Songs Will Save You

Lyrics can save us. When we have no words of our own to express what we are feeling, we can look to the words of others to express them for us. In this time of great division, songs can communicate what we feel and make us feel less alone. Hard truths mixed with compassion and inspiration linked to a steady beat can help steady us. For example….

See it:

“I was just a boy when I sat down, To watch the news on TV

I saw some ordinary slaughter, I saw some routine atrocity

My father said, don’t look away, You got to be strong, You got to be bold, now

He said that in the end is beauty, That is going to save the world now…”

~ There She Goes My Beautiful World ~ Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Stand up:

“We sick an’ tired of your ism-schism game, Dyin’ n’ goin’ to Heaven in a Jesus’ name, Lord

We know when we understand, almighty God is a living man

You can fool some people sometimes, But you couldn’t fool all the people all the time

And now we see the light, you stand up for our rights, yeah…”

~ Get up, Stand Up ~ Bob Marley and the Wailers

Help each other:

“Does life seem nasty, brutish and short, Come on up to the house

The seas are stormy and you can’t find no port, Come on up to the house, yeah

You gotta come on up to the house, Come on up to the house,

The world is not my home, I’m just a passing through, Come on up to the house…”

~ Come On Up the the House ~ Tom Waits

Hope and Reassurance:

“Brother called me on the phone, Saying ‘I’m done with it all’

Safe to say I’m done with it all too, Trying to right all these wrongs

Never seemed so impossible, It’s clear to me we’re scared to hope, too

I don’t know why, I don’t know why, I cannot stop this feeling inside

I don’t know why, I don’t know why, I cannot stop this feeling inside 

No matter how bad it all gets, I can’t stop this voice in my head

This voice in my head says, We’re gonna be alright, We’re gonna be alright …”

  • – Alright (frick it!) – Judah & the Lion

Of course, the lyrics need go with the tune for full effect of catharsis. Pick the songs that help you through the day, and listen to them a lot! Put in your ears buds, turn up the volume and go….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hard Times for Empaths

These are hard times for the open hearted. For those who live on the emotional plane. Because that is where we reside. Not out of choice, but out of nature. We were born with amplified feelings and are susceptible to the feelings of all of those around us. There is no way to turn it off. So, these are tough days. Far too many negative emotions circling us daily, invading us hourly.

For those who read Empath Lights, you know that I tell us to celebrate being empathic. What a wonderful gift it is to feel emotions so deeply. To be able to read the emotions of a room just by walking in. To know if someone’s outside matches their insides. To experience existential joy in a joyful crowd. To commiserate with a troubled friend. To hold the hand and the heart of a beloved family member. To tremble with emotion in intimate moments. All of these experiences come naturally to us, and we learn to accept and embrace the moments as we accept and embrace our gift to feel them deeply.

But now. Now it is different. It is not so delightful being an empath. Because what do we see? What do we feel? What is flowing through the hearts of many others? Hatred. Violence. Cruelty. Aggressiveness.  Selfishness. Self-righteousness. Sorrow. A lot of sorrow. Fear. A lot of fear. And anger. A tremendous amount of anger. Although normal emotions, these become dangerous emotions when they are non-stop. Our country is raging with no immediate sign of stopping. And it is heart breaking.

I have no sage advice to make it stop hurting. It won’t any time soon. We have to move through this as a society to get through it. We can only hope and pray that the emotional and societal upheaval will leave us with a more humane society.

So, my dear empath, please take care of yourself the best you can. Adjust your expectations for yourself until this time is over. We are not going to carry on as normal or get lots of stuff done. Our energy will often be depleted. We are going to feel and to cry for this deeply broken country and all the injustices and lies that we see and feel. Our prayer must be for the best possible outcome and the return of hope and justice. The only way out is through.

 

 

Fearless vs. Reckless

Reckless and fearless are not the same thing. Reckless has no boundaries. It is impulsive. Fearless creates boundaries. It is deliberate. Reckless feels hopeless. Fearless feels hopeful. Reckless is haphazard. Fearless has conviction behind it. Reckless has no direction. Fearless has a goal. Reckless is often driven by others in close proximity. Fearless is often driven by belief and faith in self.

Some would say that there is a fine line between reckless and fearless. However, their definitions and modus operandi are quite different. Reckless is defined as “without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action.” Fearless is defined as “brave, courageous, unshrinking, intrepid, calmly resolute in facing dangers.”

Now is the time and place to be fearless, not reckless. “Be wise enough not be be reckless, but brave enough to take great risks.” (Frank Warren). In times of great change and upheaval, we see both reckless and fearless behaviors on a large scale. Both require action. Both require energy. Both require change. But only fearless has any gravitas and long distance vision – to challenge us to be better and to create a better world. Reckless behavior usually seeks to destroy -that’s its endgame. Yet fearless behavior – fearless behavior seeks to build – to challenge and defeat the status quo for a better endgame.  “If you would venture, let your mind be bold….not reckless but bold.” (Louis D. Brandeis).

I urge us to be fearless, and to recognize that it is a constant state of becoming. “I feel my self becoming the fearless person I have dreamt of being. Have I arrived? No. But I’m constantly evolving and challenging myself to be unafraid to make mistakes.” (Janelle Monae)

“Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me. The first time we take that first fearless step, we begin to change our lives. And the more we act on our dreams and desires, the more fearless we become and the easier it is the next time.” ~ Arianna Huffington

Be fearless, build up, be bold, become.

 

Keep It Together

When the world seems like it’s falling apart, how do we not unravel at our own seams?  We need our souls to expand, not shrink, in times of turmoil and hardship. Yet, how is a sensitive soul supposed to manage during these combative times and upheavals when all we want to do is cry with the world?

Keep it together. Make it your mantra. Think. Feel. Act or don’t act. But keep it together.

Consider:

1. The devil works hard, but the Lord works harder.

2. Stay informed, but don’t drown in the news.

3. Move – walk, run, swim, bike, kayak, dance, do yoga….

4. Have an outlet – talk to a caring friend or family member every day.

5. Don’t judge your emotions – feel what you feel.

6. Go out in nature and seek its beauty and bounty.

7. Listen to music that speaks your truth.

8. Get up. Get showered. Get dressed. Get going every day.

9. Read fiction – escape into other worlds and times.

10. Seek inspiration in thoughts, words, deeds, and pictures.

11. Encourage someone else.

12. Pray for strength.

We gotta move through it to get through it. Do what you need to do to sustain and nourish yourself, especially now. We will  live through this, and change will come.

Music Will Get You Through It

Tough times. Very tough times. Confusing times. Really confusing times. Joyful times. Ecstatic times. Sad times. Sorrowful times. Angry times. Disturbing times. Thoughtful times. Peaceful times. Music embraces, acknowledges, and expresses all the emotions of the world – piece by piece and song by song. And in that way, it saves us again and again and again.

I don’t know about you, but I’m listening to music a LOT every day. Sometimes quietly. Sometimes at a deafening volume. Sometimes plugged in. Sometimes out loud. Why so much NOW? To feel the feelings without exploding. That pretty much explains it.

We find ourselves in the midst of a situation we never expected (at least most of us). For those of us who tend to be highly emotional anyway, our emotions are higher still. For those of us who are more sensitive and aware of the feelings of others (both near and far), we feel the overload of emotions overwhelming us at times. We need a release. We pick music.

“When things get too heavy, just call me helium, the lightest gas known to men.” ~ Jimi Hendrix

Music will take us where we need to go without harming us. We can express our anger, confusion, and frustration, and have it released through an ass kicking song. It is cathartic. Conversely, we can experience great sorrow or great joy through the lyrics and notes of someone else’s songs – birthed just to move us, energize us, soothe us, or heal us. Music encompasses every feeling, every experience, and every taste. We can find the right song for the right mood on any given day. Technology makes it so easy now.

My friend teases me that I know a song for everything. She is right. There IS a song for everything. And I remember them because each one shares a personal memory for me. You know how a few notes can just conjure up a memory from your past and you are there again? And the longer you live, the more songs will be added to your own personal song catalog.

So while you are home, remember, you are not alone. You’ve got your trusted friend at your beck and call. Whenever and wherever. Thank you, music.

 

 

Hold On

When we don’t know what else to do, hold on. Keep going. Continue. Persevere. Sometimes that is all we can do. We may feel weak. We may feel helpless. We may feel afraid. No matter. Hold on. Hold on.

To what are we holding on to? We hold on to hope. We hold on to endurance. We hold on to the notion that this moment won’t last forever….even if it seems so. We hold on to the knowledge that this dark night too shall pass.

And while we are holding on? How to go on?

“I do my best because I’m counting on you counting on me.” ~ Maya Angelou

We need to bring our best selves to the situation at hand – here, the pandemic. We need to be thoughtful, compassionate, and informed. We need to listen more than speak, to plan more than hoard, to reassure, more than freak out. And we need to acknowledge that it’s hard and we are all in this together. There is no more us and them. The virus doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t stop at borders of countries or borders of states. The virus doesn’t consider one’s age, ethnicity, or locale. It’s a free for all for this virus. So we must recognize how invasive it is and give it the smallest of arenas in which to spread. Staying away from others can keep us both alive.

Feel your feelings, but do not lose heart. Sensitive people and empaths will feel the sorrow of the world more acutely, and it will exhaust us at times. Acknowledge it, but don’t let it overtake you. And take time to yourself to rest and restore your energy.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, gives us this advice in her post How to Hold on to Happiness When Your World Collapses –  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-happiness/202003/how-hold-happiness-when-your-world-collapses,   

“Experience bursts of positive emotion throughout the day.”  Small acts like listening to a song, watching your children play, going for a walk, smelling home cooking, tasting a good meal, touching the new budding flowers of spring can bring you small reprieves from the calamity going on around us. We need these small breaks of joy. We need time to breathe and to reset so that we can continue to persevere.

We must hold on to get through.

” No matter how buried it gets, or lost you feel, you must promise me, that you will hold on to hope and keep it alive. We have to be greater than what we suffer. My wish for you is to become hope. People need that.” ~ Peter Parker/Spiderman

OK Spiderman. Holding on.

 

Now is the Time to be Joyful

Now is the time to be joyful, for what other time is there?

Amidst all of the chaos and turmoil in the world today, we can still allow joy. In fact, we need it. Joy awaits and beckons us to its side. Come here, it calls. Stop what you’re doing. Look Up.You have to see this! Look! Isn’t that amazing? Close your eyes. Listen! Isn’t that the most beautiful? Take it in! Couldn’t your heart just break with tenderness? Smile. Experience others. Delight in our connection.

I don’t want to live every day like it is a chore. I won’t. It is a gift. And how we choose to spend our time is our gift back. Being present for ourselves and others allows us to see the joy in daily moments. The world inspires us with beauty every day.

Turn off the noise and bombardment of negativity that assaults us daily on our screens. Take a break. Step away from others’ clamor and focus attention on the little things to be thankful for. Strike a balance out of self-preservation. Turn your attention to the small joys for some time every day.

“My advice to the person suffering from lack of time and from apathy is this; seek out each day as many as possible the small joys….” -Herman Hesse

Small joys may be an uplifting song, the smile of your child, the first spring flower blooming outside, the hug of dear one. It may be a card you send to friend, the line that resonates with you from a book, the cat sleeping on your lap, or the beautiful sunset across the street. Look, and you will find the pause that helps put some hopeful perspective back in the day.

Joy is waiting for you. It is peeking at you around the corner. Say hello.

When Faced With Uncertainty

The undercurrent of doubt is strong. Doubt takes you places that you don’t want to go, but sometimes can’t help going to. It whispers in our ear, “What if….,” “What if….,” “What if….,” It cycles a pattern, becomes a rhythmic drum beat. Doubt can chip away at our faith in humanity and our faith in just about anything or anyone. That’s what makes it dangerous. We can’t let strong currents of doubt numb us, or worse yet, drown us. Don’t let doubt pull you under.

“What if….” thoughts are normal as we weigh the odds. They can range in gravity from small to grand. “What if….”  thoughts are okay if they pass by us like waves. We acknowledge them, consider them, and move on. “What if….” thinking only becomes problematic when it morphs in chronic ripples of dread. A cycle that is stuck on repeat.  What if’s can stress us to the point of paralysis leaving us with the inability to respond or function. We don’t want to fall into a hopeless pit of worry.

In contrast to feeling anxiety and worry, we need to learn to tolerate some uncertainty in life. Worry is only one reaction to a challenging situation. There are other ways to respond as well. Another response to a “What if” scenario is to play it through in your mind. Every situation has more than one possible outcome. Imagine what could happen and how you would deal with it, and what resources and people you would have/need to help you. It’s also okay too to self distract – especially if you are waiting for “news” on a situation or condition. Go for a walk, listen to music, talk to a friend, read about a survivor who made it through what you may need to go through. Lift it up. Ask for strength. Reassure yourself that you are not alone.

Worry stems from an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness that has gotten stuck on rewind. We know that worry never solved nothin’. We need to shut down the replay and move forward the best that we can. One step at a time.

Stepping Back In Carefully

My family of origin. It’s been broken for a while. And now somebody is ill. Time to pick up the pieces. Time to show some compassion. But how? What to do?

First you gotta put the past behind you, and concentrate on the now. Woulda, coulda, shoulda doesn’t help right now. It’s not going to get fixed at this late date under these conditions, but if you reach out and build that bridge with compassion, it will get better.

Take it slow. If you can. As an empath or highly sensitive person, we feel everything. Conflicting emotions can be difficult and overwhelming. And exhausting. Step in, but take time to step out and rest. Don’t expect clarity at every moment. Do the best you can, and some days the best you can will be different than on other days.

Have a support system, but don’t tell everyone you know. We need to be able to confide in and process with a few trusted confidantes who won’t judge us. We want advice and suggestions, not judgment. We are already judging ourselves over years of family troubles, we don’t need any more.

Don’t get stuck. Forget how did it get this way. It did. Period. Time to accept and move on. And step in. Don’t wait to get dragged in. Stepping is easier than dragging, and it gives you more autonomy.

Do you have another family member who you can be brutally honest with? It is helpful to validate our feelings and thoughts with someone who shares our family history. Work through the mess together. Work through what needs to be done together. Pray and hold each other’s hand together.

Keep some boundaries. You have created a life outside of your family or origin. Keep it. Protect it. Do what you can, but don’t sacrifice what you have made.

Time shifts when someone is seriously ill, and you realize that you don’t have the luxury of figuring things out because you don’t have the luxury of time. We can use our time to move toward forgiveness. The ill person may be grateful that you are just showing up – and gratitude melts anger.

My family member doesn’t have good days anymore. No good days and bad days. There are bad days with good moments and bad moments. And my heart breaks for her and breaks for the family I thought I had many years ago before it shattered. So I remind myself that I am doing the best I can in this moment …. and so is she.

 

 

Take Off the Mask, I Can See You Anyway

It is very unnerving for an Empath or Highly Sensitive Person to be around a liar. To be lied to. To our face. Cuz we know it.

You see, your outside is not matching your inside when you lie to us. We can see beneath the mask. It is like a massive assault to our senses that is both hard to process and hard to recover from. Because the lying tells us to not believe what we feel, what we know to be true.

This is especially  confusing to empath children and HSPs. Because there is a lot of dishonesty in the world. That we are supposed to ignore. Even within our families. It is very stressful when adults tell you not to trust your gut – for example, when they tell you to be nice to cruel family members. (What’s up with that? Isn’t it better for children not to even be around untrustworthy adults? Rather, stop pretending and ignoring warning signs that may actually endanger sensitive children!)

Remember the old saying, “The eyes are a window to your soul?” They are also the window to your emotions. When someone’s face and words do not match their body language and internal energy, it is very unnerving to us. Empathic and sensitive children, young adults, and adults need to learn to trust what they feel, rather than the opposite. Instead of hearing, “you are too sensitive.” We need to hear “trust your true feelings.”

Lying and liars have become quite popular these days. And I don’t get it. Yes, social media can spread lies more quickly, but fact checking is available at our finger tips. Some in the public realm believe, “If I say it, it is true.” Which of course is not true. And truth does matter. It matters a lot. And not just to empaths and sensitives.

“Friedrich Nietzsche said, “I not upset you lied to me; I’m upset from now on I can’t trust you.”  

  • I would update that yes, I am upset that you lied to me, and now I can’t trust you.
  • I am only reminded to trust myself, to see through your mask.
  • Or better yet, to stay away from you ….