I’ve wanted to live in the country since I was a very small child. I love the plants and animals. I love the clean air. I love the beauty of the natural world. Most of all, I love the quiet.
Human beings are loud animals. Even when we’re being quiet on the surface, most of us are projecting our energies into the world on high volume. Our emotions are like sirens blaring through the world as we go about our daily business.
All that energy, all those thoughts and emotions, all that chaos…it’s exhausting to someone like me. I’m an empath.
For a long time, I had no way to shut out all that racket and little understanding of what it meant. I didn’t know when I was eight that the upset stomach I kept having was really my body’s way of shutting out the complex of emotion flowing through my family as we prepared for a cross-country move. When I was 12, I didn’t realize that most of the depression I felt, which I’d felt for much of my life, wasn’t my own. When I was 16, I didn’t understand why many people would seem to be feeling one way but pretend to be feeling differently; I hadn’t yet learned to trust that what I sensed was real and true. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I found a name for this sense: Empathic perception.
Now, I have tools for managing the amazing amount of information we humans project. I have practices for transforming all of those crazy, chaotic energies into loving, beneficial ones. I have moments of personal peace amidst the city’s humming. Most of the time, I’m stubborn enough to seek refuge when I need it. When I’m completely overwhelmed, forty-five minutes of driving carries me far enough into the country to rejuvenate. I know how to use my skills to help those whom Spirit sends my way. I still long for a home deep in the country where I don’t have to work so hard, where I needn’t fight for quiet, where I can breathe.
I’m on the road to mastering my empathic skills. It’s been a long and winding road. I’ve felt alone on the path, though when I really look I can see that it’s a well-worn way. Empathic perception is innate to the human race. Other animals share this ability, except they’re less likely to shut it down than are we. I see empathic skills in many children and young adults, far more than I’ve seen in my own generation or in my elders. I think we humans are evolving. I hope so, because being empathic is a deep and fulfilling experience. Shared through out our species, I think it’s one that would bring great joy and growth to all of us.