I have been told that I am an Empath. I feel what other people feel, as if their experiences were happening to me. If you’re not comfortable with the language of psychic phenomena, think of it as a Highly Sensitive Person with the volume turned up even higher. A lot higher.
I think that’s part of the reason I’ve had so much trouble living in Canada. Americans more readily express what they’re feeling, so it doesn’t dam up inside them. But Canadians are polite — and I suspect a lot of Canadians carry around a burden of unexpressed hurt feelings and suppressed anger.
The problem is, I pick it up, and I can’t always tell the difference between my emotions and someone else’s that I’m feeling.
With drivers, for instance. I pick up their rage — and then I’m feeling it too. And I think it’s mine because they treated me so badly (and in the most egregious cases, some of it is mine), but it’s not necessarily.
I signed up for the class hoping to learn a bit more about the psychic ability of empathy, and how to control it. And indeed, in the first half an hour, Lynn gave us a couple of specific tools to use, one to protect ourselves psychically from other people’s issues and the other to allow myself to care and empathize without giving away too much of my own, personal psychic energy.
We did a couple of interesting exercises. In one, someone stood behind me sending energy toward my back without touching, and I knew exactly which quadrant she was sending it to and the type of energy she was sending.
In another exercise, we were supposed to write messages for each other, based only on the person’s name. I don’t know how accurate my messages were, but they sure felt accurate! It was eerie. I felt like I knew exactly what each of the women needed to hear. Some of the messages were quite specific too. Others were more general, the kind of thing you could say pretty much any time to anyone, but even those felt very specific, like they were addressing something the women were either dealing with now or would be in the next few months.
It was deeply empowering and invigorating. I felt so real and so alive, and I went to bed feeling relaxed and at peace.
I woke in the middle of the night to the scream of an ambulance that seemed to go on forever, and a flood of emotions washed over me.
Fear. Grief. Pain.
I knew they weren’t mine, but they felt like mine. Despair lapped around my face, threatening to pull me back into the darkness where I’ve been living the past several years.
Then I did the exercise Lynn taught us to protect ourselves. I pushed the other people’s issues out to arm’s length and let them splash down to the floor. I said a prayer for the people involved (as I always do), and turned over to go back to sleep.
Normally, when I wake in the night like that, I’m awake for a couple of hours. When I finally do get back to sleep, I often have troubling dreams.
But last night, I went immediately back into a deep, restful sleep, and I didn’t wake until my husband’s alarm went off. And I woke feeling refreshed and energetic. Optimistic, even!
Then I hit the road.
My route was busier than usual, and the free-flow lane coming off the highway was clogged — the lane I needed to be in to turn right at the light.
There’s this thing Canadian drivers do when they don’t want to be polite any more. They studiously stare straight ahead and pretend they don’t see you there with your blinker on. Then if you bully your way into the lane anyway, they can righteously glare at you for being impolite. But it’s pretty obvious when they’re doing it (remember: I’m an Empath!) because their head and neck are very stiff. I can feel how hard they are working to not notice me.
So. This morning I needed to get into the right lane, but there were two semi trucks next to me, and no room. I didn’t want to be stuck behind two slow semis anyway, both of which were going straight and could potentially make me sit through an extra light, so I pulled forward.
And a middle-aged woman in a minivan in front of the trucks pulled forward right alongside me, stiffening those neck muscles into a cramp to make sure she didn’t notice my blinker.
I didn’t care whether I was ahead of or behind her. I just needed to be in that lane to turn right at the light, but she would not let me in. Eventually, the truck behind her saw the problem and eased off. I let the minivan pass and slid into the lane behind her just in time for my turn.
But I was mad. I could feel that driver’s gloating triumph, and her anger that I had tried to get ahead of her. And then, suddenly I did care that she was in front. Suddenly it felt like a power struggle. One I’d lost.
At the next light, I did the protective exercise Lynn taught us. I set up my shield (and made a mental note to remember to do it before I leave the garage from now on). I let her negativity puddle on the floor, where it couldn’t reach me.
And sure enough, I felt better.
I felt even better still a block down the road — when I switched lanes and managed to leapfrog a string of cars to end up at least six vehicles in front of her.
Hey, I may be an Empath, but I’m still human!
Tags: Psychic Abilities