid and ever since---not the kind that alienates others, but he had to learn to modify his responses at times
  • How Marc thrives on other people’s energy
  • The deep resilience instilled by his parents
  • Why Marc calls everyone “they” instead of using gender-specific pronouns
  • How non-binary expression of identity opens up opportunities
  • Why Marc tries to live without regrets, even when his intensity threatens to get out of control
  • Marc’s battle with HIV, an illness with much shame, guilt, and stigma
  • Why it’s NOT a small thing to be the child of Holocaust survivors
  • How Marc uses his fire for good, actively looking forward and behind at the same time
  • Why he can live comfortably in today’s technological world
  • How Marc learned early in life that he couldn’t do things in ways that please everybody
  • How we need to cultivate new ideas and standards for creativity and giftedness
  • Why social and emotional challenges aren’t limited to any one demographic, and how we need to look through the lens that makes us relatable to one another
  • How Marc has experienced mostly positive outcomes from embracing intensity, even though there is always a big risk when you completely express yourself


Support The G Word Film Kickstarter

Join the Embracing Intensity Community

13th Gen   Learn more about Marc and his company

Follow Marc on Twitter: @MarcSmolowitz

The Gword Film  Find out about Marc’s film about giftedness

Mar 18, 2019

If you’re an intense person, then you’ve probably known feelings of being out of control,  unvalued in relationships, and being unable to set boundaries. My guest today has a wonderful story about how she came to a place of self-love, so she could then ask for what she wants and needs to be her best self in the world.

Melissa Snow is a certified life coach who specializes in helping women improve their lives by learning to like, love, and value themselves more. She understands firsthand what it’s like to feel out of place and “not good enough.” She also knows the dramatic effects this has on ALL aspects of your life. She loves helping women get from where they are to where they want to be, by increasing their self-esteem and recognizing their inherent worth. Melissa is the author of Ten Secrets to Having the Love You Want, and has recently been featured on The Inspired Women podcast with Megan Hall. She’s also frequently featured on Bustle and Mind-Body Green.

Show Highlights:

  • How Melissa grew up as a gifted kid in the 1980s, going to an integrated school where she felt like she didn’t belong and wasn’t as good as others
  • How her passion developed for helping women realize their value and harness their power
  • How her intensity is manifested in her being overly emotional and sensitive to other people and to beauty in nature
  • How she felt intensity when growing up, but not knowing how to harness it and what to do with it
  • The effects of ADHD and giftedness as Melissa grew up
  • Feeling like she didn’t belong and needed to be “fixed”
  • How there weren’t opportunities and the level of understanding of giftedness that we see today
  • How she felt like she had to tone herself down and tune herself out
  • How we expect other people to like and love us when we don’t even like and love ourselves
  • In early adulthood, Melissa’s self-worth was tied to whatever others thought
  • When you don’t have self-esteem or self-worth, you don’t feel like you have the right to set boundaries, and you become a needy, desperate, jealous, and clingy person
  • How Melissa got to the point where she felt at rock bottom, and there was absolutely nothing in her life that she liked
  • How she got her intensity back under control, harnessing the power, and using it for good and not destruction
  • How she harnessed the power of her intensity by becoming a life coach and learning to accept herself and her quirks
  • How keeping “things” under control helps Melissa keep life under control
  • Being her best self by learning to schedule downtime, using time-blocking techniques, and setting a routine to be grounded and at peace
  • Not allowing negativity to infiltrate the rest of her life
  • How Melissa helps others use their fire, by helping them in figuring who they are and who they want to be
  • Your own thoughts and beliefs about yourself are usually the biggest obstacle in being who you want to be
  • Why it’s NEVER too late to change your story


Melissa Snow 

Embracing Intensity  Join our community!

Three upcoming events:  

April 1--Ignite Your Power: Self-Empathy

April 13--Guest call: Connecting with Nature

April 27--Quarterly Potluck in the Portland area

Mar 12, 2019

Do you ever have the feeling that you are "never enough"? This week, Aurora talks about how our ability to see the potential in everything, can actually get in the way of achieving it! 

In this episode, Aurora shares:

  • Lessons learned from her colicky kid.
  • How seeing potential in everything gets in our way.  
  • Common barriers to meeting our visualized potential.
  • 3 ways you can support yourself when you are feeling "not enough"
Mar 4, 2019

How good are you at speaking up for yourself? The problem in today’s society is that assertiveness is usually equated with aggressiveness---and that is not considered a favorable quality for most women to have. So, how do we find the balance between being too passive and not being too aggressive? Do we have to be unkind to speak up for ourselves? We’re answering these questions and so much more in today’s show!

Amy Smith is a Certified Confidence Coach, masterful speaker, personal empowerment expert, and the founder of Amy uses her roles as coach, writer, podcaster, and speaker to move individuals to a place of radical personal empowerment and self-love. With a focus on helping people find their voice, Amy is highly sought after for her uncommon style of irreverence, wisdom, and humor. She’s been a featured expert on Fox Five San Diego and

Show Highlights:

  • Why Amy is passionate about emotional intelligence and everyone having the freedom to experience the breadth of human emotion
  • The nucleus of Amy’s passion: people genuinely knowing that their voice matters and cultivating the skillset to speak up for themselves
  • A pivotal moment in Amy’s life: her dad’s funeral and her mom’s condemnation of her life, due to the lack of affinity for the religion she was raised in
  • Why you sometimes have to issue an ultimatum
  • The realization that you can be extremely assertive AND do it with the utmost grace and kindness
  • The differentiation between being assertive and being aggressive
  • Amy’s intensity and sensitivity: “I genuinely believe my intensity to be my superpower, but growing up, that was not the case.”
  • How Amy stabilized her ups and downs and managed her anxiety
  • Why she watches what she eats, how she sleeps, and has eliminated caffeine from her diet
  • How Amy was branded as a “bad kid” at her private school because of her outspokenness
  • Toning herself down and tuning herself out, even when she and her husband would be around her family and have to guard against the disapproval
  • The subconscious message that “You don’t matter” and “You’re not as important as ___________”
  • How Amy’s intensity got out of control, when she had a panic attack last year, as she was putting new business ventures together that wasn’t in alignment with her values
  • How she got back to a healthy place with her body
  • Feeling fear when navigating her intuition
  • “Walking my talk” and staying on the mission, to help people use their voice to speak up
  • Why Amy doesn’t apologize for who she is
  • Using progressive language as a tool with which to “get a handle” on how you speak to yourself
  • The best advice Amy received, from her father: “The minute you get too big for your britches is the day you stop learning.” Another piece of advice was, “Make sure you live a life you can be proud of.”
  • Maintaining healthy relationships---communication is the key to being seen and being vulnerable, which catapults us into intimacy
  • The personal habits that help Amy to use her fire in a positive way: self-talk, being ritualized about sleep, hypnotherapy, and working with a coach
  • Amy’s favorite books: Dare to Lead, White Fragility, and Becoming (see Resources below)
  • How Amy helps others use their fire, but teaches them to pay attention to how they’ve been branded throughout life----and either infuse it into life or let it go
  • Amy’s final words: “Be compassionate with yourself on your journey. It’s easy to compare yourself to others. Wherever you are, any step toward what you want is a step in the right direction. Be gentle with yourself.”


The Joy Junkie

Find social media: The Joy Junkie

Find Amy’s podcast: The Joy Junkie

Dare to Lead by Brene’ Brown

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Becoming by Michelle Obama

How to Be an Adult by David Richo

Feb 25, 2019

“We don't want to simply bounce back, we want to bounce forward.” This week, on Embracing Intensity, Silver Huang shares her wisdom on the topic of resilience. As both a profoundly gifted and autistic individual, her perspective is simultaneously unique and universal. She lays out concepts that can be hard to grasp in a very tangible and actionable way. Plus, she’s just really fun to listen to!

In this talk, Silver will share:

  • Working definitions of adversity, resilience, and adaptability.

  • The importance of perspective.

  • How shifting our respective can change outcomes.

  • 6 practical templates to help shift your perspective and improve outcomes.


Embracing Intensity Community

Silver's Website


Feb 18, 2019

This week on Embracing Intensity, I'm sharing the first lesson of my Ignite Your Power Course. In this lesson, we will observe our own powers, get clear on how to harness them and develop a “power toolkit” to help harness them more. You can find the full group discussion and other materials related to the lesson in the Embracing Intensity Community

In this episode, I discuss: 

  • The 5 types of excitability.
  • How do your excitabilities look when suppressed, out of control and harnessed?
  • Tips for harnessing each excitability.
  • Improving your self-regulation skills.
  • What it looks like when you are "in the zone."
  • Developing a Power Toolkit.


Firmina Foundation

Ignite Your Power Course

Embracing Intensity Community

Feb 11, 2019

How do you think it feels to feel stifled and suppressed your whole life, always being told what to say and what to do? It doesn’t sound like a fulfilling way to live, does it? It’s especially difficult for someone with intensity, unable to express their thoughts and words. Today’s show tells the inside story.

Abbi Wood loves words and having fun with language. Perhaps this love stems from the fact that her words were suppressed for so long. She now loves the growth and evolution of words, and how new words emerge and old words become redundant, faster than you can say---redundant! As a kid, Abbi dreamed of getting a Ph. D. in the English language, and now she has more than 20 years under her belt working with words. She has a double degree in math and computer sciences because her family convinced her that making a living as a writer was an impossibility. A challenger by nature, Abbi fought against so-called “truths” her entire life. As a woman and a person of color, she heard more than her fair share of what to do and what to say in the world, and she’s learned to take what she hears with a grain of salt. She’s also learned how to think for herself and make up her own mind. Join us as we jump into Abbi’s story and her intensity.

Show HIghlights:

  • Why Abbi is passionate about being herself and being free from the burden of other people telling her what to do and say
  • Why Abbi likes helping her clients with being free and unburdened
  • Abbi’s own brand of intensity and what it looks like
  • Why she loves encouraging people to be themselves because she wasn’t allowed to do that for a long time
  • How Abbi tries to offset chaos by using organization and systems that work for her
  • How she wasn’t allowed to manifest her intensity while growing up
  • How can I be of service without being a slave to people-pleasing?
  • Why cultural factors led to Abbi feeling like she didn’t have the voice she wanted, in her family and in the world
  • Growing up in Pakistan, England, and the US
  • Why Abbi thought she could never accomplish the things she wanted
  • How Abbi felt like two different people: the one she was at home and the one she was out in the world
  • A time when Abbi felt out of control when it became harder and harder not to say what she wanted to say with her brothers
  • Abbi’s fears for her daughter, and not wanting her to grow up feeling stifled and suppressed
  • Abbi’s words to parents
  • How Abbi uses her fire for good in her business, helping people write what they want to say
  • How Abbi comes from a place of sharing what she loves
  • How she helps harness the power of intensity, with systems, lists, organization, and hacks
  • What the concept of “contaminated time” means for overwhelmed women
  • The importance of being connected and staying social
  • Abbi’s best advice from herself: “Find your freedom”
  • Abbi’s best advice from a book she read: “Focus on the ONE thing that will move you forward right now.”
  • Books that have helped Abbi and been impactful in her life
  • Vulnerability: what it is and what it is NOT
  • How Abbi helps others use their fire, by uncovering what’s inherent in them and demonstrating it with language
  • Why Abbi takes the time with her clients for intensive discovery
  • Abbi’s challenges to listeners: “I challenge you to be yourself, even though you might sometimes feel at odds with yourself and with the world. There is a method to the madness, so be who you are.”


Abbi Wood

The Age of Overwhelm by Laura van Dernoot

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

Brene’ Brown books

The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

Jan 28, 2019

How does it feel to identify as broken and immensely different from all those around you? If these feelings continue and compound, then one ends up feeling mentally ill---doomed to be always on the outside of normal.

Chris Wells joins us today from The Gifted Development Center in Westminster, CO. We met at the SENG conference, and then Chris’ name came up again in a conversation with Kate Arms, our guest from Episode 93. Chris has the knowledge and in-depth experience on the topic of positive disintegration. Her story is amazing--and you don’t want to miss it!

Something new we’re doing here in the Embracing Intensity community is profiling different members of the community to share who we are, what we’ve figured out, and how we can get to know and understand each other better. I’m giving you a sneak peek of my interview with Javon Fernanders, and you can find out more when you join us at Embracing Intensity.

Show Highlights:

  • What Chris is intensely passionate about, in light of her history of mental illness and giftedness--and why she’s become an advocate
  • What intensity looks like for someone who had “mental illness” since a young age
  • Why it’s taken Chris her whole life to temper the way she is and to be able to move through the world without causing problems
  • How intensity made everything more difficult because no one understood and she always felt alien and different
  • How she spent 12 years on disability for bipolar and panic disorder, wondering, “What’s wrong with me?”
  • Positive disintegration: a sign of strong developmental potential that says, “You are NOT broken.”
  • What it means to be an empath and to no longer feel so alone
  • The cultural factors that affected Chris and the messages she was raised with
  • Why she wishes people would have encouraged her in the things she wanted to do
  • How she “tuned herself out” and used her gifts to make adults’ lives difficult as a teen
  • How Chris got on the path to “figuring things out”--after getting kicked out of high school, going to drug rehab, and writing a book
  • Overexcitability and how it is misunderstood
  • Chris’ younger life---”Intensity out of control”
  • Why she felt like her personality wasn’t working anymore
  • How she uses her fire for good, in studying positive disintegration in incredible depth
  • Why she began studying Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration
  • What has helped in harnessing the power of Chris’ intensity and how “life flows more now”
  • The best advice anyone ever gave Chris: From Linda Silverman, “Stop trying to fit in--and study Dabrowski’s theory.”
  • Personal habits that help her use her fire in positive ways, like writing
  • Books that have influenced Chris the most:
    • Ordinary People by Judith Guest
    • Mellow Out by Michael Piechowski
    • Living with Intensity by Susan Daniels and Michael Piechowski
  • How Chris helps others use their own fire
  • Building community and connection with support and affirmation


Chris Tane Wells

Parents of Twice Exceptional Kids

Jan 22, 2019

We are super excited to have Heather Boorman, of the Fringy Bit Podcast, share her talk on Self-Compassion from the SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) conference last summer!

Self-Compassion has been proven to be an effective mindset and intervention toward more sustainable mental health and self-concept. This presentation will apply the work of Dr. Kristin Neff in the field of self-compassion to the gifted population and typical struggles faced by many gifted individuals. In particular, we will consider how Dabrowski’s super-stimulabilities and other typical psychosocial traits can lead to perfectionism, imposter syndrome, self-judgment, low frustration tolerance, depression, and anxiety. We will consider the ways in which society’s responses to giftedness and emphasis on self-esteem can also contribute to un-wellness in gifted children, youth, and adults. Self-compassion will then be defined and defended as an effective intervention toward increased wellness. Attendees will be introduced to, and participate in, exercises to increase self-compassion. The session will be a blend of lecture and interactive.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to identify at least 5 psychosocial traits typical within the gifted population
  2. Participants will be able to explain how typical psychosocial experiences of gifted individuals may contribute to un-wellness in the forms of perfectionism, imposter syndrome, low frustration tolerance, self-judgment, and mental health issues.
  3. Participants will be able to define self-compassion and identify the 3 components that contribute to self-compassion
  4. Participants will be able to identify and implement at least 3 interventions to increase self-compassion.

About the Author:

Heather Boorman lives an intensely joy-filled and full life as a homeschooling mom to 3 fringy kids and the executive director and therapist with Boorman Counseling. She passionately advocates for differently wired kids and adults through her work as a national speaker, writer & podcaster at The Fringy Bit. Heather’s also the author of The Gifted Kids Workbook, which provides mindfulness-based activities to help kids reduce stress, balance emotions, and build confidence.

About Embracing Intensity Group Calls:

Each month on the second Saturday, we will have a guest speaker dive into a topic they love followed by a discussion with the group. The talk will be shared on the podcast, but the discussion will only be shared with Embracing Intensity community members and patrons. The calls will be on the Zoom platform, which allows you to interact at whatever level you'd like (video, audio or use photo and chat box). There will be an opportunity for further discussion in the Embracing Intensity Community.


Fringy Bit Podcast

Embracing Intensity Community

Jan 14, 2019

Are you a humanitarian? Today's episode is with Jaiden Love, a healer, educator, and humanitarian and the author of the book Saving My Life. Jaiden is a very spiritual person who has been passionate about serving and helping others for all of his life. He has been running his own business for the last ten years, and although it has continually morphed and changed over this time, it has always been about helping people to live their truth. Listen in today to find out about Jaiden and the way that he helps people to become the very best version of themselves.

Jaiden has a really huge heart and wonderful energy that radiates right through the screen and microphone. As a healer, he is passionate about helping others to do their own inner work, so that they can learn to live their truth and their happiest life. As an educator, Jaiden strives to give people the tools to treat others with more compassion and respect. The combination of the two allows him to create and hold a safe space for people to reach the ultimate goal of greater connectedness and love in the world. Listen in to find out what Jaiden has to share in today's episode.

Show highlights:

  • How politics helped Jaiden to realize that he is actually a humanitarian.
  • Jaiden discusses the mindset block that he has always had towards being political, even though he now sees that being a humanitarian is a type of political stance.
  • The impact that Jaiden's intensity, sensitivity, and creativity had on him while growing up.
  • Jaiden has been putting other people's needs and happiness for most of his life. Now he knows that he needs to first take care of himself, in order to really be of help to others.
  • Jaiden is black and he was adopted and raised by a white family in a small, mostly white town, so there were a number of cultural factors that affected the way he expressed himself while growing up.
  • The difficulties that most people have with expressing their truth to themselves and to others.
  • Jaiden worked as a high-school counselor for about five years and listening to the students talking to him about their troubled home-lives had a deep impact on him, both emotionally and physically.
  • Jaiden is really passionate about nutrition and he sees that most people just don't realize how much the things they put in and onto their bodies actually affects them emotionally.
  • Jaiden started out as an energy healer and he explains why he combined spiritual coaching with that.
  • Jason explains that everything that is experienced on the physical level starts on the emotional and spiritual level.
  • Giving people the tools to cope with issues of gender identity.
  • The odd reactions that people tend to have towards the words 'God' and 'spirituality'.
  • Living your own truth, regardless of who and how you are.
  • The importance of feeling safe, and having love and support in your life.
  • What Jaiden's book, Saving My Life, is all about. The book is available from Amazon.


Jaiden's website: Held And Heard

Jaiden's email:

Jaiden's phone number: 503 757 1454

Jaiden is on Linkedin

To receive a 45-minute free consultation from Jaiden, contact him and tell him that you listened to this podcast.



Saving My Life by Jaden Jemel Love

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

The Disappearance of the Universe by Gary Renard

The Abundance Book by John Randolf Price

A Course In Miracles

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Our Find Your Power Zone Tool-kit Challenge starts on the 14th of January, as a way to kick off the growth of our new Embracing Intensity Community. Go to Embracing Intensity to find out more about the challenge and about our new community.

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