A Word: Empath

I awoke this morning to find the most beautiful spider web gracing the glass door in my office. It glistened with fluid movement as it danced in the breeze of the early morning and the sun shown down upon it, in all its gloriously radiant countenance.

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And it got me to thinking, reminiscing really, about the past and where it meets the present and then wanders off into the future. It’s so much like the point where two glistening threads meet on a web, you see, because they sustain each other like a bridge through time pointing out where we have been upon our journeys in life, where we are now, and where we will potentially be in the future.

And I am reminded of one particular moment in my life…the moment I discovered the word Empath. I was about 16 or 17 at the time. Up till that point, I had considered myself overly sensitive or highly emotional. That one word changed my way of seeing myself, the world around me, and ultimately how I interacted within that world, though. It became a shroud I could wear to comfort myself, particularly when others didn’t seem to be able to or want to understand me.

And I wanted to think, then as I do wholeheartedly now, that there was a greater purpose to being what I was and am. This is because, in the cold light of reality when I sat amongst friends, family, lovers or strangers, I felt alone almost always unless I was reaching out to someone empathically. Being blessed enough to be allowed to share in their emotions, their insights, their perceptions, and everything else about them was what made an almost unbearable life worth living. In that sharing, I never felt alone.

But there was always something missing; a sense that I did not matter as much as those who took precedence over my own emotions, insights and perceptions. I felt like in giving so much I was losing what little of myself I understood. I didn’t really understand myself back then, so it just felt like I was slowly slipping away beneath the cover of constantly giving to others. And I tried to imagine that I was happy, even though this was slowly happening. I pretended everything was okay.

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And then one day, I looked up and there was no one left to empathize with, no one left to hold back that sinking feeling of losing myself so completely. Everyone had moved on but me. I wanted to blame them at first, thinking about how they’d used me to get the help they needed and then had left me alone. But I couldn’t, because I knew, even though I did not know myself well then, that I had projected that kind of person to them: a confidant, a counselor, a teacher, a friend who appeared extremely strong and confident, and who didn’t seem to need anyone to lean on for themselves. Always putting myself second above everyone else finally came back to haunt me with the whisper…”You are truly alone now. So what will you do?”. And what did I do? I fell into the darkness…the abyss.

Some Empaths seek isolation as a means of coping with the stress and anxiety of sharing other people’s emotions and/or emotional states, but it eventually became a proverbial death sentence to me. Being alone, to me, was far worse than death at that point in my mind. And so I fell…endlessly it seemed, into depression, thoughts of suicide, and so much pain that I can not describe it with words alone.

As you can see, since I am indeed writing this now, I did survive by the grace of…God, The Goddess….The Universe…whatever you wish to call it. In another single moment, much like the epiphany of the word Empath, when it couldn’t have gotten any darker and I couldn’t have fallen any further, except into truly physical death, something changed within me and gave me the strength to….finally stop falling and to start to climb my way out of the darkness.

Much like a spider web that glistens in the sun, sometimes there are shimmering moments in my life that shine brilliantly against the backdrop of my journey. And then there are others, as when the sun shines in another direction and the delicate latticework of the web all but disappears in the shadows that cascade across the land, that are quiet moments, sometimes peaceful and sometimes sorrowful. Each of them, individually are interwoven into one another, bound into a singular journey….my journey….your journey….with unlimited possibilities surging outwards toward the infinite future.

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Your Journey….Unlimited Possibilities

 

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~ by Misuchi Sakurai on May 9, 2010.

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