THIS IS THE BEST THING I’VE READ IN A VERY LONG TIME
I LOVE IT: From Elaine Aron, writer of Highly Sensitive People
As some of you know, I took off three months from my usual tasks (mostly answering emails, doing interviews, speaking, etc.) to focus more on writing and research. I was surprised by how happy it made me. Almost ecstatic! I realize that I thrive on being creative, as do most HSPs, and I have not been seriously creative for years. Interviews and emails often involve repeating the basic information about HSPs over and over. I do enjoy speaking and especially answering questions, which allows for creativity. But speaking involves hours of arrangements to be made (more emails) beforehand, and afterwards I am always exhausted. I needed to go back to what I was designed to do, and that is creative writing – whether fiction, nonfiction, or new research articles.
“But you write so much already!” To be truthful, after twenty-five years of writing advice for HSPs, I find that it no longer feels creative. Of course, it may come to feel creative again, but I want any future advice I give to be more creative, wiser. Deeper. After being asked so often how HSPs have been affected by the Pandemic, at one time I might have given some pat answers – maybe “in three ways,” even – but now I feel strangely irritated by the question. How should I know? How are left-handed persons affected? Not only are we differentially susceptible, but we are all in different circumstances and have other personality traits. What about introverts versus extraverts? People living alone versus living with people they love, or living with people they can barely stand? I just do not feel like lumping you all together right now, on the one hand, or trying to address the issues of dozens of subgroups of HSPs.
So here is some advice after all, in the form of questions without answers from me because it would differ for each of you. Are you doing, at least some of the time, what you really love to do? What you feel you were meant to do? What makes you happy? Can you find a way to do it more?
One other thing: Once you get into anything truly creative, be prepared for serious moments of doubt about its quality and how others will receive it. Creative means different. Different is risky. But if the work is making you happy, maybe it is worth the risk. And maybe it is excellent.
Bottom line: Three months was not enough for me and I am going to continue focusing on the writing I want to do right now. You will see emails from me less often. Let me be your role model. If you can manage it, be sure to do what you want. None of us will live forever.
It was only a month or so ago when Joe Kittle introduced me to his new friend, Lan Thi, and as we talked, Lan introduced me to “highly sensitive people” a phenomenon I hadn’t known about. Yay! It is thanks to Lan that I can share the link above. (She sent me this one and many more). Of all of them, this is the one that stood out. To see a public figure willing to say she can’t repeat the same information, write matching emails or attend to the details any longer is comforting. So much of living in a new way is being willing to be done with the old!
I’d call Elaine one of the women of the new, women who cease to go along with the way things have been. It feels scary as you begin, but how else do we get to anything at all that is new—nonetheless—“The New,” spoken of in ACOL and “Mirari.”
Aron reminded me, for the first time in a long while, that in the early days of ACOL I often referred to the Course’s Chapter 7:
“The harsh realities of the world may claim your body and your time, but this one piece of yourself that you have set aside you allow it not to claim. This piece is held within your heart, and it is this piece with which we now will work.
“This is the piece that screams never to that which would beat you down. Life is seen as a constant taking away and this, you claim, will never be taken from you. For those whose lives are threatened, it is called the will to live. For those whose identity is threatened, it is called the cry of the individual. For others it is the call to create, and for still others the call to love. Some will not give up hope to cynicism. Others label it ethics, morals, values, and say this is the line I will never cross. It is the cry that says, “I will not sell my soul.”
“Rejoice that there is something in this world that you will not bargain with, something you hold sacrosanct. This is your Self. Yet this Self that you hold so dear that you will never let it go is precisely what you must be willing to freely give away. This is the only Self that holds the light of who you are in truth, the Self that is joined with the Christ in you.
“To this Self is this appeal put forth. Let it be heard and held within your heart. Hold it joyously alongside what already occupies your heart—the love you set aside and the piece of yourself that you won’t let go. As you learn that what you give you will receive in truth, you will see that what abides within your heart is all that is worthy of your giving and all you would receive.”
Then there is the “tender hearted,” within The Course Introduction, and a Chapter called “The Time of Tenderness.”
- “This course was written for the mind—but only to move the mind to appeal to the heart. To move it to listen. To move it to accept confusion. To move it to cease its resistance to mystery, its quest for answers, and to shift its focus to the truth and away from what can be learned only by the mind. . . .
- “The mind will then tell you how to feel according to its rules and will resist all ways of feeling, all ways of being, that appear to run counter to these rules, as if it knows, because of these rules, how things are. I t will speak of love to be helpful and with all sincerity, and yet the very logic that it uses, though new, wounds the heart of the most tender, of those most called to love and its sweetness. “I am wrong to feel the way I do” the tender-hearted says to herself and, convinced that another knows what she does not, covers-over her tenderness with protection.” I:1-2
“The mind will speak of love . . . and wound the heart of the most tender. I:1.3
- And from The Course Chapter 3: “Such foolishness as your heart’s desires will save you now. Remember it is your heart that yearns for home. Your heart that yearns for love remembered. Your heart that leads the way that, should you follow, will set you certainly on the path for home.” 3:18
- Our hearts take wing with joy and break with sadness. Not so the brain that keeps on registering it all, a silent observer, soon to tell you that the feelings of your heart were foolishness indeed. It is to our hearts that we appeal for guidance, for there resides the one who truly guides. 3:17
Course Chapter 24 reassures us: “You may feel as if everything makes you want to cry because everything will touch you, each lesson will feel tender. Unlearning has no harshness about it. If you simply allow it to come, it will reward you constantly with what can best be described as tenderness. C:24.1
- “The time to resist tenderness is over. The time to resist the tears of
- weariness is over. This is the time of the embrace.”C:24.2
We need all the encouragement we can get to embrace the feminine and masculine within—in unity. Men as well as women possess feminine ways of knowing (the way of Mary). It is needed, not just for living love, or for the world, but for our own wholeness. To listen to our feminine urge to look “deeply,” and to find our own “heart’s desires,” (C:20.41) is crucial.
Be your own self. Model no one. But don’t stay with half the package of your knowing being. Embrace the feminine and masculine within. Combine compassionate knowing with your unique strength of will. Surprise yourself. Free your Self.
My first book on The Way of the Marys, “Mirari,” was published last year. A second book, Memoria: The Way of the Marys will be out by the end of this year.