It Mattered to That One

A child teaches us that we can always make a difference:

“One day an old man was walking along the beach. It was low tide, and the sand was littered with thousands of stranded starfish that the water had carried in and then left behind.

The man began walking very carefully so as not to step on any of the beautiful creatures. Since the animals still seemed to be alive, he considered picking some of them up and putting them back in the water, where they could resume their lives.

The man knew the starfish would die if left on the beach’s dry sand but he reasoned that he could not possibly help them all, so he chose to do nothing and continued walking.

Soon afterward, the man came upon a small child on the beach who was frantically throwing one starfish after another back into the sea. The old man stopped and asked the child, “What are you doing?”

“I’m saving the starfish,” the child replied.

“Why waste your time?… There are so many you can’t save them all so what does is matter?” argued the man.

Without hesitation, the child picked up another starfish and tossed the starfish back into the water… “It matters to this one,” the child explained.”   (as told by Loren Eiseley on All-Creatures.Org)

This story is timeless for we see ourselves in the man, the child, and the starfish (both the forgotten and the rescued). The man is old and cynical. He knows that he can’t change the world for all, so he gives up. The child is hopeful and determined. The child will help all that s/he can and know that the help matters. The starfish have been washed up on shore by the waves of life. They will die without help from another or without the luck of high tide. Either way, they are currently unable to control their fates.

We are all of them. Yet, we can clearly see the truth of the story. If you were one starfish, wouldn’t you want to be helped and put back in the ocean? And wouldn’t you want to be the child helping all of the starfish that he could? The child shows the old man that hope is eternal. Never give up; never give in. Hope with action is our refuge, our duty, and I would argue it’s our natural humanity.


Empath, Free Spirit

Empaths are free spirits. We are born with the emotional capacity to soar. When you feel things so deeply, you can transcend yourself and get carried away to another place. But since the carrying away is happening inside, others may have no idea where you are. We are quiet rebels. We can escape internally at any given moment. That’s one of our super powers. Our emotions are invisible to others as our frequencies may be vibrating to the skies.  But we may have to get away from you to soar. (Sorry, but you can really pull us down.)

Our free spirited nature is apparent from the beginning. Our parents may say that we weren’t the easiest children to raise. My mother told me many times, “I hope that you have a child who was just like you.” (This was not a compliment.) And of course I replied defiantly, “So do I!” You see, free spirits are kind by nature, but not compliant. We push those boundaries because those boundaries are not our concern. Experience and emotion is what motivates us, not tradition or rules.

Empath children are children in motion. Did you literally try to fly? I was always jumping off retaining walls and car roofs trying to get up, up, up. Dancing, jumping, twirling, kicking, add your own. I think that we try to match our outside bodies with our internal emotions.

And that just escalates in adolescence. It’s a raw time for empaths as we may be emotional experience junkies for a while. My outlet was loud concerts in altered states, and quiet moments with long novels. (Kind of a yin/yang adolescent approach to escaping the mundane or cruel world.) It is a reckless time for us and a time when we have to learn so others don’t suck us dry. Not all rebels are nice.

Freedom is important to empaths. This carries into adulthood. Yes, we are born nurturers and we make  good spouses and parents. We are team players at work too. But don’t be fooled, first and foremost we are free thinkers, free spirits, and happy wanderers. Freedom of thought and emotion is our way, the only ways, for an empath to live their lives.

Can “You Feel It Still”?

“Ooh woo, I’m a rebel just for kicks, now
I’ve been feeling it since 1966, now
Might be over now, but I feel it still
Ooh woo, I’m a rebel just for kicks, now
Let me kick it like it’s 1986, now
Might be over now, but I feel it still
Might’ve had your fill, but I feel it still”

~ Portugal


Mother Love Liberates

My mother often didn’t understand me, but she still let me be me. And that is the gift that she gave me. She did not try to define me. She let me define myself.

Imagine a small child riding her tricycle as fast as she could down the steep driveway straight into the street until a passerby stopped his car to let her mother know what she was doing. Imagine a slightly older child defending her slightly older sister by saying to the bully “I have something for you,” and then mashing a snowball in his face and running like hell. An older girl, crying to her teacher and saying that no, she couldn’t kill insects and stick them on pins for science class. A teenager hopping the bus to NYC with her friends to attend wild concerts. A young woman moving miles away and then more miles away for school, for love, for work, to find her own destiny.

Independent or willful? Overactive or energetic? Passionate or overly emotional? Spirited or reckless? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. I was. My mother admired my spirit, but it scared her too. She wasn’t sure where it would take me….perhaps to places she wouldn’t go. But she let me go anyway. She encouraged me to follow my star by stepping out of the way.

I am thinking about my mother, and myself as a mother, on this prelude to Mother’s Day. No other relationship starts in the womb closer than close, but often ends with many miles apart. We grow them, and then we let them grow.

My mother is gone 5 years now. We loved each other, but we didn’t always get each other. And when I look at my own children, I try to embrace her view. I may not always understand their choices, but I recognize that they are theirs to make. They are already journeying away from me to become more of themselves. And I remember Maya Angelou’s words on how a mother’s love liberates:

“Love liberates, It doesn’t just hold – that’s just ego. Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says, ‘I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.”


You Don’t Have to Open Every Door that Knocks

It was our first night home from the hospital with our first child. And my first husband left and went out to a concert with his friends. Crazy, huh? The problem is at the time, I accepted it as not crazy. I justified it by saying he wants to go more than I don’t want him to go. So I swallowed the hurt, and he went. And I stayed home alone with a crying newborn. This kind of behavior was mine for many years with a handful of people close to me. Their emotions and wants trumped mine. Every time. Didn’t know what was happening. Didn’t know I was an empath.

Empaths are emotional chameleons by nature. A young empath will unknowingly blend into others. They will take on other’s emotions as theirs. They may see other’s desires as paramount to theirs. A more experienced empath will recognize that they CAN blend with someone else, but will make some conscious choices for each situation. They will know someone’s feelings and experiences but not OWN them. They will not let your desires overwhelm their own.

An empath needs to learn not to open the door to everyone who knocks and not to say yes to everyone’s  demands. This is hard for an empath, as we are full of compassion and consideration. Yet, empaths are not here to be the welcome wagon for emotional upheaval and unfinished business. We are here to help others find their own lights, but not to give them ours. So don’t fling open the door. Proceed with some caution. Take a quick sensory check. Trust your intuition. You don’t have to invite everyone into your heart – even if they really, really, really want you to. You do have choices.

Intensity and empaths. We thrive on intensity. Intense people. Intense music. Intense conversations. Intense sex. Intense experiences. We take on intense demands, and we like being intensely wanted and needed. It is intoxicating for an empath. Intimate connection is great, but make sure there is an exchange of energy. Don’t give yours all away. Share intense experiences, but don’t get run over.  No one wants tire tracks on their faces/hearts. Learn to balance intense connection with others with intense peace and quiet for yourself.

New to understanding yourself as an empath? Seek information. I especially like reading Judith Orloff. You don’t have to hold the crying baby forever.