I met my new acupuncturist last week and when she finally thought she ‘got’ me, she said, “You’re just too porous.” She came to this conclusion when I described how being in the wind effects me, sometimes making me feel disoriented or disassociated all while knowing I’m neither of those things. She subsequently wanted to know if I would consider surrounding myself with a membrane that would keep the bad things out and only let the good things in, “like a cell’s membrane”. Though I didn’t address it in the moment I did on this blog a few years ago and am revisiting it here with slightly different language.
There is a particular myth that has long outgrown its use and it is that empaths must learn to be protected or shielded from universal energies. There is even a well-known ‘spiritual’ teacher that likens these energies to the Covid-19 virus; reporting that it is these energies that are the cause for multiple modern illnesses.
Bullshit. This is the single most dangerous way of thinking for any empath. ‘Protection’ is intentional and willful blindness. You can no more separate yourself from the fabric of the universe with bubbles, membranes, headphones and your cell phone than I can do algebra. There are no ‘bad things’ floating out there or coming to infect you. The wind is not a bad thing out to harm me. I need to teach my body how to freely move with the wind.
Energy moves. It is not static. What empaths feel is merely energy, any additional loaded judgment is one of our own creation. ‘Protections’, be they in the form of an eggshell, pretty bubbles, shields, walls, rainbows, or spirals of light are distractions that turn attention away from what can truly effect people physically, mentally and emotionally (I’ll get to that again but here’s what I wrote years ago about it: Mind over Myth; Illness and the Empath). Making the choice to ‘protect’ oneself puts into place a series of events that can cause significant damage to oneself and creates a larger gap between an individual and any community It is a conscious decision to ignore exactly what it is we need to pay attention to. It is putting blinders on to intentionally avoid things we’ve only made up stories about and begins interactions from a place of fear. Generally, it’s the fear of feeling and or expressing emotions. When that attention is blocked, the energy is still moving. traight to you, around you, and given the opportunity, into you. It is still effecting you. And you’re not doing anything about it, you’re doing the opposite: ignoring it then creating stories about how someone sucked the energy out of you, where your illness came from and using those stories subconsciously to judge others.
I know very few healthy empaths. Their lists of ills include chronic fatigue syndrome, a variety of gastrointestinal issues that range from acid reflux to Chron’s, Aspergers, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, ADD, gout, Lupus, MS and more. Because they have not been paying attention to what is happening right in front of them, they head to a physician who will begin treating physical symptoms for which there is no organic source. And, it has nothing to do with being ‘an empath’ in the psych-spiritual babble that has been fashioned into a truth because it has been repeated as if it is.
None of this comes from ‘absorbing’ others feelings and illnesses. None of it. Yes, we feel–sometimes issues within another’s body–but we don’t develop illness, mental or physical, from another’s energy. Germs, yes (wear the damn mask!). Energy, no.
We begin to exhibit physical & mental illness symptoms when energies that are flowing into and around us, seeking attention, are ignored. When we have either chosen intentional blindness or have no awareness of what is occurring, all of our systems are still being effected. The body & brain don’t know what to do with the information, because this is TMI on an entirely different level. I often describe the phenomenon as having ‘your finger plugged into a light socket for decades without knowing/paying attention to it’. We’re good at telling kids not to put their fingers (and forks and bobby pins and Barbie hair–oh, yes I did!) into electrical outlets because we know the potential outcome. But we tend to not consider how energy effects us otherwise–unless those kids miss their nap–and don’t know the potential outcome!
Everyone reading this has either said or heard said to them, “They/she/he just sucks me dry!” and you’ve read about energy vampires but that’s where our understanding of our dance with energy seems to end. There is no such thing as an ‘energy vampire’. That’s a crap way of not actually saying out loud and honestly, “I can’t pay attention to them/her/him any longer” or “I’m tired of spinning my wheels with this person who won’t change despite their griping.” No one else is sucking you dry. You are expending (or attempting to avoid the same) your time, mental capacity, and emotional energy (or, rather, withholding them so you don’t have to be honest) in a situation or with a person who you don’t want to. Period.
When we don’t acknowledge energies around us–our own, another person’s, technological, electrical–our body begins to speak for those energies. If we not paying attention, it’ll make us do so. Let’s take music. What happens to your body if music in the background when you’re focused on a task at hand? Even when we’re not paying attention to it, our body responds. We sway, tap, nod, bop, hum. Whether we’re aware of it in the moment or not.
What happens when we don’t address energies related to ourowndamnself? What does your body do? It responds, right?
The same thing is happening with emotional energies. There is one critical difference. We don’t move through life with ‘protections’ from music, though, do we? But, with our own and others’ emotions other energies we can’t see? Yoooouuubetcha. Pretty daft for such a smart species.
There used to be a time when we did need to discuss gifts such as these in terms of protection. We needed to be protected, not from the feelings themselves but from sharing what we were feeling. Doing so put our lives in danger. It led to gallows, pyres & drowning. That’s not the case now, at least in most places on the planet.
My premise is simple. You are porous. You skin is a barrier but not in the way you want it to be. You are directed connected to the winds, the moods, the moon in the same way you are connected to the microbia you cannot see. You may not be attached at the hip, skin to skin but you are just as intimately tied. We are meant to feel and to express emotions & other energy, be it our own or, as empaths, of others. The experience of being an empath is as simple as breathing when you step away from the stories you’ve bought into and retrain the brain. Most of us can tie our shoes without looking. That’s what teaching your brain and body how to be can do.
We can do this just as easily as we breathe. It only takes a little bit of work to get yourself to the place where you can move through all energies in the same way you move through air; without a sense of permeability, ease, and grace. There’s no attachment and the only judgment involved is related to the choice to engage. We are porous, not fragile. And though it may often feel ungraceful, we are the embodiment of Grace moving –into, through and around all things.
There are a few brilliant tools we’ve got that make life as an empath a breeze. ‘Protection’ isn’t one of them.