Although this is mainly from me to highly sensitive men, I encourage all HSPs to read it, to help the men make their way to Scotts Valley (between Santa Cruz and Silicon Valley) for the first annual (I hope) Highly Sensitive Men’s Weekend, March 13-15, in this the Year of the Highly Sensitive Man–partly in honor of Ted Zeff, the first to write for sensitive men and boys, who died last year.
Okay. Let’s get real. Registrations as of today—15! Are you kidding me?
I have dreamed of seeing this weekend happen for years, as I have met and often talked at length with many highly sensitive men. Maybe from the start I have been, well, fond of them. Most have struggled because of their sensitivity in a world that largely disregards sensitivity in men, so I especially appreciate their heroics. In my dream of this weekend, there were 100 men there at least. Dream on, Elaine!
No, I am going to take action. I decided to write this blog as a dialogue with one of you. Here goes.
ME: So I understand that you have not yet planned to go to the weekend in Santa Cruz.
HS MAN: That’s right. Too expensive.
ME: It’s true 1440 Multiversity is not cheap, but they really try to keep it reasonable, and it is a beautiful place with good food and kind people. Still, you have travel expenses and maybe you must lose time at work.
HS MAN: Exactly.
ME: But let me ask you this—if this would change your life, would it still be too expensive for your budget?
HS MAN: If it changed my life. How do I know I would like the speakers?
ME: You are the real speaker, you and the other men. The goal is for you to see and be seen by other highly sensitive men, so that collectively you feel validated and empowered. There will be break out groups, pairs, and plenty of free time to socialize.
HS MAN: It sounds just terrible. I’m an introvert.
ME: Really? For just one weekend, to be just with other HS men? Even introverts need validation. And introverts like deep one-on-one conversations. Actually, all HSPs prefer their conversations to be deep, meaningful. You can’t miss with only HSPs to talk with.
HS MAN: It’s still going to be way too overstimulating.
ME: Yes, probably so. You will have to practice self-care and admit when you need to miss out on something in order to get some downtime. Try to plan some time before and after the weekend for that, time to reflect. But I’m sure there are times you have chosen to be overstimulated in order to do something important to you.
HS MAN: Yeah. But a weekend is a lot about the leaders. Who are these guys?
ME: I’m just one of the guys. I will give a keynote address sort of, the only woman who will be there. About the others, look for yourself. Search for Tracy Cooper Ph.D. and John Hughes Gnu Talent. You will be impressed. If you haven’t heard of them, it’s because they’ve not had a chance before to do what they will be doing this weekend, validating HS men. Why not help Tracy and John become better known?
HS MAN: Hmm. On my dime.
ME: Can you relate to this? Here’s some of Tracy Cooper’s thoughts about the weekend. “The overarching theme, in my view, is allowing, not accepting high sensitivity. The concept of allowing is spacious and denotes an openness to possibilities, while acceptance suggests a begrudging acquiescence. The underlying connective thread is that all HS men at the workshop will be seen and heard. That has great value and concurs with my experience working with HSPs and non-HSPs (yes, they want to be heard too).” Nice, yes?
HS MAN: And this John Hughes guy?
ME: He’s a corporate guy, where team work is a key concept, and he speaks from years of experience about HSPs and teams. “This emotional sensitivity, deep contentedness, and rich inner life feed an HSP’s ability to lead teams in a way that others simply can’t.” Read his whole spiel on Linkedin here. Are you feeling validated yet? Wouldn’t you like to spend a weekend around John? There will be others like him.
HS MAN: So we’re empowering a bunch of sensitive white guys. Do they really need more power?
ME: Will Harper, the director of the two movies on sensitivity will be there. He’s African-American. Jose Rosete, who played the HS male lead in Sensitive and in Love is Latino. He will be there. Gay, transgender? Also coming. What else is on your mind?
HS MAN: Okay. Well. Okay. I’m a little nervous about it, that’s all.
ME: Of course you are. I would be too. But here’s something else John Hughes said: “I do believe this will be a special weekend, the start of something big and eventually global. Nobody likes missing out on something special.”
HS MAN. Hmm.
ME: One solution would be to find another HS man to come with, maybe a friend, relative, or someone you work with. A teenage boy would be great. Bringing someone would help both you and the numbers.
HS MAN: Don’t know any.
ME: Seriously? They are all around you, hiding just like you. Take a risk. The world needs you, all of you. Please, please, take a chance and come.