Feeling the Pain is not Failure to Thrive

dancing-the-feels

The avoidance is

There is a new, perhaps renewed, ‘depth’ of raw feeling within many and a deep desire to express it. As if, the uncapping of the well of torment has given, at the same time, a glimpse of the possibilities of love and the doubting capacity to dive into the wellspring of it all and bring it through.

There is still profound pain. It is manifest in physical discomfort that is awaiting recognition and release. It’s the fog of the mind that feels as thin as a veil but heavy as stone. It will begin to feel lighter when you allow yourself to feel it all.  You will also begin to notice hints of delight, joy, and desire more meaningful than ever before because without being willing to feel the pain, you’re missing the ‘real feels’, the pantheon of emotional experience and capacity to touch and be touched in the most deep and holy way.

This is not a thing to fake-until-you-make. You cannot bypass the feelings and expression of them. Anything short of diving in and opening up into the wholeness, the holiness of you, will aid in your devolution. You are not bound by any law of nature to hold onto your pain once it no longer serves you.

Feel it. Sing it. Weep it. Wail it. Dance it but don’t sidestep it. Write it. Touch it. Lance that boil. Give it a name if you need to.

Be in it. We won’t let you stay in so long that you begin to stink like it.

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The Importance of Being an Empath

There are three reasons for my recent posts about empaths.

First, I’ve a class called the Empowered Empath beginning October 4.  Second, 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.   All that eyeball rolling was getting a little taxing. And, third, 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.

I’ve told this story hundreds of times the past couple of years and it’s why I push people to stand outside their current defined comfort zone.  I’ve not had this experience is quite some time but it illustrates what can happen when you decide to fully engage.  I had the same energetic interaction five times in a row, all in rather quick succession:  First in Wal-Mart, followed by Lowe’s, a couple others places I can’t remember and Macy’s at Fair Oaks Mall.  In the midst of the shopping crowds being what they are, attempting to find that perfect pair of jeans and such, I had a distinct ‘impression’ to pay attention.  So distinct that it stood out from the extraneous noise & static of other energies.  The first time, I looked around to make sure no one saw me talking to myself when I said aloud, “Show me.”  And with cart and all, I started moving, trusting that freakin’ shopping cart in the same way a dowser trusts his rods, a weaver her loom.   And I ended up at the ladies restroom.  I didn’t have to pee (I know, right?) but walked in anyway.  There was one other person in there, crying.  Her boyfriend or boss had been an ass and she was bawling.  And I walked right up to her and said, “Come here.  I’ve got you.”   In Lowes, without a cart, without looking to see who saw me talk out loud to myself, the episode was repeated.  Another ladies room, another lady.  In tears.  “Let me love on you a minute.  You’ll be okay.”     By the time the last experience occurred at Macy’s, I knew the signal received well.  I just dropped (ok, not dropped exactly) the stack of jeans I was collecting to try on and went straight to the nearest ladies room and said, “What can I do for you?  How about a hug?”

I trust this dance I do with the invisible.  It really is as easy as breathing.  It takes me to ladies rooms and Navajo & Blackfoot reservations in the same way I move to the kitchen to address my hunger.  There’s no second guessing, no being frozen in fear or allowing the stuck to stagnate.  I move with the energies, we dance–and, even if it’s uncomfortable as fuck for a bit–it resembles a well-choreographed symbiotic groove.  Sometimes sexy & fast, sometimes slow & methodical but we move.  ‘Going with the flow’ isn’t mere metaphor.  It is a real way to experience how we relate to the universe.  I highly recommend it to many.

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.

Might want to give it a go.

Just might.

 

 

 

But, Ingrid…

“If we’re not actually absorbing other people’s shit, how is it those empaths have all those illnesses?”

Well, honey, I am so glad you asked!  This is where the rubber meets the road.  It doesn’t go far at this point but it’s hit the road.

Consider, at least for the time you are reading this, that all things are energy.  Some of you have heard the adage or described your interactions with people as ‘like moths to a flame’.  Often energies, particularly those associated with other people, really do make their way to us like those leetle moths–and they bounce around us just like the moths do the backdoor light.  They do so for attention, recognition, and sometimes release.  Just as our own energies do.  What happens when we don’t pay attention, recognize or release?  The brain and body begin to act like a three year old in the candy aisle.  You know you’ve been there–tired, overwhelmed by regular life stuff, then funky-ass energetic crap is being annoying and then you put on your crankypants, right?

Most of us have spent years conditioned physically, mentally & emotionally to be comfortable in the form of what I call ‘all turtled up’.   Whether that has been in response to trauma exposure, energetic overload, or critical incidents where we’ve been taught not to feel or threatened if we do, the effect is the same.  We effectively move as if hardened and hidden (or hiding), consciously and unconsciously.  And all the while, energy is still making its way to us.  It’s not bouncing off the turtle shell, eggshell, psychedelic bubble, or super shield or waiting patiently for you to have a better day.  It sees you, knows you can see it and it wants to be seen.  (It’s hard to not anthropomorphize energies and I’m going to do so here to help separate the notions of energies associated with humans and those that I consider something akin to inanimate).

The energies or aspects of others that are seeking attention are effecting us.  Take a second to imagine every hair on your body being a receptor, a little satellite dish,  that is receiving invisible information.  Every single hair = satellite dish.  The unaware empath’s brain & body is constantly attempting to assess that information.  It wants to know what to do with it.  It knows what to do with visual information, tactile data, musical vibration, stinky smells & yummy tastes but it doesn’t know what to do with what it can’t see, say, taste, touch, or hear.

When we spend decades both turtled up and not paying attention to energies received without teaching the body & brain how to respond, our systems have one sure-fire way to get our attention when they get overloaded.  We begin to feel it, really feel it when we’re exhibiting symptoms of something.  Migraines, malaise, muscles…our body will announce quite clearly we’re not paying attention to it & the things effecting it.  There’s the Exedrin, arnica and epsom salts to begin with.  Followed by a myriad of doctor’s visits which are, invariably, accompanied by potential diagnoses.  And commentary often resembles something like this: “Well, your tests results show xyz within the normal range but because you are exhibiting symptoms of abc, we’re going to prescribe you 123.”

The power of myths about the nature of empaths is such that when we associate these energies of others with ‘taking on’ of same, we feed our own fears: of feeling, of expressing what we feel, of responsibility for others (or, gasp!, ourselves), of engaging with others, of not knowing what to do.   For those intimate with the stupid human trick of ‘fixing everything’, the physical, mental and emotional responses are compounded and can feel overwhelming.   And there is a lot of energy out there, kids.  Lots.  I mean, hello, seven point five billion people on the planet generate a lot of energy without flipping a light switch. So when we ‘protect’ ourselves by creating imaginary and ineffective ways to barricade ourselves from those energies we’re creating a maelstrom of suck that we will drown in.

We can easily, with a little work, teach our systems how to do this empath thing.  Retraining the mind and body to know what’s ‘just’ noise & static instantaneously,  what is none of our business within less than a breath, and when to engage is a simple process.  And it begins with basic awareness of energies outside of yourself & how your systems respond to it.  To become aware of those intricacies you must be able to detach from the fear of feeling.

We have another silly habit of connecting how we are going to feel with how things did feel.  We take a memory of how we’ve felt in the past & our emotional responses to the memory in the present and connect that to a perceived future event.  When that happens, we’ve lost sight of what a) is really happening and b) the real potential of the future event.  So to arrive at the point where moving through and engaging with the invisible is as easy as drawing breath requires us to delve or dive into our own interior.   We need to know ourselves intimately–with openness, honesty, a touch of humor & lack of hubris.   It requires some nikkedness so that we may clearly see ourselves. When that happens, the clarity with which we see the rest of the world and all of it’s layers is astonishing, awesome, inspiring and, get this:  easy.

And, as a minor edit and addition:  being honest with yourself, knowing yourself, feeling and expressing emotions past & present is, get this: easy.  It is absolutely not the monster you’ve created in your head & heart all this time.  Seriously.  Easy.  Sure, there might be some snot but you’re just as likely to laugh until you pee yourself with relief as you are to cry in catharsis.

 

 

You’re Grounded

Myth:  Empaths need to ground themselves

No, they don’t.

By now, I’ve worked with a few hundred empaths.  More than ninety percent feel relief when they are told they don’t need to ‘ground’ themselves.

This is really quite simple:  We’re not all meant to be ‘grounded’.  In the same manner we’re not all meant to be engineers, electricians, or elephant riders. For some of us, being grounded is being tethered, restrained, yoked, leashed, stuck in the fucking corner with our nose to the wall.    The notion that we must follow a cut & pasted template to experience life in any fashion is outdated.

If grounding doesn’t work for you, don’t do it.  If you can’t ‘figure out how to do it’, stop trying to and see what the heck happens.

If yoga doesn’t do it for you, don’t do it.  If meditation doesn’t do it for you, don’t do it.

Do what does do it for you.  That’s it.  Quit trying to cut & paste your experience into someone else’s template and find some freedom.

Empath’s Need Condoms and Seat Belts like Everyone Else

Myth:  Empaths must learn to be protected or shielded

Bullshit.  And, in fact, this is the single most dangerous way of thinking for any empath.  It is a mind-fuck that will, well, quickly fuck one up. ‘Protection’ is intentional blindness.

Energy moves.  It is not static.  What empaths feel is merely energy.  ‘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.  Making the choice to ‘protect’ oneself puts into place a series of events that can cause significant damage.  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.  Straight 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.

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.

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.  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 the 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?  Yoooouuubetcha.  Pretty daft for such a smart species, eh?

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 our culture.

My premise is simple.  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 and retrain the brain.

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.

There are a few brilliant tools we’ve got that make life as an empath a breeze.  ‘Protection’ isn’t one of them.

 

 

 

On Empaths Absorbing Other’s Emotions

Myth:  Empaths take on other people’s emotions and illnesses

Truth:  Empaths do not absorb other people’s shit.  We feel it.  Period.   The emotions of others aren’t contagious.  Any ‘taking on’ of has little to do with having a psychic gift and everything to do with being otherwise human.   There are plenty of people who choose to take on the Atlean task of holding the world on their shoulders who are not empaths.  And there are those who can’t bring themselves to empathize with another while wanting to appear burdened by others shit–projects, problems, whatever.  And, while there are plenty of bacteria & pesky viruses that are contagious, an empath is not going to develop cancer or IBS or mental illness by coming into contact with someone who does experience these things.  You need to worry more about the cook who doesn’t wash his hands than other people’s emotions.

Any attachments to what we feel from others are directly connected to mental & emotional processes fully connected to our own needs and desires.  Our need for inclusion, desire to help, thinking we should do something.  Our need for our own release, a desire for usefulness.  Our need to understand our ownfineselves, our desire to identify other as self. It’s a human condition that has little to do with psychic gifts.  We have the habit of making this kind of thing, well, habit.  Sisyphian, even.

That doesn’t mean, though, we aren’t impacted by the energy of others.  Not at all.  First, there’s the distinct feeling–be it an emotion or illness that we can judge how to deal with.  Second, there’s the intentional ignorance of those things.  That‘s what buggers us.  And,  that kids, is connected to the myths of empaths needing to protect themselves & to be grounded.  Those are next in this series.

 

Not all Empaths are Empathetic, Some are just Ath-holes

Myth number one:  All psychic empaths are empathetic.

Notsomuch.  Being an empath simply means one can feel other energies–here we’re talking about those with emotions of others (though that is an incomplete definition).  Being empathetic is a state of active compassion, an identification with the feelings of others.  There are plenty of people who can sense energies but do not have the capacity to relate to another being at the level of being able to understand what another’s feelings mean to them (them being the other person) and share them.  Empaths can be narcissistic, manipulative, & have no idea or interest in another’s actual feelings.  Sometimes though it’s a little more simple and a lot less, well, mean. It can be the simple habit of assume-ing (remember ass-u-me?) that because we sense something possibly associated with someone else that it means to them what we think it should or actually does to us.

And, there are plenty of people who are empathetic but are not or would not identify as being an empath.

Which brings me to Myth number I, subsection (a):  Projection is not the gift of the empath.  Projection is another one of those whackadoo human traits (aka ‘stupid human tricks’) whereby we project onto others what we see (or want to see or choose not to) in ourselves.

The gift of the empath is simply this:  to feel other energies–as the other experiences them–that most cannot. The Empowered Empath feels those openly, honestly, always, with distinct clarity and knows what to do with that information instantaneously–even if it’s to do nothing. They know themselves well and understand that perception is neither knowing or understanding or feeling.