Last month large numbers of people all at the same time were experiencing a HIGH intensity of emotion– you know right around the beginning of November. For an empath the effect of that is profound. I’m empathic—as you’ve heard me say many times now. That means that I feel other people’s emotions and experiences in my own body, as if they were mine. They run through me in much the same way that the radio will broadcast a particular station once you tune in. Only I am the radio receiver. Innately my body is constantly picking up the emotional and other signals that are coming from others and playing them back, in my own body. It can happen to me when I am in close proximity to someone, when I have a strong connection with a person, when I am doing a reading, and most certainly when large numbers of people are all experiencing the same thing (or some variation of it) at once. As you might imagine, these experiences are sometimes a gift, sometimes a challenge. Lately, in terms of what is happening on a global scale—more of a challenge.
I’m so glad I’m not new to understanding my empathic ability though. Frankly that saved me at the beginning of November when I began to experience the instability that was going on around me. My thoughts became very unfocused; it was like they were flitting from one thing to the next. I found myself having a hard time concentrating on my own work—which incidentally I love and don’t ever have a hard time focusing on. It was a day or two of experiencing this internal kaleidoscope before I recognized what was going on. That’s always the tricky part when you are empathic, because you feel this stuff as if it is your own. But one afternoon with thoughts flashing around in my brain I took a moment to notice and think to myself, “What is going on here? This is not like me at all. These thoughts– this flitty-ness– this is not like me. I very very rarely have a hard time focusing on my work. And if I do I am usually acutely aware of the cause!” So I did what I always do when I notice that I am acting or feeling something that is foreign and not usual to me. One, I scan my own life. I ask myself if there is anything going on in my life that might cause this internal feeling of unsteadiness—the feeling that things aren’t what they seem and might crash any minute– that’s what it felt like to me. When the answer came back a resounding, “NO”—nothing in my life has changed over the last few days, my family, my life, my work are all still in good working order; and the place that I see them going is still the path that I am on. That’s when I knew. This isn’t me.
It was at that moment, being able to take a step back from it that I could identify the tone of the emotion: Instability.
At my age, I’ve experienced this picking up of the global emotional upheaval many times now. I still acutely remember the last one, when the US housing market crashed in 2008. I had heard no news. I was completely unplugged that day and the couple of days that followed. But the day that the news hit the rest of the world I had this nagging nausea that wouldn’t go away. I couldn’t pin point it to anything I had eaten, and oddly enough I also didn’t feel as though I was getting sick, so I just rode it out, curious, by not alarmed.
By the nightfall of that day however, I experienced a sharp spike in fearful thoughts. I was sitting out on my back porch in the evening when I noticed my thoughts were almost frantically spinning out in “What if” scenarios– sort of incessantly searching for some relief that didn’t seem to come. When you are empathic it can take you a bit to notice something like this because it just feels like you are having an intense emotion. Most people know what it feels like to have an intense emotion. It over takes you. I don’t know how long it took me (maybe an hour) to realize I had no idea where these thoughts were coming from. When I scanned my own life I couldn’t think of a single thing that had just happened to me to warrant a spike in panic. I was not in danger and nothing in my life had changed from the day before. That’s when I knew that whatever this was, it didn’t belong to me.
By that point in my life I had learned to ignore it if it wasn’t mine; I knew there was nothing I could do about it since I didn’t originate inside of me. But what that meant was that for the next 2-3 days a constant background of frightened panicked energy was playing like a song in the back of my mind. I went on living my life. It was two days before I found out what had actually caused this singing. And probably another day or two before I was able to block it out entirely, and/or people began to relax a bit.
But this time, last month, it wasn’t like that time. What I felt surrounding the election and still now when I tune into it isn’t so much a loud chord of fear: it’s a constant and volatile unstable hum. It feels like nothing is certain. Everything hangs in the shadows and is shifting, melding, drifting, shaping itself into what comes next. News erupts, but it also doesn’t seem real. It feels like smoke and mirrors. It somehow doesn’t match the vibration of what is truly happening at the base of it all; which is, from my perspective still dark and rumbling.
So where does that leave me? Us? If you read my blogs you can probably already surmise what I did in response to this. I felt the depth of the instability and understood very clearly that it wasn’t going to shift with the election results. I could see that more turmoil would be created (and for the record, I don’t feel this lessening any time soon). So what did I do? I meditated. And meditated. And meditated some more. I was like a goddamn swami in a cave (while raising a family, listening to election results, and teaching and seeing clients). I have meditated for years. But three solid times a day while doing all of these things too— that was a new experience for me. Not a good one–A GREAT ONE! It was so divine I can barely stop mentioning meditation these days (ask my students!) but seriously, it works and is helpful on so many levels.
In any case, meditation pimping aside, what I really want to say here is this:
The future is not written. We are writing it right now. We can hardwire it with every loving action, joyful play, solid belief and hold on the stable divinity within. We all have gifts to bring to this new time. We are forging a new path every second.
Empathic people have a special tone, which I understand intimately. Just as you are a receiver of emotion, you are an amplifier of emotion. Once you can disengage yourself from the grand hubabaloo, your job as an amplifier of emotion, should you choose to accept it, is to hold the light and the joy so that others can see and feel it. Or at the very least have something to see by as they fulfill their own role in this world and choose their actions in these crazy times.
We are all needed here.
We are all counting on each other to give it our best.