blue and black butterfly on green leaf during daytime
August 1, 2023

The AUK Process of Transformation

by Heather Dominick |
Articles & Wisdom, Wisdom |
One of my core teachings is what I call the A-U-K Process of Transformation which stands for: A - Awareness U - Understanding K - Knowing So many HSEs believe if they just are either Aware or Understand that they're highly sensitive then that's enough. But this is just the first step, only the tip of the iceberg.

True Transformation Comes from What Happens Between the U and the K

The A and the U is all head-energy. You say you get it. You think you get it. Maybe you even change your behavior a bit, but when the pressure of self-employment gets cooking (which it always does as an HSE) you get triggered right into the HSE Coping Cycle and your HSE Coping Mechanism of Pushing, Hiding or Combo-Plattering back and forth between the two.

And then you wonder why things in your business haven’t changed so much.

Why you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Why you can’t quite figure out how to both move your business forward and deeply enjoy your life (like being able to take the mornings off, have long weekends with your family, go on that yoga retreat in Peru – or whatever is most importantly missing for you).

red and black luggage bag

The reason is because it’s one thing to say you Understand what it means to be highly sensitive and an entirely different thing to know to the depth of your soul the power you hold in being highly sensitive and to reverberate with such a deep self-trust in your uniqueness that even though 80% of the world operates on the opposite spectrum than you do, your belief system is so strong that miracles happen day in and day out for you.

Let me demonstrate the power of living from a space of knowing makes with a story of a personal experience that has stayed with me over the years.*

Hold the Bus

I was walking home from a dance lesson, which is part of how I use my time off. And as I’m coming up to a corner I’m suddenly hearing this woman yelling over to my left. She’s yelling very loudly.

When someone’s yelling in New York there’s lots of things that quickly tend to go through the mind. “Is it a person whose crazy? Do I need to stay away? Does someone actually need help? Is there just some kind of protest or concert going on?”

She’s behind me, and I hear her yelling, “Hold the bus. Please, please, somebody hold the bus. Hold the bus”.

She’s very clear and direct. It doesn’t sound hysterical.

I turn and I look, and I see this woman and she’s blind. The next thing that I see is a bus right here on the corner, which is where she’s coming from. She’s heading in the opposite direction, so I have this moment of being confused.

There is another pedestrian woman standing next to me and we look at each other. Meanwhile, the blind woman is walking, and again she’s yelling, “Hold the bus. Please, help me hold the bus. Hold the bus”.

a woman standing next to a bus on a sidewalk

As I’m watching her, I’m processing this quickly, which is a feat as a person who is highly sensitive. I suddenly realize that she has just gotten off this bus and she needs to get on the other bus that is behind me from where I had just come.

I turn, and I move into action. I walk by her very quickly, and I grabbed her arm and I say, “I’m getting it. I’m holding the bus. I’m holding the bus”.

Not only is this a bus, but it’s one of those long double buses.

I run up to the bus, pass one door to get to the other door, and the door is closed. I knock on the door, which in itself is another feat for a person who is highly sensitive because bus drivers in New York tend to not be very welcoming or friendly, and especially not to people who are knocking on their already closed doors.

The bus driver opens the door, and she just looks at me. I say, “There’s a blind woman who needs help getting on the bus”.  The bus driver’s face melts for a moment, and she says, “Okay”.

I turn and I say to the blind woman, “I’ve got the bus”. Then the blind woman says, “Is it a standard bus?” I don’t take the bus in New York myself, so I don’t know and so I ask the bus driver, “Is this a standard bus?” The bus driver says, “No, it’s not.” The blind woman says, “Okay, I can take this bus”, and I say, “Okay. Great”. I help her on the bus, and she successfully gets on the bus.

people riding on bus

Suddenly there’s another pedestrian woman there and she says to me, “That was so kind, what you did”. The blind woman is saying, “Thank you. Thank you so much”.

I said, “You’re welcome. Absolutely” and I turned and I walk away. It all happened within, literally, seconds.

As I turned and walked away, I felt as if I could just absolutely break down and sob.

I was so surprised. I was thinking, “Wow. Wait. What is happening here? What is this emotional moment?” As I kept walking back to my apartment, I started going through the process of self-inquiry from a space of curiosity, asking myself, “What is this sob about? What is this well of emotion?”

I realized it was a few different things.

Expectation of a Miracle

One, this woman was so clear in her ask and so sure that someone would help. She wasn’t desperate. She wasn’t entitled. She was clear, and I realized that I didn’t know if I could have been that clear and that bold in my ask myself.

If I was really honest about the way I would have typically tended to manage or handle that kind of moment for myself, I would have likely just tried to take care of it and figured it out on my own. I would have stumbled around and bumped into people, maybe found my way into traffic, and gotten hit by a car, or who knows what.  I probably, definitely, would have missed the bus.

She was so clear, and so direct, and so confident in her expectation for a miracle.

Not only did she get her bus, but she made sure that it wasn’t a standard bus. She was really specific about her ask.

person holding lighted sparklers

Centered in HSE Strengths

Two, I realized what was contributing to the moment of welling up with this sob was that I was able to help her.

I was centered enough in my HSE strengths that I could be available for service and assistance.

In the past, a moment like this would have been so overwhelming to me that it would have freaked me out. I would have denied, avoided, and just done that New York thing where somebody else can do it. Then I would have felt ashamed afterward.

Instead I was able to be in my strengths, so I was able to respond. I was able to be of service. I was able to be in my heart.

I didn’t feel resentful. I didn’t feel in any way self conscious about what I did or didn’t do, or whether I did it right. I was able to be in my strengths so mush so, that not even a New York City bus driver could have stopped me.

woman wearing silver-colored ring

The Gift of Opening Up Your Heart

It happened so fast, as A Course in Miracles would say, in a holy instant, that the blind woman got to go where she was going. I had the gift of everything that I just shared with you. That moment could have played out differently.

It was a moment when all hell breaks loose, like Dr. James Doty and his moments in his book Into the Magic Shop. I could have shut down, and gone into hiding. I could have pushed through to help her and then felt resentful, but all of it was so smooth and so heartfelt, so tender. It took no energy. No effort. It was literally an experience of just being used as an instrument. At that moment God said, “You’re the one. You’re going to help her get on the bus”.

It’s those moments that are available to us over, and over, and over again in our lives, but absolutely in our businesses.

When we’re willing to go through our coping mechanism by going through the heart – it opens us up to receive so much. The ego mind and the superego voice will say, “If you open your heart, then you will lose. Something will be taken from you”. But in truth, it’s the exact opposite.

We now want to look at, how do we work with this heart opening?

How do we work with this on an ongoing basis in our businesses?

This is where we go back to the coping cycle, and we add in another layer. The other layer that we add in is the layer of AUK. AUK, it is the way that I communicate the process of transformation.

The AUK Transformation Process

A-U-K stands for the three phases of transformation: A for awareness, U for understanding, and K for knowing.

We must go through those phases in order to experience an actual shift and new way of being.

three pupas


Awareness is the pretty easy part, right? To be aware. I say easy, but some people never experience that, to be aware. To have an awareness that something or some way that you’re being isn’t working. It’s not allowing you to create what you want, and you’re aware of it. You’re like, “Wow. This isn’t working. I’m aware that this is not working.”

Without awareness change is absolutely, truly, impossible. Because, there’s nothing to change if you’re not aware of it. You just keep going on as things are.

You have to first have an awareness: “Wait, I don’t like this. This doesn’t feel good. This is not working. This is not what I want”.

Then from awareness you go into a space of understanding.


Understanding is the intellectual part. Once you’ve had awareness, you can get to understanding. That comes from when you read a book, or you hearing a new idea, or someone teaches you something and your brain takes it in. It computes it, and it says, “I understand that concept. I understand that idea”.


Then there is knowing. When you know, then you are in a space of embodiment. You have taken the awareness and the concept, and you have done the real work to own it.

It is in your cells, and when you know it to the core or your core then you are living differently. Therefore, your experience is different.

Shifting from Understanding to Knowing: Choice Action

When you just understand something but things are still happening the way that they were before, that tells you you’re only understanding it.

That is, in the process of transformation, where most people stop. They’re like, “I heard this. I get it. I understand this. Why aren’t things different?”

I hear that a lot, and that’s because the work has not been done to take in and embody. The embodiment, the knowing, can only come through practice. Over and over and over again, consistently.

This is where making choices and taking action is necessary between understanding and knowing.

stairs to transformation

The AUK Hand Gestures

To move from understanding to knowing we must be in process, and core practice, consistently. It must be a physical act, so I’ve created physical movements – hand gestures – that go along with AUK to help the body communicate this process to the brain. It goes like this.

First, we have awareness, which is like making a big umbrella above your head with your hands. It’s in the ethers, and we become aware. “Oh, interesting. I think things need to be done differently”.

Then we start to study, and it becomes an understanding – which is an intellectual brain activity – so we point to our brain with our index fingers. This is when we take in a concept. It goes from awareness to understanding.

From there the understanding moves into to knowing, which is in your core center of self.

Between the understanding and the knowing is the secret.

To move from understanding into knowing, you must make a choice and then take an action. Then make another choice, and take another action. Make another choice and take another action. Choice, action, choice, action, choice, action, choice, action.

We demonstrate this using the index finger and thumb of both of our hands and flipping them back and forth in a sort of stepping motion from our head all the way down to our core center of self. Over and over and over and over and over and over, consistently, until you reach knowing at your core.

At knowing, your way of being is different. The result that you experience in your business and life is different. It can’t not be, because you are different.

The Process is the Goal

Transformation is not a quick fix, and that’s why the process is the goal.

asphalt road between trees

I like to say, everyone wants transformation, especially highly sensitives, but no one wants to change because to get here things will actually have to be different. You actually have to do things differently. You have to be aware differently. You have to think differently. You have to choose and act differently, and you have to do it over and over and over and over and over and over again.

Then it starts all over again because you go to the next level, the next layer of learning. It’s not a thing that you get done and check off your list. It is a commitment to your way of being.

The “HOW” of the AUK Process (and so much more) is what I teach and will continue to teach until my last breath, because I know the positive impact empowered, profitable HSEs make in the world.

And, WOW, is it needed.

*The “Hold the Bus” story is an excerpt from the podcast Episode #37: The Transformational Process of AUK

Struggling with business and leadership overwhelm?

Reaching your business goals with ease, inspiration and calm takes consistent choice/action to shift from awareness, to understanding, and into knowing (what I call the AUK Transformation Process) – and it very rarely happens without accountability and support. Many other HSP entrepreneurs just like you are working to manage overwhelm, burnout, and other day-to-day challenges with business operations and marketing as a highly sensitive entrepreneur.

My high mentor recommendation is to schedule a complimentary clarity call with either myself or a very capable and uniquely trained-by-me member of the Business Miracles coach team. This is an opportunity to have one of the most eye-opening conversations you’ve ever had – without any attachment to the outcome – just a chance to connect with someone who “gets” you.

Get clear on your best next steps and see if The Highly Sensitive Leadership Training Program is the right container of support for you. You can create more business and life success with less effort while also making more income and impact in the world.

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