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.
In a previous blog post on being an empath I talked about how an empath picks up on the feelings of the people around them. This can become very confusing for the person who is just trying to live their life. For example, this morning while practicing yoga I began to feel anxiety in my chest. I didn’t know what the anxiety was about until I was journaling about it later. As I was writing I asked my body if this anxiety was mine? The anxiety immediately left me. I was able to pinpoint who I was picking up on and recognize that, once again, I was unconsciously tuning into someone else’s feelings and experiencing them as my own.
The interesting thing about this is the person I was picking up on was hundreds of miles away. The closer you are to people in your life the more “connected energetically” an empath is to the people around them. As I said, this can become confusing. It took me many years to remember to ask if what I was feeling was mine. This kind of inquiry has worked every time for me in navigating what is mine and what is other people’s stuff. I have found that if the energy I am feeling is my own it stays with me when I ask the question, “Is this mine?” If it is NOT my stuff it leaves immediately.
This is one of the techniques I will be teaching in my Care & Feeding of an Empath special event on August 5th. Click here to find out more.
First off, let’s talk about what an empath is. An empath is a highly sensitive individual who picks up on the energies of those around them. If you see someone in pain you can feel it. Being in a crowd overwhelms you. You may be sensitive to smells, foods, people, situations, and even things. It may feel like you never want to leave the house even on a good day.
Not all empaths are created equal either. Being an empath myself I have met people who are more sensitive and less sensitive than I am. What bothers me may not bother you. As a child, you may have been easily emotional and liked to spend lots of time alone.
We empaths used to be called overly emotional or “too” sensitive and it was considered a negative thing. Now, we are being recognized for the highly intuitive beings that we are. We are the healers of the world. We tend to be nurturers and environmentally conscious. We are highly creative and are often the person that is turned to when you need a shoulder to cry on.
For years, I have been reading and hearing that we as a human race will some day evolve to a place where we can communicate with one another telepathically. Being an empath is the start of that evolution. It’s not that an empath can read your mind but they do sense the emotions that you are emitting. Because this is not mainstream thinking it is easy for the empath to wonder if there is something wrong with them. We often feel like we are crazy. We may have been medicated as children or we drank and used drugs as we got older to shut it off, never knowing what it was. If this is you, you are not alone.
I have been one of the lucky ones. I used drink and drugs when I was younger but that didn’t work for me. I didn’t start to feel a measure of peace around this gift, and yes, it is a gift, until I started practicing Kundalini Yoga over 12 years ago. Since then I have learned many ways to bring myself back into balance. I want to share them with you. Check out my workshop The Care & Feeding of an Empath.
“Are you carrying yourself in a sacred way,” Grandmother spirit guide asked?
This is the question I reflect on every morning lately. It reminds me to take a deep breath, straightened my spine and say. . . Yes.
Yes, to life. Yes, to love. Yes, to me.
It also reminds me to love myself in a way I am unfamiliar with. To carry myself in a sacred way means unconditional love of self. That means to love my body. To love my mind. To love my spirit. Accepting myself exactly as I am is what carrying myself in a sacred way means to me. What does it mean to you?
It’s been a rough week. I’m back visiting and working in the Twin Cities where I have lived much of the past 35 years. When I am in Ashland, where I currently live, I can pretty well stay focused on the here and now. But when I come back to the place where so much has happened in my life grief is triggered.
During a recent yoga & soul art workshop Guidance came through my painting and said loud and clear that the grief I have been holding so dear is really fear. It took me a couple of days to understand that on more than an intellectual level. I really heard the message and wanted to honor the wisdom within so I made a commitment to let my grief go. I ended up with a migraine for two days following that decision. I had no idea that the grief I had been carrying was so toxic.
The more I let go the more I realize that my grief is keeping me connected to a relationship that is long gone. Laying in wait for me under all that grief was a deep loneliness. Now that I am face to face with that loneliness the trick is to not run. In the past I would distract myself with social media or binge watching my favorite shows or my particular favorite, eating my self into oblivion.
What I’ve never done before is look loneliness straight in the eye and ask for its wisdom. I am afraid it will consume me if I stand and face it. Yet, running is no longer an option. I don’t have the strength any more to avoid what is coming. If I had faith in God this probably wouldn’t frighten me so. But my faith died many years ago. What I do believe in is Nature and its infinite beauty. It’s this Force that I call on now as my trial awaits me.
I feel like Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games with her bow and arrows strapped to her back waiting to jump into the fray. . . I will survive this.
I’ve been writing. Every day. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time (can you say years!) but haven’t been able to stick with for more than a few days.
I was listening to a podcast recently and the guest said she writes 500 words a day before she gets onto social media. For some reason that really resonated and I thought I would give it a try.
I am finding this to be easy. My only “rule” is that I write 500 words. I tried for a few days to get it done before I hopped onto Facebook but that didn’t last long. I found that just the fact that it only had to be 500 words is all that really mattered.
500 words is nothing. It is only a few paragraphs. I open up a blank document and turn the word count on and begin to write. Some days I have an idea for a blog and others its just words for my journal which, once I am finished, I copy and paste the words in to. This has been a very satisfying experiment that I plan to keep doing.
Knowing myself very well I tend to need some psychological trigger to either get me to do or quit a behavior. The magic word this time was 500. I could wrap my mind around that. There is an end goal in sight. It is fun to see the word count go up and up. The last few days I have finished my 500 words without even struggling.
If you are a writer and you want to consistently get words out of your head and onto the paper, tablet, etc. find that magic thing that works for you. I have tried many different ways over the years to get me to write every day. I have bought fancy journals that remain half filled. And, then of course, I have to buy another one to start over again. I have hand painted journal covers thinking that putting all that energy into the cover would get me to write. I have created special photo journals on my computer thinking that would do the trick. None of it worked until now. It is the simplicity of 500 words that was my magic bullet. I hope you find yours.
On 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.
As many of you know, I recently moved to Ashland, Wi. I left my life in the Twin Cities and began anew. One of the ways I have been settling into this new life is through nature photography. I have always found peace in nature. From the moment I step into the woods my energy shifts and my soul lightens. Well, usually that’s what happens.
Yesterday, my hike took a different turn. As I pulled up to the trail head I immediately noticed there wasn’t a bathroom in sight. It took me over a half hour to drive there so I already had to pee when I arrived. I knew I would have to find a friendly tree to squat behind as soon as I could find one.
Once I finished my potty break I started down the trail. I was excited as I had never been to this spot before. Right away I could see that there wasn’t many flowers, which are my usual choice to take photos of. As I continued on my journey the wee little gnats began to gnaw on me. In my haste to go on my adventure I forgot one of the most essential things to bring on a north woods hike, bug spray! In my case, a bug deterring essential oil.
The trail was muddy, windy and gnarled. Needless to say I could barely look up from the path or I could have easily tripped on a tree root. By the time I made it to my destination, a waterfall, I was a bit disappointed. There were people down there who were smoking cigarettes and generally killing my nature vibe. I did get a few shots of the waterfall but the bugs were keeping me from spending any more time there than necessary.
As I walked back to my car I was reflecting on how not all nature hikes are sublime. As miserable as this hike was, it wasn’t a total bust. I got a great aerobic work out and it was a lovely drive there and back.
P.S. – The photo above of the snowman in the moss was early on in my hike. I looked down and there it was just hanging out. I have no idea why it was there or how it had arrived in the first place. I think it was a foreshadowing of my entire adventure. Not every thing happens as expected.