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!

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