Sunday, May 30, 2010

Chaos and serenity

I've been reading about highly sensitive people. An estimated 20% of us have more sensitive nervous systems than others, often due to childhood experiences or trauma. We startle more easily, are less comfortable around bright lights and loud noises; we often need substantial time alone in the quiet and sometimes in the dark. And we have a different relationship with chaos.

This became clear to me after the Tampa trip. I was really happy those two days in Tampa. I had just the right kind of schedule. An interesting work project that I had brought with me (yet only one project) that I could work on as much as I wanted or not. I had a quiet comfortable room to myself with a wonderful view of spacious lawns and wide water. I didn't have much with me so it was easy to keep my belongings neat and organized (not too much clutter). I had people around who wanted to spend time with me and whom I enjoyed but they also didn't mind if I went off by myself and was alone. I tried something new (the spa) and had one big obligation (my presentation). Everything felt in a good balance.

In contrast, when I got home, I had seven work projects stacked up, some with many documents within them. I had dozens of unanswered emails. I had a long string of appointments, both social and work-related. I had a bunch of errands to run, four bags of books arrived from my sister's that I needed to go through, three bags of Goodwill cast-offs to get rid of, bills to pay, checks to deposit--and a partridge in a pear tree (just kidding).

I'm learning that it's not the amount of work ahead, it's the number of things that creates an uncomfortable chaos for me. I like it tidy, I like it spare, I like the easier of focus of one thing at a time until it's completed. Zen-like. That's the direction I want to move in.

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