Aging Ain't For Sissies.

Spirit of God

The Holy Spirit is the energy sent by God.” (unknown)

I love this saying. It makes sense to me. Everything and everyone is made up of energy so it only makes sense that God would send the Holy Spirit to us in the form of energy – something we can all relate to on a deep scale.

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I don’t want to delve into the world of science but the study of quantum physics indicates that what we perceive of as our material world, our physical world, isn’t really material or physical at all. As a matter of fact nothing could be further from the truth. As Nikola Tesla put it so well, “If you want to know the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

Seems to me this works with God, the Divine, as well…if you want to know God then think in terms of energy. God is love and love is energy, not matter. Love is action, love is doing, and love is the energy of movement. Love is God.

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Have you ever walked into a room and noticed the energy? It can draw you in or push you right back out the door again. I think most of us have been around a person we enjoy immensely because their energy brings us up. We are drawn to them. Or perhaps it’s the other way around – their energy is heavy and drags us down, leaving us with an intense urge to escape. Either way, we’ve walked into their energy field and we can feel it. It affects us. It changes the situation at hand in an instant.

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In order for God to reach us, to show us he is near, he requires a way to communicate with us his love, his energy, in a way we can all tap into. An energy that will draw us in, not push us away. Since we all communicate with energy, whether we realize it or not, what better way to reach us than through movement of his energy, his love?

God manifests his love through a flow of energy – billowing in and out and around our own energy at all times. This flow of God’s energy, of his love, is what we call the Holy Spirit. It is never not there. It does not wax and wane or come and go…it always is.

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So what does all this mean? For me it means we are never alone. Even in our loneliest times, during our most painful experiences, we are surrounded by God’s energy of movement, his love. It means that answers we need are as close as a moment in time. A quiet moment tucked in between the louder, every day noises of our lives. A moment when we stop and listen to the almost imperceptible flutter that is left in the wake of the Holy Spirit as it surrounds us in a never ending flow of God’s love.

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All we have to do is be still and be open. We need not be afraid of silence. It’s where we hear God. It’s where his energy flows around us in a torrent of love and acceptance. It’s where his energy of movement, his love, can be found when we need it the most.

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When Eckhart Tolle was asked how one could drop negativity, he responded, “By dropping it.”

We hear quite regularly these days to let go of the negative and we will be happier. If we stop all negative thoughts our lives will be more pleasant and peaceful. The internet is saturated with articles (not to mention memes) touting the power of positive thinking and how we need to eliminate all negativity from our lives.
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I do not disagree that we need to be diligent about how much negativity we allow in our lives but I think we also have to be a little more realistic.

I fully believe that what we put out to the universe comes back to us. If we are putting out negative vibes we are going to get back the same (the law of attraction.)  But sometimes we are forced to deal with negative issues.  This doesn’t mean we are negative people but it does mean that for a moment in time there is negativity in our lives and it must be dealt with regardless.  If we ignore a problem because we are convinced the negativity it might bring to our lives will bring us down or not go away then we are burying our heads in the sand.  The problem will remain until addressed.  What we resist, persists.

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We can’t avoid every negative aspect of life. There seems to be a growing mindset that this is exactly what we should do. It goes hand in hand with the idea that we need to ignore, or better yet suffocate, our dark side. It’s a fact of life that we all have a dark side. Even the Great Masters and avatars had to contend with their dark side before they became enlightened.

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At the end of the day we have to take care of our business including the negative aspects of it. We do not have to dwell on the negativity nor feed it but we can’t ignore it exists within the problems we are facing.  Once dealt with we work to move forward even if it’s at a crawl.

All actions including negative ones have consequences and the residual effects are something we may have to contend with for a long time but how we approach it will govern whether we wallow in it or overcome it.  Not everything that rises out of the ashes of something negative is bad.  Many of life’s most profound lessons are found in the dark.

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I’ve never been a fan of talking on the phone.  To be blunt I hate it with the fire of thousand suns.  There, I said it.  Whew.

I can count on three fingers the number of people I will have phone conversations with that are longer than mere minutes.  I can handle conversations that get to the point quickly but anything past that and you’ll pretty much lose me.phone3

I think my hate/hate relationship with talking on the phone stems from my uncanny (and unwanted) ability to attract people who prefer to talk for hours. Hours!  I guess in a way it’s my own doing.  I hate telling people I don’t like talking on the phone thinking they will take it personally and be hurt.  Without realizing it I am giving them unspoken permission to decide how long the conversation is going to last.

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I also attract people who tend to only talk about themselves. I’m dumbfounded at the sheer number of people who can sit and talk about themselves for the ENTIRE length of a call before finally declaring, “It was great to hear your voice!” and hanging up. Click.  Buh bye.

There is the issue of small talk as well. I am not a small talk kind of person. It is awkward for me for reasons I can’t put my finger on.  It seems so unnecessary I guess.  I do it when the situation calls for it because…well…it’s the polite thing to do.  If it’s important to the person doing the talking then who am I to shut them down?  If I don’t want to engage in small talk then I simply don’t answer the phone at that time.

I think phone calls give me anxiety in part because I prefer to think things through before I speak.  If put on the spot I will verbally stumble around making all kinds of mumbling, guttural sounds before collecting myself.  Letting a call go to voicemail allows me the opportunity to find out what the caller wants so I can process the information and think about it for a moment.  Introverts need the “pause” that voicemail gives that answering the phone doesn’t.phone2

Cherie Burbach, in her article Why Your Introverted Friend Does Not Answer the Phone explains it so well.

“Phones are just one area where an introvert may pause or think before they speak, choosing instead to find just the right word. If you think it’s because your introverted friend isn’t sure what to say, think again. Introverts simply use their brains differently and retrieve information from their memories in a way that is opposite from extroverts.  So while an extrovert can chat away easily, an introvert may reflect on what they say, choose the right words, and finally speak.”

For the record, my dislike of talking on the phone also includes making phone calls.  Omg.  For me making a call is akin to the sensation of listening to finger nails scrape loudly across a chalkboard while the dog licks his butt and the radio blares head banger tunes.

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If you know someone who loves their phone but strongly dislikes talking on it don’t take it personally.  It’s just one of those things – a challenge to live with and difficult to explain.  Ideally we would like people to accept it without making a big deal about it (or worse, making fun of us.)   And for those of us who hate talking on the phone we need to remember that not everyone likes to text so we have to make an effort as well.  It’s a two way street.

Lastly, even though texting has taken away a lot of our personal one-on-one interactions, for some of us it’s a way to stay in touch with those we love without the inexplicably awkward, uncomfortable, nerve racking experience of actually, you know, talking on the phone.

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Moral of the story?  We want to hear from people we care about!  We want to stay in touch.  But we do not want to do it on the phone most of the time.  It’s just not our thing.

Living as an empath has its challenges.  Being highly sensitive to the energy of everything around me – people, animals, my environment indoors and out, Mother Earth and the effects of solar activity to name a few – presents many opportunities to learn about myself.

The first thing I’ve had to learn is discerning which emotions and feelings belong to me and which don’t.  It is not out of the ordinary for me to suddenly become overwhelmed with intense emotional pain whose origin is a mystery to me.  I know instinctively these are not my feelings but I can’t place where they are coming from.  Most often this is followed by deep, wrenching sobs that come from an inexplicable need to release pain that is not mine.

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Next on the list of lessons for this empath has been to be very careful who I let know I can feel their pain (angst, anger, physical ailments etc.)  Not everyone is keen on finding out there is someone who knows how they are feeling…not just knows mind you, but actually can feel what they are feeling, emotionally and physically.  It can turn some people off right quick and then they disappear which I understand.  I’ve had to take a step back so when I get a vibe or I sense something about someone I don’t just come out and say it – I am more apt now to simply touch base with them and ask how they are doing.  If people want to talk, they will.  It is not my place to make their pain my business just because I can feel it – if they choose to confide in me I will never abuse that privilege.

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Next lesson – some people DO want to talk.  And talk and talk and talk, having no idea they are subconsciously pulling in my good energy and giving back to me their negative energy.  It can be very draining.  It’s most obvious when someone says to me, “I feel so much better talking to you!” but I feel worse – drained and heavy.  Just recently I called to check in with someone and an hour and a half later they admitted (a bit sheepishly) they love hearing my voice but it’s a shame they don’t get to hear it much because they do all the talking.  They said they find themselves telling me things they don’t share with anyone else.  All I could do was laugh and tell them I get that a lot.

This next lesson is simple…I know when people lie.  Period.

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Also…I know things I shouldn’t know.  I often know things that are going to happen before they happen.  I have no idea how I know or why, I just know.  Ask my wonderful husband who is finally getting used to it, bless his ever patient heart.  (PS and by the way, I cannot pick winning lottery numbers or tell you what stocks will be hot in the future.  Just sayin’.)

Not to be left out…I am not special because I’m an empath.  It is not a gift, it is simply part of who I am.  I should not, nor do I want to be, treated differently.

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn, and admittedly haven’t learned well yet, is that setting boundaries is an absolute must.  I’ve been in burn out mode for a long time without knowing why.  Now that I’m aware it’s because I absorb the energy around me – from people I know and don’t know, from the earth, animals as well as being affected by other types of energy – it’s my responsibility to take care of myself no matter who it pisses off.  If I choose to be by myself, which I love to do, it’s so I can recharge.  That’s all.

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Another hard lesson is that I can’t save everyone from feeling pain.  I used to want to until I realized that if I could take away a person’s pain I might also be taking away from them an important life lesson they need to learn.  This would accomplish nothing positive for them and in turn would suck my soul dry.

I no longer watch the news or violent movies/TV shows.  I absorb too much of it, even the make believe stuff.  I can already feel so much, adding to it does me no good.  I’m much better off now that I avoid this type of exposure.  Oddly though, I enjoy the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series of movies.

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I want to briefly say something to the parents and caregivers of sensitive children, children who seem older than their years.  Give them a break.  Don’t try to mold them into something that makes you more comfortable for you will only make their life harder.  There is more help available now for the parents and caregivers of empathic children than ever before.

I think one thing I most appreciate that I’ve learned is I am not alone.  There are MANY empaths out there.  We are waking up and finally beginning to understand we are not “crazy”, “overly sensitive”,   “temperamental” or any other such nonsense.   We are not weird and we are not freaks.  Also, please stop rolling your eyes at us.  Most of us are getting to the point (finally!) where we don’t care if you believe whether or not empaths are real.  We know we are.  We are the real deal and we are bad ass.

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My Life As An Empath

It has taken me a long time to figure out what my abilities are and a short time to realize that most people don’t believe it.  It’s one of those things a person carries alone, except for the quiet souls who believe because they too have these abilities.  Being an empath is a fantastic way to experience life but it is also very exhausting.

Let me briefly get something out of the way here regarding what an empath actually is.  It is best described in an article by  The Mind Unleashed– “Being an empath is when you are affected by other people’s energies, and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others.  Your life is unconsciously influenced by others’ desires, wishes, thoughts, and moods.  Being an empath is much more than being highly sensitive and it’s not just limited to emotions.  Empaths can perceive physical sensitivities and spiritual urges, as well as just knowing the motivations and intentions of other people.  You either are an empath or you aren’t.”

Many empaths experience issues such as chronic fatigue, environmental sensitivities, or unexplained aches and pains daily. These are all things that are more likely to be contributed to outside influences and not so much themselves.

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Being able to read people, to know what they are feeling or when they are lying or holding back, is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand the truth is not hidden.  I know what I know.  On the other hand, I can’t (or more accurately won’t) always call someone out when they are lying so I have to keep it in.  This might not seem like a big deal to most but it’s like putting bubble gum in the hole of a leaking dam and hoping the millions and millions of gallons of water behind it stay put.

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Having empathic abilities means feeling what other people (and animals and plants and the earth) feels emotionally, psychologically and physically.  I’ve had these experiences my whole life but had no idea what they meant or why I had them in the first place.  I thought I was too sensitive.  That’s what I was told.  It turns out there is no such thing as too sensitive.  It’s just an opinion of those who know little about sensitivities.

Empaths tend to be sponges…we absorb the feelings, emotions and physical issues of those around us.  Our nervous system is constantly on overdrive, picking up every vibe and feeling that is carried by those around us.  We look at people and know what they are feeling, if they are lying, what they are experiencing.  It’s not mind reading, it’s knowing.  Most empaths, myself included, spend the better part of their lives thinking they are crazy or overly sensitive or whatever you want to label it until the day comes when they discover who they truly are.

There is so much more to being an empath than what I’ve described here but I figure if people truly want to know what it is and what it means they can research just as easily as I can.

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It’s a shame we live in a society where things that are considered different are so easily dismissed. There was a time in the history of our world where we didn’t have anything but our intuition to go on.  We trusted our gut and were in tune to each other in ways that have long since been abandoned.  Trusting our intuition has been replaced with info garnered from Google and Wikipedia.

I’m not particularly fond of labeling but knowing that I am an empath has changed how I look at myself.  It explains so much about me and how I’ve lived my life.  It’s allowed me to stop beating myself up by thinking there is something weak in my character and something wrong with me.  I see now that my sensitive side is not something to be ashamed of – it’s my way of life.  It’s something I can’t help and wouldn’t if I could.  It’s my strength.

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Hashtag This

We got our first computer in 1991 and I’ve been hooked ever since. Over the years I’ve learned about hard drives, random access memory, bytes (mega and otherwise), viruses, spam (oh the spam!) and what seems like a million other things. In 1997 I created my first website where I learned about html, a language that makes the codes of secret societies look like child’s play.

Needless to say I’ve learned a lot but then…then comes social media. Facebook was my entry into this online phenomenon. I wasn’t’ sure I wanted to dive in head first because it all seemed so complicated. I dove anyway and came to really enjoy Facebook as a way to stay in touch with friends all the while regaling them with of photos of my dogs, witty memes and deep thinking, life-altering quotes.

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I remained blissfully unaware of the pace at which social media was growing until I heard the word “tweet”. What, pray tell, is a tweet? Enter….Twitter. Talk about confusing. I signed up and was immediately blindsided by the hashtag movement.

First let me say that this little sign…#…was never called a hashtag in my world. It was affectionately known as the pound sign (please press # for more options) and the number sign (I’ll have a # nine, hold the mayo.) Even if it was a hashtag, we didn’t call it a hashtag. And don’t get me started on the spelling. Autocorrect on all my electronic devices insist that spelling hashtag as one word is wrong and they unceremoniously separate it but if I go online to the wide world of hashtags it’s one word. #Whatevah

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I rarely post anything on Twitter because being limited to 140 characters to express myself is pure torture. The times I’ve posted something I avoided hashtags because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Needless to say my tweets fizzled out right quick. #CluelessAndTweetless

As I quietly went about my business of avoiding hashtags, I heard of a social platform called Instagram. I looked into it, wasn’t sure it was my thing but I decided to sign up and see what all the fun was about. I’ll tell you what all the fun was about. Hashtags. Everywhere hashtags. #HashtagHell

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After opening the Instagram app I stared at it for a long time because I could not figure out what to do with it. It seemed so very simple but I couldn’t wrap my head around what I was supposed to do. For someone who is good with computers, programs and apps etc., I am apparently lacking skill regarding anything that includes hashtags. #JustKillMeNow

Out of frustration I convinced myself that the app developers at Instagram did not know what they were doing and I deleted the app. That’ll teach them. But to be honest I hate being bested by something like this so I downloaded the app again. #Sucker #Dumbass

Suffice to say I am no closer to knowing what to do with hashtags today than I was the first time I discovered them. Call me grumpy or old fashioned or caffeine deprived but the morphing of our innocent, upstanding pound sign into an over used, overrated method of getting the attention of the masses has little appeal to me. Regardless of my objections it’s a force to be reckoned with. I guess I need to get used to the fact that stuck in between the things we want to say, this little pound sign wannabe is waiting to take over the world. #YouBetterWatchOut #HashtagWorldDomination #IsTheAmpersandNext?

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#IWillAlwaysLoveYouLittlePoundSign

It Pains Me To Say…

Lately I’ve been thinking a great deal about emotional pain and how I tend to hold onto it regardless of the cost. Recently the death of someone in my immediate family brought with it emotional pain that I thought for years I had a handle on. I was wrong. The question I finally had to face was, why am I holding on to it at all?

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Like an archaeologist on a dig in a desolate remote area, my emotional pain, long buried and ignored, was uncovered. With the dust brushed off and contents catalogued, the discovery was lifted from it hiding place and exposed to the light. It was old and worn but definitely still functional.

Disguised as a tough exterior, my emotional pain was comprised of decades old feelings of emotional neglect and abandonment as a little girl, nearly nonexistent self-esteem as a teen, a deep, radiating sadness, anger and even jealousy to name a few. As I studied my emotional archeological discovery with new eyes I started to understand a little more about this kind of pain, where it came from and why I’m still holding onto it like an old, ratty, almost unrecognizable stuffed toy.

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I questioned why I and many others hold on to emotional pain when it does us no good. One of the first things that struck me is that even though emotional pain is, well, painful, it can also be its own source of comfort. Humans by nature are not fond of letting go of anything that we’ve had a near stranglehold on for a long time. This includes emotional pain and even though it hurts and does absolutely nothing worthwhile for us, it’s something that we are intimately familiar with. It has been around so long it’s become part of our identity. If we choose to let it go, then what? Who will we be? Who do we become?

We are so afraid of the changes letting go will cause that we hold on and hope the pain will pass just enough to keep going. In the meantime we forget that we change every day regardless.

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I believe for me fear has been one factor for not letting go of the pain. How will I be me if I let go of something I’ve allowed to define me nearly my entire life? Who will I be without it? It’s fear of the unknown. The funny thing about the unknown is we live with it every day. We never know what’s going happen from one moment to the next.

Maybe in reality it wasn’t my emotional pain that has been buried all these years. Maybe it’s been the real me buried under the pain…the person that as a child was not allowed to be her true self and as an adult isn’t always sure how to be. The pain has been such a dominating part of my identity that I didn’t realize I had an real identity long before the pain ever existed.

It’s time to let it go. Like most things it will be a process. But it’s time. Letting go of the emotional pain means no longer being able to use it as an excuse for anything. It means learning who the real me is. It means not allowing anyone to ever squash that down again.

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I am very blessed to have a great support system with my husband and my friends. I have learned that family is not about bloodlines. It’s about the people who want me in their lives, it’s about love, acceptance and those who are there for me when everyone else disappears. It’s about being there for them when they need a shoulder. It’s give and take. Flaws and all.

The archaeological dig of my life is not over. I will continue to uncover things about myself and set them free as I live out my remaining years…as no one other than me.

 

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