Friday, 9 December 2016

"Who close their eyes and still can see"

(Part of this post comes in response to an email, the rest is just my babblings)

I just had a jolly little dance session in my living room, radio volume at full blast. I'll link you to the song at the end of this post - and who knows, maybe you'll dance too.

'Who cannot dance must bleed' they said, as Doris Lessing put it in her novel Briefing For a Descent Into Hell*. Ms Lessing sometimes lapses into poetry to say what can't be said in prose. I like that about her writing.

Dance we must, or else.

When we're as different from our fellow humans as those of us here are, their paths are not our paths, and when we try to walk them anyway ..

Slow, slow, my feet down thick sand dunes,
Curled shells recalling old sea tunes
Cut my slow feet until they bled.
‘Who cannot dance must bleed,’ they said.

So dance we must. And sometimes bleed anyway.

Sometimes as I (try to) fall asleep I find myself caught, the wheels of my mind caught in some sort of track, like riding a bicycle and being caught in the track of a street car. The what-if's the mind gets caught in are very, very strong, as I am sure most of my readers know from experience. It happens to all of us. The trick is to recognize that these thoughts are not actually our own, but come to us from media or if even we avoid media, enter our minds like a virus from other people. It's in the air, literally.

Last night I had to remind myself of something I learned last winter, that the feeling of nonspecific anxiety I sometimes get is not, necessarily, dread, but could, in fact, be anticipation. Excitement. If something is brewing, it could just as easily be good as bad. It could be utterly fabulous, but if I stay stuck in that street car track I won't get to it.

This looks to be one of those posts where I'm going to mix my metaphors.

I'm an empath, I pick up on and often take on the feelings, emotions, and more often than I'd like, the physical discomforts (pain, nausea, etc.) of the people around me. It sometimes happens with the people I'm in contact with through email, too. It has ever been thus, from childhood, and it's a both a blessing and a burden. It requires a certain vigilance and constant examination of my inner world to know what is my own and what comes from someone/where else. It requires that I keep my shields up when I am out in public, to the point that I really can't spend a whole lot of time in the city or I'm an exhausted wreck. But it also means it's that much easier for me to help people, and of course it means that I can be with the creatures of the natural world, be they animal or vegetable, in ways most other people can't.

But being an empath also means that my senses operate at a level just below .. or is it above .. at a level that's not 'the norm', let's say that. I get very messed up by the thick clouds of wifi in the city, although I am finally adjusting to the smaller fields here in our village. I can sense weather patterns and seismic activity. But I sometimes completely miss the social clues and niceties that other people consider to be, well, obvious. I sometimes wonder if, with the testing they do now, I would come out somewhere on the autism spectrum. It's like being the only one who can see that the Emperor is naked.

I was blessed to be very good friends with someone while she went through her Medicine Woman apprenticeship; through her I learned one or two very useful tricks to help me stay grounded and shielded. My own training in a Wiccan(-ish) tradition was helpful too. Ironically, as everyone we knew in those days was trying to enhance their 'psychic abilities' I was using the same techniques to damp mine down.

One thing all these spidey-senses do for me is enable me to spot the others who are like me, even those who have - or so they believe - successfully driven off what can feel like a demon. It is not a demon, but it can lead to feelings of being so different that it becomes very difficult to cope. I believe that more people are coming 'online' in this way all the time, and that terrible numbers of those same people are being misdiagnosed as mentally ill. In others, their success in damping down their extra senses has led to damage of the electromagnetic fields of the body - this in turn leads to physical symptoms that no amount of medical intervention can resolve. It's my gut feeling that quite a few chronic illnesses begin in this way.

It really is a Catch-22 situation, as no one wants to be weird. Most children have these senses and most have it trained out of them by about the age of 6 with little or no difficulty - or are they? How much trauma does the average person hold from being trained out of their natural state, let alone those who were born truly 'gifted' in this way and had it ripped away from them?

So for those of you who feel a certain stirring when I write like this, I offer you encouragement. You're not weird - well you are, but in a good way! - and you're needed. Allow yourself some leeway, allow yourself to play with the idea that not all of what you feel comes from you, you might be an empath picking up on the broadcasts of others. Go slowly forward and explore. Don't speak of it to just anyone unless you know they will 'get' it. If you use recreational drugs or booze, quit, and if you have been on medication for anxiety, depression or the like, consider asking for your MD's help to taper off (for God's sake don't try it on your own). This is easier when you're clear. Stay away from internet forums about this sort of thing, too, there is more viral danger there than there is help. Your best bet is prayer - to Deity in whatever form you believe in - and time spent in the natural world.

We'll touch on this again from time to time.

Now here's the song - to some a silly little ditty, to others, an anthem to freedom. You can guess which camp I'm in.

* Googling that snippet of poetry netted me a grand total of two (2!) hits. Now there will be three.


  1. Dear Christine, I didn't even know there was a word for this until over the last year! But I believe what you say in your post holds true.

    1. I learned the word from Star Trek of all places, I must have been about 12 at the time and it really stuck.

    2. Wow!!! We like Star Trek. I never picked up on it! I can't wait to watch it now!

    3. There's an episode in the original, Cap'n Kirk version of Star Trek all about it (well, taken to the extreme of course, because it's Star Trek lol). Then of course there's Troi in Next Generation.

  2. I smiled and winced as I read this. In empathy as I so know those feelings/thoughts. Sometimes I cringe when I have to go out and about, exposing myself to "the world" and coming home exhausted. I now have a better understanding of why that is so. Thanks to this post.

    1. I think I'll do a post about the how-to's of shields and recovery techniques some day. I hear from so many people that this is a 'thing' for, it might be helpful.

  3. I can empathize with some of this, Sister. However, I'm not a full empath; I have a facility for some empathy. I find social contact wearing only because I'm a basic introvert. I can maintain a public performance for a while because it's my calling, but it's work. If the performance is before a difficult crowd, it's especially wearing, but I've had no trouble leading a full week long conference with a positive group.

    1. Funny how many people who 'perform' describe themselves as introverts. I once went to a Peter Gabriel concert, and was standing right at the front, near the wings, I could see what was going on backstage. Before he came on stage he looked tired, almost to the point of haggard, and between the first few numbers he'd retreat, sit down, drink water and I could see the effort it was taking him to get back out there. But as the concert went on - a very positive crowd that night - he gained energy from us. It was remarkable to watch.

  4. 'There was an old owl who sat on an oak. The more she sat, the less she spoke. The less she spoke, the more she heard'.
    I find myself more listening than talking when I am out there with people. It is draining most of the time. I always wonder if the person on the other side of the interaction is as drained as I am.
    I look forward to your post on how-to's of shields and recovery techniques.

    1. Being a good listener is a skill that has to be developed; you need to ask interesting, leading questions to get anything worth listening to out of most people. If you're not really invested in what the other person is saying, then yeah, I think your energy is being drained .. interesting to wonder if the other person is as drained by it too. My guess is probably they are.

      I finally just fled that kind of life so I rarely have to interact with very many people unless/until I want to.