A Personal Remembrance of Neil Armstrong

By my calculations, the moon rose in the earth’s heavens roughly 15,730 times from the time Neil Armstrong first set foot on its surface until he died on August 25th of this year.  During those 43 years, I’d often look up at night and spot the Sea of Tranquility. A momentary thought would form, reflecting that man had walked upon it and the universe seemed a whole lot “smaller” as a result. It made me feel comfortable somehow, and proud to be an American.

Like all baby boomers, my formative years revolved around two great opposing national agendas, which were flip sides of the same “Cold War” coin. One was the Vietnam War, which polarized the nation in dramatic and often violent ways. The other was the “space race to the moon,” a grand competition for world technological dominance over communism, which unified the nation.

From the NASA space program arose a new crop of national heroes called astronauts, leading the charge with ever more daring exploits. Of these larger-than-life space jockeys with the “right stuff,” Neil Armstrong clearly occupied the top spot. A former naval aviator and civilian test pilot, he was the first human to walk on a planetary body other than earth. Many members of my generation hailed him as an icon for the ages. In hindsight, much of this adulation was crafted by NASA to keep its programs funded. But Armstrong didn’t buy into the hero label one bit despite the constant media and public adulation.

Neil’s quiet dignity reflected his solid mid-western values. These were rooted in the Great Depression and World War II eras, when the survival of democracy was under tremendous pressure and Americans worked together to achieve success. He was humble but determined to find the answers he sought. He believed that education and hard work are the keys to personal happiness and professional success.  There was also a dash of pocket-protector geek in him plus a dab of calculated risk-taking when he thought the rewards outweighed the risks.

Neil was a diehard aviation enthusiast. His heroes were pioneers from the early days of American aviation such as the Wright Brothers and Jimmy Doolittle.  As a youngster, he was enthralled with flying, and took his first flight in a Ford Trimotor before he turned six. Armstrong earned his flight certificate at age 15, before he had an automobile driver’s license. He was active in the Boy Scouts, eventually earning the rank of Eagle Scout. Neil graduated from Purdue University in 1955 with a Bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering and later was awarded a Master’s degree from the University of Southern California.

Armstrong initially served his nation as a naval aviator during the Korean War, flying 78 missions from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Essex. After the war, his career blossomed as a civilian test pilot for NACA (the predecessor to NASA) in the 1950’s, including seven flights in the supersonic X-15.

Finally, in 1962, he was selected in the second group of NASA astronauts and the first civilian. In 1966, Neil flew his first space mission in Gemini 8 as the Command Pilot.  He demonstrated his coolness under pressure by making a safe emergency landing in the Pacific Ocean when the space craft suffered a major in-flight malfunction.

Of course, in 1969, he was the Commander of the epic Apollo 11 lunar landing mission and became the first human to walk on the moon’s surface. His extraordinary composure under difficult circumstances saved the mission. As the lunar module was descending into a boulder-strewn area, Neil manually took control of the ungainly craft and made a safe landing with only seconds of fuel to spare. Hundreds of millions of people around the world breathlessly watched TV on July 20, 1969 as the Eagle landed on the moon and Neil calmly set foot on its surface. We didn’t exhale until four days later when the spacecraft Columbia splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, and was recovered by the USS Hornet. He was overwhelmed by the outpouring of public demand for his presence.  Instead of embracing the trappings of wealth, he chose to become a college teacher.

My connection to Neil Armstrong begins with the USS Hornet Museum in 2008, while writing the book called Hornet Plus Three. I needed information that could only be provided by one of the astronauts inside the spacecraft as it descended into the earth’s atmosphere. I mailed a letter to Neil’s “generic” post office box in Lebanon, Ohio, seeking clarification on a specific issue about the Apollo 11 flight.

I waited many days for a reply, sometimes taking the mail directly from the hands of the postman. On May 6 (my 60th birthday), I turned my computer on in the morning and did a casual glance through the emails. Lo and behold – there was one from Neil Armstrong! I was as excited as a small child on Christmas morning and could hardly wait to open it:

“Hello Bob –

The recovery, from my point of view, went extremely well.  The command module had come to rest in the “stable 2” (inverted) position, so we had the experience of going through the procedure to bring it to an upright position.  Clancy and his gang did an excellent job of securing the CM, getting us safely out of the spacecraft, completing all the procedures for safeguarding earth from lunar pathogens, and getting us into the basket to be lifted up to the recovery helicopter. The helicopter gave us an excellent ride and smooth landing on the Hornet.  And the welcome by the Hornet and its crew, and the welcome by President Nixon, was memorable. We were convinced it had been a perfect recovery.

As a matter of fact, I didn’t remember that the return to Pearl was 2 and 1/2 days.  Dr. Carpentier took good care of us, the food and drink was excellent (compared to our rations during the flight) and we had a great deal of work to do (getting our thoughts recorded as preparation for all the post-flight debriefings for which we were obligated).

The quarantine (in Houston) was a necessary nuisance but valuable for providing an atmosphere conducive to completing all our post-flight paperwork and interaction with later Apollo flight crews, systems specialists, flight controllers, etc. The quarantine process, while a nuisance, provided us the opportunity to do the work that needed to be done.  In view of the intense public interest in the flight, that would have been very difficult without the quarantine requirement. And the quarantine was a constant reminder that Apollo 11 had been a success in reaching the national goal of landing men on the surface of the moon and returning them safely to earth.

All the best, Neil”

From that day on, Neil generously gave his time in helping me understand the flight and recovery issues of Apollo 11. He shared a significant amount of personal information, only asking that I respect his privacy and not give out his personal contact information. He even volunteered to write the foreword for the book, but pressing issues about new Orion spacecraft caused him to just write a cover blurb.

The highlight of my museum career came a year later, shortly before we launched the new book (with fellow moonwalker Buzz Aldin aboard the Hornet Museum) when I unexpectedly found this email in my inbox:

“Hi Bob – I returned to my office from some travel and found HORNET PLUS THREE awaiting. I must say, it is an exceptional job. And it fills a gaping hole in the Apollo history. Dick did a fine job on the foreword. Thanks for your tenacity and perseverance. Well done !! Neil”

Occasionally, our conversations would stray into other areas. This past May, the Hornet Museum was planning a major event to pay tribute to General Jimmy Doolittle and his Tokyo Raiders. I emailed Neil to see if he would like to make a contribution to our event guide. He immediately responded:

“Thanks, Bob – I had the great pleasure of knowing and working with General Doolittle. In addition to his many military achievements in war and peace, he was, in intellect, character, thoughtfulness and wisdom, also four star. He was, by any measure, a great American.  My best, Neil”

After numerous emails and telephone conversations over the years, I finally met him in person at the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony on Capitol Hill in November 2011. He was a humble and caring individual with a very sharp mind, a true “grass roots American” who sloughed off all the fame and celebrity that everyone wanted to heap on him. Even though he was surrounded by the rich and powerful in Washington, his face lit up when he saw the USS Hornet recovery team and stole away to have a private moment with us.

I am proud to say that Neil Armstrong remains one of my heroes. He will be held in high esteem throughout human history, not because he was a celebrity but because he was a great human being who dared to explore new horizons in the service of mankind.

Godspeed, Neil.

On the Set and Backstage Memories

If the man pictured with Pat Boone in the previous story looks a little familiar, he just may have sold you an ad. Joe Redmond had been a Northern California resident since 1979, and after 20 years as a motion picture exhibitor and distributor, he worked as an advertising representative, mostly in the East Bay. Joe represented publications in the Alamo / Danville area, including for the magazine you are now reading—ALIVE.

Joe considers working at ALIVE, some of the best years of his life. “It was exciting to see the start of what I believe is the region’s most unique and yet, perhaps, underrated publication.”  We asked Joe to tell us about his previous sojourn in the movie business:

“This is far from a success story, but I wouldn’t trade my starving days in the movie / theatre world for anything. The only modicum of success was in the 70’s when I was a film booker and publicist for a major theatre corporation.

My dad, Joe Redmond Jr. was the real item. After acquiring a movie contract with Paramount Pictures in the early 1940’s, he also acquired a contract with Uncle Sam–dad got his draft notice the same week, which ended his aspirations of becoming the next Bing Crosby or Dick Haymes. After the war, he returned to the Midwest Kansas City, Missouri, where after 20 years, he became Vice-President in charge of Advertising for Fox Midwest Theatre Corporation.

I was hooked on the movies for as long as I can remember. When dad came home from work, I would race to his brief case to find the latest trade magazines that featured the news of the film world. Comic books took second place to Motion Picture Herald and Boxoffice Magazine. After two years of college, and at the ripe old age of 20, with the bewilderment of my parents, I took the train to Los Angeles with about $250 in my pocket, along with  a couple of letters of introduction to some film acquaintances my Dad knew. Amazingly, it worked, for within a few nervous weeks, I was gainfully employed.   I worked as assistant to the manager for the Alex and Glendale Theatre in Glendale and soon after part time in the publicity department at Warner Brothers in Burbank.

This was a real coup, for there was a waiting list a mile long for the lowest job there. An old buddy of my Dad’s worked in the advertising department and I got on. It paid practically nothing, but it was a job everyone wanted because it was at a movie studio.  Actors, particularly would sell there soul for it. My ambitions were never the performing end of the business—I wanted to be the guy that came up with the way to sell the movie, after it was made.

Working there was akin to being a page at NBC. I was trained to give tours (mostly the TV part of the studio) to visiting VIPs.  But in the short time that I was there, I encountered some people and experienced some things that I will remember all my life.

As I said, most of the tours I gave had to do with the television productions that were being shot at the studio. The major feature films being shot were on closed sets, not open to visitors and quite restricted. The TV shows I visited with my audience of ten or twelve, were delighted to watch such shows being filmed like ” 77 Sunset Strip ”  Maverick”  (sorry no James Garrner, as he had already departed from the series, but Jack Kelly was there as brother Bart), Hawaaian Eye, with a young Robert Conrad, (who I later ran into in a grocery store in Arnold, California where I reminded him of our first encounter almost 50 years ago). All of these shows are now pretty much forgotten, but some show up on TV Land, from time to time.

Some of the real gems that I did on my own were really something….and with-out being too dramatic, were kind of historical…like having ice cream and cake with a six year old named Ronny—the  future award winning director, Ron Howard, at a birthday party for director Morton Da Costs, on the set of The Music Man.

During the Thanksgiving holidays in 1960, I was sent from the Alex Theatre in Glendale do be the temporary assistant at the famed Grauman’s Chinese Theatre—Fox’s flagship theatre, and still today, Hollywood’s number one tourist attraction. Everyday was a joy for this star-stuck kid—a far cry from my routine duties in Glendale. Besides my regular assignments, I had to police the famous courtyard, with its constant flow of camera- carrying tourists.

The holiday attraction was a film called, “Let’s Make Love.” On the opening day of this attraction, for the first showing, I was asked to personally escort a very nondescript woman to a seat in the back of the theatre. I was told, at the risk of losing my job, not to breathe a word of who she was. I had no idea of who she was! It turned out that the woman was, none other than…Marilyn Monroe—with no make up, wearing denim overalls and scarf around her head. She hadn’t seen the picture she was the star of. It was the second to last movie she ever made.

On The Music Man sound stage, I watched Buddy Hackett, in rehearsal clothes, do the SHopoopie number, and Robert Preston and Shirley Jones in the cake walk dances. Best of all was two weeks later from a great vantage point , I actually watched the filming of the Seventy-Six Trombone-Parade.

During my time at the studio, I saw quite a few films being shot, but it’s very true it’s almost boring to spend anytime watching what’s taking place—first you don’t know what they’re doing and everything takes hours. One of the films I do remember was a highly publicized movie from a best selling book. It was called The Chapman Report. It had an all-star cast: Jane Fonda (then only 22years old), Shelley Winters, Claire Bloom, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and a slew of other well known people. Well, this all-star classic was so bad, to this day, no one will dare show it on television. I met practically everyone in it.  If it was any good, I’d be bragging about it today…come to think about it, I guess I am!

Because I now came into contact with a lot of people that worked in the industry, I was able to attend parties—not exactly the ones for the rich and famous, but fun to be sure.  I wrote home that I was hob-nobbing with the stars.  My mother responded by telling me to behave and stay away from wild parties. In reality, they were pretty tame, but exciting none-the-less. This was the early 60s, and pretty much before the sexual revolution (as they say), and drugs was not the norm The parties were on the week-ends and in apartments in the Hollywood hills and off Santa Monica and Sunset Blvd.

I pretty much met the ‘second tier’ of film people in the business. Some of the people I remember have maintained a career, even up to today. Most everyone was usually on their best behavior, because if they were working they had to be up at the crack of dawn.

I met people that only film buffs might be familiar with, and they would all be over 50 years old today—no superstars, but established actors, like, Jim Hutton (father of Timothy), John Saxon, Connie Stevens,  Dalores Hart (now, not only a nun, but a Mother Superior), Michael Callan, Fabian (Fabian Forte—then an Elvis hopeful), Duane Hickman (Dobie Gillis ), Nick Adams and many more. I’ll never forget talking to Johnny Mathis, in somebody’s kitchen—probably the most famous person at this particular party and too shy to go and mix with the other guests

When fate had me back in the mid-west, I was employed as a film booker for National General Theatres (formerly Fox). Oddly enough, I dealt with more film stars in Kansas City, Missouri, than all the time I spent in southern California. As a part of the film department, one of my duties was to take care of movie executives and celebrities at the theatre owners’ conventions. In Kansas City, at a convention called Show-A-Rama (today it’s known a s the National Theatre Owners Convention—NATO) the most popular motion picture stars receive awards voted by the theatre owners—the most promising new-comers, tributes to veteran luminaries, and most important, the male and female “Star of the Year.”

My duties at the conventions were to baby-sit, or better stated, see to the needs of the vip’s and celebrities, facilitate interviews (radio and television) and transport them from airport to hotels, etc.  It was at such conventions that I handled stars with which, even after 40 some years, most young people today would be familiar with. From the mid to late 60’s, I worked many of these events that put me with some of the biggest stars of the day.  Some were a bit difficult and a few were out and out stinkers, but for the most part, I met some terrific people that made it to the top of their profession.

Jack Lemmon was one of the ‘Star of the Year” recipients that stands out. Of all the big names I met, he, along with Pat Boone who I was with recently, are definitely two of the nicest. To use a line from Lemmon’s classic, “Some Like It Hot,” ‘Isn’t he a little bit of Terrific?’ Lemmon didn’t want people to make a fuss over him and seemed genuinely apologetic when people were nervous meeting him.

One year, I worked with Shirley MacLaine and at first was very intimidated because I heard she was a bit difficult and demanding, but after a few awkward hours, she turned out to be very nice and a lot of fun. Being very young, I was a little nervous around her, but she was very funny and candid and told some stories that were very surprising, like the fact that Dean Martin was more the family man and Jerry Lewis, was the real ‘ladies man.’  She even invited me to tag along with her entourage, to go see jazz great, Betty Carter, who was appearing locally.

The beautiful Natalie Wood, was sort of an enigma—shy and quiet, extremely polite and not a bit animated like some of her film roles. She was very sweet, but also kind of distant.

I then spent some time running guns in Ethiopia, fought in the Spanish Civil War, on the losing side…WAIT A MINUTE, that’s not me! I didn’t do that! That’s Casablanca!

Sorry, I’ve seen way too many movies.

Joe and America’s Sweetheart

If anyone was to ask me what was my most memorable time working and assisting the stars, it would have to be being assigned to take care of, at the time—America’s Sweetheart—Miss Debbie Reynolds.

In 1967 the ‘Star of the Year’ was Miss Debbie Reynolds. Reynolds was already a film veteran of over 15 years in Hollywood and most recently an Oscar nominee for one of her signature films, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”

The convention always lasts from Monday morning to closing ceremonies on Thursday afternoon. Reynolds was scheduled to arrive Wednesday morning and was originally scheduled to receive her award that evening at the Muehlebach Hotel’s banquet ballroom.

Somebody goofed up the agenda, big time, and the Wednesday evening banquet had such a full program that the Reynolds ‘Star of the Year’ ceremony was pushed back and now scheduled for the following day at the closing luncheon. The film company, Columbia Pictures, and the people representing the film that Reynolds was there to promote were livid—upset that they and Miss Reynolds were stuck in Kansas City a full 24 hours, before the presentation. Everyone was mad—everyone, that is, but Debbie Reynolds. Professional that she was, she told everyone to cool it, and stated, “Hell, I’ve never seen Kansas City before.”

I was scheduled to pick up various film people as early as seven in the morning that Wednesday, and after picking up Mike Frankovich, then president of Columbia Pictures and depositing him at The Muelbach Hotel, I was then told to pick up the Reynolds party at the airport next, which I did.  It was when they arrived at the hotel that they learned of the one-day-early mistake.

I thought that was the end of my participation with the Reynolds situation,  but no,  the frantic convention people passed the buck, and wanting to distance themselves from the problem, simply said, “Have Joe Redmond entertain Debbie Reynolds, what else can we do?”

When I was informed of what they wanted me to do, I said, “Sure,” but in reality, I was scared to death. At the time, I was pretty capable in my work, but I was very young, star- struck and naïve—to put it mildly, I was petrified. What was I to do?

Among the Reynolds’ entourage was an advertising man from Columbia Pictures, (the film being promoted was, Divorce American Style, co-starring Dick Van Dyke), along with Reynolds and thankfully for me, and a celebrity in his own right, Sidney Guilaroff, MGM’s chief hair stylist, who was there as a traveling companion to Debbie (they were close friends).

As it turned out, Sidney Guilaroff was an antique and history buff and fascinated with the architecture and buildings in the Midwest. This was my hook. I took that knowledge and ran with it. So not knowing what I was really doing, and certainly making it up as I went along, I drove the party to every antique store I could think of, and toured Kansas City’s most attractive real estate (after Paris, believe it or not, it’s called the Second City of Fountains), and also a trip to the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri.

Being a native of KC, I was able to pull this off and they must have thought I knew what I was doing because they were genuinely interested and told me no one had ever done this for them before. Most of the time there was laughter coming from the back of the Cadillac all afternoon. I was either very entertaining or so odd that this was all very amusing for them. I like to think it was the former.  I’ll never forget the reaction of so many Missouri retailers when we walked in to all the places with ‘Tammy’ herself.

After returning to the hotel, some three or four later, I said good-bye and thought I had done my duty.  Exhausted, but at the same time a bit exhilarated, I planned to relax and enjoy the convention with my wife, who was there as a guest. Flash forward to 7:30 pm.  I’m sitting at a table, preparing to have dinner along with a ballroom full of people, waiting for the evening’s entertainment and the Wednesday banquet, I referred to earlier.

All of a sudden, I heard my name being paged to go to the convention headquarters table.

Debbie Reynolds and party were about to leave for dinner at Kansas City’s most elegant restaurant, Putch’s 210, on the Country Club Plaza. I was informed that she (Debbie), would not go unless ‘that nice young man’ would drive them and dines with them. I went back to my banquet table, and a little dazed, say good-bye to my wife and friends, and returned to the lobby to leave for the restaurant. Then Debbie said to me, ‘Where’s your wife you’ve been talking about so much?  What’s wrong with you? Go right back and get her!’

So, my wife now retrieved, we piled into the limo and were on our way to dinner with Debbie and company. After driving for about 10 minutes from downtown…I’m out of gas. Oh no! Incredible as it seems now, I ran out of gas right in front of a service station. With the help of an attendant, I proceeded to get some gas—I was only a few feet from the pump. After this near disaster, there was again more laughter from the back seat, and again, Debbie was as sweet as can be. A few years later, Debbie was to make a movie with James Garner called, ‘How Sweet It Is.’ It should have been called ‘How Sweet She Is.’ We arrived at the restaurant and I recovered a bit of my wounded dignity by having the violinist at the establishment, play us in to the strains of the song ‘Tammy’ –a little corny, to be sure, but it worked.

After a wonderful meal, wine and laughing, of course, (Debbie even danced to ‘Zorba the Greek’) with the amazing coincidence that she and my wife, Annette, had the same gym teacher in high school in Burbank and who was also married to a friend of hers. This coincidence made the evening even more memorable.

Over the years when I was near a Debbie Reynolds appearance, whether in Las Vegas or other venues, I’ve wanted to try and see her and possibly visit. She has appeared in places close to me, but I never got the chance to make the event. I never got the chance, that is until recently, when I got my ‘second date’ with Debbie.

She was in Omaha last year for a showing of one of her milestone films, ‘Singing in the Rain.’  We had that visit and she certainly remembered that ‘nice young man who ran out of gas,” so many years ago in Kansas City, Missouri.

As far as I’m concerned she’s still “America’s Sweetheart”.

Washington Welcomed Tri-Valley Winners to Bath Ruth World Series

The Tri-Valley Babe Ruth 13-year olds are still reeling from the All-star Baseball team’s incredible winning streak through the Northern California Pacific Southwest Regionals, and the World Series Championship. Under the guidance of Manager Sean Venezia and Coaches Rick Fryer and Todd Moore, the team competed in the Babe Ruth World Series in Washington.

Adhering to the Babe Ruth League prerequisite since 1961, 120 boys from nine regional teams spent the week with local host families. As guests in local homes, it added a new dimension for the boys; banqueting at the Suquamish Indian Reservation, a Naval Museum visit and a Mariners game. Some went fishing in saltwater Puget Sound, rich with giant crab and salmon.

The first night kick-off of the Babe Ruth World Series started with a parade in host city Poulsbo. The grand marshal was Jim Lefebvre, former Dodgers 1965 National League Rookie of the Year, and Seattle Mariner and Chicago Cubs manager.

The champion baseball teams were presented at the World Series opening ceremonies, attended by dignitaries and U.S. Navy personnel. Planes flew overhead, and skydivers with red-white-and-blue parachutes delivered the game balls to the Gene Lobe Field. It was an exciting start to a week of the best of the best youth baseball.

The Babe Ruth League founded in 1951 in Trenton, New Jersey, was sanctioned by Claire Ruth herself. “Babe Ruth loved children and baseball; my late husband could receive no greater tribute than lend his name to a youth baseball program…”

Nationally, the league has about a million players on over 56,000 teams. Among the Babe Ruth League’s star alumni are; Nolan Ryan, Mike Trout and Alamo’s Joe Morgan. Tri-Valley Babe Ruth alumni include SF Giant’s shortstop Brandon Crawford, and two 2012 First Round Major League draft picks; Mark Appel and Stephen Piscotty.

The Tri-Valley Babe Ruth League was formed in 1990 with Dublin’s Camp Parks as home field, and has earned national recognition with ten World Series appearances and five World Series Championships.

This year the TVBR 13YO lineup boasts some of the league’s best players from Pleasanton National and Foothill, San Ramon, Tassajara, and includes several Danville Little League All-Stars who clinched the Nor-Cal Championships two years in a row. The 2012 World Series players are Dante Albanese, Ryan Bowman, James Cowick, Jared Dawson, Clark Eder, Jack Fryer, Darroch Koel, Jack Maloon, Max Moore, Jack Morgan, Matt Neswick, Josh Ott, Saiki Roy, Nicholas Venezia and Nathan White.

The team’s streak took them all the way to the Washington World Series Semi-Finals, before being knocked out by Greenville, North Carolina, who in turn yielded the championship to the Bryant, Arkansas team. The Tri-Valley All-stars are champs; they are our Boys of Summer.

Are You a “Highly Sensitive Person”?

When it comes to being in an environment with loud noises, strong scents, or bright lights…are you sensitive? Furthermore, do you feel overwhelmed and frazzled when you have too much to do—in a limited amount of time? In a school setting or at work, do you have difficulty performing while being watched?
If so, then you may benefit from learning more about the traits of a “highly sensitive person” (HSP). Psychologist Dr. Elaine N. Aron coined the term “highly sensitive person” in 1996. Since then, she has written four books on this fascinating topic (she’s a “highly sensitive person” herself).

According to Dr. Aron, and other clinical researchers, about a fifth of the population are highly sensitive people who process “sensory data”—sounds, sights, smells, and physical sensations—deeply and thoroughly. As a result, the thorough sensory data processing style of HSPs may trigger over-stimulation of the nervous system…that can lead to stressful feelings of overwhelm.
Now, on the other hand, there are plenty of positive traits that result from being an HSP. For example, “highly sensitive people” are often:

  • Creative
  • Intelligent
  • Intuitive & empathic
  • Deep “thinkers” & “feelers”

Okay, now that I’ve accentuated numerous positive traits of HSPs, I’ll admit that I am a “highly sensitive person.” Yep, I found out that I shared many of the associated traits when I attended one of Dr. Aron’s lectures and book-signing events back in the nineties.

Meanwhile, in a world that appears to thrive more and more on intensity — it’s important to maintain balance. It’s vital that HSPs have access to “self-care tools.” For example, planning ahead regarding how to handle sensory-intense situations and to protect themselves from feeling over-stimulated by their surroundings …is important for HSPs.

~ Three TIPS for “Highly Sensitive People” ~

  1. When in Large Groups—Take Frequent Breaks                                                                                                                                                         Because HSP nervous systems are prone to hyper-arousal in groups—due to high levels of sensory stimulation—a short break can be a good self-care strategy. For instance, a “bathroom break” is an opportunity for HSPs to not only use the facilities, but also to splash cool water on their faces, and relax by taking slow, deep breaths. Bringing their focus back to themselves (and the present moment) in a less-stimulating environment is one great way to momentarily… retreat and recharge!
  2. Divide Large Tasks into Small Steps                                                                                                                                                                                        To avoid feeling overwhelmed by a long “To-Do” list, HSPs should divide large tasks into small steps. Then, they can prioritize the asks. To make the tasks even more manageable, they can create two separate lists. Next, they should focus only on the first list and take small steps to achieve completion of each task. Whittling down one manageable “To-Do” list at a time may help the HSP avoid a stress-induced “freeze response” (aka: “analysis paralysis”). That way, productivity and personal satisfaction…will keep flowing.
  3. Carry a Pair of Earplugs*                                                                                                                                                                                                          HSPs often feel stress-levels rise when they are in noisy environments. So, carrying a pair of earplugs is another great “self-care” strategy. For example, at movie theatres or live concerts, sometimes the high-tech sound systems are turned up to a volume that’s “a bit too much” for an HSP’s ears. That’s when reaching for a pair of foam earplugs can be a blessing. Adjusting the foam inside the ears can help to control how much sound is received. As a result, HSPs can “dial down” auditory intensity…and “dial up” enjoyment!

Finally, due to sharing the gifts—and the challenges—of being a “highly sensitive person,” I have lots of great tools to offer my clients. If you resonate with the HSP traits that I’ve described, then, feel free to call me…and strengthen your important “self-care” strategies.
*Foam earplugs housed in a handy carrying case (on a keychain) are available online from a company called Flents: Key’p It Quiet.
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Join Trina and attend her Walnut Creek workshop for women and men: Managing Emotional and Compulsive Eating—John Muir Women’s Health Center: Wednesday, October 17, 6:30-8:30 pm. Cost: $40. Seats are limited—register today for this inspiring workshop: (925) 941-7900 option 3. For more info, go to www.TrinaSwerdlow.com & click on “Private Sessions & Workshops.”
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Trina Swerdlow, BFA, CCHT, is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, an artist, and the author and illustrator of Stress Reduction Journal. She currently has a private practice in downtown Danville. You can reach her at: (925) 285.5759, or info@TrinaSwerdlow.com.

Certified Clinical Hypnotherapy services in California can be alternative or complementary to licensed healing arts, such as psychotherapy.