Then, Now and the Future of NCHS

Hello to everyone, HSPs, HSP Professionals, HSP supporters, young and blossoming HSCs :).  Another year has flown by since the inception of this fledgling group here in the UK in 2010.  So much to do and so many ideas about how these things can become real and permanent.  One thing I do know, is how heart warming it is to see more and more highly sensitive people out there, doing their bit to increase awareness, discovering more about our trait and above all, truly valuing and enjoying what our trait is all about.  Our Meetups continue to be available to HSPs wishing to engage in person or online for a small annual subscription but as ever, we would love to increase the availability of these events to others in the UK by training and supporting volunteer NCHS Meetup facilitators in other parts of the UK.

My sincere thanks go out to those who have stepped forward to volunteer their time and energy to do a variety of supportive work around promoting awareness and supporting other HSPs to find themselves, in particular volunteers, Cindy, Helen, Shyron, Chris, Glenna, Luchi, Astrid, Tony, Alan, Caroline and anyone else who has helped in the background.  I am also so grateful to Ildiko for her continued support (from abroad during her sabbatical), maintaining a list of HSP Professionals who have attended our NCHS training days, writing and editing our Newsletter.  There are so many things I could never have pushed forward without Ildiko’s help, belief and encouragement.

New things that we have put in place this year include the ’Numinous’ days – set up to provide a place of engagement and support for those HSPs who have roles in supporting other HSPs, whether at work or at home.  This has been a pleasure to facilitate and I am grateful to all of them for what they do ‘out there’, often in isolation.  We have also launched a monthly ‘HSP Parlour Online’, where HSPs from any part of the UK or in fact the world, can join each other for a virtual tea and chat about HSP topics together.  This has been great fun and enlightening as people share their questions, answers and ideas around things that are of interest to highly sensitive people in a relaxed setting.  We have covered many topics, but the abiding thing that we have all got from this event is the feeling of solidarity, integrity and humour that lifts the spirits when one is engaged with others with that HSP energy.

It has also been a different kind of year for the National Centre for High Sensitivity.  Whilst so much is happening, and needs to happen in the world in respect to more awareness and acknowledgement of high sensitivity, it has also been somewhat challenging here at NCHS home due to continuing illness, changing domestic responsibilities and shortage once again of on-site admin support.  Hopefully this will improve in 2017, all things in their own good time I’m sure :).

Further meetups, events and opportunities will be added to our Meetup.com sites here in the UK soon, and you will see all of them together on the Events page at www.hspsensitive.com.

  •  We have plans to increase the number of ‘Walk and Talk’ opportunities that we offer.  Some of you have taken advantage of these already and from feedback provided, we know it is helpful and that more of you would like to use it.  Do contact myself, Alan or Caroline if you would like to do a ‘Walk and Talk’, we will assess your need, explain what it entails and there is a fee, but it’s well worth it.  We would also welcome you to apply, if you would like to offer this service to other HSPs (assessment, training and support provided to volunteers) – just contact me at the NCHS.
  • We are thinking about some short residential events, where you will gain information, awareness and support, and others where you will simply be encouraged to relax and spend time in HSP-friendly pursuits or rest and recovery.  One or two of these events may need practitioners there to offer various support or relaxation activities.  [If you would like to attend and also offer something useful to others (something short or small is fine), a discount will be available for the event.  Please talk to me about it.]
  • I am planning on doing more talks for organisations, schools and interest groups this year, so if you know any organisations that would benefit from understanding more about highly sensitive people, do put them in touch.  They will be asked to give a donation to support NCHS work, but there is no specific fee.  Please bear in mind that if the venue is far away from Andover, my travel/accommodation costs will need to be taken into consideration :).
  • I really want to do an event for Parents of highly sensitive children this year.  Ideally a whole day.  I haven’t decided yet, if it will be just for the parents, or whether there will be an opportunity for HSCs to attend and do other activities while the parents are learning about high sensitivity.  Anyone who would like to help, let me know.  Please make sure you are willing to commit, once the event is scheduled it has to go ahead :).
  • As mentioned above, we have plans to increase the number of counties within which we offer HSP Meetups.  Do help us identify where there are: enough interested HSPs to attend a Meetup;  a suitable venue; someone local who would be happy to liaise or even attend training to get a Meetup started and running regularly.

barbara_allen-wDo let us know if you have any ideas of something the NCHS could be doing and if you would like to volunteer some support or funding.  I hope you will enjoy what is on offer next year and I look forward to seeing those of you who will attend our future events :).

Article written by Barbara Allen-Williams (e-mail: hspsensitive@hotmail.com)
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Time to Bounce Back

I hope the coming holidays will bring some much needed time for you to rest, recharge and bounce back with renewed energies and motivation in the coming year. This may be a good time to start contemplating ways to shape your lives to fit better your sensitive nature, and continue on your path of becoming a more authentic and empowered highly sensitive person. The world perhaps never needed more sensitive souls, who are willing to demonstrate more meaningful ways to live, than what is in the mainstream culture. And this can be especially important at this festive time of the year, which can easily overwhelm us all by its increasing demands.

Peter Messerschmidt’s recent article about overwhelm reminded me how important it is to recognise that our overwhelm is not just to do with us personally (ie. our highly sensitive nature), but our world itself seems to become more and more overwhelming. Ironically, in this age of information we seem to get more lost about where to find information that is trustworthy and meaningful, and how to limit it to a digestible amount. Technological advances also seem to create more frustrations and sap away more of our time then ever, instead of making our lives easier. The world of politics appears to be in a turmoil, producing some unexpected events in 2016 that shocked a lot of caring sensitive people. This raises some big questions for all HSPs regarding how to protect our sensitivity from external issues like these, without completely isolating ourselves from the world.

justletgoIt can be helpful to remind ourselves that our biology, such as our highly sensitive nervous system, has not been able to change as fast as the external world has been changing around us. This means that adapting to our rapidly transforming environment is becoming increasingly challenging. But perhaps this is not such a bad thing. A Krishnamurti quote comes to mind about this:“It is no measure of good health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” At times the main issue is not how to get to somewhere, but to know where is worth going to. Keeping our priorities right can be our saviour, whenever we have to find ways to cope with too much. Bearing in mind what are our essential needs, and what are just desires influenced by the messages received from the outside world, can be what saves us from wasting our limited time and energy on things that ultimately won’t matter. Learning more about the basic facts about your highly sensitive trait can help you to see what are essential needs for you as an HSP, and give you ideas about how to create a life that fits your sensitive nature better.

Most people – but HSPs especially – can also benefit from dedicating some time to inner contemplation  – away from the noise of the world. This can bring you much needed clarity about what matters to you the most and steps you can take right now towards those goals. You may have noticed that the HSP newsletter I have been editing has been more sporadic than usual in the past year. The main reason for this was that my own contemplation about ways forward lead me to decide to go for a long sabbatical abroad, which has been a mighty undertaking. As probably many of you, I have been finding that modern life has been making increasingly severe demands on my time and energies and felt that a drastic re-balancing was needed to get out of what felt like constant fire-fighting mode, and start honouring truly my sensitive nature. So, I am writing this issue from outside of the UK, in more peaceful surroundings, where I have been recharging slowly for some time now. Giving myself ‘time-out’ is not just about resting however – it is also time for looking at the big picture instead of getting lost in the daily grind. It is about actively reflecting on my life and anything that I could change to make it better for me. I know that going on a long sabbatical is not a solution that can work for most of you. I am hoping however, that writing about this can motivate you to direct your energies towards pondering on what is truly essential for you and what are the things that you can let go or at least park for a while. Any bit of extra time you can give yourself for this will pay you back multi-fold, more than you ever thought possible.

In my own quest to create time to focus on what is essential, I had to let go some commitments that were dear to me – such as organising HSP Meetups in Brighton – which was not easy. Luckily some lovely HSPs stepped in to continue to organise some HSP events locally, and also the National Centre for High Sensitivity in the UK is organising HSP Parlours now that highly sensitive people can attend on-line. ildiko_davis(If you are interested in attending this, it happens via an application called ZOOM , which is very similar to Skype and you can read more about using it here.) Never forget that it is not just solitude that can help sensitive people to bounce back, but also meaningful contact with kindred spirits, who understand and care. I hope this new way to talk about your sensitive trait with other HSPs will allow more of you to benefit from learning from each other on your journey and encourage you to accept and embrace your sensitivity more. I  also hope that 2017 will be a year when many highly sensitive people will find their own unique ways to overcome overwhelm and start living the kind of life that works for us.

Article written by Ildiko Davis (e-mail: ildiko.davis@yahoo.co.uk)