Unmasking A High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person: Chapter One - Lift Off

We're continuing on this journey - to read the previous blog post click here.

The Aeromexico Boeing 777 is thrumming beneath me, the sound pleasantly reverberating throughout my body and off my teeth. The air tastes metallic. I vaguely notice the stale air drying my eyes and inner nostrils.  The same stale, pressurized, recycled air invisibly weaving its way throughout the plane. I notice the sound of the engine and allow myself to determine if I’ve noticed any anomalies with the engine sound since boarding… Nope.

I take a deep breath and calmly allow myself to ‘generally’ sense the various energies of people around me. Most are comfortable with a minor amount of anxiousness and a few have a high degree of anxiousness. Afraid of flying.

There doesn’t seem to be any cause for alarm, concern or further investigation with regard to anyone else’s energy. At this point I’ve decided to not completely block out other people’s energy. I don’t think that would be wise.

But I have been training myself on accessing “energies”, my own energy, others energy and the energy of places and things. When not to access, when to access and how much to access if I choose to access. Because energy is information.

But not all information is relevant to me, regardless of how curious I am about it. So I have to be mindful of this. My HSP Trait is the reason I can sense these energies and my HSS causes me to be curious, and want to investigate further.

You can see where this could land me in some trouble, but my belief is that I'm on a Soul Journey here and it's important I'm open to learning what spiritual lessons I came here here to learn. And somehow this is tied to the fact that I have HSP Trait and HSS. I don't know why it feels that way, for me it just does. And to finally discover I have the HSP/HSS Trait – is an incredible blessing, a blessing which has brought me more blessings.

Full circle.

And I think about Sensory-Processing Sensitivity. The HSP Trait. I’ve been spending a lot of time learning about both the HSP Trait and HSS for the past year because earning the gift of this discovery and learning more about it has been utterly amazing.

Wikipedia says this about Sensory-Processing Sensitivity; “Sensory processing sensitivity (SPS), a personality trait, a high measure of which defines a highly sensitive person(HSP), has been described as having hypersensitivity to external stimuli, a greater depth of cognitive processing, and high emotional reactivity. The terms SPS and HSP were coined in the mid-1990s by psychologists Elaine Aron and husband Arthur Aron, with SPS being measured by Aron's Highly Sensitive Person Scale (HSPS) questionnaire. Other researchers have applied various other terms to denote this responsiveness to stimuli that is evidenced in humans and other species.

According to the Arons and colleagues, people with high SPS comprise about 15–20% of the population and are thought to process sensory data more deeply due to the nature of their central nervous system. Although many researchers consistently related high SPS to negative outcomes, Aron and colleagues state that high SPS is a personality trait and not a disorder; other researchers have associated it with increased responsiveness to both positive and negative influences.

My take on this?

First, I’m incredibly thankful the HSP Trait was discovered!

It’s like discovering there’s a massive group of people who have felt and thought as I have, experienced the same confusion and solitariness as I have. A group of humanity I can relate to. I’ve been meeting people over the past year who also have either recently, or not so recently, discovered they have the trait and are ready to or already have received this information with gratitude.

From my experiences so far, a lot also feel having the HSP Trait is a burden. Personally, on one level, I can understand this, because in order to embrace this new knowledge there comes with it a responsibility to learn more about it; and use this information for positive change. Some people aren’t ready to embrace change, whether it’s positive or not. Change is a difficult process, so I can sympathize.

And, I also understand. Most HSP’s are taught from a young age, not only by their parents and other family members, but by society as a whole, particularly in western culture, that being sensitive isn’t okay. And for me I didn’t grow up in a family environment where it was safe to show my sensitivities or express them. I knew, on some level, I was different and others knew it too, it was just left unsaid. And the unspoken message to me was that I was required to repress it, hide it in order to "fit in".

Hide it by being “popular” in school, which meant a lot of social stuff, and to do well and invest in activities I didn’t really care about, like getting good grades in school, being involved in sports activities, and taking classical piano lessons - which didn’t add to my overall enjoyment of life. As a kid, all I wanted to do was read books, do some arts and crafts, write stories, play boogie-woogie on the piano by ear, hang out with a close friend or two, volunteer a bit, and explore while riding my bike.

But the repeated, unspoken messages I kept receiving throughout my childhood, teenage years, twenties and early thirties was; “it was not okay for me to be the way I was”. But I was “that way”. So in an effort to “be” the way others seemed to need me to be, the only way it felt to me that I was “allowed to be”, while at the same time not block what I call “energies”, was to use pot to dampen down my sensitivities. I’ve met a lot of HSP’s who use pills, alcohol, drugs, and the list goes on, to quell their sensitivities, a big part of the HSP Trait.

And for me, it was only when I felt I had to, that I stopped using pot and began delving into my long repressed HSP side. When I began the journey that led me to finally discover I had this trait. A journey that was long, sometimes scary, oftentimes arduous, but also undeniably beautiful and SO worth it!

Because somehow I knew, if I could somehow make it to the end of this journey, that what was at the end would be worth it all – the prize. A new journey. Just for me. I just didn’t know what the prize would be.

So, on another level, I can’t understand this.

Because for me the prize I’ve won for completing my journey; a veritable giant-sized obstacle course - has turned out to be an amazing blessing. If there’s one thing I hope an HSP/HSS person gets from this writing, it’s that life is a long game; be patient with yourself, have compassion for yourself and always hold on to hope. You are this way for a reason, a most beautiful, unique, incredible and amazing reason. So persevere. It’s worth it.

Maybe I see the understanding of finally knowing I’m HSP/HSS as such a blessing is because I had to earn it. No one “told” me about it, no medical professional clued me in, and no one I’d met had suggested I could have this trait. I had to overcome a great deal of adversity, challenges, and misinformation in order to finally discover the HSP/HSS Trait for myself.

To end up realizing I’d been given and earned a number of blessings I didn’t even realize I’d been given. To realize I was given an incredible blessing when I was born.

It’s like discovering you have a brand new plane in your garage and all you need to do now is learn how to fly it! But previously you thought you were supposed to carry that plane around on your back.

And it was freakin’ heavy.

And for me this feeling of gratitude is accompanied by a huge sense of relief. A sense of relief that is unimaginable. Just knowing I’m born this way, that nothing is wrong with me, that there are steps I can take to learn more about my trait, understand it, understand how it works for me, and live my life in a way that feels good; a way where my trait helps me feel more spiritually grounded and aware. A way where my creativity and natural skills and abilities can flourish.

So the discovery that I have the HSP Trait and HSS is a gift of unimaginable proportions that I’m incredibly thankful for.

You see, as I’ve been learning more about the trait I’ve been learning more about myself and how the trait works with me, how it’s helping me see where I have challenges, where I’m overcoming challenges and where I’ve already overcome challenges. So it gives me a yardstick!

Where previously there had been no yardstick.

No information.

No understanding.

Where I felt like I was pretty much flying around in space at warp speed, sometimes skidding off of planets and stars, warping into other dimensions without knowing why (who put that wormhole there and where am I now?) and basically finding myself incredibly lucky not to have crashed.

Well, no, not true, there were crashes, but they were meant to be crashes, supposed to be crashes. And there are still spiritual blessings to be mined from those experiences. And besides, they weren’t fatal, they just required time to get refueled, affect repairs and get going again.

Because without those crashes I wouldn’t have ended up learning I had this trait, or the many other valuable pieces of wisdom I've gained. Learning how closely this trait is linked to my spirituality and the spiritual lessons I wanted to learn. And the spiritual lessons I have yet to learn.

But if I hadn’t embraced my spirituality and had faith and persevered, followed my inner knowing that I’m here for a higher purpose, and been willing to invest my time and energy into it; if I hadn’t questioned that life wasn’t quite how I was taught it was, or was supposed to be, or how I am, or am supposed to be – and been open to understanding and learning more about my own spirituality, how my path wasn’t meant to be straightforward, and been able to “roll” with it, to just be open to what my spiritual lessons were and are in this lifetime - I never would’ve gotten to this point.

This point of finally discovering I have the HSP/HSS Trait.

My second response is that this trait doesn’t allow for someone to “stereotype” it. Not really possible. While there are commonalities people with the HSP Trait share, we, like everyone else, are unique. This is bound to cause some confusion. Not only with non-HSP’s but amongst those who do have the trait.

In a world where Google, along with every other business, is trying to categorize and predict our every move, so we can be quantified, qualified and herded, well, this would be extraordinarily difficult to do with someone who has the HSP Trait. I don’t always operate logically. And sometimes I don’t even know why. But I’m beginning to understand why more and more.

Because I’ve been learning about D.O.E.S., an acronym for

  • Depth of processing,
  • Overstimulation,
  • Emotional Empathy and Responsiveness, and
  • Sensory sensitivity

Each one of these has layers to it; subtleties, nuances, and more so when you also have HSS.

So I’ll share my thoughts and experiences on each of the sub-questions for D.O.E.S. and encourage you to ask yourself these same questions (if you’re HSP/HSS). Let me know your thoughts and feelings in the comments, I’d love to hear them.

Let's dive in!

 

Depth of processing relates to;

Do you generate creative, unusual ideas?

For this one I’d have to say yes, I generate creative, unusual ideas. I’m of the mind that there is no problem you can’t find a solution to. Sometimes that solution might be a mixture of solutions, or a completely new, untried method. Or a combination of both.  And sometimes you can find solutions to something that before wasn’t deemed to be a problem.

The thing about creativity is; it’s messy. It isn’t straightforward. There isn’t a roadmap for it. It can seem chaotic. But out of chaos comes clarity. For me it can be a state, or a flow, an inspiration, or a flash. It requires courage and open-mindedness. It requires just allowing there to be no “right” or “wrong”. To see a creative idea as only an idea, an expression, but to also give it time to reveal itself and have patience for the process. And embrace the process with reverence.

Sidenote: Over the past year I’ve noticed a lot of HSP’s I’ve met who feel like their trait is a burden seem to share this commonality - they don’t have a creative outlet. They don’t invest in a creative outlet for themselves. This is pretty important. HSP’s are highly creative and if you don’t allow yourself the time (at least twice weekly) and space to benefit from this it will seem like there's a void in your life. Doesn’t matter what you do; paint, sculpt, photography, write, cook – anything, just give yourself a way to creatively express yourself.

Usually my creative, unusual ideas come to me when I’m meditating and sometimes when I’m dreaming, so, in different states of consciousness. The odd time I can think of a creative, unusual idea when I’m consciously thinking about a problem, but more often than not I come up with an idea when I don’t even realize I’ve been thinking about it. Like when I’m relaxed and doing something mundane, like washing dishes or reading while soaking in an Epsom salts bath.

Personally I don’t use drugs to access different states of consciousness, in fact for me drugs (in all the various forms they come in), actually block my creativity, block the ability to receive these spiritual gifts.

I’m also open to creative, unusual ideas – I don’t think it’s all been done before, quite the contrary. There’s plenty of room for innovation and creativity. I also directly relate my creativity to spirituality, and how I honor it, knowing it directly impacts my ability to “receive” creative, unusual ideas.

I also tend to come up with creative ideas when I’m in nature. Probably because I’m very relaxed in nature. Nature for me represents the ultimate creative expression, with layers upon layers of positive energy, and also many subtleties. This is also where I’m free to let my HSS run wild.

I can be curious and investigate anything in nature, any animal, bird, plant, tree, insect, anything. And I learn from each one independently, and see and feel how each are connected and what the patterns are.

To spend time in nature observing, being in the moment, appreciating its beauty - means being open to creativity, stillness and the abundance of life. It allows me to “get into the creativity zone”. And I acknowledge that for me, nature is closely connected to my spirituality.

Which is why I’m a big fan of any person or organization actively looking for or implementing solutions to the growing problem of the stresses we, humanity, are putting on our natural environment. To be clear; I support solar power, clean energy, reducing, recycling and preserving our natural environment. As well as any inventions or new technologies that move humanity closer to this end.

Nature is vital to me and for me, from the air I breathe, to the water I drink to the food I eat. I’m incredibly grateful for the natural world and my way of showing my appreciation is to do everything I can to support it. I also like finding new ways to do things differently, that support the environment.

My depth of processing allows me to understand things like harmful chemicals in common cleaning products that affect my body and nervous system negatively (so headaches, feeling “off”, the smell bothers me, the area feels polluted/toxic, etc.), also have a negative impact on nature.

So I adjust my life accordingly. I use vinegar and baking soda to clean. Doing so means I give my body, my mind, my system the gift of not having to deal with these harmful chemicals, that I know are affecting me negatively, and also the added benefit of not harming the environment. So it’s a win-win, a way my HSP Trait supports me and a way I honor my HSP Trait. A way I honor myself.

It also means I no longer need to wonder why I notice things like this and why it affects me negatively. If there’s something wrong with me for noticing things like this. In the past my HSS has led me to wonder why and then delve in and research chemical ingredients and their impact on organic life, or the medical or psychological conditions that would cause a person to notice things like this.

Now I simply accept that there’s nothing wrong with me noticing things like this. My initial gut reaction is what it is, I don’t need any more information or to investigate further, I only need to honor it.

It’s just my highly developed nervous system alerting me to something in my environment that isn’t good for me. So there’s no need to pass judgment on myself or feel like being different is a bad thing. I’m simply HSP/HSS. I’m different for a reason and it isn’t my job to “be” like everyone else or go along with the crowd if it doesn’t serve my higher good. My job is to live my life in a way that’s supportive to and for me.

 

Do you recognize patterns?

For this one I’d have to say yes too. I notice all kinds of patterns and synchronicities. Everything from general patterns in weather, moon cycles, to patterns in people’s behavior and emotions, to traffic patterns, to organizational patterns, to patterns in my own life.

It’s as if my mind lives in a parallel universe and while I’m here, I’m also there doing calculations that the me here is not aware the other me in the parallel universe is doing, and then suddenly I can picture, or sometimes just “sense” a 3-D image showing all the connections. I don’t try to do this, it just is the way it is for me. How I process energy and/or information.

But, my HSS means I need to be mindful about patterns with respect to my HSS. I can get too curious about a pattern and want to investigate it further and experiment. This can lead me into directions I don’t particularly care about.

For instance, at one job I was asked to find a solution for a problem. I could’ve turned down the opportunity without any negative consequences, but instead my, unknown to me, HSS kicked in and I looked for and found the solution. The solution required me to delve in and find patterns. These patterns led to me uncovering a lot of over-billing toward the company I worked for. So, for two years I found all the patterns of over-billing and the company received a whopping $1M back. But was the work satisfying for me? Not really. I just unleashed my HSS with regard to patterns is all.

But I’m thankful for this experience because it now gives me more insight into my HSP/HSS Trait and why I easily recognize patterns, and to be particularly aware of my motives and look beyond the opportunity; to understand and use my HSS responsibly, when it comes to wanting to find out more information about a pattern. And right now, that means delving into the spiritual blessings I’m uncovering as I gain new understandings about HSP/HSS.

 

And synchronicities?

I see these as spiritual blessings. Synchronicities for me are more personal, related to my own circumstances. A certain bird I see, a person I meet, a word or phrase someone uses, an animal, a shooting star, a phrase, a colour, a number, it really could be anything. The trick with synchronicities is recognizing them.

They ask me to be mindful, to “be” in the moment. This is something I’ve definitely had to train myself to do, and continue to. For me, being mindful at first was extraordinarily difficult because this isn't a common aspect of western society, practicing mindfulness. So I had no living example.

In fact if you take a look around you, you'll find most people are busy looking busy, rushing around and looking at their phones. If I tried to do this I would actually be doing the opposite of mindful. Before I began practicing mindfulness, when I bought into the notion that something was wrong with me and tried to “be” like the majority, I’d end up feeling frazzled. Plus I don’t notice patterns and synchronicities as much when I’m not mindful, which are good for me to notice. So I’ve had to embrace the understanding that my way of “being” will “look” different and be okay with that.

Again, this is another area where I have to be mindful of my HSS. I like trying new things and learning new things, but I can overextend myself and end up feeling frazzled. So I have to limit myself and what I choose to invest my time into.

For example, before I knew I was HSP/HSS, I was working a 9-5 job and I'd enrolled in two classes, one was a hip-hop dance class that happened twice a week on a weeknight, and another was a creative writing class that happened on a Saturday afternoon. For me this was too much. I ended up feeling wrung out at the end of the three month commitment to the extra classes. Had I taken one class at a time, or found a class that was one night a week I would’ve enjoyed and gotten more out both of the classes. HSS urges me to explore and try things.

This is another beautiful discovery I’ve learned about being HSP/HSS. At the time I thought something was wrong with me. Lots of people work their 9-5 job and enroll in a couple of fun classes at the same time. But what I realize now is the majority of people don’t experience the world, or what we collectively understand “reality” to be, the same way I do. And, in fact, can’t experience the world the same way I do.

And this allows me to embrace self-acceptance more. For me self-acceptance and self-compassion are processes within themselves. So for now all I need to do is recognize this and “be okay” with it.

And know that my job is to “oversee” what I allow myself to pick up on and to practice mindfulness on a daily basis.

Because my highly tuned nervous system picks up on a lot, and my HSS wants to check everything out – so practicing being mindful is a tool I can use, a blessing. A gift. It gives me a yardstick to measure my progress. A yardstick to measure how much self-acceptance and self-compassion I’m giving myself, and if I’m not, why not?

It requires dedication, but I also benefit greatly from it. I’m calm. Peaceful. I don’t rush around. I give myself lots of time to prepare. For example, if I have a speaking event I make sure to plan for downtime before and afterwards. This is another blessing I received from learning I have HSP/HSS, I can live my life in a way that supports me, benefits me and allows me to show compassion and love for myself.

Did I used to do this? No. Which is why I felt like I was zooming around in space at warp speed. This, for me, was a mistake. And I don’t like making mistakes, no one does, but not only understanding and embracing the notion that I’m meant to make mistakes and learn from them, is part of receiving the blessing of self-acceptance. A process that grants me peace in each moment if I allow it to.

Peace is another aspect that I’m learning about, that I’m training myself on; allowing myself peace in each moment. That I’m not required to “rush” anywhere, “see” anyone, "understand", “do” or “be” anything that doesn’t serve my highest good. Every conscious choice I make can be made in the spirit of peace. This is also a spiritual blessing.

And for me growing my self-acceptance, self-forgiveness and self-compassion have been helping me ease up on myself. Go easy. And this is bringing me yet more peace. Things just keep getting better and better; leading to more gratitude. This is how it’s working for me… pretty cool eh?

Also, my being able to recognize these patterns and synchronicities is directly related to my spirituality. I’m not here to learn what you came here to learn, so my lessons are going to be different than yours. My spiritual journey requires that I honour both my own lessons, and others lessons. Which has a lot to do with boundaries, and I’ll get to that in a bit.

For now, the spiritual blessing of practicing self-acceptance means knowing and being at peace with the fact that I’m not here to do what’s been done before, or follow the crowd.

Not that I’m supposed to lead the crowd either, I don’t believe in the hierarchical model of “leadership”, I’m more into the “tribe” concept. I believe we’re all meant to continue learning with and from each other and I love learning – but I realize I’ve learned a lot and showing my gratitude, for me, means sharing what I’ve learned.

I’ve noticed my soul has different agenda’s based on where I am in my life, what I’m trying to learn (which has nothing to do with the static things people associate with “learning”, like, how to fix a broken carburetor). Don’t get me wrong, things like this are important to learn too. But what I’m also trying to learn is different in nature, what I consider more difficult – like, which life lesson am I working on that I want to understand in this lifetime? Because my life lessons directly correspond to my soul’s purpose which I’ve noticed has included being aware and open to noticing patterns and synchronicities.

Synchronicities and patterns also help me understand where I’m at in my learning process, figure out where to go next, and how well I’m doing (regardless of how it looks to others, because that can’t factor into the equation), and if I’m getting closer, or when I’ve learned that spiritual lesson.

When I do learn it, and typically it’s a difficult lesson, (if it were easy it wouldn’t be worth learning and anything worthwhile is and should be difficult), there isn’t a “rah-rah” feeling afterwards. It’s more a quiet, contemplative, self-congratulatory, humbled, amused-type of feeling, followed by “Ok, what’s next now?”

Of course, I’m not amused in the least when I’m going through the trials and tribulations while I’m trying to learn a spiritual lesson, no way José. Not impressed in the least. Which is why I’m amused at myself afterwards.

Buddha must’ve made a ton of spiritual mistakes because that guy looks like he was totally amused ALL the time.

 

Do you see situations from many different perspectives?

For this one I'd have to answer yes. I typically try to see other people’s perspectives, understand why they feel the way they do, understand their motivations, what it is they feel they need that causes them to act in the ways they do. I’ve learned though, that being willing to see situations from many different perspectives doesn’t require me to pass judgment on a person (or their perspective), it simply means honouring their perspective, honouring their life experiences and how they feel about their life experiences so far.

And understanding that their perspective is just that; theirs. It isn’t mine and while I can honour their perspective, it’s also my responsibility to honour myself and my own perspective.

There is another spiritual blessing in this, in that I can have compassion for "why" someone has a certain perspective. Because there isn’t a “right” or a “wrong” perspective, it’s simply a perspective. Being able to see a situation from different perspectives helps me understand the larger picture, what’s contributing to it and what my part in the situation is; whether I want to make a conscious choice to be involved, provide help, or if I know that involving myself in the situation won’t help; then I’m free to step away from it.

It’s been an incredibly remarkable experience to realize that I’m free to “let go” of anyone or anything that doesn’t serve my higher learning as I move forward. And that these “releases” will change as I keep learning. Once I’ve mastered a spiritual lesson then life will simply remove that seeming obstacle and replace it with another, which is what my spiritual path has lined up next for me.

This is another way my HSS can kick in though. In the past my HSS has caused me to delve into other perspectives, try to figure them out. To see how all the different perspectives contribute to the overall collective “perspective”. This was my HSS in overdrive. Not that that was necessarily a bad thing, because I learned a lot. But it wasn’t a great thing, because I was expending a lot of energy delving deeply into others perspectives.

So now that I know this is something that I’m naturally inclined to do, that (from my experience) a lot of people actually don’t do at all, I can decide which circumstances, situations or people I’ll allow myself to use my HSS to better understand someone else’s perspective. But overall, I don’t need to expend that much energy on it. In other words it means I need to monitor my HSS and how much energy I’m giving to other perspectives.

 

Do you prefer to think carefully before responding or making decisions? (called 'Pause-to-Check').

For this one I’d have to say yes too, I do prefer to think carefully before responding or making a decision – but I also struggle with this because of my HSS, which can urge me to jump in and “wing it”.

For the most part I do think carefully before responding or making a decision. I try to see if I have enough information to make a decision (if I don’t think I do I do some research, but this is a catch 22 because my HSP side can go into overdrive with 'research' and I can spend too much time researching and/or over-analyzing something).

I’ll try to look at as many angles as I can, from my viewpoint because frankly that’s the only one I have, to see what the possible outcomes could be. In some respects I think my HSS offsets my HSP Trait in that I end up making a decision more quickly than I think I would if I only had the HSP Trait. My HSS urges me forward.

Wikipedia says this about High Sensation Seeking or AKA, HSS, “A High Sensation Seeker will find ways to have novel experiences without taking ill-considered risks.” 

A bit vague to me. I suppose a lot depends on what you define as “ill-considered”.  

The phrase, “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music” comes to mind.

Case in point?

Right now I’m on a plane flying to Nicaragua because I want to spend time taking pictures of wildlife in a Rainforest. Embed myself in a jungle for awhile. I’m not sure where exactly this Rainforest is in Nicaragua, or how I’ll get there once I land in the country.  I’ve never been to Nicaragua and I don’t know anyone in that country. But I’m fully prepared. And I know it’ll work out great. That’s my intention. If that makes sense.

Some would consider this an ill-considered risk. In a society that thinks it’s a good idea to fly people into space... where there’s no oxygen. So to me what I'm up to right now isn’t ill-considered. This is a cake walk. But I have quite a lot of experience with various different territories, people and lands so I’m confident. But I also realize that if I didn’t have HSS I wouldn’t be doing this. I know my HSP/HSS will support me and using the benefits of my trait wisely will be helpful.

I’ve learned quite a few individuals who have the HSP Trait also have HSS. I don’t know the statistics of HSP HSS individuals, or even if there are any. What I do know is what this means for me. Which is basically “adventure” syndrome. Curiosity on steroids.

Why?

Because everything is like a Christmas present to me. Everything fascinates me. Everything invites me to investigate, take a closer look, delve in, pull apart, turn over, put back together, make sense of. Just for the fun of it! And once I’ve figured it out I feel the need to open another present!

Of course I didn’t see anything wrong with this before. But, I’ve since learned, others can potentially have a problem with this. And, there seems to be parameters for “how” to go about being curious. So this requires special monitoring on my part.

So, now that I know I have HSS it’s my responsibility to monitor this aspect of myself, and be frugal with what I allow myself to “be” fascinated with. How much energy, meaning attention, I allow myself to give to a person, situation or problem. Because the more difficult a situation, person or problem seems to be, the more energy I’ve typically given it. I liken this to having a gambling addiction or an obsession with figuring out a Rubik Cube.

The things is, I’ve since learned that some Rubik Cube’s are rigged, someone on acid got to some of them and the colours are wack, like games on a midway, or slot machines in Vegas - there is no figuring them out because they’re un-figurable, rigged. Meaning no amount of time, patience, understanding or creative reasoning will improve things.

What is beneficial and necessary is having compassion. If a person, situation or problem is unsolvable to me there’s one thing I can do that will benefit me in two ways. I can give that person, situation or problem compassion - on my way out the door. In this way I’m giving myself compassion as well. And peace.

One of the spiritual blessings I’ve learned is that life is mysterious and beautiful, and it’s also meant to be that way. There are bigger, larger unseen forces at work in this reality and my head would explode if I tried to figure them all out. And I wouldn’t need this physical form and to be blessed with this life to learn my spiritual lessons if I’d already figured everything out.

Plus, some Rubik Cube’s aren’t defective, and I can take my pick of which ones are important to me, that I’ll get satisfaction from solving. But the temptation is there; like a casino for a gambler, drug for a drug addict or a drink for an alcoholic. Except the drug, drink or urge to gamble is built into my personality – my HSS.

HSS is an aspect of myself that feels like, as I’ve heard it being phrased, one foot on the gas pedal and the other on the brake. The HSP part of me is “the brake” and the HSS part of me is “the gas”. And it’s a constant precarious battle of balance I need to maintain, amidst the plethora of incoming information (in the form of people, situations, places, and energies).

It’s something I need to be very aware of otherwise I’ll end up wasting precious time and energy. This doesn’t mean that I can’t be curious, because I don’t think that’d be possible; it just means I have to be willing to be responsibly curious, or curiously responsible.

And this requires a high degree of focus. Because it can start off innocently enough, like a drink with friends at the pub down the street after work, it’s all fun. But if it isn’t kept in check the next thing you know you’re weaving on your seat, staring blurrily at the bottom of a glass at 3 a.m. in a boozy haze while the song, “Desperado” by The Eagles is playing in the background.

This is actually a bad example because having the HSP Trait means my nervous system is highly tuned. It reacts strongly to alcohol, caffeine and drugs. Doesn’t mean I can’t do them, but it does mean it negatively affects me in anywhere from small to large doses. So I refrain. For the most part. I do enjoy the odd glass or two of Cabernet Sauvignon.

For me what seems to work best is daily meditation and meditation whenever I feel like it or feel like I need to, really.

I’ll share that at first I had a heck of a time with meditation. My HSS was out of control. Monkey mind to the max. But I stuck with it, trained and continue to train my mind to empty, release and simply “not think, just be”. That is was okay to just “be”, I didn’t have to always be thinking about solving a problem, or any other number of things.

And I found the more I’m able to attain this level of “being”, that it allows for creative ideas to just pop into my head. They don’t “pop” there though. They’re being given to me, are spiritual blessings. I’m simply a conduit and it’s up to me to do something with these blessings.

At times I can struggle with this though, (hello HSS, how you doin’?) depending on what’s going on, but with effort and focus I can get into this state of “being”, a place that allows me to receive blessings in the form of creative ideas, as well as allowing me to focus and direct my HSS, instead of it directing me.

And that’s it for now. In a few weeks I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned about the rest of D.O.E.S.;

  • Overstimulation,
  • Emotional Empathy and Responsiveness, and
  • Sensory sensitivity

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