Thursday, November 05, 2020

HSPs Supporting HSPs: An Invitation

One of the things I like to do from time to time is talk about how we HSPs can support each other... in a world (sadly!) where we often don't get all that much support.

I don't often promote things like events and workshops directly, but in these days of uncertainty and change, sometimes we can really benefit from changing our narrative and doing something good for ourselves.

Recently, my wife Sarah — who is also an HSP, of course — was named as one of the "top experts" on "Learn It Live", which is an online spiritual and self-development portal offering thousands of workshops by hundreds of experts across the fields of mind-body-spirit wellness.

She has been invited to be a presenter in the "Consciousness and Wellness in the Time of COVID" Symposium, and will be teaching her "Controlling the Narrative of Your Life: The Crystal Blue Sapphire Meditation" during one of the keynote times, at 7:00pm Eastern/4:00pm Pacific time on November 13th.

She has been teaching this 60-minute workshop for 20+ years, and I have personally used the technique she teaches, and I have seen how it has transformed the lives of 100's of people. I can also vouch for it being appropriate for HSPs.

Anyway, I'd like to encourage you sign up for this workshop... because one of the things we CAN do for ourselves during these difficult times is keep learning, and keep working on ourselves! It's a live online symposium and class, so you can do all this from the comfort and safety of your home.

Now, there are two ways to do this: 

One, go to the Learn It Live Website and create a basic (free!) Learn-it-Life account, and then you can simply register for the workshop, which is just $15 which is WELL worth it (It often goes for $50-75 for the session, elsewhere).

Alternately, you can sign up for a Learn-it-Live "Plus" membership, and then enroll in the workshop absolutely FREE by using the coupon code "SymposiumFree" at checkout time. 

Learn-it-Live is actually an amazing venue for HSPs, so I do recommend that you at least get a trial "Plus" membership for just $7.95 a month... you can always cancel it later, and it would give you access to Sarah's workshop for free!

You might actually discover — as I did — that there are lots of classes there I'd be interested in taking... and you might even be interested in teaching something!

Give it some serious thought... it's something good to do for yourself!

Friday, October 23, 2020

HSP Life in the Age of Covid-19

These are strange days in which we live!

Of course, I can only speak for myself, but I can't help but think that there are ways in which the current state of the world weighs heavily on us HSPs... if nothing else, simply because we tend to spend a lot of time "thinking about things."


From a personal angle, I have to admit that the "shelter-in-place" mandates and limited mobility has not exactly been a hardship around here. I tend to shelter-in-place anyway, and I go out as little as possible at the best of times. 

I have been using the past few months to catch up on a lot of reading and organizing around the house, and we found ourselves having the time to work extensively in our garden, and we grew a record amount of our own food, from our little patch of land. 

Those are definitely positives!

On the other hand, this thing the mental health profession is increasingly referring to as "Covid Fatigue" does feel like a very real thing.

It seems to be the result of the new reality that no matter what we do or think, we now "filter" pretty much every decision and action through the lens of being aware of the potential impact this "pandemic" has on what we find ourselves in the middle of.

Often, the effects are quite indirect. A letter to relatives in Europe suddenly taking two weeks to get there, rather than five days. Not being able to get certain things. One of your favorite stores being closed. The simple fact that grocery shopping often takes twice as long as it used to, because of all the preparations and precautions we now take. The realization that it has become unwise to do certain things.


At our house, we feel it more directly, as well. I make substantially most of my living from online sales, and — due to people feeling uncertain about their jobs and incomes — my income (which wasn't much to start with) has been slowly declining all year. 

The other mental/emotional "weight" I feel a lot comes from the simple realization that we really don't know how long this "thing" is going to be with us... and that leads to the next realization that there most likely will be no "return to normal." If there ever was a "normal" it's long gone, and all we can likely look forward to at this point is an entirely new paradigm for human existence. 

Not sure how I feel about that... because I find myself really struggling to visualize a positive outcome.

Meanwhile, the entire "energetic feel" of the greater world seems to have taken on a gray filter... reflected by the broader subtext of frustration, anxiety, despair and sadness so many people are experiencing, these days. And anger. There seem to be abnormally many public flareups of anger.

Here in the US, it's not made any "lighter" by the fact that we are running into the final weeks of a Presidential election campaign... something that often brings out the worst in people, even at the best of times!

I have never been big on "Rah-Rah Positivity Parties," particularly when there's no objective reason to have one. Meaning... that I have no great advice to offer on how to magically "feel better about everything." If anything, I'd encourage everyone to simply allow themselves to "feel their feels" honestly, rather than sticking your head in the sand and pretending everything is A-OK. 

Because, quite honestly, everything is not A-OK...

What has helped me most has been to do my best to not dwell excessively on things I have no control over. I try to direct my energies where I do have some influence: Getting long-postponed projects at home done, working on things I do enjoy — like my art, my photography and my writing — and making sure that I get outside. We HSPs benefit a lot from the healing power of nature, even if that "nature" is nothing more than sitting and looking at the flowers in our apartment complex grounds. 

In the meantime, stay safe and healthy, wherever you may be!



I hope you enjoyed your visit here! HSP Notes has been published continuously since 2002, and I do this entirely as a "labor of love." However, if you feel that this site is of value to you, please consider becoming a "supporter" of HSP Notes, via my Patreon Art Account. Or support my creative endeavors by purchasing one of my hand painted stones — links in the right-hand column!

I have created a special $2 support level, being mindful that most HSPs are on a budget. Your contributions allow me the TIME to continue writing, rather than being forced to abandon the blog and use my writing time to pursue an additional outside job. Your consideration is greatly appreciated, and — as the idealist that I am — I believe the best way we can create a better world for all of us is to support each other's creative endeavors!

Monday, October 12, 2020

Writing a Book, After All These Years! (Deja-vu?)

If you have been following HSP Notes for some time, you might remember that I have periodically been toying with the idea of writing a book. As is the case with many great plans, so far it has been all talk and no action. 

One of the challenges for me is that I tend to have a fairly short attention span. Some would call it ADHD. Either way, whereas it is not hard for me to write hundreds and even thousands of blog posts and articles, the thought of actually sitting down and stringing together 75,000 cohesive words into a book feels daunting, terrifying and overwhelming. 

As I read these words I just wrote, it actually sounds a little strange even to me. After all, I probably write something on the order of 500,000 words a year in terms of blog posts and articles, across dozens of online venues.

But no mind. 

One of the things that was suggested to me by a friend — and this is actually a very good suggestion — is that instead of writing an entire book from scratch why not simply compile and update a series of my most popular and significant personal essays about life as an HSP and turn those into a book. 

Of course I have always had perfectly good excuses for not finding the time to do so! 

But here we are in the times of COVID-19, and I am spending more time at home than ever before, and it just seems like the right time to get this project on the road. Hey, I'm not getting any younger!

Oddly enough the impetus — which happened quite recently — was that our power went out one day. When our power came back on, our Internet was out. 

And it stayed out for five days.

It's remarkable how dependent some of us are on being online. Although I didn't exactly find myself having withdrawals, I realized that I have become very used to working on the computer. Granted, I make 90% of my living online... but even so. 

Anyway, one of the things I used those five days for was to organize all my writing files here on my desktop computer, and then getting started on this project of choosing the best of my HSP essays with an eye towards creating a book. 

Of course, some of these pieces — while still good and relevant — will need a facelift, having been written as far back as 2003. But at least the task feels less daunting, knowing that I already have "The Bones" writen!

I'm not making any promises as to when this will be done and in print However, with the annual NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge right around the corner — it happens during the month of November every year — the timing seems fortuitous.

So, I'm off and running! So far, five (of maybe 25?) essays chosen and "cleaned up."

Stay tuned for more! If you'd like to support this project, please consider joining my Patreon appeal!

Thank you, and till the next one!



I hope you enjoyed your visit here! HSP Notes has been published continuously since 2002, and I do this entirely as a "labor of love." However, if you feel that this site is of value to you, please consider becoming a "supporter" of HSP Notes, via my Patreon Art Account. Or support my creative endeavors by purchasing one of my hand painted stones — links in the right-hand column!

I have created a special $2 support level, being mindful that most HSPs are on a budget. Your contributions allow me the TIME to continue writing, rather than being forced to abandon the blog and use my writing time to pursue an additional outside job. Your consideration is greatly appreciated, and — as the idealist that I am — I believe the best way we can create a better world for all of us is to support each other's creative endeavors!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

20 Years of HSP Gatherings!

A couple of days ago, I had the privilege of being part of a "Virtual Gathering" for past attendees of the HSP Gathering Retreats... on occasion of the fact that it has now been TWENTY YEARS since the first Gathering!

View from Walker Creek Ranch where early HSP
Gatherings took place
Aside from it being a fun and somewhat nostalgic experience to participate in the Zoom call — sign of our times — it was also slightly surreal and a bit of an eye-opener to realize that it has been so long

Then I reflected on the fact that it had already been five years since I read Elaine Aron's book, by the time I attended that first Gathering in 2002.

Life is filled with interesting contrasts. 

We have come a very long way since those first tentative steps we took in the late 1990's, when a handful of people reached out to each other through one of the earliest online social systems, a website called "EGroups," now long defunct.

But even while I write these words 23 years later, only a tiny percentage of the world's HSPs are aware (a) that the trait even exists and (b) that they might be one.

Time... and our lives... move on.

When I first learned about the trait — and when I went to my first HSP Gathering — the entire concept of Being An HSP was very important to me!

All these years later, my approach has mellowed considerably. I have largely put away my expounding plank, and only mention the trait occasionally when I believe my doing so will be of benefit to someone who's very obviously struggling with similar issues to mine of 25 years ago. 

Maybe that's just experience.

Turtle Pond, at Walker Creek Ranch
Oddly enough, my conviction that being Highly Sensitive is a "real thing" and has a major impact on how we experience life... is deeper than ever, and yet I am less attached to anyone caring than ever. 

Maybe that's just having grown comfortable in my skin, and not needing external validation for who I am. I know who I am. I don't need someone else to tell me, or to "make it OK" for me. I don't expect special treatment or concessions.

Sadly, my old web site "Inner Reflections" no longer exists. I say "sadly," because it had (among other things) a very heartfelt and detailed photo journal of that first HSP Gathering Retreat I went to. If you care enough to dig around, you might be able to find the pages captured on the Internet Archive.

However, I do remember clearly what a life-changing experience it was to be in a room with 30-odd people, all of whom "understood" what it was like to be in the world, feeling as we did. And that, dear friends, is a memory and feeling I will always hold near and dear!

And if the whole HSP "thing" is new to you... you might consider going to an HSP Gathering Retreat!

As always, thank you for reading!



I hope you enjoyed your visit here! HSP Notes has been published continuously since 2002, and I do this entirely as a "labor of love." However, if you feel that this site is of value to you, please consider becoming a "supporter" of HSP Notes, via my Patreon Art Account. Or support my creative endeavors by purchasing one of my hand painted stones — links in the right-hand column!

I have created a special $2 support level, being mindful that most HSPs are on a budget. Your contributions allow me the TIME to continue writing, rather than being forced to abandon the blog and use my writing time to pursue an additional outside job. Your consideration is greatly appreciated, and — as the idealist that I am — I believe the best way we can create a better world for all of us is to support each other's creative endeavors!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Challenge of Considering, Making and COMMITTING to Changes!

For the past few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about the direction of this blog. Specifically, I've been thinking about the idea of how to combine all the different things I do into one central location, after years of deliberately keeping separate things separate.

The entire process feels a little bit very overwhelming!

As an HSP, one of the things I have learned about myself is that I tend to spend a lot more time thinking about and ruminating than actually doing things and putting them into action.

Perhaps you recognize that, in yourself.

And so I find myself asking the inevitable question “Why is this so difficult to just DO rather than think about forever?

Is this just a struggle with excessive "conscientiousness," as many HSPs experience?

Am I a slave to perfectionism?

My reality — as I am experiencing it — is more one of feeling like I am taking a completely new direction. And not only that, I feel hesitation and a bit of anxiety about taking this new direction and committing fully to it.

We HSPs often struggle with change, even when it is initiated by ourselves. Even one of the items on Elaine Aron's "Sensitivity Self Test" is "Changes in my life shake me up."

To be honest, I also am experiencing an element of self-doubt. Am I doing the right thing? What will people think of me for doing this? Am I just worrying too much?

I looked at those words and then I stopped and just laughed at myself. Here I am, at 59 years of age, and I'm still having these self-doubts!

Anyway, the long and the short of what I am setting out to do differently can pretty much be summarized thusly:

The 18-year history of this blog has centered in it being a blog about “HSP stuff.

The primary change is going to be that from this point forward it will still be a blog about “HSP stuff,” but it will increasingly also be about a person simply living and navigating their life and that person just “happens to be an HSP.

And yes, some of the time I will be engaged in that dreaded thing called “self-promotion;” touching on the many projects I am involved with and inviting visitors to go check it out. But not just for commercial reasons, also to offer an insight into what "HSP Life" can look like.

As I wrote in a post a couple of years ago, perhaps the ultimate objective of learning as much as possible about being an HSP, is that we eventually arrive at a point where our lives are no longer defined by "being an HSP;" instead we incorporate the knowledge we've gained and simply return to being "a person" for whom being an HSP is simply one attribute of many in their lives.

Let's face it, I am an HSP! No denying that!

But I am also a Danish citizen, very tall, a cat lover, an artist, a husband, a writer, an editor, a stamp collector, a beachcomber, a polymath, a photographer and a whole bunch of other things!

My point?

I think we can go overboard and get so wrapped up in a place where we define every single thing we do and experience in life “in terms of being an HSP.” That is, we view ourselves as HSPs first, and as human beings, second. Frankly, I think it should be the other way around — we're human beings first, and HSPs second.

And so, it is with that in mind, that I set forth to gently keep making changes to the HSP Notes blog and website.

And it my sincere hope that you will continue to share in this journey with me!

Thank you for reading.



I hope you enjoyed your visit here! HSP Notes has been published continuously since 2002, and I do this entirely as a "labor of love." However, if you feel that this site is of value to you, please consider becoming a "supporter" of HSP Notes, via my Patreon Art Account. Or support my creative endeavors by purchasing one of my hand painted stones — links in the right-hand column!

I have created a special $2 support level, being mindful that most HSPs are on a budget. Your contributions allow me the TIME to continue writing, rather than being forced to abandon the blog and use my writing time to pursue an additional outside job. Your consideration is greatly appreciated, and — as the idealist that I am — I believe the best way we can create a better world for all of us is to support each other's creative endeavors!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

HSP Living: Be Kind, Whenever Possible!

Be kind whenever possible. It is ALWAYS possible!
~ H.H. The Dalai Lama

The above quote has been a favorite of mine for a very long time.

It resonates rather deeply with me, and I realized recently that the underlying idea has been close to my heart since childhood.

When I was a little kid — perhaps no more than 5-6 years old — I distinctly remember one of my core desires in life was for people to just be nice to each other. I just wanted people to get along.

To my considerable distress, so many people around me seemed both mean and harsh... and definitely not kind to each other. In many ways, it was the harshness and abrasiveness of the external world that ultimately inspired the (working) title for a book I have been working on for some years: "Please Don't Yell At Me!"

Even when people were not actually yelling, their very "way of being" felt very loud and invasive, and I found myself wanting to get away from it. This tendency became even more pronounced when I started school and encountered bullies, for the first time!

Of course, I must hasten to add that mere "kindness" is not an actual attribute of the HSP trait. HSPs can be kind... or not. However, what does tend to become part of an HSP's experience of life is the lingering effects left behind by those people who are not kind to us.

Because we experience everything so intensely, we also tend to experience a lack of kindness very intensely... and then we go on to remember it for a long time, regardless of whether we "want to," or not. Even when it might be well-meaning, someone saying "You just need to get OVER it!" is not very helpful. You've probably experienced that...

Standing By Our Values...

It can be quite a challenge to stand by our values; our core sense of what feels right... in a world that often doesn't seem to care about such things.

When people are being buttheads and mean to us, there's often a temptation to "rise, and take the bait" and return the argument in-kind. But — as a wise person once pointed out to me — a nasty individual has far more practice at being nasty than I have!

On the other hand, I have often found that my refusal to get embroiled in a loud and overstimulating argument is perceived as a variety of generally negative things... from being passive, to being weak, to not caring, to lacking passion.

More than 90% of the time, those assertions are simply not true!

So I remind myself of a few things I have learned, along the way:

I can be enthusiastic, without yelling.
I can be passionate, without overpowering.
I can have boundaries, without being forceful.
And I can be kind, whenever possible!

Thanks for reading!



I hope you enjoyed your visit here! HSP Notes has been published continuously since 2002, and I do this entirely as a "labor of love." However, if you feel that this site is of value to you, please consider becoming a "supporter" of HSP Notes, via my Patreon Art Account. Or support my creative endeavors by purchasing one of my hand painted stones — links in the right-hand column!

I have created a special $2 support level, being mindful that most HSPs are on a budget. Your contributions allow me the TIME to continue writing, rather than being forced to abandon the blog and use my writing time to pursue an additional outside job. Your consideration is greatly appreciated, and — as the idealist that I am — I believe the best way we can create a better world for all of us is to support each other's creative endeavors!

Saturday, October 26, 2019

HSP Ramblings: Not "Overstimulated," just Tired!

Sarah and I attended an event last night.

She was a live guest on the "Strange Brau" podcast; while I had a vendor table for my painted Alchemy Stones.

The event took place at a popular local hotel; there was a pretty good crowd gathered in the hotel dining room. It's an old building from the 1890's and the quarters were pretty cramped. We found an alcove to set up our vendor table that was out of the main traffic patterns.

Recipe for "HSP overstimulation?"

Well, not exactly. I enjoyed myself — as did she — and whereas we were happy to leave and get back to the piece and quiet of our house after about six hours of being "on," neither of us felt particularly overstimulated.

This morning, however, I feel like I have "the blahs."

In other words, both my brain and spirit feel "tired," like I just attended a four-day convention of some kind. Since we are both HSPs, we were both feeling this.

The Importance of Knowing What's What

As I sit here and type these words, I am reminded of the importance of we who are Highly Sensitive to be aware of "what's what," when it comes to managing the effects of our trait.

It's easy to fall into the trap of attributing everything in our lives to "overstimulation," simply because it's a popular buzzword that tends to be closely associated with our trait. But it's not always applicable, nor accurate.

In this case, Sarah and I are — quite simply — tired. So we're taking this day more of less off, as an act of self-care.

Part of what we gain from learning how we are affected by our High Sensitivity is an awareness of what we are experiencing, rather than simply "that" we are experiencing... which is why I always encourage my fellow HSPs to really learn all they can about the HSP trait.

It's not a "label," it's a life coping tool!

Thanks for reading!



I hope you enjoyed your visit here! HSP Notes has been published continuously since 2002, and I do this entirely as a "labor of love." However, if you feel that this site is of value to you, please consider becoming a "supporter" of HSP Notes, via my Patreon Art Account

I have created a special $2 support level, being mindful that most HSPs are on a budget. Your contributions allow me the TIME to continue writing, rather than being forced to abandon the blog and use my writing time to pursue an additional outside job. Your consideration is greatly appreciated, and — as the idealist that I am — I believe the best way we can create a better world for all of us is to support each other's creative endeavors!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Life is a Series of Constant Re-Inventions

We HSPs are generally not fond of change.

Or we may be fond of change, but still find it massively disruptive and overstimulating to deal with it.

The latter, I suppose, holds more true for HSS HSPs.

I have been absent from these pages, for a while...

Once again — at age 58 — I find myself in the process of "reinventing myself."

As my three readers might remember, I have spent most of my adult life engaged in some form of self-employment. This is generally a really good "fit" for HSPs... we get to do things largely on our own terms, which typically includes creating a work-life that allows us to keep the lid somewhat on overstimulation, and at least manage it.

Of course, even when things are working quite well, change happens.

In this case, I am facing the reality that two of my four home-based micro businesses that have been sustaining us for the past decade+ have been in steady decline for some years — one due to an aging and dying primary demographic, the other due to competition from inexpensive alternatives in S.E. Asia — and we have reached a place (financially) where steadily increasing costs of living have overtaken steadily declining income.

So much for being in your "peak earning years" during your 50s!

There is always a "tipping point" in these situations... very minor events set a much larger action in motion. In our case, it was our homeowner's insurance. The renewal policy for the same insurance coverage we've had for six years arrived. Normally, the premiums have been ticking up 2-3% a year, which is bearable. This year, however, the monthly payments jumped from $108.50 to $132.17, an increase of 21.8%.

We all know that inflation is only about 2-3% a year, so what gives? Well, our home "turned 40" this year, which means being part of a different "risk pool."

Meanwhile, the fact that the "equation" is no longer working means not only that changes have to happen, but that the overstimulation is ramping up again. Well... it has already been that way for a while. Being perpetually late on your bills is stressful and overstimulating.

"Stuff Should be Free!" is Bogus!

Bit of a side track here, for a moment:

It's a nice piece of idealism to suggest that we should do things simply because it's the right thing to do, but until the supermarket thinks it's "the right thing to do" to give me my food for free, I'm not convinced. 

Much as I'd love for it to be real, we do not live in a "Star Trek Universe!"

Certainly, I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't do things for each other and help each other out; what I am talking about here applies on a larger scale. I am talking about things we continuously bring to the world that most people find to be "of value," and yet we are never compensated for them. Ultimately... there is no reciprocity!

I am also well aware that simply "Being A Good Person" is not a marketable commodity. Whereas people might appreciate our "goodness" we aren't going to get paid for it.

Not so long ago, I was having a conversation with a spiritual teacher who opined that you should never give away that which you have the most talent at. 

I can assure you that most "starving artists" don't want to starve; they are starving because other people keep insisting that they should do their art "purely for the love of it," and give them lots of pats on their backs for their amazing creativity, yet the moment they put a price tag on that art those same people instead start judging and accuse the artists of "Selling Out."

I agree with my spiritual friend that such a line of reasoning is not only hypocrisy, but also garbage.

Anyway, now I am reinventing myself... again

And so, I am also kicking life back into this HSP Notes blog, which — after all — remains the oldest chronicle of my journey through understanding this "sensitivity" thing in existence. I started this in 2002, five years after reading Elaine Aron's first book. Hundreds of blog posts over a 17-year period chronicle experiences, insights, lessons and the journey, itself.

I stopped, for a while, because I quite simply couldn't justify spending the time I spent here... without compensation. I had to spend that time doing something income producing. I also was working with a couple of other projects — and a different blog.

More about those, later.

Cha- Cha- Cha- Changes...

As I go back to writing more frequent articles about life as it intersects with being a Highly Sensitive Person, I will also be changing how this blog works, a little.

For some time, I have had limited advertising as well as some Amazon product links here... but these have gradually become less and less capable of producing more than a few cents, so they are going to go away over the next few months.

One of the things I have been increasingly involved with is the principle of "Voluntaryism."

To clarify, Voluntaryism is NOT the same thing as Volunteering. Voluntaryism is more economic in nature, and centers around the idea that things are basically free, but if a "recipient" believes that what they are getting "has value" — either to them, or to the greater community — there is a "payment system" in place that allows those recipients (or readers, or beneficiaries) to voluntarily compensate whoever created the thing of value.

Accordingly, I have decided that some of the more elaborate and research-based posts here will become available only through voluntary subscriptions to a Patreon account. This Patreon account will also serve as the "front end" for my efforts of putting together a book I announced long ago entitled "Please Don't Yell At Me! An HSP's Journey," which I have partly written, but never finished.

Those who are willing to "co-sponsor" my efforts (basically, allowing me to spend time writing, rather than being at work during those few hours a week, making a living), would be helping me not only make the book possible, but they would end up having "prepaid" for their own copy, when published. Hopefully, it will be a win-win situation.

And no worries, we are talking about a monthly commitment of probably less than you pay for a cup of coffee or tea at your local coffee shop! And, again, it will be voluntary... but hopefully it will make you feel like you are doing a "right thing" for the HSP community, as well!

I am simply trying to make some things — things that are important to me, and to quite a few other people — functionally possible, in the context of my life.

Stay tuned for more frequent updates, as the process unfolds! At this point, I'm looking to have the whole redesign and new direction operational by June 30th.

Thanks for reading!

I want to hear from you! I grew up in the era of "social blogging," and I believe blogs should be interactive, like mini message boards. Thus, your comments, feedback, ideas and thoughts are always welcome here, and I will do my best to respond, as well!


Support My Patreon!

If you enjoyed your visit to HSP Notes and found something of value here, please consider supporting my Art and Creativity Patreon account. Although it was created primarily to generate support for my ART, there is a special $2 support level for HSP Notes readers! Look for the link in the right hand column... and thank you!