Reflections of an Empath

Brown & White Butterfly (1 of 1)
Photo Credit: Della McGee

I am back in Ashland after spending the last 10 days in the Cities where I was teaching a workshop on being an empath and seeing private clients.  Today I am resting up after all those days of work and the many long hours of driving.  I learn so much on these trips but this one, especially so.

I had never taught on the topic of being an empath before so had a lot of research and writing to do beforehand.  What I learned brought me to a better understanding of my own nature and with that understanding came compassion for myself.

Some Traits of an Empath:

  • people point out you are highly sensitive
  • you feel other people’s feelings
  • negativity overwhelms you
  • being in a crowd overwhelms you
  • you are very intuitive
  • highly sensitive to pain in yourself or seeing/sensing pain in others or animals
  • you are affected by negative media images, ie, social media, newspapers, television news, movies, etc.
  • you are more sensitive to stimulants, medications, smells, etc. than other people seem to be
  • you often end up with the same symptoms as those around you. For example, you go to work feeling fine and the next thing you know you feel yourself coming down with what ever your co-worker has
  • you frequently have lower back or digestive problems
  • you are the dumping ground for the problems of others
  • you often feel fatigue
  • you have a very vibrant inner life
  • you are sensitive to sounds and sensory feelings. Too loud noises or certain lighting can affect you
  • you don’t like too many things coming at once, i.e. easily overwhelmed or feeling bombarded
  • you manage your environment
  • can be prone to anxiety – that’s why I manage my environment
  • there may be a number of narcissists in your life – narcissists are drawn to empaths like a moth to a flame (future blog on this one alone)
  • you are a great listener
  • you get bored easily

The empathic traits that I embody have, in the past, made me feel weak and some how less than what I perceive as normal compared to other people.  Feeling the emotions of those around me can often waylay me for days.  Yet, at the same time, it is one of my greatest super powers.  It makes me good at my job as a teacher and healer.

Sharing this information with other empaths feels important and timely.  We (empaths) need to begin to see ourselves as unique and not flawed.  We have a gift and if we can learn to understand that gift we can become strong.

It is imperative we begin to see ourselves as empowered instead of as victims of our empath nature.  For instance, feeling the emotions of those around us can offer us the opportunity to be in compassion.  Our natural intuitiveness can prepare us for what ever comes our way beforehand.  Being sensitive to negativity in the media, movies, and news can light a fire in us for social change.

When we stop asking ourselves why we are this way and accept this is who we are we can show up in the world in a way that empowers ourself and others.

If you would like to learn more about being an empath you can contact Della here.

 

No Yoga Mat Required

639030218b5e57555445da323b07c18cOn the rare morning that I don’t do yoga it’s because my whole being is called to the tub.  I nice hot bath, for me, is another form of meditation.  The warm water surrounds me and I feel encased as if in the womb.

I use to feel guilty when the tub’s call was louder than my yoga mat.  It wasn’t until recently that I recognized the value of the deep silence that soaking in the bath brings.  This silence is what I seek to attain through my more formal meditation practice.

I believe that whatever or where ever you can find the silence thats meditation.  Whether that be a walk in the woods, a hammock by the sea or a nice warm bath.  No yoga mat required.

Find out more about Della here.

What We See In The Mirror

Archer Pose
Photo Credit:  Linda S. Reed

If you are anything like me when you look in the mirror you don’t take in the whole image.  It’s hard to do, actually.  The eyes tend to gravitate to what we perceive as flaws instead of seeing the beauty that is undoubtedly there.

A friend of mine recently took some photos of me out in nature.  For the first time in a very long time, I could see the whole me.  I could see the strength and power in my body.

This photo shows that I am a woman with curves.  My programming (media, advertising, etc.) says that people with this many curves are not attractive.  I’ve recently begun a practice of self-love and it is helping me, along with this photo, to be more comfortable in my body, more accepting.

I like that I am beginning to inhabit my skin instead of disparaging it.  Drawing on the strength that years of yoga and meditation have built I can be a light that shines through the social constructs of what “they” say beauty is.  I am creating a new program of self-love and self-care that is dissolving the old messages of “not good enough”.  This is my mission and I choose to accept it.  Would you care to join me?

Read more about Della’s mission here.

A Girl Needs Her Stuff!

rehost-2016-9-13-80d58f78-b5a0-4be0-8d9b-d4e2014e9618In the past week I have been unpacking and organizing my new home in Ashland, Wi.  Yet, I haven’t been able to feel completely settled because half of my stuff is still sitting in my old apartment in the cities.

Yesterday, my housemate and I drove down to pick up the rest of my stuff.  Only, things didn’t work out exactly as I’d planned.   We had picked up a ladder for a friend first, not realizing just how much space it would take up.  I had a melt down once I understood that I wouldn’t be able to get all of my belongings in to the truck.

I surprised myself with my level of reaction to the situation.  I have always prided myself on my minimalist nature and my emotional response to the situation blew me away.    I was able to express my disappointment and frustration to my friend and that helped to calm me down.  Once I settled down I realized a couple of things were going on.  One, I didn’t trust that all was going to work out in the end and two I hold a belief that owning things makes me feel safe.

“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.”
Byron Katie

I have been telling myself this past week that once I get all my stuff around me I can finally settle in and all will be well.  I know the truth has little to do with my possessions holding any kind of security for me.  I am glad I will be able to pick up the rest of my belongings (emphasis on longings) next week.  I really want to have my stuff around me and there is nothing wrong with that.  But I do understand that my pain around this came from attachment to those things.

To find out more about Della click here.

 

 

 

I’ve Got This

af41c724f51bb97447794e045a07a73fLast night I dreamed I was riding on a bus with my boyfriend Hugh Jackman.  I felt the need to go for a run so I jumped off the bus and careened down this hill onto a path that led into the woods.  Once on the path it went from daylight to darkness.  These woods were very creepy looking.   I had been here many times before and I remember how frightened I had been each time I arrived at this place.

This time it was different.  I wasn’t afraid.  I leaned down to pick up a small stuffed animal that was laying on the ground and my surroundings immediately became illuminated.  I could see that the forest was still very scary looking but I had no fear.  I knew I had been here before and that I always made it through to the daylight again.

On the other side of the forest was a room filled with homeless people.  They were listless and stared off into space.  I offered them rice crispy treats and they perked up and seemed happy.

When I awoke I immediately knew this dream was a message from my subconscious that “I’ve got this”.  I have been here before and I can do this.  “This” being the major move I have just made.  Yesterday I moved from the Twin Cities where I have lived for the past 30 years to Ashland, WI.  In many way’s I’m entering the unknown (dark scary forest).   But I have the light within me to see me through to the other side.

I feel the homeless people represent how many of us seem lost right now.  The work I do offers sustenance (rice crispy treat) and reminds us of the sweetness of life.

I would love to hear any insights you may have to this dream.  Please feel free to share your interpretation with me here.

 

Two Roads Diverged In A Wood. . .

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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~Robert Frost~

I have lived in the Twin Cities for the past 30 odd years.  In a few days I will be moving to Ashland, WI which is on the southern most shore of Lake Superior.  I will go from living alone for the last 3 years to having housemates, from big city to small town, from sirens blaring all hours of the night and day to relative silence.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what changes I want to make in my life once I move.  There are some practical things I know I want to accomplish like getting my debts paid and being in nature more.  But there will be other changes that will occur much more organically.

As I said, I will be living with other people. These wonderful visionaries truly want to make the world a better place.  Living with people is a bit frightening for an introverted sensitive soul like me.  It means playing well with others and not hiding in my cave as I am want to do.  At the same time it is incredibly exciting.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will be forced to grow.  It is hard to have mirrors when you live alone.  We can only truly see ourselves by our reflections.  These beautiful souls that I will be living and working with will be my mirrors.  This is an opportunity, albeit a scary one, to see myself in new light.  When you live alone you get used to the mirror being foggy.  It is easy to disregard what you see as imagination.  There will be no more escaping myself as I will be with people every day.

Most of all, I want my heart to heal.  It has been broken for a very long time now.  I recently sent out a newsletter informing my friends and clients of my move.  The response I’ve received has been incredible.  So many of you have expressed how happy you are for me and how it feels like this move is the “right” thing for me to do.  I’ve had several people even mention the sadness they’ve seen me carrying.  I thought I was hiding it better. . . see what I mean about the mirror being foggy?

I also sense a slowing down of my entire being once I get settled in my new home.  I am the master of the “busy”.  Every thing I do is quick.  I rush doing the dishes, brushing my teeth, eating, walking, etc.  You get the idea.  Being busy and rushing to and fro is how I have traditionally dealt with anxiety.

This anxiety has increased tremendously over the past two years.  It is partly due to my precarious financial situation, partly due to living right in the center of a busy city and being energetically sensitive, and partly due to not getting out into nature as much as I had in the past.  Nature has always been the balm that heals me body, mind and soul.  And, to be moving next to one the greatest lakes in the world will feed me in so many ways.

I intend to find my light again.  It has dimmed with the grief that I have let consume me this past year.  I saw a glimmer of that light co-teaching  a Body & Soul Art Workshop this past weekend.   My friend Elizabeth and I combined art & yoga for a whole day workshop.  It was truly fantastic.  Two of my great passions combined in one day.  It reminded me that it is possible that your work can also be your play.

All in all, I am looking on this move as a grand adventure and as an opportunity to heal in ways I hadn’t allow myself before.  I plan on sharing my new adventure here on this blog.  I know it will be extraordinary.   And, I will be returning to the Cities regularly to teach workshops and see private clients.  Stay tuned!

When It Hurts To Breathe

every breath hurtsHave you ever had so much grief it was hard to breathe?  That’s what it feels like in my life right now.  I am still grieving the loss of a relationship that ended months ago.  I have had relationships end before but not like this.  There is no hating, no anger, no cheating, nothing.  Just the end.

It’s not quite that black and white.  There were things that did lead up to here. We still communicate and even see each other once in a while.  But it’s not like it was before.  The connection is gone.  Some vital artery has been severed and the ones that are left are not enough to pump life back into this once beating heart.

I know this grief goes deeper than the end of a romance.  I feel I am truly grieving everything I have ever lost right now.  This may sound strange but 10 days ago I started an elimination diet with daily lymphatic brushing.  I have been deeply detoxing body, mind and soul.  It has been an intense 10 days with the loss of our beloved Prince, PMS, Peri-menopause, my son leaving for the peace corp soon, people I love in crisis, career changes, and the grief goes on . . .

When I step back from my emotions and just observe them for a moment I can see how this experience is healing me.  When a person feels everything so intensely that can be difficult to do.  The stepping back that is.

I believe emotions can get stuck in the body if not dealt with.  Over the past 18 months I have gained 20 pounds and a whole lot of cellulite.  My Guidance tells me that much of that is unprocessed emotions.  Now that I am losing the weight and the cellulite the grief is coming up from where I had buried it.  My joints, my fat cells, my organs are all releasing the past.

Astrologically there are 5 planets in retrograde happening now.  When one planet is in retrograde it can be tough.  When there are 5 . . . well that hasn’t occurred in a decade.  I think of planetary  retrogrades as opportunities to go backwards in time and look at what may be hidden deep in the cells of my being.  This process isn’t fun yet it is purposeful.  If I am hiding from myself then I can never truly experience love.

That is what I want.  Love of self, love of another, and to love all beings deeply.  So that is why I do this.  Not because I like pain, because I really don’t.  But because I want love.  Real.  Unconditional.  Love.  And, that is what I will receive.

And, so it is.

Della’s website and services.

You Have Permission To Relax

3625745952_4ddd44d4c5I am irritable, pissy, moody and just plain grumpy right now.  There is so much I want to do with my days but don’t seem to have the energy to do much of anything.    Sometimes I write in my journal just to blow off steam and see what surfaces at the end of it.  Here is a message from my Soul that I thought was appropriate for all of us who live in the colder climates.

The cold weather takes its toll on the human body.  It makes you tired, irate and uncomfortable.  Winter is designed to draw you inside yourself.  Humans have forgotten to linger with the seasons.  Your constant need to drive yourself has thrown you out of balance.  Relax, read, journal, listen deeply, meditate sweetly, and rest your head upon your pillow.  Let go of your guilt and shame around wanting to follow the natural rhythm of your body and rest.  You are the only one you have to answer to.

Say Thank You Instead of I’m Sorry

stop-saying-sorry-say-thank-you-comic-yao-xiao-7
Cartoon by Yao Xiao

Several weeks ago I came across this blog post by Dainius that shared how artist Yao Xiao uses cartoons to emphasize how we tend to apologize for ourselves instead of saying thank you.  It really had an impact on me.  I started noticing how often I apologize for simply being myself.

Getting out of the habit of apologizing for every little thing takes practice, patience and awareness.  It has really forced me to think before I speak.  Not a bad habit to get into by any means.

Apologizing all the time is another way we tell ourselves that we are not good enough.  That there is something innately wrong with who we are.  There are times I genuinely need to apologize for something I’ve done.  Yet, that is rare compared to how often I am apologizing for things I haven’t done wrong.

I’ve taken this to another level as well.  I’m practicing saying thank you instead of complaining.  It’s freekin’ cold here in Minnesota today yet, the sun is shining beautifully.  I’m saying thank you for the sunshine.

Find more about Della here.

Why I Quit Facebook

deactivated2One day, not too long ago, I was scrolling, yet again through my Facebook feed when I stopped to ask myself this question.  What would I be doing if I were not on Facebook right now?  These were my answers.

  • writing
  • creating recipes
  • coloring
  • reading
  • yoga
  • walking
  • etc.

I have known for a while that Facebook had kept me from more joyful pursuits.  I just couldn’t seem to get myself to stop being sidelined.  A couple of days after that original question I was scrolling, yet again through my Facebook feed when I found myself getting upset by posts that I was seeing.  I was bored, angry and judgmental.  I was finding that more and more often that was my experience.  Once in a while I would be inspired by people’s posts but mostly I wasn’t enjoying myself.

You may ask why I didn’t just check Facebook once per day?  Why not use moderation?  Moderation isn’t part of my vocabulary.  I have a very strong addictive personality.  I’ve known this about myself for some time now.  I knew if I were going to find any kind of balance I had to deactivate my account.  Yes, I’m an all or nothing kind of gal!

It’s this kind of commitment that has kept me from drinking over the last 25 years and smoking for the past 23.  It’s how I’ve gone gluten-free and sugar-free.  Not every one needs to be as extreme as I am.  I’ve met people who are social drinkers, smokers, etc.  I really dislike those people.  But I am not one of them.  I know what works for me.  I know how to bring wholeness back into my life.  I have to remove things entirely to make change.  I do not look at this way of being as depriving myself.  It’s what I call extreme self-care.

It’s been about two weeks now and this is what has changed.

  • I’m writing more
  • doing more yoga
  • creating awesome new recipes
  • experiencing less noise in my head (yes, my brain seems quieter)
  • feeling more joy
  • being more productive

Encountering less energetic noise has been the most surprising part of this experience.   I had no idea I was as sensitive to other people’s energies as I am through the internet.

This experience has actually inspired me to be more social with people in person.  Not something this self-proclaimed introvert would normally say.  Who’d a thunk?

Update:

Since deactivating my Facebook account in December I’ve had people tell me Facebook was how they were getting access to my blog.  After hearing this I’ve decided to reactivate my account for the sole purpose of sharing my blog blog posts.  This may change one way or the other as time goes on.

You can find me more active on Instagram.