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!

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!