“I am a Camera with its Shutter Open.”

I am learning the hard way. When my emotions run so high that I can literally hear my own heart beating in my ear, I need to take a step back. Like the wide angle fade back in an old movie, I literally need to become a camera. An observer in the drama surrounding me. It’s the only way I can regain my composure. And hopefully, my compassion.

My transition is to imagine a black and white line drawing with the scene playing out before me, and the wide angle point is leading to me behind the protective lens of my camera. I remove myself from the situation but also remain there ever watchful. I am consciously doing this to remove myself emotionally but still stay present. (In the past, like many empaths, I would have been long gone, but this tactic is helping me to stay.)

What is the point of this endeavor? Of becoming the observer? It gives you perspective. In fact, it gives you multiple perspectives simultaneously. With a cameraman’s eye, you can look at a person as a character in the current drama. And most characters are flawed. It is the human condition. By disengaging and staying present, it helps you to more clearly see what is motivating each person in the room and perhaps why.

Truth be told, I often have to replay a situation as a cameraman after the fact because I have been too emotionally wrought during the real event. This post reflection behind a lens has been very helpful in gaining understanding and compassion for all in the room. Because truly, a character often does not know what s/he does not know. And this can be infuriating in real life. But in a movie, the viewer can garner understanding for said character. And understanding leads to compassion – even for the ignorant or misguided.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite opening book lines from Christopher Isherwood’s memoir Good-bye to Berlin which the movie Cabaret was based on. He captures this idea of recording and watching for later reflection. “I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking….Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.” I will add, on your timetable. And with compassion.


Generosity of Spirit

Generosity of Spirit. Generosity is the readiness to give more. Spirit rests in the emotional center inside us.   Generous can also mean large – so a generous person is large in spirit. Someone with a generous spirit is someone who lives and breathes openness and compassion. A person with a generous spirit will seek connection with others with an open heart and an open mind. Kindness is their mantra, and this is evident in how they life their life. Do you have a generous spirit? Would you like to?

I think that empaths do manifest generosity of spirit, but we do it in a quiet way. Our initial approach is understanding not judging, and we are often the listeners at work who people turn to again and again. We are the kind friend and the nurturing parent. We will go the extra mile and hold your hand through the difficult times. We are the bridge of understanding in family conflicts. We are the gift givers of time and patience.

Value your generosity of spirit and grow it more. It is likely one of your best qualities and what makes you you. At times, when I feel my spirit waning, I make a conscious choice to nurture it. How? I go out and look around. See the beauty and the gift and the power of nature and realize that you are a part of this beautiful world. See the innocence of children and watch them just being their own untainted selves and remember your own innocence and that you are still growing. See other people and remember that they are usually doing the best that they can on any given day. In essence, observe. Observe it all through the lens of openness and compassion and feel replenished.

Generosity of spirit is a gift, but it is also a responsibility. We are called to accept and embrace others. We are called to walk the world with our hearts in our hands and to build connections with others and among others. Are you up for the challenge? (I believe I hear your heart whispering….yes.)


I was thinking about the strength needed for tenderness, how people express tenderness in daily life, and how the concept of tenderness is often incorrectly perceived in the world.

Tenderness is one of humanity’s greatest strengths. Do not underestimate it. Tenderness as gesture and action can help heal a soul or sew up a wound. It can connect one person with another at great times of sorrow or turbulence as well as in more ordinary moments. Who doesn’t forget the moments in one’s life that someone, out of tenderness, reached out a hand of kindness at a desperate or frightening moment? And that kindness, that compassion, that tenderness, made that moment bearable, and gave one the strength to live on, to move forward.

Tenderness is expressed every day by people. We can see it around us. Tenderness may be extended in times of crisis or in ordinary times. It can come from a stranger or from someone you know well. When my son was hospitalized and I was scared out of my mind, a large male nurse with long dreadlocks embraced me in a bear hug, and I cried. Tenderness. When I lost my keys in the snow at the end of a long work day and went in the rest room to vent alone, a coworker came in, put a hand on my shoulder, asked what happened, and helped me retrace my steps to find my car keys. Tenderness. What they said, in a desperate and in an ordinary moment, mattered, and it changed how I felt and how I proceeded.

We are living in a time that often defines strength as forceful aggressiveness toward others. I disagree. It takes more strength for a parent to stay up all night nursing a sick child and go to work the next day than it takes for someone to tweet inflammatory statements on impulse. Caring and tenderness take much more energy and much more strength.

Here is the Google definition of tenderness: (Note: this is the first listing and the non-medical definition.)

gentleness and kindness.
“he picked her up in his arms with great tenderness”
synonyms: kindness, kindliness, kindheartedness, tenderheartedness, compassion, care, concern, sympathy, humanity, warmth, fatherliness, motherliness, gentleness, benevolence, generosity
“with unexpected tenderness, he told her what had happened”

Applaud anyone who shows these traits. Who wouldn’t want to self-define this way?

Compassion Needed

Compassion. If you are an empath, you’ve got it in spades. Now is the time to draw on all your inner resources and offer compassion to others. Your heart chakra, which is always open, will not fail you. You have the depth to listen and feel. Please do it with intent. Mirror back compassion, and your kindness will surely help those who need it. You will be sought out because of this gift that you carry.

Our country is being bombarded with negativity. We need to combat the darkness with light. Those most vulnerable are being targeted. You have the opportunity to use your gift of emotional empathy. Reach out a helping hand and an open heart. Bear witness.

It is a tough time for empaths because of the intensity of emotions now surrounding us. Lean toward the light. Channel your intensity for the help and benefit of others. Read the masters of compassion (like the Dalai Lama). They do not deny the darkness that they see in the world, but they do not feed it.

And, of course, take care of yourself. Take time away from others and do what nourishes your soul too.