The word is complicated. For many, it describes the experience of being a live wire: not having insulation between ones' own nervous system and those around you. As though the electricity pulsing down every nerve's dendrite could span the space between us and jump from one body to the next.
As I'm learning as I age, the things we scoff at often end up being more true than we'd ever guess.
This is a dangerous time for empaths. The word is alive with electricity. I can almost hear the hum in the air as I walk in a crowd. Our poor little nervous systems are turned on high and in full on fight/flight mode right now across the board. For those of us sensitive to that feeling in others, the experience of being in the world right now -- or our own offices -- is exhausting.
As an empath, your very being is like a river running. As you move, you collect things here and there. You gather them into you, they become a part of you for a while, until you find a place to lay them down.
You can dam the river to stop the collection, but then all that happens is what has been gathered sits, rots, and pollutes your being. Eventually, the dam breaks, and you are in worse straits than before.
The river can run faster, trying to outpace it all, but it only erodes the soil faster, pulling in more and more filth at a pace too fast to manage.
A river flows. It collects pieces of the world which may change it. It holds those pieces until it is time to lay them down.
So it is for the sensitive souls of this world. The empaths. The feelers. The Highly Sensitive People. The counselors. The healers. We must honor what we are. We must move slowly enough to care for ourselves; to have time to put down that which doesn't serve us.
In this time of such intensity, we must intentionally set aside time to care for ourselves. You must be intentional about who you are around -- what you pick up -- so that there is enough of you left for the next encounter, the next day, the next person.
I never claimed the name of empath before: I do now.
Lay down and rest. Gather up your strength. Surround yourself with love.
Honor yourself. You hold the world in you.