Posts Tagged ‘work’

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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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Wake up! Why our education system isn’t working

April 4, 2012

In my work, I talk a lot about ‘waking up’ and in this post I’m going to discuss how we end up becoming one of the ‘asleeple’  in the first place. Because the fact is, we’re not born ‘asleep’ – it’s a lifelong process of ‘training’ also known as ‘socialisation’, beginning as soon as we’re able to reasonably function in ‘civilised’ society. All young children are intellectually free and emotionally alive. But in our so-called developed world, it’s impossible to be an adult and retain the creativity and spontaneity of a three year old without being labelled mad or personality disordered – unless you’re employed as an artist of some kind. In fact, these childlike attributes are the cornerstone of mental well-being but instead, as soon as you can walk, talk and adequately use a toilet, these traits are beaten out of you and you’re indoctrinated into becoming a useful tool in our economic system.

‘Education’ is not really about teaching the things that you really need and want to know. What you’re learning is the stuff that the people who control everything ie the people with the most money, want you to know. These big business people who control our economy need a few highly educated people to do the brain work and a larger number of less well-educated people to do the grunt work. Therefore the system is geared towards churning out these two types, rather than catering for each person’s individual needs.

Look up ‘school’ in the dictionary and the definition will inevitably begin with the word ‘institution’. And this is exactly what school is – an institution, much like a prison or a children’s home, governed by a strict set of rules. (Whenever I refer to my school years, I talk about having ‘done my time’ because this is exactly how it felt – forced to attend the same place, day in, day out, and resigned to suffering bullying and boredom for years on end.) The rules are designed to make life simpler for the authorities by imposing their ideas of conformity on you – stand in line, no talking, short hair and other dress codes – and to teach you to unquestioningly obey authority. Teachers are given a lot of power over you and you are taught to obey them and all your ‘elders and betters’. The word ‘respect’ is used a lot – the teachers are apparently teaching you ‘respect’ rather than ‘obedience’ – but how can you truly respect someone who is showing little or no respect for you?

The problem with most teachers of course is that they too are ‘asleep’. Being asleep, they believe in the idea that everything is separate and have long since lost touch with their real selves. The focus is on competition – who is the best, who’s getting the highest grades – and the belief that true worth consists of being better and having more than the separate ‘other’. Consequently, children lose their intrinsic sense of the universal and their community values and learn instead to play the game of differentiation and dissociation, the punishment for refusing to play being abandonment and rejection. Their true self recedes into the shadow where it goes to sleep, often for the rest of their lives, and is replaced by a false self, developed to fit in with what others need you to be, but leaving you with a feeling of disconnection and dissatisfaction which can only be temporarily assuaged by external trappings, rewards for playing the game.

In school, these trappings take the form of grades and exams. Grades are used as a bribe to get you to do the things you don’t want to do – you work for the good grades and not because you’re interested in what you’re doing. Grades become an end in themselves, much like money in the outside world. The people with the best grades (or the most money) are perceived as the best people, regardless of the methods used to gain them and what they’re really like as people. In a similar fashion, exams don’t show how creative or intelligent you actually are – all they demonstrate is who is good at exams ie capable of trotting out parrot-fashion the information which has been drilled into them. During my time at school, I did many exams and received good grades in them all – and cannot remember a single thing that I supposedly ‘learned’.

And then of course, there is the ‘lower hierarchy’ – the one which develops amongst the pupils themselves. Here the trappings are social and psychological and the winners of this game are the ones who have learned to play the other game – the game of differentiation – the best. The children who have the least empathy – who are therefore more ‘separate’ – are the ones who will race to the top of this particular hierarchy. The less you care – or appear to care – about others, the more popular you will be. And the more you conform to the standards our society ascribes to be the best – for example, the more glamorous you are as a girl or the more sporty you are as a boy – the better your chances of being perceived as ‘popular’. Anyone who fails to play the game properly by being ‘too sensitive’ or ‘too different’ must be prepared to suffer the consequences. I am never surprised when I hear of yet another high school shooting. Doug Stanhope summed this up best in one of his stand-up routines:

“High school is horrible. I quit in ninth grade and it was the best thing I ever did. After every school shooting, parents come on television and say: `Rap music is the problem. And drugs. And the lack of metal detectors.’ No. The problem is that a lot of your kids are aggressive dicks and you won’t do shit about it. That’s the problem. You never hear these parents say: `It’s terrible that Andy Williams shot up Santana High School, but I accept it was also our boy Ethan’s fault, because he was a sadistic prick to that kid. Tell that to the cameras, Ethan. Tell them how you pulled Andy’s pants down, then pushed his head down the toilet.’ I never hear that on the news.
Williams was this frail little kid who was bullied, and shot up his school. George W Bush came on the news and called it `the ultimate act of cowardice’. “Cowardice? The ultimate act of cowardice is the fat-headed wrestling guy sitting behind the frail kid in math class, clipping him on the ear, saying: `What are you going to do about that, faggot?’ That is cowardice. When the bullets start flying past that jock’s saucer-shaped ears, that’s not cowardice. That’s payback.”

Ok, so I’m certainly not advocating that every bullied kid should get out there and start shooting the place up. But why are we so shocked when every once in a while someone is pushed over the edge because we’ve brought up our children to believe in differentiation and worship those who conform to our society’s idea of ‘the best’ whilst demeaning and rejecting those who don’t? When the people at the top of these man-made pyramids of power show little respect for those at the bottom, why are they so horrified when the people at the bottom show little respect for them? (You can read more on this in this blog post about last year’s riots in the UK here: https://empathicguidance.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/london-riots-remember-this/)

Home-schooling is on the increase, as is a form of education called ‘unschooling’ where the child’s natural interests are followed and developed. Unlike the school system, these forms of education consider the needs of the individual child, rather than just teaching them what the authorities feel you need to know to join the ‘asleeple’. School is simply a mirror image of our society, a society built on economic power, and a society which is founded on the idea that people exist for the sake of big business, not the other way round. The majority of changes which have taken place in this system are geared towards the people who have the power keeping that power. A recent example of this is the introduction of student loans. By taking on one of these loans, you’re effectively shackling yourself to the economic system before you’ve even dipped a toe into the waters of employment. Interesting, isn’t it, that these loans were introduced round about the same time that property prices zoomed into the stratosphere, making it increasingly difficult for people to be shackled to the system by a mortgage? The powers-that-be will always find a way to get you stuck in that dead-end job, the one that fills their coffers whilst simultaneously depleting yours, with no visible means of escape. Interesting, too, that this system was introduced after the people currently in power had already taken advantage of the ‘free higher education for all’ offered pre-1991.

The majority of degrees these days are not even worth the paper they’re printed on. A degree requires little more than a good memory and an ability to assimilate the academic orthodoxy of the day, which is why employers favour graduates, regardless of the field of study. As you’ve already proved yourself to be biddable and unquestioning, as far as employers are concerned, you’re ideal corporate material. And don’t assume that you’ll be financially rewarded either – graduates now earn only £140,000 more over their lifetime than non-graduates, instead of the £400,000 previously. They also pay back thousands more in tax than their degree will have cost. Furthermore, the higher the education, the cheaper the ‘citizen’ is to the government in terms of benefits (less chance of unemployment) and NHS costs (less illness). Increased levels of student debt, thanks to introduction of  exorbitant fees, also encourage graduates to go for the highest paid available job, rather than going into further study, volunteering or jobs that aren’t necessarily so well remunerated, meaning once again the economic system is the ultimate beneficiary. This introduction of market forces into higher education also results in the selection criteria of universities being based on a student’s bank balance not academic ability. Thanks to the creation of a two-tier education system, the gulf between the haves and the have-nots is widening more and more each day.

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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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How I woke up…

March 22, 2012

In my previous post, I shared the philosophy which forms the basis of this site and my work. For my next three posts, I’m going to share with you my own experience of the awakening process and the changes which this has brought to my life, to demonstrate how this works in practice and also perhaps to demonstrate that I practise what I preach! I would love to hear your personal awakening stories so feel free to leave a comment or contact me via the link in the right hand corner of the screen.

Growing up as a HSP (highly sensitive person) and empath in a culture which frowned upon any emotional display was a traumatic, confusing and demoralising experience. Any expression of anger, sadness, fear or indeed, any emotion construed as ‘negative’ (however justified that emotional reaction may have been) was immediately stamped on and derided. Being an empath, I also had the problem of picking up on everyone else’s repressed emotions yet had no outlet for this maelstrom of feelings which conspired to make my inner life very intense and distressing (and later resulted in some very unhealthy acting-out).

As an extremely bright child, there was also huge pressure on me to conform to a particular life path – stay on at school and get good A levels, go to university and get a 1st class degree then have a financially successful career. Taking time out to explore the world and find myself after school – something which I desperately needed to do – wasn’t even an option.

Consequently by the time I reached adulthood, I was stumbling around in the dark with no idea of who I really was or what I really wanted or needed. Years of repression and suppression meant that I’d completely lost sight of my authentic self. I can remember looking at my wardrobe full of clothes – none of which were of the same style and all of which were trying to convey a particular image – and wondering ‘which of these outfits is really me?’. I tried different careers and different courses, moved house several times and lived in different cities, made new friends and started new relationships but nothing seemed to fill that gap where my authentic self should have been.

I continued struggling to follow a path which had been prescribed for me by other people and society’s expectations and had very little to do with who I really was until finally, in April 1995, everything changed. Though it felt like some kind of wondrous miracle had occurred, with hindsight I was able to recognise the series of encounters, opportunities and synchronicities which lead to my awakening at this time:

* I’d tried every possible way to make the path I was on work but it simply wouldn’t gel for me. By April 1995, I’d literally reached the end of the line and was primed and ready for a momentous change.

* In the previous couple of months, I’d encountered a rather enigmatic character who came into my life for a very short time and vanished almost as quickly as he arrived. He was something of a free spirit who lived on a combination of his wits and his creativity, and he inspired me to start thinking outside the box and recognise that there was another way beyond the one I’d been programmed to believe was the only route.

* On 10 April 1995, I lost my job. This was an early instance of manifestation for me – it was a beautiful sunny day which felt to me like the first day of summer, and as I walked to work, I wished with all my heart that I didn’t have to go and waste my day doing that dreadful job. Half an hour later, I was walking back home, having been laid off the minute I arrived.

* Having manifested this opportunity, I now began to contemplate taking a break from the rat-race to explore the other options that were out there. However I was nervous about stepping off the path – I’d been indoctrinated to believe that the path I was on was the only one to follow and that any other choice would be foolhardy. I was also concerned about what I would do for money without a regular wage. About a week after I’d lost my job, I’d arranged to see an old schoolfriend. This friend lived a life which seemed anathema to me, stuck in a dull marriage and a dull job, and the thought of ending up in the same position as her, however safe it might be, filled me with horror. In a wonderful piece of synchronicity, this friend arrived on my doorstep at the exact same time as the post arrived – with a completely unexpected prize cheque for £100 from a premium bond gifted to me by my grandfather 25 years earlier. The message to me seemed loud and clear – the universe was letting me know that if I took the plunge and diverged from the safe but dull path (the one which my friend was trapped on), the money would come.

* The day I lost my job, I met a man who had just moved into a house across the road from me. I ended up dating him for a while and he introduced me to the world of spirituality, which until that point, I had rejected in favour of what I believed was a more ‘realistic’ view of life. I began to realise that there was more to spirituality than organised religion and eagerly began to explore this new world which had just opened up before me.

* Even though I knew I didn’t want to take yet another ‘crap job’, I still wasn’t sure what it was I actually wanted to do. To remedy this, I signed up for counselling at a local employment and learning advice centre. Though I initially attended because I felt that I was at a crossroads in terms of my career, the experience was far more intense and in depth than I imagined it would be and turned out to be the first step on a lifelong personal development journey which would completely transform my life.

The counselling helped me to recognise that what I really wanted to do was write so I decided to take a sabbatical from the rat-race and spend a few months working on a novel. The experience was a revelation – I had never felt so fulfilled and so free. And that summer, somthing truly amazing happened. For the first time in my life, I had a strong sense of inner peace which ran alongside an equally strong feeling of being ‘at one with the universe’. People who met me at that time told me that I literally glowed – my inner radiance was literally flowing from me – and I effortlessly drew people of all ages to me wherever I went.

I also remember feeling really comfortable in my own skin – the only words I can find to describe it is a ‘humble confidence’. Though I felt confident about myself, it felt different to an ego-driven confidence and I now recognise that it was because this confidence emanated from the depths of my soul.

The other really strong – and at that time, completely unfamiliar – feeling I remember having was a complete loss of fear. Nothing fazed me anymore, not even the thought of death. In fact, I couldn’t understand why anyone would be scared of death as I knew without a doubt that it wasn’t the end of everything, but that we simply moved on to another plane.

I wrote in my previous post that I belive that often we’re given a taste of the awakened life to show us how life could look if we were free from our baggage, whether it’s the stuff imposed upon us via our environment or stuff we’ve amassed ourselves. This initial awakening experience is just the beginning and in my next post, I’ll share with you the transformational process which awakening triggered and which proved to be a bumpier – and ultimately more enlightening – ride than I would ever have expected.

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What goes on in an Empathic Guidance session? Pt.1: A client reveals all…

March 7, 2011

Recently I’ve been working with a wonderful young man called Matt who I first encountered on Twitter. Matt went through an awakening experience back in July 2006 and after going through the ‘dark night of the soul’ which so often follows an awakening, he transitioned quite naturally to a more authentic and positive place. However, he still felt that there were a couple of areas which he needed to gain clarity in and so to this end, he put out a request to the Universe for a coach or mentor who might be able to assist him on his journey of discovery.

I was more than happy to oblige and have been working with Matt now for several weeks. I have to say that his positivity and enthusiasm for the work we do is infectious and I really enjoy our weekly Skype conversations. And as is always the way of these things, I feel I’m probably learning as much through him as he is through me!

As part of his learning curve, Matt is documenting his progress and part of this involves writing about our Empathic Guidance sessions. Here is the first of these which he published on his own website and which I thought may be of interest to anyone considering investing in a few Empathic Guidance sessions themselves. This particular session focussed on a dream which Matt had – we discussed this during the hour then I added further insights in the follow-up notes which I always send after the session has taken place, as I feel they’re a positive additional aid to the client’s personal development.

In this post, Matt talks about our introduction and in part two, he reproduces the notes which I sent him containing a detailed dream interpretation.

Inner Simplicity with Empathic Guidance

by Matthew Fry

For anyone who has joined me on this awesome adventure of awakening and has been following my journey thus far, you would have been aware that in January, around the time I celebrated my 24th birthday, I wrote a post titled “Infinite Possibilities” exploring the idea that there might be someone within my amazing social network whom would like to coach, guide or mentor me. The response to that post was astounding and I am deeply humbled that so many people came forward showing interest. One of those incredible people was Sharon Simpson “The Empathic Guide” and WOW, to say that Sharon has been a blessing in my life is a massive understatement…

As Sharon writes on her Twitter bio: “Empathic Guidance creates empathy and equality in our lives through increased self- and other-awareness. Join me and help to make our world a better place.”

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?
~ Henry David Thoreau

In my first chat with Sharon I experienced the great miracle that Thoreau proposed. We seemingly picked up from where we had left off in some other lifetime, because the openness, sharing and deep sense of connection was so profound it truly felt to me as though we had known each other for a very, very long time. There was a high level of resonance and intuitive intimacy between us as well as a recognition of many parallels between our lives and awakening experiences which allowed for an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable unfolding. As our conversation came to a close I will never forget the Skype call-time clocking in at 44:44 – a synchronistic shout-out from the universe that there was something magical brewing. I was ecstatic when Sharon shared her mutual delight and recounted her own experiences with number sequences, at which point we both felt the tickling shiver that comes with goosebumps – or godbumps as I like to call them hehe – another awesome confirmation that we were at the right place at the right time. I came away from our first conversation literally bouncing around the house bursting with energy and enthusiasm. In an email the next day Sharon pointed me to a wonderful post she had written about number sequences, adding that:

“444 can relate to mastery and empowerment and there’s also this explanation by Doreen Virtue:

444 — Thousands of angels surround you at this moment, loving and supporting you. You have a very strong and clear connection with the angelic realm, and are an Earth angel yourself. You have nothing to fear—all is well.”

And so with universal blessings, we adventured on together, holding hands in the heart, setting out on a deep and wonderful healing voyage of discovery for which I am eternally grateful…

Empathic Guidance is a unique intuitive healing approach which can transform your life and empower you, leading to lasting positive change. As an empath, Sharon is very sensitive to energy, giving her the ability to intuit thoughts and feelings, and allowing her to fully experience, support and understand each person she works with. When she works with you, she tunes into your energy directly and guides you using the empathic feelings and thoughts which arise from the connection.

My first empathic guidance session with Sharon was in early February. During our previous connection Sharon had asked me whether I dreamed, to which I responded that I do dream, but not very often, and that I hardly ever remember my dreams upon waking. She then assured me that after becoming conscious of this and discussing dreams with her, it was highly likely that I would now begin to remember my dreams. The seed was planted in my consciousness and it was a prophetic moment; ever since I have been waking up each morning remembering many more details about my dreams and on one occasion, still half-asleep, I tapped in a dream-stream of ‘unconsciousness’ saving it as a note on my phone. Unbeknownst to me at the time, that dream was going to form the basis of our first session. Sharon is a phenomenal dream interpreter, just one of the many gifts that she has to share, and after a thorough and inspiring dialogue I had uncovered many aspects of myself and was able to elevate my awareness and to shine light into some areas of darkness, recognizing imbalances in my energy field, discovering much about my psyche, meeting some inner orphans who want to be loved and given a chance to grow up, as well as many other personal insights and awakenings, which I hadn’t previously been aware of – it was incredibly liberating to explore my dream with such an aware and empowering guiding light. A few days later I was completely in awe when the notes from our session arrived in my inbox. I’m going to share those notes with you now because I feel they serve several important purposes: one, I am able to reveal what an amazing guide Sharon is! two – it presents me with an opportunity to be totally authentic and share some deeper aspects of my self, my psyche, and other awarenesses and personal revelations 🙂 and also, someone else reading this post might have had similar life experiences and thus, the healing potential in sharing the notes I feel is quite profound ♡

So, let me introduce you to Sharon, the brilliant, the fabulous, the very insightful Empathic Guide….

Part two tomorrow

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Burnout Pt.3: Prevention and Cure

December 3, 2010

In the final part of our series on burnout, we explore some of the methods you can employ if you have recognised yourself in parts one and two, and feel that you may be suffering from this syndrome.

In order to recover from burnout, it’s important for you to commit fully to healing. There is no instant cure and you need to be aware that the healing process will take some time, depending on how far down the burnout path you’ve travelled. Clearly, the sooner you are able to spot these symptoms developing, the sooner you can turn your life and your general wellbeing around.

Be selfish!

This is the first and possibly the most important message to take on board if you are suffering from burnout. A good analogy is the advice given to parents during air travel, to put the oxygen mask on themselves first in an emergency so that they are then in the best position to help their child. In the same way, it’s vital for you to realise that you will not be fit to take care of anyone unless you first take care of yourself. So until you have recovered, it’s time to put you first for a change, beginning with your physical wellbeing.

Rest

In our busy and stressful society, so many of us believe it’s acceptable to operate on five or six hours sleep. However, if you are showing early signs of burnout, then it’s important to commit to getting a minimum of eight hours sleep a night and preferably at least 10. Going to bed early may feel like a drag, but is surely preferable to the alternative of running yourself so far into the ground that you’re unable to get out of bed at all.

Relaxation

Though it’s healthy to spend some of your leisure time enjoying your hobbies and pastimes, it’s also vital that you make time to practise specific relaxation techniques, such as meditation. Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated – try this simple breathing exercise. Take long slow breaths in and out, focusing solely on your breathing and saying silently to yourself  ‘in-two-three-four’ on the in breath, and ‘out-two-three-four’ on the out breath.

You could also try this simple relaxation exercise. Work your way down your body from head to toe, focussing on each body part. Tense that part for a few seconds, then release all the tension until it is completely relaxed, before moving onto the next part. You’ll probably be surprised at how much tension you’re already holding in your body.

Complementary therapies can also be very effective – I’ve found reflexology and reiki to be particularly beneficial. Massage of any kind, be it Indian Head massage, Swedish massage or aromatherapy with oils is also a wonderful way to relax and will help release any knots in those tense muscles.

Nourishment

When we’re heading towards burnout, we often find our diet suffers as we snack on fast foods or overdo the stimulants in an attempt to boost our energy levels. However our body is crying out for nourishment, so the best thing you can do for yourself is to give in to its demands. The best nutrition you can give your body at this time is vegetables, protein and unprocessed foods, as well as fibrous foods and healthy carbohydrates such as jacket potatoes, wholemeal bread and pasta and brown rice. Warm foods such as nutritious soups and stews are ideal in the winter months and salads are great for the summer.

You can also supplement your diet with a select range of vitamins and minerals. Particularly good ones are: multivitamins, B vitamins (especially B12), vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, calcium and zinc. Omega 3, co-enzymes and amino acids such as lysine are also good and a DHEA supplement (DHEA is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands) can also be beneficial. However, if you take prescribed medication, do consult your doctor first before taking any of these supplements.

As well as considering what we do ingest, it’s also worth being more vigilant about what we don’t. Sugar, salt and fats should be limited, and it’s best to avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and recreational drugs whilst suffering from burnout.

Exercise

As mentioned in part two, too much exercise can be counterproductive, particularly if you’re already on the path to burnout. The key is gentle exercise – a short walk everyday or a few light chores would be more than adequate at this stage, beginning with maybe five minutes a day and increasing the time as your energy levels rise.

Back to nature

You can of course combine this with your daily exercise, particularly if you live in a rural area – a walk outside every day will do you the power of good. Alternatively, if you live or work in a more urban setting, a lunchtime stroll through a park can be just as effective.

Being out in the sunshine also helps, though I am aware that we don’t see much of that in the UK! However the best time of day to be outdoors in the colder months is still around midday, so that lunchtime stroll is well worth the effort.

Another positive thing you can do for yourself is to take a break in nature – perhaps an afternoon in the countryside or by the sea, relaxing in the natural world away from the hurly burly of modern life.

Time Management

Burnt out people often have way too much on their plate, so basic time management skills can really make a difference in your life. You could try: making lists to organise your time more effectively; delegating, by passing on some of your tasks to others (too many burnt out people are perfectionists who erroneously believe that no-one else can manage to do the job quite as effectively as they can); and taking regular breaks, e.g. for every hour of work, take a 10-15 minute break.

Eliminate EMFs

As mentioned in part two, and in particular for highly sensitive people, EMFS (as well as other forms of geopathic stress) can be a huge issue when it comes to burn out. If you feel these are affecting your health, try some of the following: turn off and unplug appliances when not in use; minimise computer and mobile phone usage; switch to an analogue phone (cordless ones are available); and if you live near mobile phone masts or pylons, consider moving if at all possible. (You can read more about this and about the effects of geopathic stress in the book You Can Heal Yourself: Bio-Energy and the Power of Self-Healing by Seka Nikolic.)

Find support

As we saw in part two, negative relationships of any kind can contribute to burnout. Shun those energy vampires and naysayers and spend some time with positive and supportive people who appreciate you. It can be tempting to withdraw from others when you’re burnt out, and whilst time spent alone can be beneficial (see my article on solitude), when you’re feeling low, you can easily lose perspective and become overly critical of yourself. Sharing a cuppa with a true friend can help you bring much needed clarity and levity into your life.

Dump your baggage

Whether it’s emotional, psychological, mental or physical baggage, clearing out the stuff in your life which is holding you back and dragging you down is always a positive move and extremely revitalising. For more on this, check out my articles on de-cluttering here and learn how to let go of those unwanted elements which belong firmly in the past.

Personal Development

Burning out can be the precursor to a time of positive transformation in our lives. One of the ways that we can facilitate this is by focussing on our personal development and learning new, more functional ways of being. Perhaps a lack of assertiveness has been an issue for you or maybe you’ve struggled with low self esteem. Take the time to explore who you really are and find out what you need to grow and transform yourself in a positive way. Reading through some of the entries in this blog could be a good place to start and there are many other resources similar to this which can be found across the internet and in libraries.

Learn the lesson

Finally, as I mentioned in part two, look for the lesson which your burnout is trying to teach you. Regaining your physical wellbeing, freeing yourself of your baggage, discovering your authentic self through personal development work and making the most of your supportive friends are all positive steps towards transforming your life by clearing the way for the voice of your intuition. By listening to this voice we can find out what it is our soul really needs and make our way back to our true path and our life purpose.

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