Posts Tagged ‘love’

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Ten Signs of Awakening

July 7, 2012

How do you do it and how will you know?

Awakening can be sudden or gradual – sometimes it happens as the result of a trauma or upheaval in our lives, other times it happens entirely spontaneously with no obvious trigger. You just know that life, the Universe and everything appear very different and that the truth about all this is perhaps not the same as the story you’ve been told by your parents, your teachers, your peers, society etc. However your awakening occurs though, you can guarantee you’re in for a bit of a bumpy ride.

But why is such a wonderful life-changing experience seemingly beset with difficulties?

It’s due to the healing and shedding of our ‘stuff’ which is a necessary part of the process, to make ourselves a clear channel for the Universal Energy (akin to what Jung termed the ‘collective consciousness’, though perhaps more amazing than even he realised) which is the most powerful – but underused – resource in the universe.

Pain is also a good indicator that something in our lives is out of balance and needs to change. Like the pain we feel in our physical selves to alert us to potential damage to our bodies, emotional and psychological pain alerts us to those areas in our lives which need healing so that we can tune into the energy of the Universe and of our own authentic soul-selves, instead of having our signal distorted by the chatter of egos – our own and those around us.

The process of awakening has a number of emotional, psychological, physical, spiritual and social implications, which are listed below (with some links for further reading if you’re interested in finding out more):

1) You see the bigger picture on a personal and global level.  And become very clear about where we’ve lost our way and what needs to be done about it. This can create feelings of anger, frustration and despair as we feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task which seems to stand before us. If you feel this way, remind yourself that you may only be one person, but you are still powerful enough to create great change – think of the ripple effect. Your efforts will reach way further than you can possibly even imagine. Just follow the path which together the Universe and your soul are leading you towards – the path of your true life purpose.

2) You feel good in your own skin and enjoy solitude and leading an authentic, uncomplicated life. And you become aware that to feel like this on a more constant basis, you need to ditch your baggage to discover and strengthen the authentic core you.

https://empathicguidance.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/time-to-de-clutter/  (There are five parts to this article)

3) You recognise that inner peace can only come from within, not without.  Once you recognise this you begin to lose your unhealthy attachments to material things and to people.

4) Due to the mindbody connection, you may also experience unusual physical symptoms. Often repressed feelings get stuffed into parts of our body. Use the ‘bodyscan’ to keep yourself in tune with your physical and emotional self. (The ‘bodyscan’ is a straightforward exercise where you simply mentally  scan through your body and verbalise what is going on in there, and why you feel it might be happening eg churning in stomach area (solar plexus chakra) due to power issues; menstrual difficulties (sacral chakra) due to relationship issues; pain in left hand side due to problems with your feminine energy or a female in your life, and so on.)

5) You begin to understand how our energy systems affect us all. The basic seven chakra system (mentioned in point 4) is a really good place to start if you want to find out more about how you and the world operate.

https://empathicguidance.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/the-chakra-system/

6) You become a clearer channel for Universal Energy. This is due to simplifying your life and digging beneath the layers to reach your authentic core so your energy is no longer blocked by your ‘stuff’. Try the ‘white light’ breathing exercise to increase your connection. (Visualise  white light (universal energy)pouring into your crown, flowing through every cell of your body and into the ground, then back up round your body and out of your crown again. Do this any time during the day to keep the connection fresh and clear.)

7) You become increasingly uncomfortable around lower vibrating energy. And therefore find it harder to be around certain people. You will feel repelled by anyone who is ‘toxic ‘ to your energy. If possible, simply choose not to be around them. If there are people you have to interact with, then at least minimise contact and try the shielding exercise to protect you during that time. (Visualise yourself protected and surrounded by a cloud of white light – again you can do this any time of day, quickly and easily, and can add to it too, by visualising drops of whilte light feeding into it. There’s no limit to how big the cloud can be so keep feeding it!)

8) You become intolerant of lower vibrating and overstimulating environments. In particular, environments you know to be embodiments of the wrong path. Because of this, you may also find yourself increasingly avoiding the media, especially certain news items.

9) You crave a more healthy, serene and compassionate lifestyle. You recognise how the mindbody connection works and begin to take care of your body as you appreciate it as your means to interact with the Universe. Bad habits fall away as your fears diminish and you may want to live and work in a different place. Increased empathy may also mean a vegetarian and more eco-friendly lifestyle too.

10) You start noticing nudges from the Universe. One of the fun aspects of waking up! As you become a clearer channel for the Universal Energy, you begin to receive messages from the Universe to nudge you in the right direction. These can take a number of forms, such as:
Synchronicities
Signs and symbols
Dreams
Telepathy
Intuition

https://empathicguidance.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/so-what-is-synchronicity/

https://empathicguidance.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/dreams

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On Being An Empath (part two)

May 30, 2012

Part Two – The Delights

Empathy: the state of identification of personalities in which one person feels into the other as temporarily to lose his or her own identity. It is in this profound and somewhat mysterious process of empathy that understanding, influence, and the other significant relations between persons take place.  – Rollo May

In part one of “On Being An Empath” we examined the difficulties of being an empath. In this second part, we’ll now explore how to take care of yourself once you’ve recognised you’re an empath, and the delights which being an empath can bring.

TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF

Now you’ve recognised that you’re an empath, the most important change you can make is to take care of yourself by minimising the number of negative influences in your life. As discussed in part one, as an empath you are susceptible to the detrimental effects of negative energy, whether it’s surrounding energy or your own.

This susceptibility affects your life in a number of ways. Firstly, you will be unable to tolerate an unhealthy relationship at any level. Some people are able to exist in such a relationship for many years, perhaps by operating as though it were simply a business arrangement, but as an empath you are unable to do this. Indeed, if you do attempt to follow this course of action, you will end up becoming physically, emotionally or mentally sick – I have know more than one empath who has become suicidal when stuck in a loveless marriage. I have also known other empaths who have ended up becoming completely numb – unable to cope with the negative energy, they simply cut themselves off from ALL energy and feel nothing at all. What a horrible (non) existence. Consequently, the aware empath would rather remain single than be in a negative relationship.

You will also be unable to tolerate work which is meaningless – what Barry Jaeger in Making Work Work for the Highly Sensitive Person calls ‘Drudgery’. Though many people are able to tolerate a dull job purely for the money, you are not one of them and if you make such a sacrifice, you will ultimately pay for it with your emotional, spiritual and physical health. The aware empath values their time, their well-being and meaningful work far more than they value money and consumer goods. Sadly, our society revolves around the masculine principles of economics whilst the more feminine attribute of empathy is often derided and neglected. And whoever dreamt up the work ethic certainly did not have people like us in mind – and was definitely not an empath.

The empath’s preference for meaningful work means that you will find many of us working in creative fields – the writer, the musician and the artist will often have this trait to some degree. Creativity is food for the soul for the empath and I personally find it vital to my well-being to use creativity in my work. I’ve done many jobs over the years but this is the only work I’ve truly enjoyed – even the more stressful and tedious aspects are easier to cope with when your work means something more to you than just a way of paying the bills.

As an empath, you will also benefit from periods of solitude to recuperate after any energy bombardment. In part one I discussed the difficulties for the empath of being in an urban environment. As I’ve got older (and empaths often become more sensitive to energies the older they become) I find that if I spend the day in a nearby town, I can only last a few hours before I have to get the hell out of there.

I also used to have what I call ‘brain in the jar’ moments. Before I recognised my trait, I would spend too much time amongst other people and become so overwhelmed, that it literally felt as if my head would explode. I would also find myself becoming overwhelmed by stressful situations or issues in my life. Whenever I felt like this, I would comment that I wished I could ‘take my brain out of my head and put it in a jar’, as a way of giving myself a break. At some subconscious level, obviously I knew what I needed – complete and utter sensory rest.

Fortunately I eventually recognised this need so I now make sure that I regularly recharge my own energy by spending time alone, meeting my need for time to contemplate, read, write and generally take care of myself – and my ‘brain in the jar’ moments no longer occur. I also realised that, for the same reasons, empaths need more sleep than most people. If you have commitments such as work and family, this can be easier said than done, but at least try and take half an hour to nap or lie in a dark, quiet room during the course of the day to revitalise yourself.  Some empaths are so unable to cope with energy onslaughts that they become recluses or hermits, but for most of us there is no need to go to this extreme, although time spent in retreat for a few days can be a positive thing now and again. This can be particularly useful for urban empaths, as time out in a tranquil rural environment can really give you a boost as well as indulge your passion for nature, which occurs naturally for many empaths.

Finding a pastime which absorbs you is also a good way of giving yourself a break. My personal favourite used to be jigsaws – you’ll find that  ‘geeky’ pastimes like model-making or stamp collecting are particularly good for this, as are creative pursuits such as gardening, painting, sculpting, or cookery. So long as it takes you out of your conscious mind for a while to give you time to balance your energy, any pastime you choose will do.

Basically then, the rule is to be your own best friend – take care of yourself, eat and sleep well and give yourself little treats now and again. Time spent relaxing with a good book in a local friendly coffee shop is my idea of bliss and is a really cheap and simple way to give yourself a lift and recharge your batteries. And remember to talk kindly to yourself – empaths tend to analyse everything and can end up being hypercritical of themselves. Whenever you catch yourself judging yourself harshly, ask yourself ‘Would I speak like this to my best friend? Would I tolerate my best friend saying this stuff to me?’ If not, then perhaps you need to reconsider.

Ultimately, self care is crucial. The more you nurture yourself, the more you will be open to the following benefits of being an empath.

 UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE – TELEPATHY, SYNCHRONICITIES AND DREAMS

Because of your high level of resonance, you will probably be tuned into the ‘universal energies’ or what Jung called the collective unconscious. This gives you a deep sense of knowing – you just ‘know’ things despite there being no rational explanation as to how you know – as well as a strong feeling of connection, which can lead to the spiritual belief that separation is an illusion and ‘we are all one’. This connection and knowing also opens us up to the ‘universal guidance’ which is contained within these energies, which is why many empaths are natural problem solvers, able to resolve any issue which they put their hearts, souls and minds into.

I mentioned in part one how my daughter and I are so close that as soon as we’re in each others energy range, I start to feel her physical symptoms. This energetic connection with others, often referred to as telepathy, is one of the fun aspects of being an empath. As well as those little tricks which many of us do such as thinking about someone just as they call you, or bumping into someone you haven’t seen in years the day after you thought about them, you may also find yourself connecting energetically with people in other less obvious ways. I find that I often tune into people I’m close to through my dreams, perhaps because my mind is more relaxed and therefore more receptive. For instance, if my daughter wakes before me in the morning and reads a book, I often have a dream which reflects the contents of that book in some way. A recent example was a dream I had about Glastonbury music festival one morning shortly before I woke. When I asked P what she had been reading, it turned out that there was a character in her book that had the nick-name ‘Glastonbury’! Even more bizarrely, I have even on occasion had the same dream as my daughter or my partner.

I also have prophetic dreams which you can read about in my blog entry The Magical World of Dreams. Empaths are often fascinated by dreams and we are natural dream analysts, due to our ability to see the deeper meaning in things and make lateral links using subtle details. This ability also works in the waking world too and helps us to interpret signs, symbols and archtypes, as well as synchronicities. Aware empaths delight in synchronicities and as our understanding of ourselves and our connection to the universe grows, we find that the universal guidance which appears in the form of synchronicities becomes ever more fluent and clear. You can read more about synchronicities in my blog entry So What Is Synchronicity?

PEOPLE AND OTHER ANIMALS

The aware empath is often described by others as ‘a beacon of light’. You will find that people are drawn to you and babies in particular will adore you – I often notice little children staring and smiling at me from their pushchairs when I’m out and about.

A similar thing can happen with animals. Empaths have a deep connection to animals and love to be around their energies. You may even find you prefer their company to that of people, as you feel animals – and their energies – are simpler and don’t have an agenda. Perhaps those ‘crazy cat ladies’ who prefer to live alone surrounded by felines are actually misunderstood empaths.

As an empath, you will also be able to resonate with the emotions of animals and unlike most people, you will view them as sentient beings who should have the same rights as humans. Because of this, many empaths become vegetarian or vegan at some point in their lives.

As far as people go, the empath makes a great friend for life, as we are loyal, warm and, humorous as well as very loving and affectionate. We are also good listeners, who are unembarrassed by strong emotion as well as being pretty much unshockable. However a healthy empath will have no tolerance for drama queens who seek attention through emotional behaviour. Though we are highly expressive about our feelings and ourselves, with the ability to share openly and honestly, we are also natural peacemakers, so prefer calm discussions to overwrought emotional spectacles or aggressive confrontations.

If you befriend an empath, then they will probably be your greatest champion. Empaths recognise your inner potential, so are able to identify your positive attributes and will remind you of your strengths when you forget you have them. (Paradoxically though, they often find it hard to take a compliment themselves.) They may also subtly alert you to any negative patterns in your life in a helpful and non-patronising way, as your empath friend has the ability to sift through all the confusing emotions you are experiencing which may be clouding the issue, to help you achieve clarity and find the root cause of your problem. And should they ever feel angry with you, you can rest assured that they will express this without attacking you personally – empaths are not judgmental and they recognise that just because a particular behaviour is bad, it does not mean that the person is bad too.

YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND

Being an empath means you have the ability to sense the truth behind someone’s facade. You intuitively know when someone is attempting to mask a negative emotion. One theory is that when we are in the presence of an emotion we have personally experienced, we recognise it and feel it within ourselves, due to our high level of internal resonance. The empath is also able to read body language, mostly at a subconscious level – you will pick up on things like tone of voice, body movements, the words people choose when they speak, the words they avoid, the logic they use – all factors which help you to tune into others and know things about them which other people probably miss. This also makes you very difficult to lie to! Not only are you able to detect a lie, you can also tell whether the intent behind that lie is malicious and selfish, or whether it’s a white lie, told in an attempt to protect someone else.

Empaths are also highly expressive themselves. They project an incredible amount of energy releasing their emotions, with many gesticulations, and as they are so open about themselves, the empath is usually the person of whom it is said that you can ‘read them like a book’. We also delight in using our bodies in a sensual way – empaths can literally become ‘lost in music’ when they dance, their bodies becoming one with the music to create one wonderful mass of  flowing, sensual energy.

NATURAL HEALERS

As you become aware of your empathy, you will recognise more and more how sensitive this makes you to the energies around you. The fact is that as an empath, energy is literally absorbed by you far more easily than more thick-skinned folk (hence the expression) so by increasing your awareness, you will be able to be more selective about which energies you allow yourself to absorb. This also means you will be able to experience a high level of resonance with another, without being overwhelmed by a multitude of outside influences.

When you have achieved this level of balance and awareness, you will find that all your empathic qualities as discussed above – your deep inner knowing, your connection to the universal energies and so on – make you a natural healer and counsellor. Indeed, for an empath a good way of sublimating the energy we talked about in part one – which attracts the energy vampires and lame ducks – and drawing boundaries around your own propensity to give of yourself to others, is to channel it into training in a helping or healing profession.

Being counselled by an empath is an amazing and life-changing experience. After just a few hours of conversation, you will feel as if the empath knows you inside out. This is due to the afore-mentioned ability for high emotional resonance, which allows the empath to tune into your energy and emotional state, giving them an uncanny ability to pinpoint what you most need and want. They will also ask the questions others may be afraid to ask – if you’re willing to face up to some possibly uncomfortable truths about yourself and your life and recognise your negative self-destructive patterns in order to grow and be true to the real you, then working with an empath will change your life.  An empath will not shy away from talking about feelings of loss either, and will help you to gain perspective on your issue as well as heal from emotional wounds, past and present.

In addition to helping you to heal, the empath will point out strengths and abilities you perhaps never realised you had. Personal empowerment is very important to the empath so they will always respect your courage and sense of determination to survive and will trust in your ability to heal and take care of yourself. All this creates a very safe environment with a high level of trust and a strong intimacy. The relationship between an empath and their client is more than just a business transaction – an authentic and caring relationship will be formed between you as the empath helps you to be your best self and to live the truth of who that best self is.

Empaths may also find themselves being drawn to other types of healing work directly involving energy, such as Reiki. With our natural ability to tune into the universal energy, learning to channel this energy through ourselves to help others is a path which many empaths naturally gravitate towards.

I do hope this article has helped you to understand your trait a little better. If you feel that anything here resonates with you, do please leave a comment – I would love to hear from you!

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How I’m trying to change the world

March 26, 2012

So far I’ve shared with you the story of my awakening and the transformational process which followed.  In this post I’m just going to briefly share with you the causes I support and the little bit that I do to try and make a difference to the world.

My main reason for running this site and Facebook page and writing my blog is to promote empathy and equality and help others to find inner peace. I believe in equality for all regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality or species and I think the way to achieve this is through increased empathy and compassion for others. Empathy and compassion increase in people who are content within themselves and are in touch with their authentic selves, having healed their emotional baggage. The flip side of empathy and compassion are injustice and abuse, and I do my best through my internet communication to promote the former and counteract the latter.

I am particularly concerned about the way humans exploit animals and consequently live a vegan lifestyle, which has proved to be a lot easier than I thought it would be. There are many resources out there now for those of us wanting to commit to a completely compassionate lifestyle – just put ‘vegan’ into your search engine and see what comes up.

I also support an animal sanctuary with regular monthly donations. I decided that I wanted to give my support to an animal charity but didn’t just want to give money to one of the ‘giants’ – I wanted to support a specific cause and to see what happened to that money. Last year I visited the Animal Sanctuary in Wilmslow and was really bowled over by the warmth and compassion I felt as we were shown round. The animals are so well cared for and all the staff clearly love what they do. I also like their ethos –  the sanctuary is part of the Humane Education Society,  a charitable organisation working for a more compassionate society through education and practical work with children and animals, and as such offers permanent and temporary homes to animals in need of some loving care, including cats, horses, hens, rabbits, ferrets and pigs.

However, probably the biggest way I’m currently doing my bit to change the world is through my work with young people as this is actively working with the next generation to prompt lasting and positive change. I decided to offer Empathic Guidance sessions to schoolchildren after discussions with my daughter and her friends about many of the usual issues which affect young people such as bullying, body image and sexuality. The support and guidance which I gave them seemed to make a huge difference to their self-esteem and what I found particularly heartening was the fact that the coping techniques which they learned soon became second nature to them. This resulted in a positive increase in their intrinsic self-worth and in their ability to deal with difficult situations and ultimately (and delightfully),  in significantly happier children.

I strongly believe that it really doesn’t matter how gifted and talented or academically successful someone is – if their emotional well-being has been eroded and consequently their  core sense of self is significantly diminished then chances are they’ll end up leading dysfunctional lives. I also feel that the emotional well-being of our young people isn’t given enough attention within our current educational system, so I thought it might be a positive contribution to our society to offer a service which might redress the balance a little.

A school Empathic Guidance session offers support, insight and guidance to the pupils  and is  a safe place for them to share any issues which they feel they cannot discuss with parents, teachers or peers. I began a year ago working on a one-to-one basis but am now working with Panda, the school’s youth worker, on group workshops covering topics such as assertiveness and confidence-building.

My dream is that Empathic Guidance will prove popular enough for us to offer sessions and workshops to other schools and that eventually emotional well-being will be recognised as an important part of our children’s upbringing and education.

Finally, like the famous Gandhi saying, I do believe that we should ‘be the change we want to see in the world’. So as well as the above, I do my best to be pleasant, amiable and polite to everyone I meet during the course of the day – little things like saying please and thank you  and hello and goodbye to people who serve you in shops, leaving tips in cafes, holding doors open for people can make a huge difference and hopefully has a ripple effect, so that the recipient of the amiable and courteous treatment will then treat the next person they encounter in the same way. It’s a really simple way of ‘spreading the joy’ and making a difference.

So that’s a little bit about me and what I do – how are you doing your bit to try and make a positive difference to our world?

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How I changed myself…

March 24, 2012

In a previous post, I wrote about my first awakening experience and explained how this initial ‘waking up’ can be a little taster to whet your appetite for the fully awakened life.  However, before we reach this enlightened state, we often have to undergo a transitional period during which we strip back the layers of social conditioning and defensive walls, heal the emotional and psychological wounds and clear away the emotional and spiritual blockages which living a false life has created.

In some ways, the word ‘change’ is a misnomer – I prefer to think of this time as an alchemical process, where all the past stuff is transformed into gold, with all the garbage dealt with and disposed of and only the wisdom remaining. It’s also a time when we declutter ourselves and our lives to reveal what was within us all along –  that golden nugget which is our authentic core self.

My first counselling experience, as referred to in the ‘How I woke up’ post, had a dramatic impact on my life. Through this work:

* I realised how much my past was impinging on my present.

* I began to look for answers within rather than without.

* I finally got a glimpse of the real me, beyond what society or other external influences expected of me, and to be true to this real self.

* material stuff didn’t matter to me anymore and I felt a great urge to get rid of most of my possessions and live as simply as possible.

* being ‘of service’ felt like the most important thing to me and I felt strongly that this was connected in some way to my writing.

All this occurred in 1995 and I felt sure that this was how my life would be from this point onwards. Indeed, these basic principles still form the basis of my life philosophy and I feel they are the cornerstones of the awakened life. However it was early days for my authentic self, and though I’d had a glimpse of life through awakened eyes, it turned out there was still a lot of work to do before this authentic self could be fully realised.

Over the next decade and a half, I’ve worked really hard on my personal and spiritual growth and though it’s been really tough at times, I’ve learned a lot, particularly thanks to my decision to train as a counsellor and through becoming a parent.  I’ve also read a lot of books, spent a lot of time writing journals and spent months having personal counselling to help me deal with issues which were just too great to work through by myself.

Below is a list of many of the lessons I’ve  learned, in no particular order, and the changes I’ve made – as I said, I’ve learned a lot and I’m sure there are some things I’ve missed out but here are the ones I can think of right now:

* I gained a much clearer insight into my motives and the motives of others.

* I reframed negative past events and, after learning the important lessons those experiences had to teach me, was finally able to make peace with them and let them go.

* I learned a lot about how I relate to others including how to be assertive rather than passive or aggressive, and how to establish healthy personal boundaries.

* I learned how to reparent myself and love my inner child whilst simultaneously silencing  my inner critical parent.

* I learned not to be a victim and not to take everything personally – it’s not always about you!

* I learned that sometimes we have to sit with the bad stuff for a while and that instant gratification is not the key to long term contentment – short term pain really can lead to long term gain.

* through my relationship with my child, I learned the value of commitment – that if you ride out the bad times, the good times often just keep on getting better.

* I also learned that if we’ve had a bad day and take it out on our loved ones, it’s important to let them know that the fault lies with you and not them, otherwise you may negatively affect their self-image (not doing so is a form of emotional abuse).

* through my bad relationships, I learned a lot about what I DON’T want from my life and the people I share it with; that I have no time for games and just want straightforward communication, and that the only people I want around me are people who enhance my life, not those who are detrimental to it.

* I learned that everything I really need, I can give to myself if necessary.

* I learned the value of solitude and independence.

* I also learned the value of true friendship and support and that when you find this, you should treasure it as it’s very rare.

* I realised that capitalism and its propaganda machine, the media, are influencing and damaging our world and that consumerism is not the gateway to happiness and fulfilment.

* I learned that putting one’s self first is not always a bad thing if one ascribes to the right values – that the sum of the parts makes the whole and if all the parts are healthy, emotionally and spiritually, ergo the whole will be the same – and that is NOT the same as ‘selfishness’, enhancing one’s own wellbeing at the expense of others.

* I learned that we only have the present and that living in the past or hankering for a better future means we miss an awful lot of good stuff on the journey (though it’s wise to be in the present with a nod to the past and the wisdom gained from this, and an eye on the road ahead, being aware of opportunities and possible potholes).

* I learned that there are really only two states, love and fear, and that all the ills of the world come through fear in some form or other.

* I learned that embracing your shadow rather than denying it makes you more of a person, not less.

* I learned that there’s no such thing as a negative emotion – all emotions have a message for us – and whether or not the outcome is negative depends on how you express that emotion.

* I learned that true beauty is within and not necessarily without.

* I learned that you will never find contentment unless you are true to yourself.

* I learned that a great philosophy for life is ‘keep it simple’

* I learned that pretty much most of what society tell you is the way to live is wrong and that most of what we are meant to aspire to is a trap to keep you stuck in the rat race and keep you lining the nests of those at the top of the tree.

* I learned that self-responsibility is the key to holistic healing – to achieve healing, only you can do the work. Others can offer you guidance but the real work is down to you.

*I learned about my Highly Sensitive nature and how I have a gift for empathy, an awareness which has allowed me to take care of myself and use my traits in a positive way, rather than chastising myself for not being able to be out there in the world and deal with life in the same way as non-HSPs/empaths.

* I learned to listen to my intuition and follow the ‘nudges’ that the universe gives me through signs, symbols, dreams and synchronicities.

* I learned about energy and how Universal energy connects us all and how powerful a resource this can be if we learn to utilise it properly.

* I learned that sometimes you just have to let go and hand over whatever you’re going through to the Universe or whatever Higher Power you believe in.

* I also learned that although you’ll still go through difficult times, once you’ve found and strengthened  your authentic  core self, it becomes so much harder for life to knock you off your feet (even though you may find yourself wobbling precariously for a while).

So as you can see, my awakening has prompted a lot of personal change and made a huge difference to my life. I now know who I am and what I want and need, and I’ve healed and unblocked a lot of emotional, psychological and spiritual baggage, making me a clearer channel for Universal energy and increasing my empathic connection with the world.

Of course, personal and spiritual growth is a lifelong adventure and I’m still learning – currently I’m working through ongoing issues related to my most intimate relationships and am wrestling with the concept of money as an energy, something which many people who follow a spiritual path struggle with. But my reconnection with my authentic self means that I never feel that existential despair which used to dog me and even when things are tough, life never feels meaningless as my purpose is now so very clear.

In my next post, I’ll share with you how all this personal change has led me to my life purpose and what I’m doing in my own small way to help change the world. In the meantime, do please share your awakening and personal transformation stories with me in the comments below.

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Support The Animal Sanctuary!

September 15, 2011

If you’re ever in Cheshire and you or your loved ones are fond of animals and care about animal welfare, then I would highly recommend a visit to the Animal Sanctuary in Wilmslow.

As part of the Humane Education Society,  a charitable organisation working for a more compassionate society through education and practical work with children and animals, the Sanctuary offers permanent and temporary homes to animals in need of some loving care, including cats, horses, hens, rabbits, ferrets and pigs.

We were shown round the sanctuary by a lovely woman called Jenny (thanks, Jenny!) who is clearly devoted to all the animals and had a tale to tell about each and every one, telling us how they ended up in the sanctuary in the first place and sharing little details about each animal’s individual personality.

All the animals are extremely well cared for and well loved by the staff. Whilst I would love to work in a sanctuary like this,  I think it would break my heart to say goodbye the animals which are rehoused, even though I knew they were going to a good home.*

Not all of the animals are rehoused though, and some – like the pigs Erica and Babe, and Flea, the office cat – remain permanent residents of the sanctuary. It was wonderful to wander around and be followed by little black cats, some hens and a duck – and my partner was particularly taken with Daisy, the resident donkey!

Of course, sanctuaries like this cost money to run and as a charity, the Animal Sanctuary at Wilmslow is reliant on public support. Having spent some time in its wonderful warm and welcoming atmosphere, I can assure you that any donation you give will be money well spent. I’ve personally signed up to make a regular direct debit payment each month and plan on doing some fundraising too.

If you’d like to find out more about the Animal Sanctuary, then please check out their website here.  And do pop in if you’re ever nearby – you will always be guaranteed a warm welcome by both humans and animals alike 🙂 The Sanctuary also welcome group visits so if you run any kind of group which you feel will benefit from a visit the sanctuary, then drop them a line via the website.

*As an empath and HSP, I was bracing myself for the floods of tears I thought I would be reduced to – in the past, I’ve visited other animal rescue units and I’ve ended up sobbing the whole time and left feeling desperate to adopt all the animals. However, the vibes I picked up at the Animal Sanctuary were so loving and compassionate, and the animals were so well-cared for that I left the centre with a warm glow in my heart and a feeling of joy that there were such places in the world (although I did still want to adopt all the animals!). There was only one heartbreaking and tearful moment – we visited a little pony who hadn’t been there long and had been the victim of a cruel former owner. The terror in this little chap’s eyes, despite the gentle reassurance and kindness he was being shown by the staff, was something which will haunt me forever. I do hope that when we visit again, he is much happier and has learned that not all humans are bad.

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Kobi – a lesson in acceptance and unconditional love

March 3, 2011

Irish Setter 2

Kobi and Me

By Carolyn G Miller

Kobi was an Irish Setter puppy who belonged to my roommate Helga, and he was a holy terror. From the day he moved in, he began destroying everything he could get his paws and jaws on, every time he was left alone in the apartment. We’d come home after a day’s work to find curtains ripped off  windows; potted plants lying smashed on the floor; furniture gutted; and books and items of clothing chewed almost beyond recognition.

Helga, of course, felt terrible about inflicting this hellhound on me, but she loved the puppy to distraction, and couldn’t bear to give him away. Being an animal lover myself, I couldn’t help but sympathize. Anyway, we comforted ourselves, the problem was only temporary. It would soon stop as soon as she was able to train Kobi not to do these terrible things.

Helga assembled an impressive array of books on dog training, each of which guaranteed a well-behaved pet if one would only follow its recommended procedure religiously. No one could have been more conscientious than Helga, yet one technique after another failed. Kobi simply developed still more ingenious techniques for opening doors, getting into sealed garbage cans, and detaching breakable items from high shelves.

When Helga had to leave town for a week, I was left to carry on alone. The current technique hinged upon whipping the dog lightly with his leash for five minutes – no more, no less – in the presence of the mess he had made. The strokes were to be only symbolic taps. It was the duration of the punishment that was supposed to do the trick. I faithfully promised Helga to carry on in her absence.

I came in from a party late in the evening of the day she left, and there was that demon dog standing defiantly amid the wreckage as usual. My pleasant mood evaporated instantly. Dutifully I got out the leash, informed Kobi that he was a ‘bad dog’ and sat down on the floor to begin the whipping. Kobi just lay there beside me, submitting to this indignity with a sigh of resignation.

All I can tell you is that at some point in the five-minute process, I was simply overcome with shame and self-disgust. There was no getting around the fact that I had never liked Kobi – there wasn’t much to like as far as I could see. The quality of my life had deteriorated precipitously since he’d moved in. Still, it was pretty pathetic carrying a grudge against an animal. And now here I was whipping a dog who was obviously too stupid to learn to behave better.

Now, I knew I wasn’t hurting Kobi physically, but the whole thing just seemed so degrading! Ever since Kobi had come into our lives, he’d been doing mean things to us and we’d been doing mean things to him. He was still little more than puppy, yet his life had become variations on the themes of rejection and punishment!

And then it occurred to me that Kobi wasn’t going to change. It was time to face the fact that this was who Kobi was, and that as long as he lived in our apartment, this was wheat we could expect. Since I knew that Helga could not bear to give him up, and since I wanted to continue having her as a roommate, I was going to have to live with the problem too. So far as all of that was concerned, there was nothing I could do that I was willing to do.

But there was one thing I could change, I realised. I could change my attitude. I looked down at this miserable sinner of a dog, and felt my heart open up to him. Poor jerk – too stupid to learn not to chew things up – too stupid to avoid these tiresome punishements that punished Helga and me as much as they did him! I actually found myself weeping with compassion for this pathetic canine moron. I was unutterably ashamed of myself for having added to his misery.

I threw aside the leash and dragged Kobi’s huge bony head into my lap, sobbing out an apology I knew very well he couldn’t understand. “Kobi, I am so ashamed of the way I’ve treated you. You can’t help being the way you are, and if Helga and I aren’t going to give you away, we’re just going to have to accept you. Please forgive me for hitting you, and yelling at you, and hating you. I promise I’ll never do it again!”

By now the dog was alert, gazing into my eyes with real interest. “From now on, Kobi,” I continued “you just do any damn thing you want and I’ll deal with it. Tear the place up if you have to! I’m through trying to change you. I’m just going to try to learn to like you. And I’ll see if I can get Helga to give up on all this dog training stuff, too. We can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do when we aren’t here to control you. Not without hurting you a lot more than we’d be willing to do. So let’s just be friends, okay?”

Kobi panted up at me with that wide, clueless Irish Setter grin and I had to duck out of the way of a wet kiss. Following this exchange of civilities, I tidied up the mess – complimenting Kobi on the extremely thorough job he’d done on the wastebaskets – and took him out for a late run. In the morning when it was time for me to leave for work, Kobi walked me to the door as usual. “Okay, kiddo!” I said, giving him an affectionate ear ruffle. “Have at it! You might want to start with the sofa today. I think there might still be a little stuffing left in that middle cushion. See you later.”

When I climbed the stairs that evening it was with a sense of relief that I no longer had to upset myself about the mess Kobi would have made in my absence. But my front door opened on a very unfamiliar scene. There was Kobi standing in the middle of a perfectly clean, intact room. His head was up, and his tail was wagging. He looked me proudly in the eye and grinned. I burst into tears.

This “dog from hell” whose intelligence I had so often maligned, had responded to my friendly overture with one of his own. I suddenly realised that he had understood me very well the night before. His destructive behaviour had been his way of paying Helga and me back for withholding our love. We withheld love as a punishment to get him to stop destroying our stuff and he punished us for withholding it by destroying even more of our stuff. The problem wasn’t that Kobi was too stupid to understand what we wanted. He had always known exactly what we wanted him to do – he just wasn’t going to do it until we gave him what he wanted! Unconditional love.

I am happy to report that in the rest of the time Helga and I shared the apartment, Kobi was a model of canine decorum. It may seem strange that the change I had tried to extort from Kobi by force was given to me as a gift once I decided to accept him without conditions. But then, isn’t that the way it works? Even animals know better than to settle for conditional love.

Soulmates: Following Inner Guidance to the Relationship of Your Dreamsby Carolyn G Miller

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Living without money – Native American wisdom

February 24, 2011

Before our white brothers came to civilize us we had no jails. Therefore we had no criminals. You can’t have criminals without a jail. We had no locks or keys, and so we had no thieves. If a man was so poor that he had no horse, tipi or blanket, someone gave him these things. We were too uncivilized to set much value on personal belongings. We wanted to have things only in order to give them away. We had no money, and therefore a man’s worth couldn’t be measured by it. We valued the exchange of love, so we did not deal in fear. We had no written law, no attorney or politicians, therefore we couldn’t cheat. We were in a really bad way before the white man came, and I don’t know how we managed to get along for millenniums without the basic things which, we are told, are absolutely necessary to make a current civilized society.

— Lakota Sage Lame Deer (from John Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions)

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