Care for the Spiritual Empath
Recently I was asked to speak at the Orange County Yoga Festival in Huntington Beach about spiritual awakening based on my book, The Gift of Awakening. More people want to know about compassion fatigue and how to care for themselves better during this fast shifting time of spiritual awakening.
First, you may want to know whether you are an empath or a highly sensitive person. An empath is a person who has extreme empathy, which is the ability to feel other people's feelings. An empath has difficulty distinguishing between the emotions and energy of another person and that of their own which occurs through vibratory resonance and absorbency through the auric field in addition to other senses. An empath can feel anxious, confused, and overwhelmed when it comes to being around other people because it distorts their self-regulation on the biophysiological, emotional, and spiritual levels.
Empaths can also be Highly Sensitive People (HSP), but an HSP may be sensitive to food, weather, Electrical Magnetic Fields (EMF), spiritual intuition, and other intuitive guidance. These are just some of the forms of sensory input that can cause three major symptoms of spiritual crisis: overwhelm and anxiety, health problems, and a re-evaluation of your relationship and co-existence with God. These three things are characteristic of a spiritual crisis if they are unaddressed or denied for too long.
These are also the symptoms of what is being termed, "compassion fatigue," which is caused by giving away too much personal attention and energy at the expense of the individual. As the adage goes, "where attention goes, energy flows," but we must ask ourselves: what is being returned to us if we are giving all our energy away? Investing one's energy without the capacity to refill the tank, so to speak, will result in an empty tank of which will follow a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual crisis that cannot be ignored.
Yoga Teachers, Caregivers, Massage Therapists, and other Care providers are especially at risk for compassion fatigue because they hold space for healing, pain, and suffering for others. These are lower vibration states that resonate with lower vibration activities which cannot sustain in an individual for long without higher vibration intention and activities to bring them up and out of that state. This is why all caregivers must engage in high vibration activities that energize them on all levels of being -- physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (PEMS)-- and learn how to maintain and regulate their energy in the presence of persons in suffering.
Following are the tools I use to teach and help others who are empaths, HSP's, and others in pain, suffering, confusion, or grief :
1. Yoga & Mindfulness. I teach an appropriate yoga practice according to the needs of the individual. It will look different depending on the needs of the person, so although the garden-variety vinyasa flow is popular, it is unlikely to be the solution. First we start with breathing appropriately with gentle movement. When focus is sustained on deep inner calm with smooth breathing, a new focus will be introduced. The student meets with me once a week for 4 weeks and continues the practice at home for incrementally longer periods of time. Soon the practice becomes their own and can be done almost anywhere at anytime.
2. Energy management. I teach reiki which is a Japanese system of spiritually guided healing energy and is the key to retention of vitality. Reiki can be received in an energy treatment or learned in a class to understand its history, developments, and how to do self-healing treatments.
3. Quiet & stillness. Quiet time is essential for healing and energy management. Take time in nature with no talking to establish appropriate regeneration of energy and appropriate internal processing.
4. Find a Tribe of support. I am one of them. Knowing there are other HSP's and empaths who speak your language of spirit and energy can be a relief and a source of joy. More people are awakening to their special senses of intuition and spiritual guidance, and many who have been through it will listen and understand your situation. Reiki practitioners, spiritual mediums (also known as chanellers), energists, and spiritual intuitives are some of the spiritually gifted folks who have made it their life's work to help others.
If you have questions or want to learn more about spiritual awakening or recovering from spiritual crisis, don't hesitate to reach out. Find my book, The Gift of Awakening, on Amazon which can help you a lot on your journey. Peace be with you, and I look forward to providing the light for your path in awakening.