Exploring All Things Empath–beyond the bullshit: Part 2

If you missed the introduction to this deep dive, you may want to read this first.  At the end of the introduction, there are links to my initial empath myth-busting.

Being an empath is the most visceral expression of the spiritual truth that we are interconnected; to each other and to all things. It is the psycho-somatic reflection of our capacity to feel more than our physical senses and limited awareness can see. Being an empath is a modern expression of a time when community wellness and safety depended on relationships with each other and nature. We have removed ourself from that way of being and are being reminded viscerally that that entwined relationship is our natural state of being. The purpose of being an empath is to bring that awareness into loving.

The perpetration of the myths of the empath continue to cause harm to individuals and communities. The idea that there is ‘something wrong’ with either us or another because of false perception damages psyches and the physical body.

We are going to redefine what it means to be an empath, moving it from the mystical, psychical and metaphysical mumbo-jumbo into a real-world, healthy expression of otherwise invisible energies around us.

In the weeks that follow, I’m going to show how the capacity of an empath isn’t about having a psychic gift, although for some people it’s directly attached to a one. It’s a reflection of our original state of being—connected to all things. We’ll connect it to anthropology, cognitive science, neurobiology, psycholinguistics, behaviors of Ancestors and, indeed, spirituality because this is intrinsically entwined with the faiths and practices of many paths to the One.

We’ll examine myths and use science to debunk them. We’ll provide skills for folks who experience difficulty in navigating this way of experiencing the world. We’ll create ways for the generations behind us to not live in the fear we do. Woven throughout will be personal story-telling, scientific review and some history of things considered psychic to explain how we came to rely upon current myths and can move them into the dynamics of the modern era.

Some of the things I will write about will show how I fumbled about navigating this unique way of being, how I stumbled upon the ‘aha’ moments to learn that we make the challenges feel more graceful and useful, and ultimately connected it all to science, our environment and what is generally considered the unknown of the invisible world.

Although what we’ll be exploring and the navigational tools are simple, there are nuanced layers that may seem disconnected—like a dizzying array of spinning plates. However, where those plates meet in a Venn diagram kind of way is where we find the space to explore the magic.

In this process of discussion, self and scientific discovery, you’ll be asked to think and process what you think and feel differently. That may be uncomfortable at first but as discovery leads to development, you’ll find gold in each challenge. Each nugget will lead to less fear, which leads to more space for curiosity, and that, that, makes this the most amazing and fulfilling way to be and explore this unique world. This effort here is to help move you into a way of being–without ‘protection’, without anxiety, with grace (ok, mostly) although Grace will be fully recognized, and curiosity and compassion.

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Undoing Some Empath Bullshit

 See yourself in others.
Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?” ~ Buddha

One of the reasons I began the empath myth-busting task was that as I worked with people struggling how to navigate this way of being, I began to realize that their distinct experiences, fears, and the responses to the fears they’d adopted, were not unique, not occasionally similar but were damn-near identical. The latter were mostly tied to ‘I’m too literal, I can’t possibly be psychic’ and the myths one stumbles upon when googling ‘what is an empath’. Before the Fuckery became my life, I was well into writing a book demystifying all things empath-related. Since that book may not come to fruition, I’m going to bring the drafts here and expand on them as we go.

Another reason I chose to dive into it is because I’ve known since the first time I facilitated the healing work, the first day of my only class, I’ve known that it isn’t ‘just’ a ‘spiritual gift’. It, indeed, may be a gift but it is beyond spirit in that it is observable, measurable, and replicable. Similar effects on physiological and psychological systems can be reproduced by technology. If science could measure the energy that moves from my hands and the physiological response of the client I’m working with…..Actually science can, the tools and technology exist. The previous sentence should probably read ‘If science would…’  Traditional ‘energy’ medicines have been doing this same thing for a long time and have been long studied around the globe.  Does that change it’s often perceived and described spiritual or ‘Divine nature’? Nope. That’s like trying to separate daylight from the sun. It is all of that; divine and holy and inexplicable and measurable and replicable, even by objects associated with what we identify as tangible and far removed from ‘spiritual’ like electrodes or acupuncture needles. I’ll share more on that if there’s interest in it but, for now, let’s come back to the object of my attention–the empath.

For eons, the capacity for feeling the way empaths reportedly do has also been called a ‘psychic’ or ‘spiritual’ gift. It’s not. There’s magnificence to how we’re individually wired and universally interconnected but it’s not magic. Energetic, though? Absolutely!

I feel the need to state here that I’m taking us down the science-trail not to diminish the powerful, often spiritual, nature of energetic work. I’m steeped in it, led by it (or rather, it’s got me by the nose pulling me along like Toucan Sam), believe in it, and am alive because of it. I have visions of the future,  speak in ‘tongues’ in ceremony and have been prophesied. People I work with experience the Christed heart merge with theirs, out of body experiences and, as one man put it, “I just met God.” I work with Ancestors, angels, invisible animals and plants, and other beings every day. I’ve seen them, am touched by them, have great respect for and receive responsibilities from them. They are those with whom I have the most intimate relationships with. However, it is time to put to rest the fears that have led most of us away from these kinds of relationships. I want to demystify the things that frighten people into disconnection from themselves and their communities. It’s time for truths that offer new explanations and stories and room for growth of our greatest potential–our relationship with each other.

Before we explore some research together, I want to create something of a framework that begins with a story. The complaints I receive from empaths I initiate work with remind me of one traditional Buddha story. Sakyamuni was born into a royal and wealthy family who, at the time of his birth, received a prophesy that he was born to be either a great spiritual leader or a great warrior. His parents attempted to prevent the former and cultivate the latter by keeping him ‘protected’ from the larger world. He was reportedly confined within the castle walls while the lame, sick, homeless and dead were banished from within sight of those same walls. All of this to keep young Saky from being aware of and responding to those suffering around him, to be compassionate toward them. Then, like any self-respecting youngster who felt confined, he snuck out.  His initial exposure to the realities of the world from which he’d been protected, and his courage to walk away from the throne, have brought us some of the greatest teachings.

For me, the ‘feeling too much’ and ‘anxiety’ that is nearly universal to those empaths I’ve been connected to is directly connected to their deepest ownfineself, trying to sneak out. To emerge, engage, and respond. And not knowing what the fuck to do about it.

As we meander this together, through story and science, I’ll share what to do about it to make life more fluid, satisfying, sane and hearted.  One blog post at a time. Join me. Ask questions. Do the homework. Bitch about it. But be curious and invite some of the questions I offer into your own life.

If you are new to my empath myth-busting, start here:  Myths of Being an Empath, Some Empaths are just Ath-holes, Traits of an Empath and The Importance of Being an Empath.  The most recent is here: Empath Bullshit

My secret is safe with your secret….

I’ve shared before the confusion and despair felt when ignored by tribal leadership I’ve reached out to across the continent. Whether the attempted connection is with Osage, Crow, or Anishinaabe (or Blackfoot or Cree or Shoshone or Cheyenne or Pima or….), the silence I’ve been met with has been as deafening and deadening as the ‘keep your mouth shut’ repeatedly heard from the Cree contingent.

I’ve wondered out loud more than once if there is a M. Night Shyamalan-esque agreement within continental indigenous communities in which it’s been decided that a percentage of the population is expendable and sacrificed so that the larger community might be safe; where those sacrificed vanish into ether, with something resembling a tolerable amount of noise, and are never talked about again.

I’m keenly aware of the role that racism plays, the fear a white woman who works with Ancestors and Others inspires, and how spirit coming to life outside of select safe spaces threatens. However, there is something much more deep that I have tried to articulate but haven’t been adequately able to put words to.

This past weekend, though, I read an opinion piece by Garry Wills in the Washington Post about the Catholic Church. In it he expresses so well what I’ve been trying to wind words around:

The trouble with any culture that maintains layer upon layer of deflected inspections is that, when so many people are guarding their own secrets, the deep examination of an institution becomes nearly impossible. The secrecies are too interdependent. Truly opening one realm of secrecy and addressing it may lead to an implosion of the entire system.

His words, especially in the context of institutionalized sexual abuse and the attempts at covering it up, rang true to me.

The effects of colonizers ripping people from their land, the rape of women  also ‘theirs for the taking’, the forced ripping of children from their families into institutions made to ‘kill the Indian, save the man’, combined with the individual experiences of child rape within communities have created this weaving of secrets.

Layer interlaced with layer of secrets and fear; communal and individual, sexual and spiritual (they cannot be separated in the case of the Fuckery any more than they can any religious institution and its abusers), and threaded through entire lineages.

We cannot talk about the disappearances of indigenous children and women without honestly addressing these incredibly painful things. For those  unaware of the legacies wrought by the plundering of the continent’s first peoples, these things may seem like the distant past, far removed from any modern view or experience of the world. They are not. They are right here, right now and must be faced because the intentional disappearing of indigenous women and children are inextricably entwined within these layers.

Principles and Visitations from the Mother

I’m reading a book called Benediction by Kent Haruf. It’s one of those that I’m forcing myself to finish for reasons I can’t comprehend. It’s annoying. Damn-near all dialogue and not a single quotation mark.

There’s a scene in which a preacher pisses off his congregation by suggesting that loving thine enemy and turning the cheek might be literal expressions of Jesus’ teaching and not a mere metaphorical for living peaceably. He preaches, many congregants walk out, cursing him after he postulates that America, as a government and society, could do just that.

Not only does a large part of his congregation walk out on him, his wife later publicly announces she’s going to do the same to the remaining congregation. This is part of the ensuing conversation (I’m adding the quotation marks here because there’s no need for all of us to be annoyed):

“All right,” Lyles wife said. “I’ll admit he has his principles. I am aware of that. I used to admire him for his principles and his generous intentions. But what good are they, finally? You can’t eat them. You can’t depend on them. There’s no security in principles.”

Later, the preacher explains to his two remaining supporters:

“I think I’m done…People don’t want to be disturbed. They want reassurance. They don’t come to church on Sunday morning to think about new ideas or even about important old ones. They want to hear what they’ve been told before, with only some small variation on what they’ve been hearing all their lives, and then they want to go home, eat pot roast and say it was a good service and feel satisfied.”

I’m feeling that preacher in more ways than one. He’s right. The disruption isn’t wanted, but the lip service is. However, here we are. Disrupting right as we move along and no matter how many people turn away from us, in anger or fear.

I’ve been done a few times in the past eighteen months. Stick a fork in me, I cannot go on done. The first time I thought about walking away from all things Fuckery was on October 17, 2017, when Ariel Begay’s body was found. I packed up my things, drove the three hours to be with her mother, and decided half-way there that I wasn’t going back the desert. That fucking desert. Fucking hot, fucking dry, the devil incarnate hiding behind ‘medicine’, evil people doing evil things to children. What the fuck do They think one fucking person can do? I’m not that fucking person!  By the time I landed in her front yard, I realized I was lying to myself and that there was no way I was going to leave other victims behind. Who the fuck am I kidding? Don’t be fucking stupid.  I cried a lot. I bitched a lot. I found a place to rest and then put on my big girl drawers and went back.

The second time I thought about walking away was a little over a year ago. Profoundly depressed and ashamed and guilt-ridden and angry, I crawled into bed one night determined to pack up and leave the next day. Before my head hit the pillow, the room filled and there She was. In front of masses of other, Older female figures who I described as the Holiest of the Holies, Mother Mary showed herself again. This time there was no pleasant conversation in the kitchen. Without words she didn’t merely ask, she didn’t demand or argue; she beseeched and her plea was like no other I’ve felt except, perhaps, my own prayers as a child. The others stood behind her, saying nothing but Being with a strength and power that I’d not felt in a looooong time. The collective, halos aglow, prayed ‘don’t go’. What was I going to do with an ask like that? Say no? I stayed in the desert another two months until it was clear that I was under physical surveillance from 200 yards away and that not only was I in deep doo-doo but I might end up in deep sand pretty quick.

In the run-up to Christmas, I considered walking away again. With little support, multiple dangers, some masked as men in blue, a quick cost-benefit analysis seemed to make the decision an easy one. The impetus to carry on in December, though, didn’t come from another plea but in being spectacularly pissed off that another highly-regarded organization was identified as involved in the Fuckery. Simple rage and indignation fueled re-engagement. How dare those in the US Armed Forces be part of this?!!  Not that it was a real surprise. Soldiers around the world have been part of moving slaves as long as slavery has been around. The stories of rape as a weapon abound and the United Nations’ Blue Helmets involvement in trafficking is well documented. But, my country’s soldiers and seamen? And so we’ve carried on.
If I could argue with the preacher’s wife (which, admittedly, I sort of did by talking to the page like I do the GPS), I’d tell her that the only security may be in that principle of loving, of loving no matter what, no matter how much it scares other people, or confuses them. Or ourselves.
This is about the love for a little girl with a pink rose in her hair, for the Ariel’s of the world whose prayers have been heard, for the love of the Ancestors and Others for whom I work, for those whose own despair and desperation leads to the highest order of human cruelty.  It is with the deepest love as the guiding principle that we carry on.

Oceans of Love

It often feels impossible to describe the love contained within me. Even when I cannot give it words, it frightens people. They seem to be confused that the course of love would somehow find them beyond their beliefs or behaviors, that they would be missed or their cry for help would be unheard, and that kind of love would just appear, even unbidden.

It courses through every fiber of my being, slips from the pores into the spaces between grains of sand, dances on the wind, drops roots under lake beds, and glides through tears to the waters everywhere. The enormity of it is staggering, even to me, sometimes because I don’t control it. I just am.

It is uncontainable, unstoppable and touchable, visceral, thick power and peace.

It means I feel it all and am given the blessing of knowing the pain and the benediction brought by beauty, the lies beneath the scars, and the truths of the heart.

In moments of deepest despair, it is the buoy and the life raft. For all of us.

For this, I was made.

For you, I was made.

You are so loved.

Be not afraid.

Is porn or child rape the public health crisis?

Arizona wants to call porn an public health crisis. According to CNN,

Arizona state Rep. Michelle Udall, R-Mesa, introduced a resolution declaring “pornography is a crisis leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts.”
The resolution says pornography “perpetuates a sexually toxic environment that damages all areas of our society.”
Arizona would be the thirteenth states to officially deemed the consumption of porn a crisis.
Let’s contrast that with this, from CNN this past Friday:
Sierra Leone’s president has declared a national emergency over rape and sexual violence…With immediate effect, sexual penetration of minors is punishable by life imprisonment,” President Julius Maada Bio said in a keynote address on Thursday
Let that sink in for a hot minute. Thirteen states in the United States have deemed the consumption of pornography a public health crisis while the leadership of a third-world country has declared rape and sexual violence–particularly of children–the crisis.
It doesn’t take much research to find the common language of ‘objectification’, ‘damages families and relationships’, ‘increased domestic violence’, and the standard ‘link to trafficking’ used in legislation here.
Yet, no state (or city or tribe) in the United States has declared the rape of children a public health crisis. We, as a collective, continue dance around the rape of children as if it doesn’t exist except when it publicly smacks us in the face or our own private, scary sexual beginnings begin seeking the light of truth through our mind and body.
Or, perhaps another way of looking at it, particularly in some communities, is that it is so common that it’s not a public health crisis; it’s just a not-so-new normal.

The link above, leading to a story about two Florida men sharing plans via text to rape a three year old is but one example. On the same day, a joint report released investigated and written by thee Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News, shared this headline: Abuse of Faith, 20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms.

Also in Texas, ten days earlier the New York Times reported that the Roman Catholic diocese of the state released 300 names of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of children. This, coming after the August 2018 report from a Pennsylvania grand jury, identifying over 1000 child sexual abuse victims at the hands of 300 Catholic priests.

This is not an American problem. Asian monasteries are part of the pipeline that moves stolen or sold boys and girls for the sexual pleasure of monks. Taliban soldiers obtain dancing boys for the same purpose. Child rape in India regularly makes international headlines. Irish, African, Russian, European, Chinese, Thai, Laotian, Saudi, Bengali, Australian, Bolivian, Chilean;  priests, monks, medicine men, doctors, dentists, teachers, grocers, electricians, soldiers, chefs, fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, cousins, athletes, politicians, plumbers, artists, otherwise average or stellar citizens, regularly rape children.  And our response is a muted one. A celebrity driven #Metoo doesn’t exist for those who cannot yet find the words to express their secret pain.

The problem isn’t porn. The problem, the crisis,  is the repeated and systemically supported rape of children at places of sanctuary, home, at school, at church, at sporting events, offices and camps where they are led to believe they will be safe.  The repeated and systemically supported rape of children that is domestic violence, that embodies objectification, that shatters not just family and relationships but the sense of self and safety and the meaning of Love from the first conscious act of grooming and touch.

This is not to say that porn exists in a vacuum separate from child rape. There are thousands upon thousands of adults around the globe who buy, sell and trade child pornography. There are industries built to support and hide it, all the while expanding it.  This is not the pornography that politicians want to call a public health crisis. Why?

Let Sierra Leone lead the way.

It’d also help if we’d Stop Fucking Children.

 

 

 

More than Mournable Bodies

They are more than mournable bodies whether disappeared or reinvented in a pimp’s image, no less an image of God, in case you thought otherwise.

Children of blood and bone, certainly; but beyond the skin they are or were in, they breathe fire and thread sinew. Sometimes, dripping it between the grains of sand they are buried in.

They carry their own heartbeats and that of another generation, they sing unto themselves and sisters far into the beyond that is beyond.

Birthing while chained, birthing while buried in that copse over there. They move into the heart of the root and are blown through the breeze, treed tendrils across the crown.

You thought they were drowned, too. The lake and sea may have accepted their bodies but they’ve thrown back the soul bathed in the clarity of the Mother.

Their blood and bone has sown a different kind of power. It is incorruptible. It is  freedom.

You did not bury them.  You’ve rebirthed them.

And unleashed their fury.

We rise.