Saturday, July 28, 2007

HSP Gathering in Estes Park, Colorado, October 4-8, 2007

I am writing this post to share information about the next HSP Gathering, which will take place in Estes Park, Colorado, from October 4th-8th, 2007... and to encourage all who read this to seriously consider attending a Gathering.

This is the first Gathering (13th overall, since 2001) to be held in a location not on the west or east coast, offering more ready access for people all over the country. Also, with Denver being the "central hub" of most US air travel, this is an attractive location from the perspective of inexpensive air fare. And if you need a different sort of "excuse," Colorado is REALLY beautiful in the fall, when the leaves are turning.

Registration for the Colorado Gathering is now open, and the sooner you sign up the lower the conference fee will be. I know it's in the nature of HSPs to "pause and reflect," but please do register as soon as you can, as it will keep your cost lower... eventually, registration may reach an "as available" stage, if you wait too long.

I cannot overstate the "value" of going to a Gathering. I say this from the perspective of what I have personally gained from going to many Gatherings... as well as from the perspective of watching 100s of HSPs undergo major life transformations as a result of going. We may be able to intellectually grasp the idea that we're "OK," but there is no substitute fot actually feeling that, through direct experience.

Gatherings are about learning, about going on a retreat, and about fellowship with other HSPs. We spend Thursday through Monday together, engaged in a mixture of workshops, social time, and just "quiet time" to reflect on the ongoing experience. The atmosphere is casual, never stressful.

You might say "yeah, but it's just too expensive!" I'll save the long-winded explanation that it's actually a lot LESS than your typical 5-day self-growth workshop-- in fact, you'd spend twice the amount it costs to go to a Gathering, to go to a weekend workshop with Elaine Aron at a retreat center like Esalen, Omega or Kripalu. Instead, I'll just say that I feel fairly confident in stating that it will probably be the best money you'll ever spend in helping yourself understand the HSP trait, and in feeling validated as an HSP. There's a good reason why people keep returning to these events, year after year.

You might say "yeah, but it's a GROUP!" True. It is. But I can also assure you that a group of HSPs is like NO other group you'll ever be part of. The level of emotional safety and inclusion is-- literally-- "mind altering" for people... I have watched even the most retiring and introverted of HSPs virtually "become extraverts," in a matter of 48 hours.

You might say "yeah, but I am too much of a misfit, even for a group of HSPs!" If you are skeptical, or want to get a better sense of how a Gathering really works, I encourage you to read Gathering attendee Marcia Norris' words on "Why HSPs Need To Gather" from 2002 or read my own photojournal from the first Gathering I went to, in California. Again, I can only say that I have personally watched people's perspective change from a sense of "I am a misfit" to having made a dozen genuine friendships, in a matter of days. To loosely paraphrase one attendee of several Gatherings: "It is amazing to come here and feel more welcome and included by a bunch of strangers than I feel with people who have been my family for over 50 years."

I couldn't agree more.

Gathering registration forms are now available (as a pdf download) on organizer Jacquelyn Strickland's web site. You're also welcome to email me with questions about Gatherings, or leave a comment!

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