Unmasking A High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person: Landing
Alright we’re moving into Sensory Sensitivity, part of the D.O.E.S. acronym for:
- Depth of processing,
- Emotional empathy and responsiveness, and
- Sensory sensitivity
And exploring what I’ve been learning about how it relates to my HSP/HSS Trait. To read the previous blog post click here.
We’re heading into the questions posed last week about Sensory sensitivity. I hope you’ve had time to reflect on how it relates to your HSP/HSS. Here we go.
Do you notice the smallest of details?
So for this one I’d have to answer yes. Now for me this just doesn’t translate to noticing if an object in a cluttered room has been moved, or if a button is unfastened on the shirt of someone quickly walking by me on the street. These are the types of things I’ve always noticed and had no idea it was part of my HSP/HSS Trait.
Until a few years ago I didn’t realize that others didn’t notice things like this too though, that approximately 80% of the population doesn’t notice things like this. So it’s given me a strong foundation of acceptance and gratitude to build on in terms of “why” I notice things like this.
Again, I have to be mindful of my HSS in that I don’t spend too much time wondering “why” the object in the cluttered room has been moved, or why that shirt button wasn’t fastened.
But, as an aside it can be fun to engage my imagination and wonder about the “why’s”, like, is Mr. Snoreopolis’s (I don’t know his name but I’ll name him) button unfastened because he woke up late and had to rush when dressing, because his mischievous calico cat stepped on his alarm and turned it off, on purpose, so Mr. Smith would spend more time petting his cat, as is his morning wake up ritual? What a clever cat he has! I know, it doesn’t seem very productive, but engaging my imagination is actually very productive in that it allows me the opportunity to invest in building my creative muscle.
And it’s here I need to digress into realms you may, or may not be familiar with. Because when we think of the word “sensory”, traditionally we’re taught this includes; sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. However, based on my experiences, we actually have access to many, many more senses.
Personally I don’t believe that only someone with the HSP Trait has access to them, I believe everyone has access to them. The only way to access the majority of them though, is to go on a spiritual Underworld Journey to Soul and back. And depending on the level of understanding and acceptance a person has of the world and how it works, of also being able to embrace the “not knowing”, of going through the necessary spiritual psyche initiations - depends on how able much/many of their senses they'll be able to access.
To me this seems to be the reason why there’s currently a great deal of debate over how many senses we have access to and I’ve no intention of joining in the fray by picking a number or listing them. For me that’s limiting, because I’m quite sure I haven’t discovered some and I believe in being open to whatever spiritual gifts my senses deliver me.
This isn’t something mainstream western culture currently comprehends, although it’s beginning to somewhat grab on to a corner of it. If you’re interested in learning more about this there’s a book you may find interesting called, “First Intelligence” by Simone Wright.
Now where the previously unknown benefits of my sensory sensitivity began getting interesting for me was when I began my Underworld Journey to Soul. I believe because I entered the Underworld Journey to Soul knowing that everything I “thought” I knew was going to be challenged, and proven wrong. And this is a confusing and frightening prospect for anyone. But regardless I tried to be as open-minded as possible.
And what I began realizing over time (and after a lot of experiments) was my sensory sensitivity was picking up on information that I had no idea I could access. What’s more it allowed me to experiment and play with energy and energetic vibrations - they began to have meaning, meaning I was able to begin translating into information and patterns; and connecting those patterns together. Witnessing how energy, the unseen, weaves its way in everyday life.
I also realize that my triggers, in relation to my HSS, played a part in this journey. That being triggered caused my HSS “muscle” to grow exponentially as well as work in tandem with my HSP trait.
Of course, this was discombobulating at the time. And it was supposed to be. Because these instances served as initiation rights as I moved, guide-less, through my own natural, indigenous, soul-based spiritual Underworld Journey to Soul and back. Which at times was chaotic, and, again it was supposed to be.
And a great deal of sensory information in the form of energy and information translated through and into dreams for me, a different state of consciousness. Where my imagination wasn’t confined and where my intuition could freely express itself. And these dreams held clues for me that allowed me to continue moving through my Underworld Journey to Soul.
I’ll get more into the complex area of dreamstate consciousness later on, as, contrary to western culture, it’s an incredibly important component of Life; an intractable aspect of what we call “Life”, and a long held wisdom our indigenous cultures have historically both naturally accepted and respected.
For me I agreed to “dive” into this spiritual aspect of “being”, I was willing to give it my all. For me it was evident that this is what was required of me. There wasn’t a “well, let-me-dip-my-toe-in-and-see-what-happens” feel to it. For me I was required to either commit or not. I was required to decide to take the Journey, heed The Call of The Light, or miss it.
And I took time to deliberate before making my decision, as anyone would. It isn’t a light decision to make. It’s a life-changing decision that you know will lead to many more life-changing decisions. And in a world where I was taught the best way to navigate life was to get good marks in school, go to University, get a degree and settle into one to three jobs until retirement – well, you can see how this decision utterly annihilates that “safety-net” concept.
I liken it to The Light giving you the opportunity of a lifetime, to make your lifetime count, for you, and The Light is essentially a sledgehammer (boogie break). It will break you into a million pieces, one glorious piece at a time, while shedding the skin from your eyes layer by layer; and then help reassemble the pieces together, while giving you your sight back - the sight you had before you were born. And it will do this in a way more beautiful than you ever could’ve imagined. But it will not be without pain. Either way, everyone's lives contain pain. The thing is, life is a dance of pain, healing and growth. Destruction and birth.
And afterwards, you’ll never be the same again. And while on your Journey you’ll be required to live with one foot in your Underworld Journey to Soul, while at the same time living with one foot in everyday “Life”.
You’ll be shown spiritual truths about yourself and the world you live in, and there will be elephants in some of the rooms, and you’ll be required to not only notice them but question why they’re there. This is part of the Underworld Journey to Soul; and everyone’s is meant to be unique.
At the same time, an Underworld Journey to Soul and back requires the open-mindedness of “not knowing”, a messy and chaotic process that allows for subsequent initiations of the psyche that then allows for the unfolding of a wholly defined knowingness. There are many stages.
Mainstream western culture currently recognizes only three stages of the psyche; birth, puberty and death. Which, it seems to me, most find unfulfilling, boring, and confining. However, without a way forward, or a Guide, I can see where most would rather settle for this rather than set out on their own Underworld Journey to Soul. I know I wasn’t exactly thrilled to begin my guide-less journey. But begin it I did. And finish it I did. And I’m very grateful I did.
Because my Journey held many clues that the Sensory sensitivity part of my HSP/HSS Trait allowed me to access, and many subsequent flashes of spiritual insight. For example, one of my dreams was what I consider a prophetic dream, and occurred about half to three quarters of the way through my Underworld Journey to soul.
I explain the dream in more detail in my book, “Unmasking: A Journey”, but to summarize I was climbing up a very, very long set of stairs. It took me a long time to get to the top, but once I was at the top I was given the choice of three locked doors to choose from. Then a small man popped up out of nowhere with a set of keys to open whichever door I wanted. And this is where I am now. I’ve finished climbing, have chosen the door and am beginning to walk through the doorway. To begin the next Journey.
And this is how I see everything that’s led me to this point. My Underworld Journey to Soul and back was simply that. And it allows me to continue moving forward towards what truly serves me, closer and closer and now next to; what I love. Everything else falls away that isn’t necessary.
Because each spiritual lesson was preceded by an initiation, initiations of the psyche, and each completed lesson was represented by a stair I had walked up. And eventually I made it to the top of those stairs. Sometimes those lessons required me to fight and sometimes those lessons required me to surrender.
That’s not to say that behind the door I've now chosen there isn’t another set of stairs, because I’m quite sure there is, but I have no doubt my next journey will be much different than my last one. My next Journey will require me to listen even more closely to The Light. And I’m quite looking forward to it! Because, for me, finishing reaching the top of the previous staircase represents a feeling of immense gratitude and appreciation for what I’ve accomplished, that can only be described as an all-encompassing gratitude.
At times it can be difficult for me to separate out my HSS with respect to “noticing the smallest of details”, it’s intertwined with my HSP trait. It causes me to be curious, and move from one question, finding an answer or answers, to the next question which is inevitably deeper. This is where my HSS has served me well. Often I find others don’t want to “look” foolish by asking questions. I’m not too concerned about that. Questions and questioning reflects intelligence.
And if I didn’t have the HSP/HSS Trait I wouldn’t have done the work, accepted The Call and gone on my own Underworld Journey to Soul - to discover all the spiritual blessings waiting for me, to discover a love so precious and fragile; yet powerful and unbreakable. To understand that time, space and energy work in ways that are undeniably mysterious, and embrace that mystery with reverence. To accept my place in the organic wholeness of a wild, natural world.
Are you better at spotting errors and avoiding making errors?
Better than who? Who am I to compare myself to? Because there’s no one like me, and there’s no one like you. And the thing about an error is we don’t realize it was an error until we’ve made the "suppposed" error, and then the current construct wants us to beat ourselves up about it. This was one of my spiritual lessons and it was a difficult one.
Western culture is designed for conformity and shame is one of the tools it uses to enforce this agenda. If you're interested in more info about this I wrote a blog post about this a few months ago, called "Spirituality versus Conformity."
Now, given you’re a person who believes in peace and finding solutions I would challenge you, as I challenged myself, to obliterate this concept. Because it’s fraught with harsh judgment that most people typically use against themselves, both consciously and unconsciously. I challenge you to bring those thoughts to the forefront and question them while lovingly embracing them.
Why? Because what can seem like an error, is a spiritual blessing in disguise. Historically many inventors, philosophers, scientists and musicians have made many errors to finally arrive at their destination. Were the “errors” a “bad” thing then? No. Because without those errors they wouldn’t have arrived at their destination. Those “seeming” errors contained information they were able to mine and then use that information to move forward - toward their destination, where they were supposed to arrive.
What I’ve noticed is that HSP’s, myself included, tend to be less accepting and forgiving of our own limitations and errors than we are of others. And this is where compassion comes in. Most likely because we know we're different, and this is supposed to be a "bad" thing in current western culture. This will be a process, but I encourage you to begin kicking that belief to the curb and instead begin building the muscle of compassion for yourself. Take the time to appreciate and acknowledge the beautiful gifts that work in tandem with the challenges of your HSP or HSP/HSS Trait.
A fun exercise I like to do is to look in the mirror and tell myself, verbally – out loud, all the things I love about myself, to myself, like, my offbeat sense of humour, my quirks, my strengths, my passions. And for me it feels good to exercise compassion for myself in this way. Of course it felt odd when I began doing this, because - who does this? But I’ve noticed that it helps me feel “good in my own skin”, and underscores the fact that it matters little what others think or feel about me, what matters is how I feel about me.
I do believe though that most individuals who have the HSP Trait pick up on a lot of information, so it’s easier for them to pick up on an “error”. Which may seem like a benefit, and it is, but again, having the Trait means you pick up on a lot of information, and so there's a benefit to monitoring your environment and those you interact with and determining what it is you’d like to pick up on.
How my HSS affects me in this area is that if I notice an error I want to understand the “why” behind the error. I don’t necessarily see the error as an error, you see? Because if it turns out, as I’ve found in many cases, there could be a glitch in a process or system, then it has nothing to do with the “person” who supposedly made the error. So it isn’t as important to me to identify “who” made the error as much as I’m more inclined to look at the “why” of the error.
I actually really like this aspect of myself, in that it allows for a much more compassionate view of both myself and others. Errors are inevitable, it’s how you deal with the supposed “error” that determines how you move forward.
Does your body react to certain foods and/or chemicals in your environment?
I’ll answer yes for this one. For me I experimented for many years with foods, household cleaners/chemicals, caffeine and tobacco and I noticed a big difference in how my body reacts. I did much of this experimenting while I was on my Underworld Journey to Soul.
It wasn’t that anyone was asking me to make these changes, I somehow just knew I needed as much information as possible and that foods and chemicals in my environment had an impact on what I picked up on - and I needed to understand how my body reacted to foods and chemicals in my environment.
That isn’t to say I needed to live in a bubble, because I didn’t and don’t. But by keeping as many constants in my diet and environment as possible, and then one by one experimenting with a change, like say, eating no meat, and then observing how my body and brain felt after a time - helped me understand what was beneficial for me, and what wasn’t.
I do believe my HSS played a big role in this, in that I wanted to understand “if” and “why” my body reacted to specific things in my environment. For example, when I changed from using regular household cleaners from the market to using vinegar, baking soda and water, my environment felt cleaner, the air smelled cleaner, my body reacted well to the change, and I felt better. I wasn’t expecting there to be a difference, but I noticed that, for me, there was.
I also noticed that making these changes allowed me to access subtler energies.
Do you need more personal space?
Yes. As I’ve mentioned previously there’s the preconditioning an HSP usually receives in childhood, at least in western culture, that leads them to believe they need to “be” there for others. That if they aren’t they’re not fulfilling some part of an imaginary agreement. So understanding that giving myself the gift of "personal space" means understanding, accepting and honouring what works for me. It also means I'm practicing compassion for myself.
And again each situation is different, but for myself I’ve learned it’s more important to give myself the time and space I need, so I can bring my best self forward in the relationships, situations, and circumstances I choose to engage in. Some people choose to call this “setting boundaries”, instead I rather look at it like openly letting others know that my time and energy is limited, as is everyone’s, and then working towards an arrangement, if possible, where all benefit.
In a world where 80% of the population doesn’t experience life the same way I do, I understand that the gifts and skills I bring to any relationship, situation or circumstance will be different, the perspectives will be different, the values may be different - and so being able to be open to whatever that relationship, situation or circumstances is; allows me to move forward with an inner peace, whether it’s within that relationship or in relationship to myself.
Okay, that’s it for D.O.E.S.!
I may add more to this later, but for now we’re going to move into the area of local HSP Meetup Groups and what my experiences have been creating and organizing one. I’ll cover how I set it up, screened members, managed my time, experiences I had running HSP Discussion Groups, and generally any observations I think you’ll find helpful.
I’ll be titling the new post “Welcome To The Jungle”, for obvious and not so obvious reasons. To read the next blog post click here.
See you then, and as always post a comment below, anonymously if you’d like.