I’m an empath.
It’s not always an easy journey
Doesn’t life just know how to throw you a curve ball and give you new content to share from life’s experiences. Funny how the universe keeps validating our purpose if only we listen.
It’s been a rough 8 weeks, as my brother in law has suffered complication after complication from cancer surgery, only in the last week appearing like he may actually pull through. As an empath, it was extremely hard for me to be 2000 miles away from my sister and I was ready to jump on the next plane during several occasions. I was guided by an intuitive to wait, and I arrived last week to support my sister through a roller coaster of emotions and fear, unable to give her the answers she wanted. A day after I arrived, we received a call that a dear cousin had lost her battle with cancer. So we drove a few hours to spend time supporting a lovely family yesterday; spouse, children and grandchildren who have been through an awful ordeal the last 18 months. Can I just say Cancer Sucks. Somehow, I had a ‘feeling’ and threw in a dress appropriate for a funeral. I am grateful I waited, lest missing the opportunity to shower love on the family of this cousin we grew up with.
But I digress. I’ve just finished the book, “The Empath’s Survival Guide” and was reminded of the need to protect myself from the not so lovely energy found elsewhere, such as in hospitals. My decision to leave the traditional medical arena has been confirmed again and again. Although I have been surprised at a physician or two who actually listen and watch, in addition to reading lab results, the detachment is palpable. A survival tactic, I’m sure, amidst the life saving strategies employed on a minute by minute basis in ICU. Long shifts, little sleep, big egos. No wonder burn out is an epidemic. We ask, “why are there so many people in such dire states? Because a couple of decades ago, they wouldn’t have survived. They are medical miracles.
It seems I keep learning more about myself and feel as if I’ve only just graduated from kindergarten. I’m ending the first half of my life, since I plan to live to 110 and am excited for all there is yet to learn. Honestly, I’ve read more books, attended more online seminars and broadened my knowledge more in the last 2 years, than in the previous 34 combined. Like the first formative years of toddlerhood and preschool, the bumps and scrapes, leaving the cocoon of family to form new friendships, there has been a freedom in grabbing all the newness available. That concept is one that I had let go of to have the stability and comfort in my mediocrity. Let me just say, it brings more peace in letting things unfold to allow my course to change, even though it’s unknown and frightening at times.
Finally, I’ve become aware of how being an empath has truly affected me and understanding my need to be in the mountains or on the water to feed my soul. As I sit here on the 6th floor of the hospital in St. Paul, MN, I’m looking out a large window and all I see is concrete, Government buildings, more hospitals, and parking garages, a cold, almost prison like environment. No wonder I feel a crushing emptiness in my chest. This is in stark contrast to the view at my previous job the last 6 years of my career, the Cascade and Olympic mountains and the Puget Sound. As the energy was drained from my being by small, noisy work spaces, and energy vampires, that view bathed my heart in order for me to keep providing warmth and compassion to my patients.
I also have a new empathy for my struggles in early adulthood. Why, for instance, I cried when my parents fought, or my brother would disappear for months. Why, I turned to alcohol or food to numb my feelings, or acquired eating disorders during the stressful college years getting into PT school. Oh, and the thousands of times I just felt entirely overwhelmed with life. Now, I know what I need to be me and some of those things are found by walking and working in my garden, in the calmness of petting my grand dog, in nurturing my body with whole food and moving outside(not in a gym with loud noise and more energy). Mostly, it’s found in accepting my need for more sleep, more space and knowing I’ll be crying more than anyone else in times of sadness. Now, knowing this, I can begin the second half of my life and truly live my purpose.