Tag Archives: Soul Talk

HSPs and the Holidays

The holidays are stressful for many people, but for Highly Sensitive People (HSP) it can be much more overwhelming.  I’ve always known that I don’t handle life like most people and about five years ago I discovered why I felt different.

Although relatively few people are aware of it, as many as 15-20% of the population are HSPs (Highly Sensitive People). Elaine Aron, in her book The Highly Sensitive Person, states: “People differ considerably in how much their nervous system is aroused in the same situation, under the same stimulation.  . . . (HSPs) notice levels of stimulation that go unobserved by others. This is true whether we are talking about subtle sounds, sights, or physical sensations like pain. The difference seems to lie somewhere on the way to the brain or in the brain . . . We reflect more on everything. And we sort things into finer distinctions.”

Christmas can be especially overwhelming with thoughts of “what needs to be done” in order for it to be the perfect holiday. For me it brings on emotional overload. Anticipation leading up to that glorious day is overwhelming to me.

I stay away from malls this time of year. Several years ago I went to a large mall to go Christmas shopping.  As I walked around the long halls with never ending storefronts I became full of anxiety.  People everywhere were walking in and out of stores with name brand bags hanging from their arms.  My emotions kicked into high gear as I started to think of people purchasing gifts they knew they couldn’t afford, so they could create a “perfect” Christmas, only to wonder how they would pay off their credit card bills after the holidays. It felt like a frenzy and I couldn’t handle the anxiety of it. I had to leave the mall.  That was the last time I entered a mall during Christmas.
Elaine Aron says, “What is highly arousing for most people causes an HSP to become very frazzled indeed, until they reach a shutdown point called “trans-marginal inhibition.” I definitely had reached that point and I could not leave that mall quickly enough.
Being able to handle major life events has always posed a challenge for me. The result has often been bronchitis or fatigue because of the stress to my mind and body.  As I get older I handle events with even more anxiety.  I’ve been misunderstood many times because of avoiding stressful situations, including family events. It’s often perceived as a lack of love or respect for others, however, this could not be further from the truth. My true nature is love and peace toward everyone.

If you find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed these tips might help you to enjoy the season a little bit more:

  1. Commit to only a couple of events or parties – don’t try to attend them all.
  2. Take advantage of online shopping and avoid the crowds at the mall.
  3. Learn to say “no”. Simply say “I’m sorry I can’t make it” – and leave it at that.
  4. Be aware of what you eat. Candy and cookies can cause brain fog and fatigue.
  5. Listen to Christmas music that relaxes you.
  6. Sip a cup of hot tea while taking in the beauty of your Christmas tree lights. If you don’t have a tree, light a scented candle. There’s something soothing about watching the flicker of a flame.

Remember this: Don’t compare yourself and your preparation for Christmas with anyone else. Holiday joy is unique to each person. Allow your holiday happiness to flow from your soul without feeling like you have to be like anyone but who you uniquely, beautifully are.

Christmas blessings to you!

 

 

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Serenity – Quiet Your Soul

Work, errands, bills, family, health, cooking, cleaning, and the list goes on. We live in an age where multi-tasking is the new norm. You know the scene well. Stomach in knots, easily irritated, always thinking two steps ahead, To-Do list a page long, and the list goes on and on.

Stop! Serenity is just a moment away from your present reality. You get to choose! So right in this moment . . . chose peace – chose serenity. No matter what is going on – conflict in your mind, exterior chaos in your living situation, tension in relationships, stress of finances, fear of the future – you have the power to quiet your soul.

Serenity is one of those things that, if you try too hard to grasp it, it eludes you. It enters when you merely allow it’s presence. When you feel that richness, fullness and peace – you know it has seeped into your soul.

butterfly sunny day.jpg

Simple steps to feel serenity:

  1. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Imagine allowing the warmth of a sunny day to flow deep into your lungs. A butterfly lands softly on a beautiful flower and a gentle breeze wisps across your face. Feel peace flowing into your lungs and seep into your soul.
  2. Breathe out worries, tensions and anxiety by picturing a box filled with heavy hammers and wrenches being dumped out along with all of your burdens.
  3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 over and over
  4. Feel your mind, your muscles, your lungs, your heart relaxing and feeling light, relaxed and fluid.

Become intentional about allowing yourself to have moments of serenity in your day. Visit this place as often as you’d like. Remember – – – you can create this kind of peace in your life. It’s a choice.

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

America the Beautiful – God Shed His Grace On Thee

America the Beautiful – By Katharine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

How long is “too long” to wait on God?

Have you been waiting for provision in some area of your life?  A job? A place to live?  A meal?  Or just someone to smile at you so you don’t feel so lonely?

God is faithful.  How many times have you heard that and yet you are still in the same situation you were in six months ago?  You scream, “If God is faithful, why am I still praying for changes to take place?  When will life take a different turn so I can get back on track?”  Frustrations have mounted and questions swirl around in your head.  Waiting for God feels like a lost cause and you are totally drained to the point that there is nothing left inside of you that even wants to cry out to God.

 Now you are right where you need to be.  Totally drained of yourself so God can start pouring Himself into you.

What would it look like if you found yourself wanting God more than wanting anything else in life?  Wanting him more than you want that job.  Wanting him more than you want your marriage to work.  Wanting him more than you want your daughter to stop seeing the boy she is dating.  Wanting God more than you want your next meal.  Its a new way of thinking.  In Larry Crabb’s book SoulTalk, I like the line that says:  I want to experience God through whatever means he provides and keep trusting him whether life gets better or not. 

Recent circumstances could have caused me to question God’s goodness.   My husband and I have been challenged in the area of jobs, finances, and health.  All major issues looming over our heads while we have waited on God to show himself.   However, we have committed to standing on the promise that God’s peace is enough to get us through until the thing that needs to happen to make our circumstances better actually starts happening.  We have waited and trusted, waited and trusted.  Slivers of doubt have tried to creep in.  Discouragement has tried to get us to distrust God’s word.  But we keep turning our eyes back to Him.  We are determined that whether or not our circumstances change, we still have a beautiful relationship with God and that will never change.  As we wait our faith is growing, our dependence on Him is deepening.  Good things are starting to happen.  Is it all perfect?  No.  But circumstances are improving.  More importantly, our dependence on Him has grown.

You get what you get!  I’ve always said that about the way God created our individual bodies.  However, that also goes for life in general.  Whether life has recklessly tossed a bag of bad apples your way or gently placed a golden nugget in your lap, either way you have to do something with what was given to you.  We prefer the gentle placement of things in our life, but that doesn’t mean that the things that are thrown at us are any less precious.   Ask God what He would have you learn from your present circumstances.  “God, what do you want me to do with this bag of rotten apples?  Can I make a difference in anybody’s life with this?”   You could cut out the seeds and plant them.  Eventually something beautiful and fruitful will come out of it.  Some day it might bless a family and feed them when times are tough.  It is difficult in the midst of trouble, but try to envision what it will look like beyond the present circumstance.

How long do we wait on God to act?     We wait as long as it takes to see his hand in our circumstance.  In the meantime, we get to know Him better.  We cultivate our faith.  Determine to allow life to be well with your soul, no matter what you face.   Nothing can improve upon our life more than the way He fills our soul when we lean completely on him.

I leave you with the words to one of the most beautiful songs ever written:  It Is Well With My Soul – – –

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

God bless you on your journey.

Do not grow weary in well-doing for in due season you will reap, if you do not lose heart.  Galations 6:9