Saturday, July 19, 2008

Connecting HSPs

I've been reflecting some more on the previous post, and on the whole idea of "connecting HSPs."

I've been part of the global HSP "community" for over a decade, and there are certain patterns I have noticed, during that time.

A lot of HSPs claim they are "not into socializing," but at the same time tell me they wish they knew just a few HSPs in their lives-- someone to talk to who "gets it." At the same time, I have also personally witnessed the benefits of HSPs spending time together.

So, the "want" is there, and the "desired effect" has also been shown. The "challenge" seems to be how to get from "wanting" to actually being with others.

The HSP Gatherings are great, in this respect, but they only reach a few people. The various HSP groups on the Internet are nice, too-- but they also just reach a relatively small number of people. In 2003, I started a number of local and regional HSP groups on Yahoo, hoping to help people find local connections. Although most of these groups are still going, they never gained a big following. The people who DO find them are delighted, but "finding" them seems to be the problem.

And therein lies an interesting paradox I've been considering. HSPs-- as a group-- feel extremely reluctant to "promote" and "market themselves." At the same time, HSPs-- as a group-- often will not participate in something unless it is waved repeatedly under their noses, a long with lots of encouragement to participate. Thus... being an HSP, providing a service for HSPs, can be a lot like trying to swim upstream against a very strong current.

I have come to the conclusion that one of my "callings" in life is to help HSPs find connection with their peers. My initial attempt (above) has clearly not been "enough." So I am now looking into new ways to help my previously "invisible" groups become more visible.

Because, after all, there is tremendous value in hsp-peer connections... and someone has to be the first person who stands up and says "OK, let's get this party started!"

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Talk back: If there were a local or regional HSP group in your area, and someone else took care of organizing it, and making sure only HSPs were part of the group, and the group met (online, or offline) in an "HSP-safe" environment-- and all you had to do was show up... would you participate? Would you participate in a web group, only?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Reflections on the California HSP Gathering

I've been reflecting a bit on the HSP Gathering that just took place at Walker Creek Ranch in northern California. It seems like every one of the Gatherings I have been to has had its own "atmosphere."

And perhaps that speaks loudly to the fact that you CAN'T really go to a Gathering and then come home and dismiss the idea of going again sometime with a simple "been there, done that." Sure, you can form a very general idea of what to expect, but with each event comes new people and a new "vibe."

Being at a Gathering always triggers my "idealist heart." In the course of a few days, I watch people (who sometimes haven't made a "true friend" in a decade or more) forge deeper connections than they have with people they have known for years, or even all their lives. And that is a brand of "magic," all of its own. So my idealist heart experiences this, and then I recognize how incredibly important it is for HSPs to have other HSPs in their lives... and I find myself wondering...

If, as Elaine Aron estimates, there are truly 15% HSPs in the greater world, why do I so seldom find more than a handful, here and there. Millions and millions of people use the Internet, yet most online HSP groups have only a few hundred members. Think about this: At 15%, there would be over 40 million HSPs in the US, alone! I think about that, and then I ponder why it is so difficult to find even a few dozen, to form local support and social groups. And I wonder-- what could I do, to help connect some of all these people?

As I said, I'm an idealist. Hopelessly so, at times.

I also have an "inner skeptic" who argues with the idealist, and says things like "Get over yourself! You're just wearing 'workshop goggles' and seeing things that aren't there" (Workshop goggles being the equivalent of "beer goggles," aka things just look unrealistically better, when you're "under the influence").

Truth is, though, I've been to dozens of self-growth/spiritual workshops over the past couple of decades... and do not have the same "feelings" for them I have after HSP Gatherings... nor the long-term deep connections with people. Sure, they were fun, enlightening, educational, mind altering and assorted other adjectives. But in the end... just another "It has been real-- have a nice life!" event.

"Workshop goggles" or not, I never stop wondering at the degree to which it is the "social aspects" of Gatherings that linger with me, LONG after any memory of "workshops" have left my mind. And the Idealist in me looks for ways to take that "lightning in a bottle" and share it with a much broader circle of HSPs... a bit little ripples spreading across a pond.

Why would I care?

HSPs-- in groups-- are very "organic." What I mean by that, is that you can put 20 HSPs together, and they will have much more in common than merely being sensitive. In contrast, put 20 vintage car enthusiasts, or 20 people affiliated with a political party together, and odds are they'll only have marginally more commonalities than any random group of people. It's this organic nature of HSPs as peers that makes it so important for them to connect.

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