My Empathic Journey

Energy is something that is often talked about, but not often enough are we taught how to feel, open and awaken energy from within. For ten years I have been searching for the inner experience and understanding of energy – my inner source, and what was at one point my inner struggle. I didn’t grow up learning how to manage my energy, how to clear energy blockages, how to ground into my body, how to hold energetic boundaries, how to tap into flowing energy and vitality. As a “sensitive” child, what I did learn was how to take on the energy and emotions of others, to take them into my being and confuse them for my own.

My sense of self was severely mixed up with the thoughts, feelings and energy of others, and so my life felt overwhelming and uncontrollable. I couldn’t maintain my space and inner peace because I habitually took in everyone else.  This is what is called empathic overwhelm.  So many of us are empathic by nature, but do not receive the training or awareness of how to deal with this sensitivity.  Without energetic training the intuitive gifts of empathy becomes a burden.

Overly Empathic

Not knowing how to manage my energy brought suffering on every other level of my being. This is because energy is the foundation of every level of our being, the emotional, mental, and physical all rise from energy.  Living without an understanding energy, and specifically how my unique energy body works, led to being overly empathic, carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I unconsciously created dysfunctional coping mechanisms to deal with this – I repressed uncomfortable emotions, I avoided the truth and conflict, I created physical tension patterns called armoring to “protect” myself, and my nervous system ran on fight-or-flight far more than we are meant to.

These coping mechanisms depleted my life-force energy on a regular basis. I was living less out of life and more out of avoidance, defense and control in order to escape the discomfort of my overly empathic energy body. Deep depression, anxiety, panic attacks, overwhelm, low self esteem, control patters, dysfunctional relationships, stomach tension and body pain all plagued me as a result.

Self-Awareness, Self-Healing

The immensity of my suffering motivated me to get out of whatever cycle and spiral I was in.  And even though I didn’t understand my suffering at all, I was told I could change, and I was willing to try.  My path towards self-awareness and self-healing began with the much of the obvious path, though it was all new to me at the time; I studied nutrition, psychology, Yoga, Ayurveda, Chi Gung, meditation, mindfulness. I found huge relief with these practices, my life improved dramatically. And yet, I still got hung up in parts of my life, I got stuck and suffered. I knew there was more to discover.

I continued on my path with Somatic Psychology and began learning about Embodiment, felt sense and the nervous system. I had had an intro into energy awareness in Yoga, but in my Somatic classes I began to truly feel different qualities of energy and how they changed. I learned to feel my inner movement, tension, prickling, constriction of the fight or flight mode of the nervous system. I learned to feel and cultivate the warmth, inner softening, melting, opening of the relaxation mode. I saw how these two different sides of the autonomic nervous system played out in my life, and how I was prone to fight-or-flight, especially around certain people and in certain situations. I became an investigator of my own internal life.

I continued on, weaving Somatics into my Yoga, Chi Gung and meditation practices and teaching. I dove into a deeper study of energy systems of the Chakras, Reiki and Polarity. I was peeling back the layers of my being, I found an intricate inner landscape, and began to learn how to navigate this landscape. I was getting closer to the source of both my “stuckness” and my freedom. At this level of awareness, it took me a few years of persistent practice for myself and with others to begin to unwind years of old programing.

Unwinding Mistrust and Cynicism

One of the biggest of my outdated programing was and underlying sense of mistrust and cynicism that kept me blocked from receiving the unlimited energy and unlimited healing. I originally created mistrust and cynicism as a form of self-protection, if I locked everything out of my heart space, nothing could hurt me.  While this did create a little cave of energy protection from the human world, it also cut me off from true connection, intimacy and the ultimate source of love, acceptance and healing – the Divine.

Though I was doing so many “spiritual” practices, sitting on my meditation cushion, chanting to Ganesh, Shiva, Buddha – I was blocked and barricaded from the idea of “God”. I got many benefits out of my spiritual practices, but I never actually received. It was my doing, my effort, my self-determination, my discipline, my breath.  I was locked into a rigid “ego individualism”.  When I burned out in other areas of my life, it was my personal emptiness that I sat with.

I needed serious help to unwind this block, because cognitively I believed in a higher power, Source, God, Goddess, Shiva, Buddha, Ganesh, Tao, everything – but I had blocks around my heart. My blocks around “God” were deeply buried in my subconscious, wrapped up in experiences of religious hypocrisy and a mistrust of authority figures.  I recognized that I was in my own wayWhen all else fails, it is a sign that you are your own problem.  This is a good problem to have, once realized, because I knew that there was a good chance that I could change.

Arrogance, Low Self-Esteem and Humility

I began working programs that I had mentally resisted before; Shamanism, the 12 steps of Co-dependents Anonymous, astrology, goddess studies, tantric sexuality, intuitive and empath training. Things that I originally thought were a little too esoteric, a little too “out there”.  I also arrogantly assumed that I personally didn’t need that kind of thing. A wave of humility came into my life as studied these programs, which was literally a breath of fresh air.  Like a whole new kind of air that I thought I was breathing but had never actually breathed before.

I had assumed I was full of humility, because I had low self-esteem, and I had come to equate low self-esteem with humility. Turns out, low self-esteem is a huge form of egotism.  By believing I was less important, or less worthy, I was assuming I was different then the “All beings”.  I knew from Buddhism that “All beings deserve happiness and freedom”, but somehow I cut myself out.  I realized that rather than seeing all beings, all feelings, all thoughts as equally important, I constantly ranked importance.

So I constantly flipped from arrogance to low self-esteem.  “I’ll tend to their feelings before my own.” “I know more then them.”  “Their suffering is more important.”  “I need to fix them.”  This is the ego in the sneaky, slippery, back door kind of variety, the kind that poses as the martyr, the helper.  It isn’t humble.  Humility lies right in between arrogance and low self-esteem, between being more important and less important.  It is the challenging realization that despite outside appearances all beings are perfectly equal, and deserve happiness and freedom.  The billionaire and homeless, the drug addict and priest, the caring parent and negligent parent, the pundit and shallow.  Humility says “I am no better and no worse than any other being.  I am equally important as all beings.”

River of Life

And so I began healing my wounded ego that believed she was both better and worse than others, and believed that she, alone had to protect and provide for herself at all times. I began chipping away at the barricade around my heart. And I began opening to the Divine Source of energy that runs through each and every one of us equally.  The River of Life that awakens and enlivens us from the inside out, heals our nervous system, our cells, and charges us with a vitality that caffeine is only a poor substitute for.

I have learned that I am an energetic being, all aspects of me begin as energy and all energy comes from the same Source, the oneness of the Universe. I trust and open myself fully to this source, and know it to be unconditional love. I understand the movement of this energy within and  recognize the habitual blockages I make. All blockages stem from some attempt to protect, control, stop or push the energetic river of life. I know now that this is not my job, nor am I able to do so. I surrender the need and want to control the flow of life, what Taoist call Wu Wei.

I have entered a new phase of freedom, and each step on my journey plays a crucial part to the freedom I feel in my present life. It’s not that I feel continuous freedom, but in learning to navigate my inner landscape I have come to understand my personal habits and pitfalls that gunk up the river and create blockages. I’ve learned what those blockages feel like and how I can be released from them through energy practices and deep surrender to Source, the River, God. I have also learned to sense what is mine – my emotions, my energy – and how to clear others out of my energetic space. The deep and flowing River of energy inside my body is the source of my being. I am a tendril of the universe.

Post Script

This was a long and arduous journey for me, I don’t believe it has to be that way, and it is my hope to help others find there way with more ease, clarity and support. If you are searching for a deeper sense of self, a deeper sense of freedom, if you suffer from anxiety, depression or physical tension or discomfort, if you long to feel grounded in your body, grounded into the earth, to feel a deep sense of belonging, if you long to feel unconditional love and feel supported by Source – all of this is available to you. If you would like to work with me personally, I would be honored to guide. This work includes

A personal read of your unique energy/body/mind composition
Learning the art of embodiment
Understanding, feeling and balancing your nervous system
Understanding, feeling and opening your chakras
Distance or in-person Reiki
Energy Grounding Practices
Energy Clearing Practices
Energetic Boundary Practices
Healing/deepening your relationship to the Divine

If you are interested, read more here, and do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Photo by my talented husband @godaydream ❤

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