The "empath" and the conduit.
There is a little black and white cartoon animation doing the rounds on social media. Maybe you've seen it? It depicts a person coming to the aide of a number of people who are experiencing big emotions. One by one, this person helps to make them feel better with their caring and one by one, the animation depicts the emotion (shown in black), draining from those feeling it, and into the person coming to their aide. Eventually the person helping is completely black and the message is that this is the troubled life of an empath.
An empath, so they say, is sensitive. So like a sponge, they will absorb the emotions of others in a room and later on wonder why they are feeling so depleted. Bearing the load of all this "other people's stuff" is exhausting! This is what those who identify, claim to be their experience. Now please don't think I'm saying it isn't. If this is your truth and you identify as an empath, then this IS your experience and your truth. Afterall, what you choose to believe in is what you create!!
"Energy goes where attention flows!"
Which is one of the reasons that I have never resonated with the term "empath". I just don't find it necessary. I am a sensitive person. Always have been. In fact I remember as a child being labelled this as if it were a problem and maybe for my parents, it was. Yet I was also robust in spirit!
Growing up I was always just a little overweight, which perhaps was padding for the school playground. I was also intelligent and responsible. I had friends, but not always and it hurt to be on the outer. I knew when someone was rejecting me or leaving me out or straight out bullying me. Somehow though, I also knew when and where to exit a situation and take care of myself. Despite the environment, I always felt strong within. Even in my darkest teen moments when I would cry out to the loving, (yet also punishing) God that my extended family taught me about, I felt a truly supreme presence that told me I was gonna be ok. It was, I believe the same all-pervading force of love that kept me safe during my adolescent and early twenties years of rebellion. And it still does.
So while I completely understand the term empath and being on the perpetually over-generous side, I *could* surely be one to fall into the trap, there is a deeper inner knowing that LOVE is the all pervading force of this universe! And it wins out each and every time!
So rather than believing that we are separate beings all walking around this planet, removed from the source of all life and emoting (because life IS hard sometimes!) our way to inner and outer stuck-ness, I choose to see LOVE as being E V E R Y W H E R E and totally available.
To show you the difference and hopefully help a few of you out there who aren't happy with this label of "empath", I have sketched up two cartoons. One to depict the typical scenario of the empath and the other as a more liberated and therefore healthier alternative.
First, here's how I see the empath experience of being in the world...
So now, how about trying this one on for size instead...
I am a conduit of LOVE and so are you.
As I hold the all loving space with awareness, my intention is to:
A. acknowledge, allow and accept the person's feelings as valid experience,
C. cultivate coherence, compassion, care and a safe sense of centre,
T. trust that transformation is happening as the flow of love is restored.
Throughout the process, my curiosity, not my assumptions keep my mind open so that the person can feel truly heard.
I listen and I reassure them that while I don't fully know what they are going through (how can I?), that I am there beside them.
I tell them (and I believe in my heart), that their emotions are a valid experience of being human. Emotions are a natural phenomena of this human form.
Yet I also remind them that the emotion is not WHO they are. Emotions are never permanent.
We are never victims of emotion. Rather, emotions are energy (e) in motion. They are feelings sent out from the heart of our beingness.
In this perspective, one belief is at the core of my knowing, "LOVE pervades all." It is infinite and boundless. We are connected to this love, because it is the source of all life. We are born of it. It flows though everything and everyone.
As humans, we got the idea that because we are in a separate body, that we are alone. We forgot our connection to Source, to Love. Instead, we built walls around ourselves and even inside ourselves to protect ourselves. And all these walls do, is keep the flow of life and of love from moving and flowing naturally through us.
But the human heart is extremely intelligent. It is the kind of technology that even the world's smartest creators can't touch. The heart is a divine antenna. It keeps us connected to Source Love, no matter what we are experiencing. I believe the heart's wisdom is such that it is the control centre for emotion production. By this I mean, as our feeling centre, it works with the brain and the nervous system to set energy in motion in response to experience.
When we are in a situation that demands boundary setting, it will send out the emotion of anger. When we experience loss, we feel grief; the heart will bring sadness to shed tears, and vocal wailing to create the outward flow of toxic trauma. These are just a couple of examples of the heart's intelligence as the control centre for emotions.
Trouble starts when experience has created resistance or blockage to the natural flow of life and love. If we try to put a lid on our emotions and thwart the very flow they are there to restore, then over time, with each subsequent repeat, we are creating a habit that eventually becomes automatic. These are the kinds of habits that are maladaptive and this is why some people get so stuck. Sometimes it can get so bad that we may find ourselves walking around from person to person, looking for someone to recalibrate our system and restore flow FOR us. When no one is available, we might turn to someTHING instead. Distractions like work, or chocolate or coffee or alcohol or drugs or shopping - whatever makes you feel that loving state of flow again.
If only we all knew that all we had to do was A.C.T. when someone was in need. That they weren't going to "dump" on us. That we aren't receptacles for anybody's yuck emotions. That all we had to do was listen and show them some loving kindness and compassion so that the emotion could be expressed and their energy shifted to restore the flow of love with love, then wouldn't the world be a nicer place!?
So if you've been calling yourself an empath and feeling a little burnt out, absorb no longer! It's just not the way energy works - unless that is you believe it to be so and create "protective" or "resistant" blocks inside yourself.
Love is infinite and boundless and accessible to everyone. All the time. It will never burn out.
If you would like some support to learn how to open up those self created blocks within yourself or indeed to companion someone you care for, please get in touch. Lets make this world a more loving and safer place to feel and to be. Lets remember that we are all conduits to love.