Before I update you on last week’s adventures, welcome to all of you who are new subscribers. Thanks for reading….and thanks to all of you who have read what I write and still come back for more!

In the last Listening Post I explored why I sometimes break my own HSP self-care rules. I divulged our crazy plan to get a new futon couch (and four chairs and a rug) up to my grandparent’s summer cottage in Ontario….all in one 13-hour day.

And yes, we followed through! We left right on time, drove to Watertown, picked up the U-Haul, and drove to the storage space where I’d had the stuff shipped. Pleased with my logistical prowess, I was settling up with the storage company owner when my partner came in from loading the truck.

“Em,” he said, “The mattress isn’t there.” “What?” I said. “We checked all the boxes,” he said. “The mattress isn’t there.”


(We found out later the company had neglected to ship it.)

In the end, our little adventure stretched over seven days (I made a special trip back over the border a week later to pick up the mattress.) It involved a U-Haul, a boat, five border crossings, a dozen phone calls, and approximately 217 unprintable words. (Most of the latter were uttered immediately upon discovery of the missing mattress.)

How on earth is it that I remember this as a positive experience? Because I do, and it’s not just the pleasure I feel when I recall how great all the new stuff looks in the cottage, and how much the family appreciated our efforts. Looking back, I see we made three choices that helped us both enjoy ourselves despite a grueling day and bouts of crankiness:

We set a strong intent

As we left, I asked Duke if we could make it a priority to be kind to each other, roll with events, and stay open to support from unexpected places. He said “Sure.” And to our credit, though tempers wore thin at moments, none of the above 217 unprintable utterances were directed at each other.

But tempers did wear very thin, especially around eight hours in to this adventure, and that’s where the openness to support really helped. Customs officials were kind to us. A loon closely escorted us partway across the lake. We saw a spectacular double rainbow across the highway on our way back to return the truck. And as I read the fine print on the side of our U-Haul about camels having migrated across Canada “back when,” I cracked up imaging Canadian homesteaders (which included my great-grandparents) arriving in Saskatchewan on camels.

We trusted our HSP intuition

My partner (who happens to be an HSP too) and I really trust each other’s intuitive “knowings,” and that spiritual “tap on the shoulder” saved us untold time and hassle during this adventure. I felt a “tap” coming in to Watertown, where we were to pick up the U-Haul. I just knew something wasn’t right. Acting on my intuition, I made a call, and discovered our truck was awaiting us at a different store than we had planned….and we were exactly two minutes away from that store!

Duke felt “the tap” going through customs the first time. He was morally certain that a U-Haul is not a truck, as far as customs is concerned. I said, “How can something that is called a truck not be a truck?!” But he had that guidance-flavored calm about him, and the truck line was horribly long and slow, so I trusted his judgment. Sure enough, we passed through the car line 30 minutes later with no hassles.

We took great snacks

No matter how great your spiritual intuition is and no matter how well you plan, things go downhill fast when you are hungry and thirsty. My partner and I go from mature, pleasant, capable adults to terrible two-year-olds when we aren’t fed, so I knew not to cheat on the food part of the HSP self-care equation. I packed really great snacks. Cold sliced grilled chicken, homemade bread, pate and crackers, honeydew, peaches, and plums, hummus, carrots. We also had a great book to read aloud.

This comes down to self-knowledge. I can handle a really long, crazy, overstimulating day if I have the right intent and good snacks (and yes, I did start my day with meditation: I virtually never miss that.) The right company makes all the difference too: I’m lucky to have a partner who is game for this kind of insanity.

What are your self-care non-negotiables? Are there certain elements you need to have in place, to be able to push and stretch yourself?