For about two years I have been planning a six-month sabbatical beginning this summer, a good space of time completely “off the grid.” Some serious downtime. I am enjoying excellent health so it has nothing to do with that. It is simply that some shifts in my life and my husband’s have allowed this for the first time. I am not retiring. I’ll be back. And an email may come to you from time to time from those who work with me.
Finally, like a worried mother hen, I have left you a “list of instructions” to do while I’m gone.
- Take downtime! Let me be your role model. Yearly, weekly, and daily down times. I do two hours a day of rest and meditation (I do recommend TM because it is most easy and restful) and no work or use of the computer after dinner. Aim for one week off a month and one month off a year. Now, six months in a lifetime? To get that time, say no when you need to. No one knows but you when you need to set a limit. Don’t be the reason, by saying yes when you need to say no, that people you care for quite unwittingly cause you stress.
- Take time for love and friends. No matter how introverted you are or how easily overstimulated, you are a member of a highly social species. Often the people you are close to can actually reduce your overstimulation, just by being with them, perhaps in silence sometimes. Just tell them what you need in a loving way, while offering your HS strengths when you can–empathy, carefully considered decisions, pointing out beauty that they would enjoy but might have missed, and helping them to see when they also need self-care.
- Be with other HSPs. Seriously, at least once, be in a group of entirely HSPs. There are the Gatherings, the Horse Workshops, and I guess all kinds of meetups and such.
- Avoid those working for a fee and who want to help you but lack appropriate credentials or education, or seem a bit strange when you talk to them. Some unlicensed people are okay (and the accreditation of coaches is a complicated matter). But a license is a safeguard against unethical behavior for that profession. You may be told about “certificates” or being a graduate of this and that program, but look into it. Use your intuition so that you do not waste your time and money, or do something that ultimately is not good for you, even if it is said to help others. We are all different, even among HSPs.
- Speak up for what you believe in. You have probably thought about the issues more than others, and a great many issues these days require our attention–not just our strong convictions, but deep thought and then well considered speech and action. It really helps to do something, however small, towards making happen whatever feels right to you.
- When distressed by world events, step back. You are witnessing “interesting times.” The earth is flowering into an amazing place, dominated by our species’ growing numbers and technology. It will inevitably wilt someday, whenever we run out of resources, but now or later? Will we grow up enough to take some charge of our planet? Slow climate change? Can we consider other species needs? (We know fairly exactly the numbers and behaviors of almost all large animals on earth, from elk to tigers, as well as what they need. Now what?) Okay, it can be very distressing to watch what is happening. But seen from another perspective, isn’t it amazing to be alive today, witnessing this?
- Enjoy the even bigger picture. Go visit the vast plains, the vaster oceans, those crazy tall mountain ranges. Or stay home and watch the eternal-archetypal-molecular actions of fire, clouds, and water. Most of all, look up at the night sky. I know you often do, but now our crazy species knows so much about it. If you like that sort of knowledge, here’s a taste of what I mean about the big picture provided by the night sky:
According to the latest Scientific American, Earth is part of our solar system, yes, and in an arm of the Milky Way, our galaxy, which is part of a cluster of galaxies called the Local Group, made up of 50 nearby galaxies spanning seven million light-years of space. It is part of the Virgo Cluster (over 1000 galaxies and 50 million light-years across), a small part of the Local Supercluster (hundreds of groups, 100 million light years). In 2014 some curious astronomers—part of our marvelous species—used complex ways to figure out that the Local Supercluster is one lobe of a much larger supercluster (100,00 galaxies, 400 million light years across), named Laniakea, Hawaiian for “immeasurable heaven.” Our Milky Way is way, way off in a corner of all that. Far, far from its center.
- For the sake of you and all other HSPs, please do not associate high sensitivity with being an “empath” or anything that could sound weird to those we want to reach. Do not condone it in others. Seriously. Such writing and talk is beginning to endanger the credibility of the research, at least in Scandinavia. Watch for HSPs as “empaths” or “Highly Sensitive Empaths” or statements about HSPs being psychics or having ESP. It has been growing steadily, as you will see if you check the internet. Those who train doctors, teachers, therapists, and all the rest will not make use of any information about high sensitivity if it seems unscientific. This is not about what you believe to be true. Think what you wish about it in private. Maybe it interests you or you recognize something about yourself in this material. But think about what it means for our future and the future of sensitive children.