November 2006: Comfort Zone ONLINE
Changes You May Notice. We have a new way of sending out this letter announcing the newsletter each quarter. One result of our new method is that you may be receiving it for the first time since you signed up for it! The new method will hopefully get through more spam filters.
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A change you will not notice is that after ten years of tending this newsletter, in paper and then by email, Marcia Norris is turning it over to new, competent hands (those of Marsha Talley). Marcia worked on Comfort Zone since the first issue, contributing several articles as well as a creative layout while it was on paper, and then helping with the transition to a free emailed letter and a store to support it. This changing of the guard will give Marcia more time for her art and herself, but I am enormously grateful for her kind, wise guidance all these years. She solved a lot of problems!
That Time of Year. So it is that holiday time of year again. A time of meaning, excited children, too much to do, even more stimulation when you go into stores, and relationships that get better or worse every year! This issue has an article to help parents of sensitive children during the holidays, and as usual I added that it would be good for grown ups to read too, for the sake of the "inner child." Then I realized that I would like to have written an article about the holidays just for adults. What I wanted to write about this time was the meaning (or lack of meaning) around the holidays. Perhaps you can mentally write an article for yourself about that. (And I appreciate that for Jewish HSPs that would be very different.) But as a gift to you, I decided to say something about it here.
A Small Gift Regarding Meaning. Just ten years ago, middle aged and without children around, I found myself yearning for some deep spiritual epiphany at this time of year. I would read scripture, dwell on the meaning of the nativity or on thoughts of loved ones, try to absorb the beauty of the lights and music, and find myself pacing the beach in the dark on Christmas Eve, still empty. The HSP in me was terribly disappointed in my spiritual capacity. Why couldn't I connect with the sacred when it seemed like it had to be present? Well, what I could say to others about it I could not believe myself: "This sort of thing cannot be forced."
I have changed since then. Now I try to keep my expectations of meaningful holiday moments very low. I do set aside time to do extra meditations, but only as preparation for the new year, and I attend the religious service of my choice and a few beloved annual concerts. But these things can do whatever they want to me without my judgment.
As with many processes in life, however, if you don't watch the kettle, it boils. If you don't expect much meaning from the holiday experience, but do give it enough attention to light a fire under it so to speak, something significant can sneak up on you as part of what this time of year actually is. For example, it is a season of increasing darkness (which I am increasingly not fond of), and I find it meaningful that there is such emphasis on light and hope. Will the days really start getting longer after the winter solstice? They always have in the past, but this time? Will light ever come to the dark areas of the human brain? Of my brain? Will a child be born who can bring that light? Don't all children carry that possibility/burden and deserve a season of being the center of everything? Doesn't this gift I'm choosing represent the light and hope I would like the receiver to have?
Gifts for the Highly Sensitive. Speaking of gifts, those wishing to be helpful have instructed me to remind you that there are potential gifts in the HSP Store ( http://www.hsperson.com/store/ ), to give or ask to receive. These include a nice DVD of me talking about sensitivity with some interesting questions answered, an audio tape (that ought to be a CD but isn't yet), the full set of the first paper newsletters--30 in all and a lot of writing on sensitivity found nowhere else--plus all the books, each signed by the author. Can't get any of this anywhere else. (And the income from the Store supports this free newsletter. Well, mostly.)
[EDITOR'S UPDATE 2016: Some items may no longer be available.]
Meanwhile, during the coming year I hope to continue to give you what gifts I can in this newsletter.
November 2006 Articles:
November 2006 Articles:
Coping Corner: What to Do about Extravert Envy
Sensitivity and Work: HSPs and "Bullying" in the Work Place--Changes are Coming
Parenting Sensitive Children: Enjoying the Holidays with Your Highly Sensitive Child (Inner Child Included)