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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“Empath Bullshit”

“Empath Bullshit”

That’s the Google search that brings the most people to this blog. I’ve addressed some of the bullshit that’s out there about the nature of being an empath, I try to assure folks that having the capacity to feel the emotional energies of others is real. It is real, it is purposeful, and has little to do with one’s beliefs, identification as literal, logical, psychic or spiritual.

 

It is the most visceral expression of our interconnected nature and the presence of love.

It seems important to put this out there again:

There is so much craptastic stuff that’s being cut & pasted into ‘facts’ about what being a psychic empath is & how to be one that I decided to address it rather than keep bitching about it.  The myth-based framework   perpetuates the misplaced ideal of empath as an overly sensitive soul, unable to move through the world without fear, hiding behind barriers to others and other, frankly, cowardly crap.

Once we move past the fluff-n-stuff we can get to the nitty gritty of what being an empath is all about.  And the significant roles we play in leading & guiding others.Although empaths have the capacity to do so, being an empath is about a whole lot more than feeling other people’s emotions & other energies.  It is about our connection to others, about engaging with others openly & honestly.  However, it’s even deeper than that.  Before we can connect and engage with others at something more than a superficial level, we first must be able to do that with ourselves.  Accept that responsibility first, then accept the responsibility for others.

Because that’s what this stuff is about.   Being an empath is about others, about what we emit & how we transmit as much as the manner in which we receive.   We’re not meant to feel others for the sake of the feeling alone.  And, usually, the gift of ’empath’ isn’t a stand alone.  It’s more often than not accompanied by a purpose, passion, job, direction, gift, talent, desire that allows us to turn that ‘feeling’ into life-changing connection to a person or group of people.  That‘s what this is about.

To be an empath, an empowered one–one that comes from a place of strength, compassion, knowing & readiness for action (which sometimes means not acting at all)–takes the willingness & capacity to know ourselves intimately.  To recognize aspects of ourselves that we’re often not comfortable doing–particularly those aspects that are related to emotion.  Almost always, those emotions we’re not comfortable with are grounded in relationship to another person or a group of people.   For many that has been coupled with being taught or teaching themselves not to express those emotions and there has developed a fear of both.  And it’s time to get past that.  This is where the rubber not only hits the road but moves and creates change for individuals and communities.

There’s always been a mystery connected to psychic phenomena.  Ideas of what it means to be an empath have been as twisted as many other things related to the unseen and unknowable.  But, in my experience & knowing, past all the bullshit and blather, the role of an empath is very simple: it is about truly connecting with other people and creating change within ourselves and for others in our own unique way.  When you choose to do so, your world will open up in ways you’ve never had the capacity to even imagine.

The Voices, They Come

They began arriving in August 2017. One and two at a time they came. The choir grew day by day, led by Pihtokahanapiwiyin, Kamiokisihkwew, Shingwauk, Keeseekoowenin, and Isapo-Muxika. And still, they come. Day by day.

Horse Lake, Beaver, Bush, Yellowknife, Salt River, Birch Narrows, Black Lake, Sunshield, Paul Band, Maskwacis, Ermineskin, Louis Bull, Sampson, Montana, Pigeon Lake, Cold Lake, Saddle Lake, Frog and Onion Lakes, Makwa Sahgaiencan, Little Pine, Sweetgrass, Muskeg Lake, Muskeday, One Arrow, James Smith, Day Star, Yellow Quill, Kankewistaha, Pheasant Rump, Sandy lake, McDowell Lake, Lac Seul, Eagle Lake, Attawapiskat,  Garden River, Missanabie, Bear River, and Benoit.

Scuggs, Rama, Bedusoleil, Serpent River, Tetoten, Kwikevtlem, Semiahmoo, Alexis, Chipewyan, Big Stone, Kainai, Blue Quills, Amber River, Busche River, Driftpile, Pigeon Lake, Heart Lake, Horse Lake, and Devil’s Gate.

Big Horn, Stoney, Sturgeon, Stonechild and Sunchild. Swan River, Beaver Ranch, Tsuu T’ina.

They travel far. Their hearts are carried on the leaves of the aspens, wings of eagles, and the songs of sisters. That missed drum beat? Borrowed for this journey.

Osoyoos , Okanagan, Tsinstikeptum, People of the Knife, People of the Sand, People of the Lake, People of the Sun. Sweetgrass, Fond du Lac, Pelican Narrows.  Aamjiwnaang, Kettle and Stoney Point, Chippewa, Oneida and Delaware of the Thames.

From Attawapiskat, Aroland, Bearskin, Beaverhouse, Brunswick, Cat Lake, Constance Lake, Deer Lake, Eabametoong, Flying Post, Forts Severn and Albany, Ginoogaming, Kasabonika, Kashechewan, Keewayin, Koocheching, Lac Seul, Long Lake, Martin Falls, Matachewan, Mattagami, Mishkeegogamang, they come.

Cowesses, Piapot, Peepeekisis, Kahkewistahaw, Daystar, Carry the Kettle. White Bear, Standing Buffalo, Nekaneet.  Birdtail, Bloodvein and Brokenhead.

Missanabie, Mocreebec, Muskrat Dam, Neskataga, Nibinamick, North Caribou and North Spirit Lake, Pikangikum, Poplar Hill, Wahgoshig, Wapekeka, Wawakapewin, Weenusk, Whitewater Lake, and Wunnumin Lake.

They are brought by rivers and prayers on the wind and are threaded into this unfolding by all the forces of creation. Tarahumara, Purépecha, Tepeherán, Otomi, Guarijo. Barkindji, Mutthi Mutthi and Ngyiampaa breathe their soul-sounds through drum and didgeridoo. Murrawarri, Anangu, Palawa and Yolngu and Bininj sing together, a chorus crying “Freedom!”

There are hundreds more. They come; flag by flag, soul by soul.

They sing for home, they sing for tribe, they sing for love not spoken and deep sorrow.

Silenced no more, they will be heard.

We live and move and breathe as one.

For them. For freedom.

Those Who Tell Too Much; Ancestors and Missing, Murdered Women and Children

artist: R Blackwater

In the introduction to this series on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Children, I mentioned that this unfolding of the Fuckery and I

 requires discussion of history and the repercussion arisen out of it, trauma experienced and held by peoples and the natural world, realities of misogyny, sexuality, institutionalized racism, the reemergence of what I call ‘the medicine way’ and where all those things converge in our current era.

I think the thing that frightens people the most is the reemergence of the ‘medicine way’. It means recognizing that beliefs and ways of the world are more than theoretical or ceremonial, beyond the scope of encultured ‘sacred space’, and are neither ours nor out there. It creates an inescapable ‘in your face’ expression of truth that makes beliefs true or untrue, redefines things of spirit held as personal or tribal into universal, and cuts the commodified crap connected to the aforementioned in a breath. It means that death isn’t what we’ve thought it is, that everyone really is connected beyond super-simplified popsychospiritmeme-ified oneness. It means we have responsibilities beyond what we’ve presumed revealed within sweat lodges, by the one-liners of protest signs and attention-grabbing headlines. It means prophecy can be true, cosmologies can crumble, and we really may not who or how (or why) we think we are.

It frightens lawmen, lawyers, politicians, medicine men, journalists, folks who once called me friend, and those who operate the Fuckery. It’s why a tribal historical preservation officer nearly scorched his shorts when I asked about an eagle.  Because it can’t be true but what if it is.  If it is, we have to kill her. If it’s not we have to see who is really giving her all this information, then kill her.

I was once asked by one of the more lazy cops I’ve ever met, “So, is it like talking to God?” when I went to talk to him about Jermaine Charlo. His syrupy derision was no different than the “Why are my ancestors coming to you?”  Sadly, I’m not one skilled with witty repartee and it didn’t occur to me until much later to say, “No, conversations with God are much more direct.”  They are but for all the church-going, Bible shaking, and God-loving, to tell people there are active conversations with God is a nullifying as explaining those with Ancestors.

Whether those who would like to put an additional hole in my head (or anyone else) believe this or not, these are those who ‘tell Ingrid way too much’

They are Coushatta, Cree, Muscogee, Maidu, Diné, Dene.

They are Lakota, Dakota, Comanche, Choctaw, and Apache.

They are Kickapoo, Meskwaki, Mi’maq, Tongva, and Gros Ventre.

They are Ojib, Ohkay Owingeh, Mewuk, Osage, Missouria, Potowatami, Quapaw, Quinault.

They are Rappahannock, Paiute, Pascato, Seminole, Shawnee and Chickahominey.

They are Sappony, Seneca, Waccamaw, Natchez, Niitsitapi, Cherokee, Mohawk, and Miccosuckee.

Onandagan, Cheyenne, Crow, Unitah, Calusa, Colusa, Appalachee.

Fox, Saux, Winnebago, Miami, Illini, Ioway and Omaha.

Arapaho, Otoe, Kiowa, Caddo, Coahuiltecan, Kutenai, and Pend d’Oreilles.

Nakoda, Yurok, Chumash, Yokuts and Yana.

Nahuatl, Mixtec, Mayo, Massai, and Huichol, O’odham and Tepehuan.

Guaraní, Cocopah, Dogon, Delaware, Sara, Salish, Tatar, Bua and Bantu.

Samí, Bedu, Yoruba, Ibibio, Damara, Pueblan. Altai, Mapuche and Quechua.

Abenaki, Mohigan, Wawenock, Acholi, Madu, Evenki.

Salish, Kumeyaay, Ohlone, Pomo, Skykomish, Yakama.

And more.

The sand speaks, clouds halt, rain and stag protect, horses signal, ground and eagles pull, bees direct, water leads, raven weaves with spider, snake and worm connect threads where others can’t go. Wings whisper, trunks kiss my face, Nagas sing, devas dance. Creation twins create anew.

They know. They see.

Hundreds more who trust me with their living kin whose prayers they have heard, whose cries for freedom they echo across the universe and pound through my dreams– insistent, repetitive beats of love. They give me medical advice, tell me when to run and when to be still, wait. They tell me to ‘stop with the questions’, ‘sit down and shut up’, ‘Speak, child. Speak.”

They ride the wind, thunder through clouds, beat my heart, sing my soul, cry my tears, soothe and sear my skin. They guide, they tattle on the twisted medicine men, they show the limbless torsos.

And we live and breathe and move as one.

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.

Universal Fury

img_5509

The mouth in the clouds opens

into a universal scream

because there is no space

for a dream

-ing of future, places, tense for little girls;

Ripped from the bosom of the Mother

then forced unto a Father whose

hellfire and damnation

damned the father to disconnect

from all that is truly holy and

created a new hell.

The African Queen roars

for the pain of her pride,

ripped from the ground and the head of the vessel

that brings the birth of the next generations

shatter

-ing the chalice and creation of pleasure

for the pursuit of power

structures that inhibit growth

beyond the perpetual pregnancy

of what freedom might feel like.

Morrigan speaks her pain

and power and self into being through

a mortal man

who would like to remain mere

-ly quiet, in his soft bubble of

self and softness

while injustice reigns.

La Madre

is honored for false virginity but

isn’t for the power of her presence

and presents of peace–her daughters’

virginity transformed into whore

by greed and with gusto.

We cry “Save the Mother”

theatrically

but conspire to keep her children

in the depths of torment upon the

first forced parting of their thighs…

saying, “Shhhhhh…..”

Selling them shortened lives and

into chains of bondage and fear

Now, though, Wakiyan are called to walk

with Pratyangira,

angels and devas dive into the

world of the eagle embodied

bringing together iron and thunder

trident and truth.

The Silk Lady’s red ribbon

drips and twists from heart to

heat,

stoking the fire of

the Furies

and, where it meets her feet,

Aphrodite is reforged.

How a Non-Deist Dances (or does the dishes) with God

When I was in the sixth grade, I saw an angel. At least, that’s what I called it. It was in the sky, it was alive, and not a bird or a plane or Superman. Not even a super-something else. It just was. And pretty as it just was. I told my mother who commemorated the experience with a poor concrete facsimile that confused me to no end. Because that wasn’t it and it wasn’t quite right in my adolescent mind. I don’t know if I ever thought again of that beautiful being I saw until we were reintroduced to each other in August 2015.

I never did see God, though. As an atheist it made complete sense. Out of mind, out of sight.

Until. Until one day in the spring of 2007 while I was washing dishes, I felt it. IT. The thing that other folks have described as God. This coalescing of something bigger than me but not definable, fully there and not-exactly-finite at the same time. Big, but fitting into the kitchen with me. I put down the salmon pan, walked to my then-husband in the living room, said out loud, “I just met God”, and walked back to the sink. Because, apparently God and other invisibles don’t do dishes. No other word was said. None needed to be. It was neither disturbing nor interesting. I didn’t ask any questions because none needed asking. I didn’t tell anyone else until years later.

I also didn’t tell anyone when God came back. I mean, what or who else could that big, infinite, yet finite beingness at the kitchen sink–again–possibly be?  This time, again while my hands were in the suds, it said one thing: “How will you define yourself?” That’s it. No winning lottery numbers. No “Here, I’ll dry”. Just “How will you define yourself?”

Neither of these experiences were met with a response more than nonplussed curiosity. Nothing more than a measured, ‘huh’. Although at one point in my non-religious evolution I was taught that God was fearsome and to be feared, I didn’t believe he existed at all, especially in that way. In fact, I never believed in him as his existence was explained by anyone. Except when that it-that-can-be-nothing-else arrived, I knew. Just knew.

In that moment, I just knew that fear was unnecessary, that worship was unnecessary, reverence was unnecessary, and there was no room for confusion or revelation. It just was. Not from ‘above’ but not from within. Not from somewhere ‘else’ but certainly something else, something other than my mind’s capacity for imaginings or desire for a holy dishwashing experience. In fact, there was nothing particularly holy in the whole thing. The clouds didn’t part, angels didn’t sing and I didn’t zing with the energies I often feel while with things of the ecstatic nature. I didn’t drop to my knees as I’ve done in grief and gratitude; I just heard him. There was no reassurance, demand for obedience or plea for belief; just one simple question.

While I was as unconfused and unawed as the first encounter, the second annoyed me. I knew the who of it and the what of if but, A) I still had to dry the dishes and, B) I’ve got other shit going on so what the hell kind of question is that for God to ask someone like me?

I had no idea then that the me I was would shortly no longer be. I had no context for the question and no understanding that there was anything beyond a definition of “I’m just Ingrid.”

Ten years into thisness, I’m well into not-just-Ingrid and I still don’t know how to define myself. And, I still don’t define that God-thing the way others do.  I thought if I’d define myself in my own way or the way I’ve been asked to the last year by those ones of Creation that got me into this mess, I’d know how to be this whatever-I-am. Notsomuch. God hasn’t come back to ‘splain all that, either. Or help with the dishes.