On Managing an Empathic Nature
On a discussion list in which I participate a member wrote about a client who was having difficulty integrating her empathic sensitivity to the point of being reluctant to be with other people. This is a topic close to my heart as I shared this experience for many years. Investigating this phenomenon as it showed up in my life led me to write several books which may be a useful resource for others who are sensitive.
The first step necessary step is GROUNDING. Connecting to the Earth provides a place for that excess emotional energy to go. In my practice I rarely meet anyone who is aware of grounding their energy when they come for a first appointment. With awareness, it is fairly simple to accomplish the task. I wrote "The Little Grounding Book" on my way home from spending a week-end with a psychic healer. I was floating somewhere in space. The book was pretty much dictated by my guides, drawing together things I’d learned in martial arts and deep meditation.
Dealing with self-esteem issues can help one gain sufficient objectivity to avoid overly identifying with a particular emotional state.. This allows one the moment needed to connect to the Earth FIRST. Many exercises and meditations can aid in this process. One useful method of improving self-esteem is a technique known as “Be Set Free Fast” developed by Larry Nims, PhD. http://www.besetfreefast.com The Little Grounding Book, available from the store at http://www,HealingPoole.com or from Amazon is but one resource.
The second step is to strengthen the aura, which can only be accomplished if one starts by GROUNDING oneself. I had many experiences (which I describe in the first section of "More Than Meets the Eye: Energy") as a result of absorbing other people's energy. I learned that the sensation that I experienced could be very different from what the person felt who was generating the emotional energy. Sometimes there wasn’t an identifiable source, but I was reacting to a morphic field. This happens following earthquakes and other electro-magnetic and climatic disturbances. It can also happen when there is a group of people who are not grounding and are out of touch with their emotions. Since my system is the most open, that disowned energy from the group will move through me. In my 20’s and 30’s I didn’t have the understanding or the self-esteem to consider that all that emotion was NOT MINE. At the same time those groups were very happy to project their energy and judgment my way.
A revealing situation that helped me understand what being kinesthetic was all about occurred at a Feldenkrais workshop. I felt excruciating hip pain while engaged in a partner exercise. It turned out that my partner was feeling anxiety, not pain; yet in my body this anxiety showed up as sharp pain in a vulnerable joint. "More Than Meets the Eye: energy" includes many exercises for sensing, strengthening, and clearing the aura. It, too, is a resource available from my website store at HealingPoole.com or from Amazon.
Somewhere along the way, I began to use the term "kinesthetic" to describe my sensitivity, rather than calling myself an "empath". While that may seem to be simply a matter of semantics, I find the precision in the term "kinesthetic" to be more empowering. Before I was aware of the things I could do energetically - grounding my energy and developing my aura - I also felt burdened by this sensitivity. Now, for the most part, I am aware that it can be a gift, especially when working with others who are less connected with their emotions and vital energy patterns.
The more I trust my kinesthetic sense, realizing that it is a form of intuition, the less identified I become with the emotional state that is evoked. This gives me the freedom of the moment it takes to attend to my aura and to ground my own energy, essential skills for those in the healing and counseling arts.
Working with a methodology like Be Set Free Fast is most effective in becoming neutral to an emotional state. I observe that the more I clear suppressed emotions the more kinesthetic sensitivity is felt as a sensation rather than an intense emotion.
Being empathic, to my way of thinking, may in part be constitutional and possibly the result of early childhood experiences, Yet it is also a HABIT which can be altered. That, too, is an area where BSFF is useful, because habits have a direct relationship to our beliefs, and especially those beliefs which limit us, and of which we are often unaware. Ideas like "this is just how I am" and "I am powerless to change the way I experience things" keep us repeating the patterns which cause us pain.
One paradox is that, in a perverse way, we can often find comfort in familiar pain, because if nothing else it is familiar and predictable. In my experience, attending to the energetic patterns first is helpful to overcome innate resistance to change.