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The whole empath thing, which I’ve spoken about before, can take me down some interesting paths and branches.  I am better about controlling it than I used to be – but not much.  I’ll admit to weaving like a little drunken rock star on the spiritual path lately due to my emotional rollercoaster. But I am pulling things together.  One of the empath gifts is a psychical connection to people with whom I share something.  I can feel when someone else feels bad or upset – or maybe even incredibly happy.  And I can feel when someone is physically farther away – on a  trip or something.  It’s like I have a slender spiritual measuring tape spool – that little invisible connecting strand that stretches with distance and is the conduit for emotions.  Maybe that’s why I find it so hard to let go after a death as well – the coil no longer has a notion as to where it ends.

Safe travels.

I haven’t talked much about being an empath, but it’s what I am.  At times of great stress, it tends to work against me.  At times of great peace, it is the best gift the universe could have shared with me.

Last fall, I took a weekend training with a Shaman about how to live as an empath.  It was helpful, and perhaps it’s time that I revisit some of the lessons learned there.  One of the things that happens with me is that I can link deeply and intuitively to people for whom I care.  It’s like sharing a piece of spirit.  I can sense what they are feeling and what they are doing. Most of the time, I’m right.  And sometimes being right can be positively devastating.

It is such a mixed thing, when you love someone and want them to be happy, but at the same time you want to be the one they are happy with and you can’t have that.

Empaths have the ability to sense things on many levels.  We can read people – their body language, their eyes, the very air around them.  I can, if I chose, put myself in a stranger’s skin and feel their thoughts and emotions.  This is not something I do, however, because it is a violation of a stranger’s spirit and space.  And I take on too much of other’s stuff when I do it.  This quality is one of the reasons that neither psychology or massage therapy worked out for me as a career.

Most times, it is a matter of finding a quiet space within myself; from that place, I can reach out tender tendrils to sense what others might be feeling, and hopefully help them on a level of which they are not even aware.  This all sounds awfully foo-foo Boulder, doesn’t it? 

The concept of the Highly Sensitive Person is very popular here in Boulder, and while some would say that HSP is the same thing as being an empath, I would disagree.  Perhaps in some people, the two go together.  But in the cases of people whom I’ve met who are Highly Sensitive Persons, it seems to be an affliction, and one that is focused on their own challenges of dealing with this world full of people, motion, light, sound and busyness.  It has very little to do with the strange, serene sense of the feelings of other beings (both animal and human) and everything to do with adjusting their surrounding (and the people around them) to accommodate their “disability”.  Yes, being Highly Sensitive has become a focus of psychotherapy here in town.  Amazing.

However you might choose to interpret it, I live it every day.  It’s a painful joy, which is the mixture of my life these days, with varying degrees of each.  I only wish it were easier.

After yesterday’s whine, I started out today making lists in a new notebook.  It’s really garish, so should be hard for me to lose, even among the evil clutter of the cottage.  It’s good for me to make lists.  Lists serve as a second brain.  I suspect they will continue to do so until I can instill some stillness and quietude into my mind. 

One of my friends says that meditation is a good tool for adding stillness – and would be good for me.   I tend to think this might be true, but where does the time come from?  I am already making time for exercise.  And now I must add something else to the mix that involves taking care of myself ?  Preposterous!!

I never used to like meditating.  I always returned from a session feeling a little bit “off”, as if the universe had shifted just a hairs-breadth while I was away.  It was disturbing.  It reminds me of the feeling you have when you’ve experienced a very small earthquake, like something stable has been ever-so-slightly disarranged.  I voiced this concern to my Mother, who had recommended meditation to me during my turbulent teens.  Given how it made me feel, she agreed that it was probably wrong for me.  I know now that part of what she was saying (or rather not saying), was that I wasn’t protecting myself properly.

The concept of psychic protection is an interesting one.  I am only recently re-learning to surround myself with the white light, the blue eggshell, to take refuge in the safe spaces of my soul when dipping my toes into other realms.  Mother gave me some guidance around the white light, as did a few weeks at Theosophy Camp during the my 15th summer.  More recently, I have received some instruction in this technique from my wonderful Shaman.  It’s not something that comes to me readily, but I have a strong sense that it’s something I need to cultivate, especially these days.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t think that meditation would require psychic protection.  But I guess in my case, it does.   Something related to that sensitivity or “shine”, no doubt, makes me more vulnerable to the strange swirlings of crossed-over worlds.

Anyway, I was reading a few things on meditation in my web travels last night.  The Zazen school insists you must take a class – can’t learn it from a book – and sit with a ramrod-stiff spine.  OK, I don’t buy that.  A couple of other sites were entirely too woo-woo.  “Just breathe and clear your mind – it’s that simple.”  Don’t buy that either.  I don’t want to contemplate my navel – it’s too hard to see past my boobs.   Thinking about the word “EON” makes my head hurt.  There’s got to be a technique out there that feels simpatico for me.  Maybe I just need to try it, instead of looking for the answer in the written word.  And as Yoda likes to say, “There is no try, there is only do.”  (He may have added “..or do not,”  but I don’t remember.  I’m not as up on my Yoda as I might be.)

I’ll keep you posted.

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I don’t want you to miss out on your history lessons for the day:

Today is Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln’s wedding anniversary.

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Lincoln wedding

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It’s also Walter Cronkite’s birthday.  He was my favorite anchorman of all time, the one I grew up with, and learned about the Vietnam War with.  He was slightly older than my father, and his daughter is about the same age as me, so I felt “close” to them.  His daughter must be having a difficult day today.  I know I am.  Today is my father’s birthday as well.  But I can tell her, as with everything after your father dies, the first one without him is the hardest.

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It is the 109th Anniversary of the Tube in London.  I have never had the privilege of riding the Tube, but I have admired the signs.

Mind the Gap
And it is – in what strikes me as a remarkable coincidence – the 676th and the 43rd anniversary of the massive flooding of the River Arno, which nearly destroyed Florence, Italy on both occasions.  No pictures are available from 1333, but here’s one from 1966:

flood

Finally, it is Zero-Tasking Day, and I have already been remarkably busy.  Time to celebrate by doing nothing!

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