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.


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.

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.

The State of the World

The world hasn’t suddenly changed, isn’t spinning out of control, and it isn’t ending.  The kind of violence that has ignited recent fears has been around as long as we have. It’s grown to be part of our nature and entirely within our control to perpetuate it or end it. It’s so prevalent that we ignore it, forget long-term conflicts, and tend to be unaware that measures of violence around the globe show it is at some of the lowest levels in recorded history, though it feels like there is more.

We’re merely being confronted with ‘this madness’ up close and personal. By video and voices of those that we’ve been able to keep out-of-sight and out-of-mind until recently. We’re being confronted by the collective reflection of our individual ignorance and impotence; the choices we’ve made within systems that have brought us this far; to this place of grief, seeping rage and fear, confusion, conscience-bending and, if we’re fortunate, growth through consciousness & activism.

However, our intentional blindness and our unwillingness to be seen have created both visible and invisible barriers. Because we still see this as related to ‘someone else’, someone other than us or me.

Yesterday, someone mentioned ‘waiting for the Almighty to sort this out’. It’s not a God’s or the Gods’ job to sort this out. It’s our creation and our job to rectify it. And, frankly, it’s simple. Most of us have been taught the solution at some point in our lives. Love.

Just love. Why we’ve not collectively understood that concept, I’m not quite sure.  There’s fear and disgust of other, certainly. But, surely, mercy and compassion and companionship and grace and communion and common threads outweigh them, right?  If so, though, why has institutionalization of injustice pervaded? Why does exploitation of children flourish? Why do we still rape resources from the ground?  Why are there things still not of my business? Why do sources of non-violence grow as we remain fascinated with violence? Why do we live within feet of our neighbors but not know them?

These are questions with answers related to individual choices.

We get to decide. How we judge, speak or silence ourselves, act and serve  humanity. There are many, many resources to inform and assist us in making those decisions.

In and from a place of love, right where we live and stand.  Or not. That’s how we perpetuate or end the violence, not any version of an Almighty.


Money Matters

Today, no matter what it takes, we ride home together.  ~ Brian Andres

It really does. When we live in a state of poverty, we are imprisoned by the limitations of need. Health, food and shelter provide feelings of safety. Safety allows us to feel vulnerable, creates the capacity to feel hope and share that with others.

I began the day by asking someone to pay me for services rendered and explained the impact of delay which included “a level of stress that shuts me down physically and energetically. It creates an avenue for me to second guess my committment and desire to serve, the model I choose to be in the larger community and makes me…untrusting.”

A good chunk of the work I do is for free. Those who need this most are often in much more dire straits than I. And, frankly, who the fuck would one charge when divine visions send you to specific people who’ve asked the universe for help? Send as invoice to Navajos gods asking for payment when returning a long lost medicine man home?

The above is my own issue, of course, but others share this emotional experience, including the person I was communicating with. For the record, this person is someone I respect and love and will work with again because it’s imperative that she and I do this thisness together. I’ll not ignore psychic or telephonic callings from her or anyone else. But, y’all this shit is hard.

Here’s why:
It has little to do with the money. It has everything to do with this shared from this person I adore. She said, “I shouldn’t even have the right to receive your services because I’m not in a position financial to expend in that way… [The] lesson for me is to ask for help when I can afford it…When money comes in, I will reach out for services…It’s a big lesson for me to receive when I’m able (meaning financially).”

No. no. no. no.

“Right to receive”? Waiting to ask for help until you have enough or feel you are ‘enough’? That’s some toxic bullshit that perpetuates the notion that poverty should keep people for having their needs met; that because you or we don’t have expendable wealth, you are somehow less worthy of receiving blessings of the basics. And, y’all, this healing work and the growth into one’s gifted nature IS as basic as oxygen. It’s noxiousness is perpetuated throughout our institutions & politics, the ‘spiritul celebrity’ circuit, and industrialized shamanism.

Yes, money matters. But the lack of it is not a barrier to working with me. I’m not one of those celebrities that charge $300-500 for a half hour of ‘service’. Some people pay more than standard feed so I may help others, some can only give wine & tomatoes, and I may have to have a waiting list sometimes but I will never turn anyone away because they are poor.

So, yes money matters but you–your wellness, your spirit, and your own desire to serve others–matter most.

Please don’t wait until you feel you are worthy or have or are enough to receive this kind of gift.

Belief and Faith in Healing

faith  (fth)

1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.
3. A set of principles or beliefs.
be·lief  (b-lf)

1. The mental act, condition, or habit of placing trust or confidence in another.
2. Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something.
3. Something believed or accepted as true, especially a particular tenet or a body of tenets accepted by a group of persons.
“I shall not commit the fashionable mistake of declaring everything I cannot explain as a fraud”. ~ Carl Jung
For many unfamiliar with or skeptical of non-medical healing, for that addressing physical issues or the more amorphous, less-definable ‘spiritual’ , there is confusion about the role that faith or belief have in the matter.  The kind of healing I do has, over the course of centuries (and when not leading to the burning at the stake and such), been associated with religious belief or faith in particular outcome–thus ‘faith healing’.  In fact, faith & belief have often been regarded as a prerequisite for healing.   Kathryn Kuhlman, Benny Hinn (not to be confused with Benny Hill), Oral Roberts have been known for their charismatic exhortations of healing for those who believed in and loved Jesus.  John of God, Fr. McAlear and more of Protestant, tribal, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, and other religious persuasions have brought relief to thousands of people around the globe while exhorting the need to believe:  belief in “Christ as Your Savior”, belief that the herbs or ancestors will do their job, belief in one God or many, that the one God or many Gods hold you in favor, belief in Christ’s healing power, and more.
Skeptics, generally speaking, hold the belief that the non-medical healing isn’t real because there isn’t enough proof.
Well, here’s the kicker:  what I do doesn’t require belief–in anything, really.  Except, maybe that you believe you’d rather spend time with me rather than, say, be getting a root canal.     You just need to be willing to show up in all your inglorious fabulousness and receive.  That’s it.
Here’s why:  this magic, this thing that I am and bring is a direct expression of the  highest expression of love there is.
And love needs no condition, no prerequisite, no reason to exist, to be shared, to heal and permanently connect people with a sense of worthiness, wholeness, and health.
As I travel the country for at least the first half of the year, there will also be no requirement of money.  I will be working solely from donations and in-kind services from those who are willing to support this most excellent adventure.
Go to www.ingridoliphant.com and let me know how I can be of service to you and your community–however you define it.

On The Necessary Dying of Change

I received this email last week from a client I worked with a week before.
Hi Ingrid,
I appreciate that you took the time to make this list for me.
I truly believe you are highly intended and that you have helped many people in very positive and profound ways. I am sorry to report that my experience has not gone well at all.  I have suffered much physical illness and many extremely unpleasant disturbances on all levels.
During our session a door was opened that must be closed.
I have been working with two practitioners who are helping me clear and refortify myself. I need your cooperation and assistance in order to quickly and completely restore peace, health and well-being in myself, my home/sanctuary, my field, my Sacred space.
It is critical that all connections made between you and I be thoroughly and immediately severed.I trust, as a healer, you will do what is best for me by honoring my wishes and my boundaries.
Thank you for all of the good that you are and all of the good that you do.
I wish you well.

Respectfully…in Grace and Peace

The work with me is not always a graceful affair.  Grace-filled, yes.  Grace-ful, no.  Sometimes there is a lot of snot involved during a session and after.  Not all of the time but sometimes it is just that.    The session mentioned above was not one of those snot-filled occasions.  There was laughter, great joy, major realizations including, “I have prepared for this my entire life.  I was born for this.”  And, my response was, “YES”.  Before I begin working with a new person I give them the general rundown of what one may experience during sessions and after.  Included in this almost-mantra is, “Be aware that you may go into a full-body detox that can appear in any number of fashions.  You may experience a range of emotions and mental kerfluffles that I am the support for.  You don’t need to be alone in this and you don’t need to be uncomfortable.”

For some people, the initial session sets the foundation for deeper spiritual work, begins a transformation that some call awakening.  For others, like this woman, the experience through me is the awakening and described as “pure bliss”.  Sometimes, what comes with this experience of instantaneous meeting of all things divine is what Rumi calls the necessary dyings, as one soul gives birth to the next and the ground crumbles so that wildflowers come up.

It is not always like this.  There are two responses to the awakenings that happen through me:  One is mentioned above.   The loss of identity can be frightening.  The recognition that all things holy, our own nature, the divine god-stuff within, and the divine god-stuff without isn’t what we thought it should be or look like can be a ball-buster and can blow ones mind.  Primarily because, well, one of our stupid human tricks is the idea that we know ahead of time what it (here, things of spirit) should be or look like.  People spend decades searching, learning, sitting at the feet of gurus and spiritual ‘masters’ who tell us that this is the way, this is what it looks like, and this is what you should do to see it the way it’s supposed to be.    I try to help people move from a boundaried, fear-based experience into one that is limited by nothing, is filled with curiosity and wonder.     When that occurs, the second response to the awakening resembles how you feel on a winter day and put on your favorite pair of jeans straight out of the dryer.  One big, loud, “Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh….”.  So, growth spurts don’t always have to be painful.  Generally, how we move through it is of our choosing.  We can continue to be afraid and try to shove experiences into the boxes already established in our minds or we can

Once the door to the divine is opened, it is never closed.  Once you glimpse what has always seemed hidden from you, you never forget and will never be the same.  The integration of one’s consciousness with One’s consciousness brings the knowing that no connection is ever severed.  Connection, one-ness, unity consciousness isn’t controlled by a light switch or mental process.  It just is.  Always. And we are not separated from it or each other.

You and I have spoken all these words, but as for the way we have to go, words are no preparation.

There is no getting ready, other than grace.

My faults have stayed hidden. One might call that a preparation!

I have one drop of knowing in my soul.  Let it dissolve in your ocean.

Inside each of us, there is a continual autumn. Our leaves are blown out over the water.

A crow sits in the blackened limbs and talks about what’s gone.

Then, your generosity returns:  spring, moisture, intelligence, the scent of hyacinth and rose and cypress.

Joseph is back! And if you don’t feel in yourself the freshness of Joseph, be Jacob! 

Weep, then smile.

Don’t pretend to know something you haven’t experienced.

There’s a necessary dying, and then Jesus is breathing again.

Very little grows on jagged rock.  Be ground.

Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you are.

You’ve been stony for too many years. Try something different.