Hellloooo world. What a time to be alive. These days we are experiencing a lot. Sometimes we are fired up with excitement and empowerment, and other times we are experiencing a lot of fear, rage, and pain. For those big feelers out there, this is a lot to work with. And yet, we want to stay committed to waking up and taking action. Being an empath myself, I’ve been thinking about some tools we can use in facing this moment in time. So I am sharing some things I’m working with in hopes that you can find some of the support you need.
1. Feel your feelings. All of them
As an empath, you are meant to feel. Your feeling heart is put on the earth to help other humans remember their own tender, feeling heart. Don’t stop feeling. (You probably couldn’t anyway, though you have probably tried. But in trying, you will actually be killing off parts of yourself, leaving you feeling like the walking dead). Rage, pain, confusion, and fear are wise responses to what we have experienced and what we see around us. It’s about processing those emotions as energy to fuel our positive action for ourselves in our own lives, and for the world. And it’s also about giving ourselves lots of space to process the energies, which I believe has a powerful, yet subtle impact in and of itself. What would happen if we all allowed the pain of the world enter our hearts? So many things would change. I think when we do it, it enters the collective unconscious more strongly and influences others to do it too.
2. How to feel all the feelings
Don’t THINK about your feelings. Feelings are meant to be felt, not thought. So stay tuned into your body. When you feel something deeply, try to connect with the place in your body where you feel it the most. Stay connected to that part of your body (or your whole body if it’s generalized) and breath into it, breath around it, give it lots of space. Let any images, colors, or messages arise. Rather than deciding what the feeling is or means, try to sit with the feeling, lean into the feeling, until IT tells YOU. If it’s really intense, keep breathing, really deep breaths and relax around it. Notice yourself as separate from it, as working with it. It doesn’t matter that you know what it is or how to explain it. All that matters is that you welcome the feeling. The message, if there is one, will arise on its own if you give it space and sit with it long enough.
You can do this anywhere. In the bathroom, in your office chair, in your friend’s living room as people are talking all around you. You can be in your own experience no matter where you are. This will create an intimacy with your emotions that can change your entire relationship with yourself.
If you are afraid of what you’re feeling, that is your mind already deciding what the feeling is saying. That is you thinking about something that is meant to be felt. Sometimes feelings are scary because we are afraid they will tell us something we don’t want to hear (ie. You should leave your job or relationship or something else you’re afraid to change, or we think the feeling might PROVE that we are actually as unlovable and as unworthy as we fear we are). If you practice sitting with EVERY feeling in the way described above, you will eventually learn that your feelings are not scary at all. They are incredibly friendly and loving messages of guidance that you don’t want to miss.
3. Be intentional with your time
Here’s how my days look right now (though not in this order). This block of time is for work, my job, where I am ON. I am focused, productive, inspiring, interactive, connecting with others and I’m in touch with my Type A self that just really needs to get this to-do list done. This next block of time is for being totally OFF, doing NOTHING, meaning silence, breathing, looking out the window, drinking tea, meditating. No screens, no interactions, total cocooning. This other block of time is for touching base with the world around me and making sure I’m checked in and staying woke. I’m listening to the news, I’m reading things, I’m putting events into my calendar for taking action, I’m raging and calling friends to vent. The next block of time is for my action for the betterment of the world. This is when I’m going to meetings and dialogues and protests and volunteering. And this last block of time is for my family and my friends and getting fueled with interactive self-care and love and positive relationship.
I am SUPER intentional about this. I try not to let things bleed into each other. I create blocks of time that start and end. This means I don’t spend all my time all day thinking about the news, but that I do get woke every day at some point. And it means that I don’t spend all my time in quiet self-care mode, but it means that every day I do something for a good block of time to take care of myself. Your blocks will look different and you won’t squeeze all of them into every day. But if you’re intentional about when you’re OFF and when you’re ON, then you can make the best of those times and you can find ways to get what you need.
4. Protect yourself
I’ve been feeling the need for some energetic protection these days. There are some very loud, very dark forces and we really need to be paying attention to that. We need to also keep them from poisoning our system. My favorite description of detachment is Robert Master’s quote, “close enough to experience it, but far enough to see it clearly.” So the staying woke part is being close enough to experience it, letting the anger and pain be felt and honored and call us into action, and boundaries and protection make up the part of being far enough away to see it clearly and notice it as something outside of ourselves.
If I were to put an image to my energetic protection, it’s like there’s a wall made of stones all along my front body and guards stand out front choosing what energy comes in. I trust these guards and they let me know when it’s safe to let an energy in and when I should have them stand firm.
Sometimes protection can be accomplished energetically, and sometimes it involves words and actions. You get to decide (or you can ask your guards what they think). I feel this amazing energy right now of women saying “hell no” to a lot of abuse and painful stuff. So you can tap into that fierce feminine “hell no” energy and sit with that (like in #1) and see what message it has for you. Perhaps you need to actually tell someone no, sometimes you even have to release someone from your life. If you have been trained to consider saying no as being unloving or not compassionate, this can be a very hard task (another blog entry for another time), so you may need some friends or a good therapist.
Your energy and your time are your greatest resources. We need you in your fullness, all filled up and alive, all connected to yourself and ready to embrace your calling each day, so don’t let any loud and dark forces mess with your energy. Instead, use your protected energetic vortex of love to stand in their way.
5. And when you still find yourself drained…
Because you will sometimes be drained! And that’s okay. It’s part of the journey of all empaths and it will just happen sometimes. Learn to recognize the drained feeling in your body and start to notice when it shows up. It might be around certain people or in certain circumstances. Then use practice #1 to explore what it is that might have you feeling drained in these situations. That will be useful information. It might be that the situation is actually great, but your self-doubt rises up and is killing your soul! We don’t know, so we sit with it until IT tells US. Also, this is why you have those self-care blocks of time in your intentional week schedule.
Right in the moment of drain, until you can get to your self-care block of time, a few deep belly breaths can work wonders. Being in nature, even for a short time, going on a walk in the woods, can also work wonders. Rescue Remedy by Bach Flower Essences is a miracle worker, and even 5 minutes of yoga is like magic.
6. Here is one of my all-time favorite quotes to sign off
"The goal is an awakened heart, one that feels everything there is to feel: joy and hope, enchantment and aliveness; and also longing, sadness, anger, and pain. We feel how wonderful it is to be alive, how funny, how tragic. We don't shut down when the feelings get troublesome; we stay awake even when it hurts. This is the path of the heart: to develop tenderness toward the self and each other by opening wider and wider to the wonders and the woes of the world." -Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open
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