136: Intense Focus

In my next interview episode with Rachel O'Rourke, she talked about the amazing things that can happen when we focus our full energy on something. With my work and summer schedule, my attention has been quite split but as I review the survey data from our audience on the direction to go next I am excited to focus my full attention on expanding the possibilities in our Embracing Intensity Community!

What we focus on grows.

In this episode:

  • The challenges of having so many interests split our focus.

  • Details on the direction we're moving in the Embracing Intensity Community.

  • How you can share your input on where to focus my energy moving forward.


Fill out our Survey

Embracing Intensity Community

Calendar of Events

Spark Event in Portland

135: Using Your Intensity to Create Your Best Life with Christine Fonseca

Being gifted or intense means different things to different people. Today’s show focuses on many things we can do to make the world a better place for everyone. We’re talking about living our best lives in authentic ways, the natural state of flexible emotions, recognizing the strengths in others, and appreciating the neurological diversity in people.

Christine Fonseca is a licensed educational psychologist, critically-acclaimed author, and nationally-recognized speaker on topics related to educational psychology, mental health, giftedness, and using storytelling to heal past wounds. Using her experience consulting and coaching educators and parents, Christine brings her expertise to Psychology Today, authoring the parenting blog, Parenting for a New Generation. She has written self-help articles for Parents.com, Johnson & Johnson, and Justine magazine. Her appearance on the popular gifted education podcast, Mind Matters, was one of the most downloaded episodes. Christine uses her fictional stories to explore the more complex aspects of humanity through sweeping romances, Gothic thrillers, and psychological horror stories. As a trauma-impacted survivor, Christine believes in the power of storytelling as a key to healing past wounds. She delivers soul-centered writing workshops to help writers get in touch with their authentic voice and bring that to both fiction and nonfiction writing. Christine’s critically-acclaimed titles include Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students, Raising the Shy Child, Letting Go, The Girls’ Guide to Breaking Free of Stress and Anxiety, and an action-packed young adult series, The Solomon Experiments. Christine lives in southern CA with her husband and children.

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Show Highlights:

  • Why Christine calls herself a “super-intense human,” and how she displays her passion for helping people figure out who they are so they can live authentically and unapologetically

  • Why Christine loves to help gifted people because they are often misunderstood

  • How Christine feels things and thinks about things deeply, and why she analyzes everything

  • How she was misunderstood as she grew up, not socializing well with peers

  • How she reacted viscerally as a child to the sheer audacity of slavery and why she felt the need to apologize for the atrocities of the entire race of white people

  • How she had to tone herself down in high school, being intensely shy and “extra” at the same time

  • How she had to come clean with herself about her past trauma and who she really was

  • Why she chose to focus on and nurture her children’s EQ--not their IQ

  • Why her intensity gets out of control with weight and body image issues

  • Why she gives herself permission to be who she needs to be with her emotions in the moment, no matter what that looks like

  • How Christine is dedicated to intense people and helping them feel “normal”

  • How she learned her daily non-negotiables: contemplative practice, journaling, healthy food, movement, time with family, and creativity

  • Why we should appreciate how neurologically diverse all people are

  • Why Christine has started strengths-spotting

  • The best advice from Christine’s mother: “The only definition anything has is the definition you’ve given it.”

  • Books Christine loves: The Chronicles of Narnia, Watership Down, Shakespeare, and other nonfiction books on religion

  • How Christine differs from a lot of researchers on the topic of giftedness

  • The difference in experiencing anxious feelings and “having an anxiety attack”

  • The natural state of being flexible in and out of the range of human emotions

  • Why we need to change our tolerance levels

  • The danger of “toxic positivity”

  • How Christine helps others through her coaching, online courses, live events, speaking engagements, and books

  • “A gifted or intense person paints the world in bold colors while everyone else paints in pastels.”

  • Christine’s new book, why she wrote it, and how she researched the content


Christine Fonseca

Find Christine’s articles on Psychology Today

Find Christine’s Facebook group: IntenseLife Community

Mindfulness and Character Strengths by Ryan Niemiec

Christine’s Nonfiction Books:

The Caring Child: Raising Empathetic and Emotionally Intelligent Children

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students

Quiet Kids

101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids

I’m Not Just Gifted

Shy Child

Letting Go: A Girl’s Guide to Breaking FREE of Stress and Anxiety

Healing the Heart

Survey Link

I love watching the gifts and unique abilities that artists bring to the world. ~ Christine Fonseca
Using Your Intensity to Create Your Best Life with Christine Fonseca
It’s not my job to make other people comfortable, but to be a fully self-actualized human being and become comfortable with myself. ~ Christine Fonseca

134: Shaping Our Future

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!

Embracing Intensity ep. 134

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

133: Advocating for the Needs of Intensely Gifted Kids with Jen Torbeck Merrill

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.

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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

132: What Exactly Do I Do?

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. 

Embracing Intensity Ep. 132

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

131: Great Loss Sharpens Your Senses with Zaakirah Demba

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.

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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

When I'm able to help others, my fire is ignited. ~ Zaakirah Demba
Great Loss Sharpens Your Senses with Zaakirah Demba
Tap into the best version of yourself because someone needs you. ~ Zaakirah Demba

130: Back on Track

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!

Back on track

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

129: Manifesting Intensity Through Music and Dance with Prashant Kakad

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.

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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


Jump head first, think later! T-Shirt & Accessories

Jump head first, think later! T-Shirt & Accessories

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

Jump head first, think later T-Shirt & Accessories

"Intensity requires cultivation." ~ Prashant Kakad
"My personal brand of intensity is like a wave." ~ Prashant Kakad

128: Thriving with Intensity with Kate Arms

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

Thriving with Intensity with Kate Arms

127: Turning Intensity into Achievement While Helping Others with Tiffany Chhuom

I met today’s guest when she became an avid fan of the show, and we finally got to meet in person at the SENG conference in May. She’s a connector at heart, always being sensitive to notice who needs to know who and how to bring people together. I’m thrilled that she’s here to share her wonderful and inspiring story.

Tiffany Chhuom is the owner of EthTech, a healthcare consulting and training firm for the digital era. She also owns Lucy in the Sky Therapy, an online private practice for neurodiverse adults. With 18 years’ experience in healthcare, she holds four degrees in four disciplines from the University of Washington and has produced notable achievements in practice, policy, research, and administration across public health, social work, psychology, criminal justice, and child welfare sectors. Tiffany has led large projects across the country in behavioral and medical research, while also fine-tuning her craft as a trauma and addiction therapist. Special populations near and dear to her heart include veterans, injection drug users, people living with HIV, survivors of sexual violence, and gifted adults with co-occurring ADHD. Tiffany is a longtime mentor and applauded speaker, creating new opportunities to enhance course offerings and continuing education on telemental health ethics and digital marketing for providers and healthcare partners.

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Show Highlights:

  • Tiffany’s speaking topics from the SENG Conference

  • Why she is passionate about dogs, trauma survivors, and “the odd intersection of things”

  • How Tiffany cut ties with her parents to help form her own identity

  • Why her personal brand of intensity includes “unapologetically being myself”/

  • Different forms, aspects, and expressions of intensity

  • How Tiffany’s intensity affected her as she grew up, including being accelerated in school when she wasn’t emotionally ready, doing cocaine with her mom at age 15, living a life with drugs and poverty, dropping out of high school, and achieving four college degrees

  • Why Tiffany was addicted to achievement because she thought it measured her self-worth

  • The intersection of the immune system, giftedness, and trauma

  • Why Tiffany started a meditation practice to break her addiction

  • How she became more comfortable with “not fitting in”

  • How Tiffany has to tone herself down and tune herself out----every day

  • Personal habits that have helped Tiffany the most: getting sufficient sleep, having time with her animals, and spending time outside

  • How intensity factors into her marriage relationship

  • How Tiffany uses her intensity to help others, especially in her work with all genders and her therapy with women

  • How Tiffany helps people use anger as a healthy emotion

  • Why Tiffany is not sure about what the future holds but knows it will be amazing!


Lucy In The Sky Therapy


Email Tiffany: info@lucyintheskytherapy.com   or  info@ethtechusa.com

Find Tiffany on Facebook and LinkedIn

Find Lucy in the Sky Therapy on Facebook and Instagram

Call Tiffany: 360-972-3931

Dear Sugars podcast

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Pinterest Quote-59.pngHonesty and anger are intertwined in lighting our fire. ~ Tiffany Chhuom
Turning Intensity into Achievement while Helping Others with Tiffany Chhuom
I've always noticed the odd intersections of things that other people don't notice. ~ Tiffany Chhuom

126: Your Mind Matrix

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. 

Your Mind Matrix

In this episode:

  • Linear thinking

  • Skip thinking

  • Different types of Matrix Thinking


Embracing Intensity Community


124: Connecting with Nature with Rukshana Triem

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.

Connecting with Nature with Rukshana Triem

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

Never leave the playground! ~ Rukshana Triem
Connecting with Nature with Rukshana Triem
As I look with love of nature, I find it easy to look with love for myself. ~ Rukshana Triem

123: Finding Balance in Life with ADHD with Brendan Mahan

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.”

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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

Email: brendan@adhdessentials.com

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

Anxiety is the only thing you can burn for fuel and end up with more of it when you're done. ~ Brendan Mahan
Finding Balance in Life with ADHD with Brendan Mahan
There is power in quitting, but you should only quit if the thing isn't worth doing." ~ Brendan Mahan

122: My 2E Breakdown

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! 

Embracing Intensity Podcast: My 2E Breakdown


  • 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.

121: Learning to Love Yourself with the "Queen of Ease" Shannon Meade

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.

Learning to Love Yourself with the "Queen of Ease" Shannon Meade

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.

Music was a safe way for me to be artistic without raising any eyebrows. ~ Shannon Meade
Learning to Love Yourself with the "Queen of Ease" Shannon Meade
The value I place on connection and compassion drives my passion for understanding. ~ Shannon Meade

120: Twice Exceptional Relationships with Dr. Melanie Hayes

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.

Twice Exceptional Relationships with Dr. Melanie Hayes

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

119: Shining the Spotlight on Giftedness through Filmmaking with Marc Smolowitz

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


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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

Giftedness is not the privilege of a small group of people. ~ Marc Smolowitz on Embracing Intensity Podcast
Shining the Spotlight on Giftedness through Filmmaking
I had a sense very early on that I would be criticized and made fun of if I was myself - and I just didn't care." ~ Marc Smolowitz

118: The Gift of Self-Love for the Intense Person with Melissa Snow

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

Embracing Intensity Podcast with Melissa Snow
The Gift of Self-Love for the Intense Person with Melissa Snow
Who you are is enough. ~ Melissa Snow

117: The Hard Truth About Potential: Why we always feel like we are "never enough"

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! 

The hard truth about potential - why we always feel like we are "never enough"

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"