Ane Axford, MS, LMFT, New York, New York: www.sensitiveandthriving.com
I felt an immediate sense of relief and letting go as we met each other on the first day, feeling each other out for any harshness or cautions…there were none. I think we all were strong HSPs who were comfortable with ourselves alone, hoping to connect with others but not NEEDING it. So, this allowed us to just be with each other in such a childlike way. We got to express what we normally reserve for alone time with such a warm and welcoming group of fellows. We got to be in touch with our curiosity, and the mushy parts of ourselves that are not fully formed…expressing them and exploring them as we expressed them.
I think the individual comfort that each of us had as individuals allowed us to be so sweet and innocent (I agree that these are great descriptors of the gathering) with one another. There were no stones to throw…and so there were none to watch out for either.
Art Night and Creativity Night were rich due to this experience. I think all of us shared things that were not fully formed or that we were not necessarily confident with, yet it felt ok to share them and make them up as we went because we knew there would be no stone throwing. We were all exploring together, hand in hand. It was truly a beautiful experience with such soft souls willing to be so comfortable with their not knowing, vulnerability, and mystery of being.
For me, I came quite unsure of what to expect. I couldn’t help noticing how participants watched out for each other, respected each other, showed genuine concern for everyone in our small clan and truly enjoyed (and were relieved!!! about) being together.
It felt to me that the burdens I schlep around in daily life didn’t tag along to Black Mountain. We were free! We were free to be authentic, act without pretense and able to cherish each other for exactly who we are and what we are able to offer.
For me it was another wonderful opportunity for me to connect with other HSP’s. I’ve be3en to two Gatherings now, and both the locations very amazing and well chosen for our needs. I find the gatherings a place where I do not have to put up any defenses and feel safe to
be who I am and deal with what ever comes up without the pressure of getting
things right, and being in a room full of like minded people is a true gift
Mona Moore, Independence, Missouri
I think the sweetness and innocence came from the desire to be vulnerable….it seemed so many really wanted to be seen and heard…to be understood… and were watching and waiting to see if that was going to be possible there. As confirmation of a safe environment became evident, soft little voices began to reveal their hearts and soon they began to speak out without hesitation. And then the relaxed laughter and the recognition of each other as a special connection. It is very difficult to let oneself be vulnerable ‘out there’. I think HSPs breath a sigh of relief when given the opportunity to express this side of themselves in not only a safe setting but especially in one in which what they say and feel has meaning to the rest of the group.
I felt nervous and unsure the night we all joined together for the first time. The energy in the room felt heavy. So many seekers coming together, looking for answers, full of expectations and complicated pasts. How can Jacquelyn handle this? I wondered. I’m sure my own predicament colored my perceptions. The previous week I had been deeply hurt by a person very close to me. I was filled with astonished pain and grief. I had to keep searching for the ability to set this anguish aside and enter into the weekend.
Then, as we all know, everything gradually opened, like a clenched flower bud
relaxing and unfolding into the light. Jacquelyn led the way. She presented
really useful information in a warm and personal manner. She was rock solid in
her knowledge and insights but so wonderfully human when asking for help with
Then, Ane touched everyone with her life story. She stood before us
glowing with the power of embracing vulnerability. “We are all ok just as we
are,” she said. I soaked up those words like water in the desert.
The heart of the gathering for me though, came from everyone of you. At first
I couldn’t believe it. It seemed, somehow, that each time I talked to a new
person the conversation went straight to connection, straight to meaningful.
What was this? No need for small talk, no self-protection games, no ranking.
Whew! This was beautiful! Every person there was so beautiful! Everyone was
so deep and so willing to be deep and go deep. Reeling as I was from a
relationship where talking was impossible, this was HSP heaven. It was so
freeing to be with people who acknowledge that they are incredibly complicated,
that life is complicated, and who are open to exploring complexity.
So, my feelings about the gathering went from hope with trepidation to hope
fulfilled and wanting more. When I look at the photos I am filled with warmth
and love. And, I can’t tell you how thankful I am to be able to feel those
feelings. Except towards my children I had not been able to access such feelings
for a long time. I am trying to recover from this personal crisis I have been
in. The experience of the gathering and the words that have flowed between
everyone since then have helped me more than I even know.
I’m thankful for you all.