Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I was an empath. Once.

I've been thinking a lot about the whole spirituality thing, even the spiritualist thing, and the whole thing people do when they declare they're on a path.

Unlike when you're on the warpath, when you're on the spiritual path you have to love everyone and be accepting of them. It's expected that you become more compassionate towards everyone and generally less prone to judge. You're looking to become enlightened so you seek to embody light and love, and to become a light-worker in this world. It's hard work and it can become bloody exhausting.

I think this is why I first became solitary witch and then went on to study shamanism. Real shamans kick arse and they're also a little insane so that leaves a lot of room for behaving as eccentrically as you like.

I'm not taking a swipe at people "on the path", nor am I making fun of them. I think we can all use a little spirituality in our lives but there has to be some sort of being in touch with "the real world" at the same time. This is why shamans are supposed yo have "one foot in each world" meaning that they're in contact with the spirit works as well as being in touch with reality.

Not that long ago I was attending a psychic development circle regularly because I was curious. The people attending we're lovely and the lady running the circle was very supportive. We would start our sessions with a "meditation" (and I use quotation marks because it was really more like a visualisation free fall) and then relate to each other what we had seen, heard or felt during that session.

Not all of it's crap, when you meditate together you do begin to share something, whether it's energy or what ever, but it's not hard to see that it takes people a few sessions to become "psychic". They kind of need to get with the program meaning they need to know what the others are looking for and want to hear. Thats basic human behaviour at work so not really any mystery there.

In the group, I wasn't actually bad at psychically reading people, even when I had no idea of who had been sat down behind me, but I still can't buy into that whole psychic thing, and part reason is because I know something very important about myself.

I'm an empath.

Much like Deanna Troi I sit on the deck of a starship that looks eerily similar to the starship Enterprise and I sense alien beings and their intentions. I also wear a tight uniform and have boffy 80s hair.

Well, I actually sit in my bed pretending to be Deanna Troi and my cat Bob is captain Picard.

Actually, none of that ever happened, and I'm nothing like Deanna Troi, and if you put me in a uniform like hers it would probably have a sign saying "wide load" on the bum. (As if you wouldn't notice that anyway. You're not blind, are ya?)

Have I lost you yet? No? Excellent. Permit me to crap on. No, please. It's no bother.

I've actually been called an empath several times even by my shaman teacher. I twigged onto the fact some years ago after watching the TV series Lie to me that I wasn't an empath at all. I had been in emotionally abusive relationships for most of my life, even as a child, and as such I had learned to become extremely good at reading people as a way of protecting myself and being able to please them.

Most people who describe themselves as empaths will tell you that it's exhausting to be around people, especially certain people. You guys drain us emotionally and we sometimes completely lose touch where you end and we start. We tend to feel too much and to be very emotional. We cry more than the average person when little kittens die, or we go to funerals and ball our eyes out not because there's a dead guy in a coffin but rather because we're surrounded by emotionally distressed people.

If you're running around in spiritual circles you may be treated as someone special if you're an empath but as far as I'm concerned I think it's more important to understand that you're probably not as much of an empath as you are wounded. Or, as my shaman teacher once put it to me "Why would you want to go around feeling other people's crap?". She said it with disgust in her voice and it made me feel dirty, we'll not dirty, more like she had a point. We're not meant to feel other people's shit, that's completely different from being empathetic and compassionate, we're actually meant to be able to have clear boundaries in place that helps us go "your emotional shit" versus "my emotional shit".

I think, or more accurately I'm learning, that healthy boundaries means feeling your own crap (you know, like your feelings and emotions and shit) and dealing with that. It doesn't mean that you become insensitive to other people's feelings or emotions, it just means you're not carrying the whole of humanity on your tiny little shoulders, and more importantly, you're giving others room to be themselves and yourself room to be your own person.

One of the hardest things about healing and becoming whole is taking a good look at yourself, apply an overdose of compassion and understanding, and beginning to understand your own self and all the little lovely quirks that make you up. You can only do that if you're honest with yourself and no amount of talking to the spirits will help you do that. You kind of need to reach out to yourself, embrace and love the shit out of yourself. It's not easy, I know (Oh boy, do I know!) but it's possible and if you've forgotten what that feels like you need to watch this video to remind yourself. Then go do that. To yourself. You'll like it. I promise. (The quality is crap but I think you'll get it.)

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