A Report on the Pacific Northwest HSP Gathering Retreat,
Aug. 27-31, 2006
Comments from the Pacific Northwest Gathering
A story of Grief, Love and Healing
A Meditation of Hope and Love
HSP Gathering in the UK, April 6-10
Read more about all the gatherings here
WomenOutdoors Retreats in Colorado
A quarterly newsletter from HSP, Jacquelyn Strickland, LPC
January 2006, Winter | Archives Here | First Page
A Meditation of Hope and Love
It happened again last week and it could have ruined the rest of my day. For HSPs, encountering events such as this can be particularly challenging to recover from. I was in the shoe department of a local store. Sitting on the floor near me was a young boy about 9 or 10 years old surrounded by many pairs of shoes which he had obviously tried on and discarded. I noticed he was in the adult size 8 area and suggested he might have more luck by looking in the smaller sizes two rows down. He looked up at me and said "Oh, I looked there. They didn't have any tennis shoes, and besides, I can wear any size from 6 to 8. I don't mind if they are too big." I looked down at the shoes he was wearing on this cold day. They were torn and dirty, and he was walking on the heel of the shoes which had been worn down.
My inner child immediately connected with his urgent need for a new pair of shoes. As a mother I suddenly became sad and angry that his parent seemed to be no where in sight. I was immediately tempted to activate a call to arms for the "social justice advocate" part of my HSP trait, find his parent, and ask permission to buy him a new pair of shoes. I did escort him to the smaller size area, and as he had said, there were no shoes in his size. He thanked me and off he ran. I was left feeling burdened by the unmet needs of this child, yet I was reminded once again that I cannot save the world, or its children, from harsh realities.
This story is but one example of the many incidents that can affect HSPs in this world. There are daily harsh realities, especially on a global scale that can continually challenge our sense of joy. These kinds of images tend to burrow deep into our inner worlds and we can begin to feel overladen. We want to make a difference, but more often we are left feeling helpless.
I would like to share the following Meditation of Hope and Love as I have found it helpful in restoring some strength and in helping to release the burdens we take on in this manner. This small ritual helps me feel I have done something for the planet's suffering and reminds me to be thankful and to continue to develop my faith and radiate my hopes for a better world. It was first published in The Comfort Zone in Volume 7, Issue 1, 2002 and is revised and reprinted here with Elaine's permission.
A Meditation of Hope and Love
By Jacquelyn Strickland
First written in December 2001;
revised in December 2005
You will need your journal or a pad of paper, some music that is ready to play and makes you feel blessed or soothed, and a good supply of twenty-five-cent votive candles.
Find a meditation time - at least thirty minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time and space, preferably in a place special to you, and one where you can have candles. Sit or lie comfortable (I prefer lying with a cozy blanket over me.)
- Begin breathing in deeply through your nose. Focus on blowing all your breath out - as if blowing out a candle. Breathe in deeply again, this time to a count of 8 or 10, and hold this breath for a count of four. Breathe out, again as if blowing out a candle, counting to ten. You want to create a very deep cleansing breath. Notice: You might begin yawning, or drifting off to sleep. Go with whatever feels best for you. There is no 'doing it wrong' here. Just keep practicing until eventually you can complete the whole meditation.
Now the Difficult but Important Part:
- Allow yourself to focus on all the worries that you have. A lost job? A troubled relationship? The war in Iraq? Unfulfilled dreams? Lovingly acknowledge your worries and ask them to wait in line. Assure them they will all have a chance to be heard. In your relaxed state, visualize them in line, and as they come up to be heard, give them a name, like Lost Job, Boy Needing Shoes, the Pakistani earthquake victims, the war in Iraq, or whatever issue is weighing heavily on you.
- With each worry, discern the feeling associated with it: fear, anger, frustration, sadness, envy, powerlessness? Whatever it is, allow it to be there with the worry. No need to change it. It is okay to feel this way.
- After you have allowed each worry to surface and be heard with empathy, reassure each one (which should now have a name) that it has been heard and you will not forget it.
- Thank yourself, your inner wisdom, and your sensitivity for allowing this time and for what you have shared and learned.
- Slowly bring yourself out of this relaxed state. You can move your body, stretch, or drink some water to assist you in becoming fully alert.
- Put on the music you have chosen for this part of the meditation and gather your votive candles around you.
- For each worry you have named and honored, light a candle to commemorate your connection to it - the pain, struggle and your hope and love. Give your attention again to each for about ninety seconds as you watch its particular candle glow. During these ninety seconds, imagine your concern being released and embraced by a higher source of power. For some, this 'waiting embrace' is God, for others it is a universal source of abundance. Whatever is real to you. Close your eyes and visualize the concern being received with love. Let it go there. Let it go.
Repeat this as often as needed, even daily. If you watch the news, keep your candles nearby for your ninety-second remembrance of each trouble in the world.
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