Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Whiny HSPs?

There's this notion that sensitives tend to be whiny, dark, and brooding. Especially if we're writers. And especially if we're the type of writers who journal, maintain personal blogs, and reflect on our observations about life in a creative fashion. The truth is that we are. Whiny, that is. But that's not because we hate life, ourselves, and everything around us. We don't want to commit suicide or go on a mass murder spree, really. It's because we care. We take life personally, with two capital P's.

Is this something as HSPs that we need to apologize for or avoid? I don't think so. I certainly don't see the non-HSPs ostracizing themselves for being a "bunch of complainers" or speaking up about their opinions and the way they feel. HSPs ostracize our own actions because we don't like to cause any problems; we don't want to be viewed negatively. We'd rather make the world more harmonious, beautiful, and free of social injustice. Please feel free to comment if you think I'm "wrong."

I think this attitude is a bunch of BS. Believe me, I kind of had a hard time getting over it too. But the way I look at it is that we're being "whiny" for several reasons. We notice things that are out of sync that others don't and it affects us more strongly. We see what needs to be changed to make the world or our own lives better somehow and then we advocate for that change until something gives. Non-hsps whine just as much, if not more so. But they don't see the need to change or even know how. They stay unhappy because "it's just the way things are done." I watched it firsthand for almost six years. They'd rather keep on existing in a morally and spiritually crushing environment because there couldn't possibly be another way of living.

I've been writing this blog for a year and a half now. I admit that it's mostly a journal or diary about snippets of my life, my opinions about certain matters, how I think the world perceives HSPs, my own inner experience as one, and some of the experiences I've had or are trying to have. Frankly, I'm amazed that anyone reads it at all. I'm not famous (nor do I wish to be) or have a list of works published by a major house. I'm grateful people do. But I don't write this blog for a particular audience. If a person likes it, wants to read it, and it helps them in some way, great. Honestly at times it feels really vulnerable and ridiculous.

I'm an experimental person. In life and otherwise. I like to try new adventures. I like variety. I like to look for ways to reinvent the wheel. If I don't like something or if something feels a little "off," I change it. But I've also become a practical person, financially. I know when it makes more sense to make a change and when it makes more sense to "wait."

The point of any writing, especially that of a journal/diary/personal blog, is to document what the writer is feeling at that point in time. As humans, we're evolving creatures. Isn't it great that there's a way to capture who and what you are at different points of your existence? You may not have those thoughts again and there might be some "genius" or "epiphany" that you'll read years later, realizing that you've always had all the answers you've needed within. Old words and reflections can bring comfort. They might even make you smile through those tears that are still flowing down your cheeks from a few moments earlier.

As writers, bloggers, authors, creators we can also touch and affect others through our words and use of language. Granted some won't like us, but that's why there's other books, blogs, magazines, and writers that exhibit a style that resonates. It's one of the times that writers make connections, even if they are indirect and remote. Through someone else's words, thoughts, "whining," and ramblings, we all see that we're human. We hear what most don't have the balls to admit or talk about. We finally see and experience truth. We might even make a difference for someone who needs something to hold onto.

So, excuse me for "whining" and "opining." I wouldn't know who I am, what I think, and what I want if I didn't. Sensitive or not, I will be damned if I'm not going to reveal what's real.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Trimming Process

When I was a teenager, I went through this vegan stage. This was before Alicia Silverstone made it popular. And before you could really find a lot of soy substitute products in stores, besides experimental fake cheese and bad tasting soy milk in a box that smelled like it had just been gathered from a sewer. I was in a nutrition class, facilitated by Mrs. "V" who thought it was so fascinating that she had a student who didn't eat any meat, egg, or dairy products.

I think I was 14, maybe 15 at the time. I don't know why I decided to do this vegan thing, but I had read about it. I was intrigued. It was something different, cutting edge, and I had the feeling that I should try it. Making that decision meant that I resolved to cut or trim certain things from my life. That decision affected a lot of things. As a consequence I had to check every nutrition label before eating a meal. In the early 90's this wasn't as easy or forthcoming as it is today. I also had to start taking more vitamins and even stopped getting my periods for awhile. When I became listless enough to start running red lights, I decided to put the eggs and dairy back in. The one upside was I managed to consistently weigh under 120 pounds.

This wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I could no longer stomach the richness of milk, cheese or eggs. To this day I still buy light soy milk and reduced fat ice cream and cheese (made with skim milk) because my system can't handle the richness. I'll eat scrambled eggs and a small omelet every now and then. But I have to sprinkle on a ton of Tabasco sauce. The hotter the better. I still don't eat meat unless I'm feeling super weak. No hamburger, no steak. Just a little salmon, tuna or grilled chicken.

Trimming or cutting things from our lives is something I think most of us do periodically. Especially if we tend to overload ourselves with too many responsibilities, commitments, and interests. I recently accepted a job offer in my small CO city. I didn't do this because I wasn't making enough money with my freelance work or no longer wanted to write. In fact, I'm losing income potential by working this job as a computer tech for the school district. I accepted it because I need balance. My hats go off to all the full-time writers out there who can stand staring at their own four walls day in and day out. I'm not that person. I need interaction. I need to help people. I need to feel like I'm "out there" making a difference. And that's not something I feel like I need to apologize for. It's part of who I am. And yes, I'm still writing. Just part-time. I'm not releasing that part of me either.

Nor am I ruling out a potential relocation in the next two years or so. I've only owned my home for three years. There's no rush, given current market conditions. I do better when I attack change slowly anyway. Less anxiety. Less discombobulating.

But, I have too many writing commitments to be able to juggle this new job. I've thought about giving up my MFA program. After all, I don't need another masters degree. I certainly don't need an MFA to have a writing life, sell a book, or network with a writing community. And it's expensive. Very expensive for such a laid-back, non-academic approach to learning. And it requires me to live in another city for more than a week at a time. When I was working on my MBA I never once entertained the notion of quitting. Sometimes I wonder why I'm thinking about it with this degree so soon. I wonder if I'm still the type of person who is going to be able to get something out of it. I wonder if I will be able to feel inspired again.

I've thought about terminating one of my writing contracts. Do I really need to write for five websites as a part-time freelancer? With minimum contract obligations, that means I'm spending another 25-30 hours per week working at home. At least. If I'm lucky, I might get a chance to speed read through the novels and craft books for my MFA program. If I'm even luckier, I might get my fiction writing project period contract obligations turned into my mentor on time. I might fall asleep during the online conferences, but hey, my name will still show up on the chat roster, right?

This is not a way to live a life. So I must trim. Something. Or maybe two somethings. It's not going to easy. Yesterday I was in one of the local library branches, picking up the books that I've committed to reading for the next month. Reservation Blues, Oryx and Crake, On Becoming a Novelist. I picked up a few others too. One of them is by the author who led my writing workshop in June. She's a "product" of the school's MFA program. I was curious to read one of her works because she was so kind, helpful, and had some similar ideologies. As I was walking through the stacks of books in the library, I thought "do I really want to give this up?" I never dreamt of seeing one of my books in a library as a child. I never really dreamt about writing at all until some of my high school teachers nudged me in that direction. But during those years I did immerse myself in it. I took AP English and just about every film/theatre or literature class I could get away with. I wrote poetry for fun and completed a novella for my senior project. I'm not sure I should just walk away, despite my feelings of culture shock after returning to this world.

I've ran over all my writing contracts in my mind. There's some that have nastier editors than others. Some offer boring topics. Others pay significantly less per article or hour. But they all have some sort of value to me.

The solution might be simple. Reduce output to the minimum for all contracts. Make less money. Pay off the undergrad student loans and the car loan. My bank might miss sitting on a pile of cash. But I doubt I will.

Trimming is about a few things. Priority, need, and want. It's about being truthful and honest about those three things. Subjectively honest. As the author of one of the writing craft books I recently read eloquently said "the truth doesn't come out in bumper stickers."

And Ms. Former MBA, this decision is going to take more than a bumper sticker solution.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Why Being an Empath is a Gift-Part Three

I came across a blog post the other morning that briefly stated that empaths have more power than we think we do. By power, the blog's author meant spiritual or thought manifestation. I know this sounds a little too "Secretish." I have two copies of the book (thanks Mom) and sometimes roll my eyes when I read its pages. And I certainly don't back the idea that empaths walk around with the magical powers of "Mickey's Sorcerer" at their fingertips. I do, however, think that empaths have the ability to send and receive energy.

The experience can be kind of freaky, eye-opening and compassionate at the same time. As the blog post suggested, sometimes we wish for a little bit of something and we get a whole lot of it. The other night ABC broadcasted a special segment about how identical twins have a higher occurrence of telepathy between them than the general public. One of my friends and I have this ongoing discussion/debate about how parallel selves have the same sort of "spiritual" relationship. We don't reveal the identities of our "other halves" because of course that would be an astral privacy violation. We just compare experiences. And he helps me understand what's happening and why. He and his parallel self have been consciously "interacting" a little longer than I have with mine. But even that's debatable as I continue to discover more and more synchronicity.

No one knows how the telepathic process works or why it exists. Despite the scientific tests, professional observations and numerous personal accounts, the official stance is inconclusive. Scientists think that there's a higher incidence among identical twins (even after the death of one) because these are essentially two people who directly separated from the same source. Mirrors. Duplicates. One person needed to become two.

Parallel selves are spiritual twins. The same soul or astral body has incarnated twice. They will have many similarities, synchronicities between their lives, and be learning the same lessons. However, if they do interact the relationship will be very similar to that of sibling rivalry. Parallel selves often learned the same lesson from opposite angles, so their perspectives and choices might clash. Despite that they feel intense compassion for each other. Each one of is a guide to the other; a supporter in times of distress. A bright light of inspiration when either one needs it. And they have a lot to learn from each other. How do you recognize a parallel self? In the eyes and the heart. It's like looking into a mirror, but not exactly. Don't be surprised if you "meet" virtually. You'd probably faint otherwise.

So what exactly am I getting at? Is this "energy sending" thing just for the closet psychotic or for those who live in geographic locations famously known for a higher proportion of "fruits" and "nuts"? How is vibe sending, thought manifestation and telepathic communication beneficial? They're gifts because we have the ability to experience and learn to trust the unseen. There's something reassuring about receiving validation that something exists beyond our physicality. It's one of the times that we get a sense that we're not alone. And there's some purpose to our existence besides being the direct descendents of monkeys.

There's also something beautiful about emotion, which is the vehicle that these methods of "communication" use. Sometimes that emotion can be overwhelming, especially if it's unexpected. There are times that being receptive to the energy and emotions of others makes you want to block it. But then you realize the vulnerability of being able to receive that energy is what makes any type of connection possible.

Recently one of my high school friends posted on Facebook that she felt very alone in this world. It was a feeling that spun from the fact that her mother is battling a terminal illness and she wasn't getting the instant support that she needed. I publicly asked her what was wrong and then privately exchanged some words with her that I hoped would be encouraging. It's not easy to watch your parents decline. They're kind of like bookends that have always been there to lean back on for support and guidance. Their existence makes you feel secure, that you have a connection, and that you're not alone. And for most of us, they're the only ones who have consistently been there from day one.

I suppose it's the emphatic experience and connection with unseen energy that makes us comfortable with the idea of physical separation. Thought manifestation teaches us that what we see stems from what we think-if not instantly, then somewhere in our journey. Nature has this very subtle way of communicating through silent energy that is so primeval and yet freakishly accurate. It's powerful in its own gentle stillness; a nothingness that can suddenly become something beautiful and extraordinary without explanation. Winds that rustle through the trees on a stormy summer night, a rainbow without rain resting on top of the clouds, the sudden foam white whoosh of the ocean against the sand of a beach; the possibilities are endless if we just listen.

The ability to open up to that energy, to listen to it, to become it-that's one of the things about being sensitive that makes it possible to spend our human experience living.