"Lift heavy things a couple of times a week."
This sentence was the first and only sentence that I crafted for a November 2018 blog.
I was going to discuss the Primal Program, and how one of the main longevity components is to lift heavy things at least a couple times a week to keep healthy, fit, and functional throughout your long life. Heavy things like weights at a gym, or doing household chores around the house. This blog would have followed the Get Off Your Butt and Move blog, which I find completely hysterical now.
Because, as life would have it, the heavy things that I needed to lift this year completely shifted. In my Chinese year of change (I'm a 7.9.3 in a 4-Year for those of you that follow Nine Star Ki), I've had to learn to live heavy things emotionally as well.
After my severe and unexpected wrist break and reset in November which happened while walking on a sidewalk in a neighborhood shopping center, I began a year-long healing process. I am half-way through. I can dress myself, use the toilet, write, type on the computer, and I am close to doing my full push-ups again, which I was doing regularly before I fell.
My robust and diverse healing program has worked well for me and I'd recommend anyone who is facing a tough physical challenge to adopt the supportive elements in my program that make sense to you.
In the meantime, I have risen to the challenges my 4-year presents:
It was 5:30 pm on a Tuesday evening. After a long day that started early, I had finished what I needed to do at our design-build business that I run with my husband. He had invited me to join him at a new shopping center restaurant near our office to have a paleo burger. The rain had been plentiful that day, unusual for California, and it had stopped for the moment.
As we walked side-by-side and chatted, I slipped and fell on the slick, new cement. It felt more like I hydroplaned as I lost both feet from under me, flipped around and landed on my right arm. Stunned, I got up right away, saying "I'm okay." Until I looked at my right arm. It looked deformed. And it hurt like hell. I had to hold it with my left arm as we walked for help.
We headed to the shopping center clinic and through a series of events and x-rays, I ended up in the emergency room at John Muir Hospital to have my wrist put back into place. I broke both wrist bones in the fall - my radius and ulna. They had shifted to the left and had to be moved back into place. That 6 hour ordeal ended well enough, as I didn't need surgery and my wrist went back to where it belonged.
As a sensitive person and a Wellness Coach, I knew I had to amp up my self-care to meet this tragedy. During the painful resetting of my wrist, I practiced my heart breathing. My blood pressure was sky-high (of course), but breathing in and out to the count of 5 kept all my other vitals in check.
I mentioned to the ER doctor that I am sensitive and react to medication easily so I don't need as much as a "typical" person (if there is such a thing!) He was fabulous - he worked with the nurses and specialists to minimize the doses I received, and gave me a protocol for home that worked for me. I'd had experiences in the past that doctors would look at me sideways when I mentioned my sensitivity. I appreciated being respected and supported.
When I got home that night, I couldn't rotate my wrist at all; I couldn't push a button with my right index finger. I had to get help dressing and undressing. Everything had changed in an instant for me. In Chinese medicine, I was entering a year of change that people often describe as "everything is so up in the air!" or "I feel like I had the rug pulled out from under me." Those descriptions both fit how I felt.
As a part-time cashier at Whole Foods, I couldn't work. As a blogger and author, I couldn't type and writing with my left, non-dominant hand looked like I had just started kindergarten. My healing journey had begun - doctor's visits, x-rays and physical therapy.
I knew the importance of supporting my body well through this trauma.
I got to work:
What did I learn from this ordeal?
I tend to stay in situations that don't work for me way too long. I had been feeling like I needed to make some changes, for my happiness, and I wasn't. The break "broke" my routine in such a drastic way that I had no choice other than to make changes that supported myself better.
The added nutrition and healing of my bones has strengthened my fingernails more than I could've imagined. Because I put my bone healing at such a priority, my hair, skin and nails have gotten better too. Yippee!
I learned I can survive and thrive through an ordeal like this. Four months later I am still healing. I'm healing! I will do my pushups again by May (I was told a year - no way - I'm healing too fast to have to wait that long!) The human body is amazing equipment that works for our highest good every day of our lives. It needs to be honored and deeply cared for, and it will respond in kind to us.
In realigning my priorities, I am writing a series of easy-to-use books on wellness practices for Sensitive People. I'm starting with following your intuition above all else. Stay tuned.
How can I help you with your journey?
This would be a good blog to ready standing up or walking. Because it's all about getting off your butt and moving each day. This key Primal principle; we are meant to move frequently tending to things like our ancestors did.
They spent their days gathering food, hauling water, making and moving camp, avoiding predators, and moving.
This is different than sitting all day in an office, and running to the gym for an intense workout. The intense work-outs can be good for you if they're not chronic, and if you stay within a healthy heart rate range for your body. Back to moving daily.
I've read that sitting is the new smoking in terms of how it affects your health. Sitting too long is detrimental to your health, even if you're hitting the gym regularly.
So what do we do to keep moving when our lives demand us to be sedentary. Here are several ideas:
How many creative ways can you find to bring movement into your day?
If you don't give a damn about yourself, you won't be healthy. You'll make choices that don't support you. It's important to do a deep dive into your psyche and soul to really see if you're accepting all of yourself. Because only then will you truly be able to support yourself.
For most of my life, I have wanted to be a different person than I am. As a child, I had been criticized for being too sensitive, and it caused my parents a lot of anxiety and frustration.
It caused me tons of anxiety in many areas of my life. I often couldn't sleep well if I had certain foods - like caffeine, chocolate, and sugar - or had experienced intense emotional situations. When my parents argued, I would sit at the top of the stairway in our childhood home stairway listen carefully, praying that they would both be okay. I could feel the emotions of others, like when my dad drank, and I would lay awake listening to his every move downstairs as I worried about him.
These intense experiences as a highly sensitive child left me wishing that I wasn't who I was. I hated that part of myself. It just caused me sleepless nights and over-stimulated my sensitive system.
I spent many years feeling this way. All of the therapy, anxiety management, coaching, meditations, exercise, lifestyle adjustments, and affirmations helped tremendously, but didn't heal this core issue deep inside my psyche and soul. I wasn't taking a positive approach. I would get so frustrated and discouraged at the constant challenges that I would sabotage myself by eating poorly, drinking too much, not getting enough rest, being down on myself, and taking a very negative approach.
In the last several years, I have begun to learn to take a positive approach to these highly sensitive qualities. I see that my sensitivity provides me with lots of information that others don't see. It has given me the ability to study and do personal and space energy clearing work for myself and others that has kept me balanced and enabled me to walk through my life feeling grounded and whole.
In short, these are the key things I do to show that I value myself at my core:
I'm a Highly Sensitive person with a lot of value to offer the world, and I have the courage to support myself no matter what anyone else thinks.
How about you? Do you give a damn about your health enough to go against the standard?
This series of blogs will be about the Primal Health principles that are working for me. This is principle number one.
Primal Lifestyle Choice Number One for me is to eat plants and animals without pesticides or chemicals.
As with any information you receive from anyone, it is only information. Use your intuition and discernment as to if it works for you. It may not. We are all an experiment of one since we feed ourselves uniquely - the food we eat, the thoughts we think, the lifestyle habits we have, the stress that presents itself - all these thinks influence how we feel. Each of us individually can determine our road to best health.
Most importantly, I have made a commitment to support myself and to eat plants and animals without pesticides or chemicals. This has been no easy choice. Yet, as a Highly Sensitive person, food affects me more deeply, just like other energy can. To take care of myself, I have made big adjustments to my lifestyle and I am living a lifestyle that seems odd to the typical American.
Here are some of the things I do to accomplish this:
Next week look for Primal Lifestyle Choice Number Two - Take a Positive Approach.
Most of my life I have had a focus on health. That's why many of the people I know consider me to be a "health nut." Although that term often comes across as a negative, it's really a positive.
Since I am a highly sensitive person, food has affected me deeply my whole life. So if I ate that sugary cookie, I would have heart skips and a jittery feeling. When I drank that cup of coffee, my heart would be pounding and I couldn't sit still - for hours.
Besides all the immediate feedback that my body gives me, I have also had insidious weight gain. It has creeped on over the years - besides the years when I had children where it came on rather quickly and was not so easy to lose afterwards.
With all my work on health, I have not been able to figure out how to be my right-sized body and feel satiated. The Standard American Diet, or SAD as it is referred to in many health circles, does not work for me. I put on weight. Even when I found elimination diets to achieve a good weight where I felt strong and sexy, I still craved - something. So I would invariably go back to the SAD again, experiencing that insidious weight gain.
Since I'm a life-long learner, the Universe introduced me to a Hay House health coach, the 21st Century Medicine Woman, in 2014, and I went along a journey to discover things I never knew about my health. I got my genetic testing done through 23andme, ran the reports through livewello, and worked with my coach on supporting my body with that information, as well as taking a positive approach. I also worked with Morley Robbins to get a Hair Test Mineral Assay (HTMA) and define my personal protocol to balance my system.
In 2017, I discovered the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, a healthy lifestyle based on some different principles. Actually I had purchased the book in 2009 after Brad Kearns came to talk about it to our local cycling team. I dusted it off the bookshelf and read it in 2017.
So I gave this lifestyle a whirl. And then I certified as a coach using these principles. I have served as a Mentor on the 21-day Challenge for over a year. And it has been an amazing journey towards a renewed health for me. So I've gone from a "health nut," to a "health advocate."
These are the principles I now apply to my life that have me feeling the best.
When you are eating the right foods for your body, moving in ways to keep you feeling your best, and supporting yourself emotionally and spiritually, you will be at a good weight for yourself.
I'll be talking about these principles in the next series of blogs so keep an eye out for them. Enjoy the journey!
When we are not getting what we want in life, there is only one thing to do. Change ourselves. And that usually starts with changing our thinking, one thought at a time. This simple habit can empower you to create a life that you celebrate and cherish.
At least I wasn't.
Let me explain.
Here is a picture of a meal I had about 7 years ago. I found it when Facebook popped up with one of those "remember when" posts. I had dinner with my 13 year old daughter and this was on my plate, or bowl I should say.
It's a little blurry because of the candlelight, which was a nice touch. I love candles, so that's a good thing.
The small plates, a good thing. That was for a protein on the way.
The glass of red wine for me, and not my daughter, that's a good thing too.
The salad of mixed greens - that is organic and triple washed, so that's a good choice. Greens soak up pesticides and chemicals easily, so it's important to get them clean and organic. Check out the EWG's 2018 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ for up-to-date information.
The organic cauliflower and the organic slicer tomatoes are good choices too - sort of - I'll explain more below.
Let's take a look at the bottle of salad dressing on it's head. That's organic too. However, this salad dressing contains the following ingredients according to their website:
Organic Soybean Oil, Water, Organic Distilled Vinegar, Organic Buttermilk, Organic Whole Eggs, Salt, Organic Garlic Puree, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Garlic*, Organic Onion*, Organic Parsley*, Organic Gum Acacia, Xanthan Gum, Mixed Tocopherols For Freshness, Organic Sunflower Oil.
*Dried. Contains: Milk, Egg. Kosher
This isn't so healthy. The organic soybean oil is non-GMO (genetically modified organism); most soybean products today are not - so it's good that this one is. If a product is certified organic, it's not GMO. Whew. Yet soybean oil, even organic, is considered a PUFA oil, which is chemically unstable and prone to oxidation. If you want to really dive deep into this, check out Mark's Daily Apple. He's the dude that trained and certified me as a Primal Health Coach, and he knows a ton about PUFAs.
If you're getting aches and pains every morning, like I was, and thinking it's that you're getting older, like we all are, it may very well be that the PUFA oils are creating stress in your body, like what happened to me. So PUFA oils - canola, corn, soybean, refined coconut, and almost all nut and seed oils - are off of my grocery shopping list these days. For a deep dive into oils, Mark has done a fabulous job.
As i've wrestled with some autoimmune achiness, swelling, and pain this year, I have made some big changes. I have begun an Autoimmune Protocol to eliminate possible offenders. This is a rigorous protocol and it is helping me tremendously to get the irritations out of my foods and life.
When I look at my "healthy" meal based on this new knowledge about foods that can trigger an autoimmune response, here is how it stacks up.
Especially for Highly Sensitive People: Since we highly sensitives feel more, see more, and intuit more, our reaction to foods is strong too. So we really need to make sure we're tuning into our bodies and creating the health that we want. We need to honor this feedback and make it a priority to give ourselves foods, thoughts, and movements that support us well.
I'm sure I'm not perfect yet (as if I ever will be!). There are days I have symptoms and I have no idea where they came from. But I'm continuing to learn and grow, and I feel healthier the older I get. I plan to live long, stay healthy, and drop dead without disease.
Care to join me?
If you want to know how our human origins can be used towards overall health and well being today, check out this video.
That's right. Play each day!
What is play exactly.
A Google search defined it as:
1. engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.
"The children were playing outside" synonyms: amuse oneself, entertain oneself, enjoy oneself, have fun;
2. take part in (a sport). "I play softball and tennis" synonyms: take part in, participate in, be involved in, compete in, do "I used to play hockey"
1. activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, especially by children. "a child at play may use a stick as an airplane" synonyms: amusement, entertainment, relaxation, recreation, diversion, distraction, leisure;
2. the conducting of an athletic match or contest.
Yet that's not the play I'm talking about.
We, as a culture, often think that play is going out for a few drinks with friends. Or attending a large party event. Going to a movie perhaps. Or shopping, that can be a form of play.
I'm talking about the kind of play that rejuvenates the soul and makes life less serious. I don't think we, as a culture, play in this way, enough. Why do we need to be children to play like a child?
To me, play is a spontaneous event, a playful nature in what you're doing. It involves a variety of physical movement and mental acuity that keeps our bodies strong and flexibly, and our minds working well. We stay young at heart.
For example, children can play at a park structure endlessly. I remember following my children around the park structures. They climb up and down the structures. They walk across make-believe bridges. They toss the autumn leaves into a small stream running through the park, then run to follow it along it's path until it hits the pond. They scoop it out of the pond, run to the top of the stream, and do it again and agin. They scoop sand and create magic castles. They hid behind things and pop out to scare you. They throw things, splash in water, laugh out loud, and often have friends, or imaginary friends with them. Children don't have to think about how to play, they just play. They have an attitude of play throughout their days.
Why don't we play like children?
The spontaneity of play gets us out of our heads, into our bodies and into the moment at hand. Play uses our whimsical and creative nature as we do whatever comes to mind. It's unstructured, free-flowing and relaxing. It provides functional movement - these are movements that use a variety of muscles and keep you fit throughout your life. They are movements you want to be able to do even when you reach the age of 104. Play helps with balance and stamina, and allows us to do all the tasks we want to do throughout our lives on this planet. Play feels joyful, and we want to laugh out loud! It's contemplative as well; as we create our moments, we are building pathways in our brains that nurture our souls.
Obviously, children don't have the financial worries and responsibilities that we do as we grow into adults. So they spent their entire days learning through play.
As adults, I believe we have a couple of ways that we can play.
I am dedicating this blog to our beloved Louise L. Hay, whom I "met" in the late 1980's. She planted a seed in me that changed the direction of my life.
Today is one year from her passing at the age of 90. She became a dear "bedside" friend when I started using her affirmations and meditations in the evening. I read her books and the books of other authors at Hay House Publishing, attended her "I Can Do It" events, and certified as a Heal Your Life Workshop Leader and Coach in San Diego in 2014. I met Louise Hay in person there; and I worked with the same health coach she used, Heather Dane, 21st Century Medicine Woman. This work has changed my life in more way than I can mention in this blog. I have met a fabulous tribe on the forefront of new thinking and ways of living. And as a sensitive and intuitive person, I have dedicated myself to an energy clearing practice through Jean Haner, which has been the icing on the cake in healing my life.
So back to that seed. As I created my life in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1980's, I experienced various symptoms. Just coming out of graduate school and moving to the Bay Area to start a job as a buyer for a major household products company, I had my emotional work cut out for me. To fortify myself in this journey, I explored spiritual centers and activities.
Searching for blog topics is never easy. Sometimes I have information spilling out of my mind that I can't wait to share. Other weeks, it's like the creative well dries up, and nothing is coming. This week is one of those weeks.
So I went to my Louise Hay affirmation calendar from last year. I save the calendars to use as note paper, and to send inside packages as love notes, so I always have plenty on hand.
I took a deep breath, pounded on the stack of affirmations in my hands to infuse my energy into them, and asked for the message I most needed to hear today. I closed my eyes and shuffled through the deck until I got to a page that felt right. I pulled it out of the glue binding.
This is what it said:
"I am wiling to hold my own hand and work through any fears I may have."
I have spent many times in my life having to work through my fear and anxiety. In fact, in Chinese medicine, I came to the planet with a major challenge of anxiety. I have had lots of it from as early as I can remember. I even went so far to have panic attacks in my early 20's. It's been difficult, as you might well imagine, and I have learned so much in learning to hold my own hand to work through this anxiety.
Early on, I tried mainstream medical and took Xanax for several years while I was in my early 20's and combined it with in therapy. Therapy became an excellent tool for me to process and let off stress. Xanax - although it helped me through a rough spell, the withdrawals from that addictive drug were incredible.
Here's how it went. As I house sat some pets in a beautiful Bethesda, Maryland home, I noticed I had swollen glands near my throat. Other than that, I felt fine. Yet after a week of these painfully swollen glands, I knew I was wrestling an infection. My doctor confirmed it - I had strep throat. No fever. No sore throat. Just swollen glands. So he recommended antibiotics.
Since I am a physically sensitive empath, I hated combining prescriptions because I didn't like the side effects of one much less a combination. So I asked him if I could stop the Xanax. He said that he thought that would be fine.
So I stopped. Suddenly. I thought nothing of it. Yet I went through several weeks of severe withdrawal symptoms like I had never experienced. The first night I felt so nauseous, I went to sleep before the sun went down. This was highly unusual for me. The next week, I couldn't feel my legs. They felt numb. Walking on numb legs was interesting. As that resolved, I couldn't feel my arms and hands. I could move them and grab things, but I couldn't feel my actions.
I trudged back to my doctor, who told me that I was experiencing the withdrawal from the drug. He said that I could start taking it again and taper. I had gone a few weeks off the drug, so he said I could also work through the symptoms without it. Up to me. So I decided to stay away from the drug.
This was a wise choice for me to learn to manage my anxiety in healthier ways.
My anxiety work has not been in isolation. I have worked with others - therapists, wellness coaches, biofeedback professionals, energy workers, personal trainers - to learn how to develop a protocol for myself to keep my anxiety at a healthy level.
Here is what I have learned to keep my anxiety in check. In essence, these are the ways I hold my own hand:
I pay attention when I feel anxious for my intuition has something to say. I am thankful that I have learned to listen to my anxiety and take care of it. It keeps me safe, centered, and balanced.
How do you hold your own hand?
I have done one thing in the last year that has had a tremendous impact on my health and wellness. This six-minute video will tell you what I did, and what you can do as well. Thank you for listening. Enjoy!
This word entered my life this year. What a funny word! When I hear that word, I don’t get any image in my head of something. It's more like "What the heck is that?"
To put it simply, our body's autoimmune response is a system of protection. When a virus enters our body, that system goes to work to get rid of it and bring us back to healthy balance. However, if our immune system gets confused through poor nutrition and lifestyle choices, hidden infections, or stressful events/habits, that autoimmune system goes haywire, and starts trying to protect us from ourselves. We wind up with symptoms of aches and pains, sometimes debilitating us. The symptoms may come and go, and it can be hard to know what's happening.
Sometimes we think the symptoms are actually not symptoms. We wake up sore day after day and it clears up as the day goes on. Or we go to sleep and feel better the next morning. It's not easy to know when our immune system is going haywire - yet our body knows.
I’m a part-time cashier at a U.S. nationwide natural grocery store. I had been working there six months before my mom passed away unexpectedly. Cashiering shifts are often 8 hours three times a week. They start at varying times, and can sometimes go for 5 to 6 hours.
The repetitive motion of scanning items down the belt and handing heavy items to customers started causing me pain. I would come home at the end of my shift, sit down to put my feet up and relax with my husband, and within an hour, my wrists would be painfully swollen, my hands and fingers would be hard to move, and my arms and shoulders would hurt to move them. I had never experienced debilitating symptoms like that before. It felt scary! The pain would often disturb a restful sleep, yet by the next day, I often felt better.
As this continued to happen and worsen over a period of a couple months, I became more alarmed. What was happening to me? I continued to do my workouts when I could, going to the gym to do my push-ups, pull-ups, squats, planks and leg weights. The next thing I knew, I couldn't raise my biceps for a few days because I had injured myself after working all day and doing push-ups. I had been doing these exercises regularly before I took the job; I felt shocked and dismayed that I injured myself. I identified that I had symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms; I knew I could turn them off.
I needed to find a way to heal. I had a very good idea of what was happening based on my symptoms, so I chose not to go to a doctor to have them run tests and give me solutions I didn't want to do. Instead I tried a holistic approach to see how to better support my body - physically and emotionally. I let my symptoms be my guide.
I've been addressing the symptoms from an emotional perspective; I know that the physical and emotional body are one. Our beliefs are enormous influencers in our health. According to Louise Hay's team, rheumatoid arthritis can manifest as a result of feeling victimized, a lack of love, chronic bitterness, resentment. Deep criticism of authority. Feeling very put upon. I began to look how these attitudes might be tucked away deep inside of me.
Physically, I know that mineral baths heal swelling and pain, so I started taking them. Unfortunately, the heat from the baths made my swelling worse. I used ice to quell the swelling as I didn't want to take anti-inflammatories; I didn't want to over-ride my natural anti-inflammatory system, and I didn't want to further stress my gut with these irritants. I also massaged my painful areas with Arnica cream and magnesium lotion. These solutions helped quite a bit.
I know as a sensitive person I feel and sense energies more deeply, so that foods - a type of energy - can affect me deeply too. Leaky gut is always seen with autoimmune issues, so I had to work on healing my tummy. I had gotten off-track with my healthy eating, consuming sugary treats and comfort foods with gluten. I had been consuming wine and coffee more often. I began to work on cleaning up my nutrition.
I modified my cashiering work to eliminate the repetitive stress by picking up other duties in the store.
As a Primal Health Coach; I had heard about The Autoimmune Protocol by Dr. Sarah Ballatyne. As I began exploring her research, I discovered the elimination diet. It's a very rigorous plan, eliminating all foods that are known to excite the immune system.
So far, I've worked my way up to 95% compliant. The big hold-out for me has been letting go of my beloved coffee. And even with not finding perfection yet, I have learned a lot.
There are 2 items I've given up completely that have reduced my symptoms significantly.
As I perused the AIP book one evening, I came across this statement:
Buried in Chapter 8 under a heading "A Case Against Mangoes," my intuitive brain honed in. I recalled how, as an east coast teenager, I missed a rare movie outing with friends because my eyes were swollen shut from poison ivy. For months now, I had been eating cashews with my organic grass-fed yogurt as a "healthy" snack on work breaks. I chose this snack, not only because it tastes good to me, but also because it's "fast." I realized it was time I slowed down with all eating, even snacks.
Next I turned my attention to unhealthy Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acid (PUFA) oils as they are highly inflammatory for the body. Although I home-cook with healthy oils (unrefined olive, avocado and coconut oils), I hadn't been paying attention to hot bar and restaurant foods. As I eliminated the PUFA's, I discovered what I could eat became a lot more limited as so many places use these cheaper oils. My body reacts like kindling for a fire when I ingest these PUFAs.
Although I am still on my discovery journey, I have learned so much and experienced success. I am no longer having the debilitating pain and swelling, and I am back to doing my push-ups and pull-ups again. I can sit down with my husband after work and feel good.
Autoimmune issues are tough. They happen differently for each person, and it can be tricky to figure out what is over-exciting your body. Research also tells us that autoimmune spreads and gets worse if it's ignored.
Is the Autoimmune Protocol right for you? If yes, I can empower you to find that secret sauce to turn off those genes. We'll come up with a unique program to take you on your healing journey.
Get into your kitchen.
That's right! I'm not talking about running to the kitchen to binge-eat that bag of chips that you bought at a low point of energy on your way home from work. I'm talking about getting into the kitchen and whipping up whole food recipes loaded with nutrients and nutrition that don't have the fake foods from processing. Cutting fruits and vegetables to eat raw, or put into recipes.
Many of the poor food choices available today are responsible for the burgeoning growth of disease in our culture. Of course, some of this trend may be because highly skilled medical teams are better at testing and diagnosing symptoms and diseases. We have more information than we've ever had before.
Yet we have to wonder how we've gotten here in the first place. Why do we even need highly skilled medical teams so often, and why are we feeling so poorly most of our days? I'm not knocking the medical profession here. It's fabulous that the medical teams are there when we need them to jump in an help us with a symptom, or perhaps a medical emergency. I am challenging you to think about why you are allowing yourself to feel unwell.
Our ancestors, and I'm talking way back to the Hunter-Gatherer days, would never have let themselves feel as weak as many of us do today. They needed to survive the harsh elements of weather, food scarcity, and the predator population. They needed to build their homes and camps, search for water and food, raise their young and protect their elders. These activities required feel strong and having energy throughout each day.
They had a natural support system in nature. Soil was loaded in minerals and probiotics. Food came straight off the land in their area. Food varied by season, designed to give them the ingredients needed when they were needed.
Hunting meat and fish required physical skill and functional movement to make the catch, then they needed the strength and stamina to carry heavy animals back to share at camp. They ate the whole animal - brain, heart, organs, etc., in reverence, and used every part of it for tools, clothing, shelter and more.
Picking fruit required searching, climbing, reaching, stooping and carrying. Occasionally they had to run for their lives (literally) or chase an animal at high speeds for food. The Hunter-Gatherer days were loaded with a variety of movement. The activities kept them functionally fit and their brains healthy and thriving.
Fast forward to today, and we can farm food like never before. Many of us eat way too much food too often. We don't have to do burn a calorie to get it, just drive to the local eatery and pick up a bag of yummy tasting ingredients.
We work out at the gym for an hour, if we work out at all, and we consider ourselves to be in shape. We live with such convenience that it almost seems like we've lost our way. Yet, these changes have allowed humans to thrive and procreate in ways that would've amazed our ancestors.
I think we've gone too far off the grid - the natural grid.
And one way to take a step back towards our natural support system that is still there, and we once used, is to get into our kitchen.
First, go to your local farmer's market, food coop, or natural grocer. Pick out fresh, local ingredients (ask the produce partner if you need help knowing how to tell what's fresh.) Stay away from the boxed and frozen items (they aren't at the Farmer's Markets for a reason!) Become unprocessed. Start cooking from scratch.
Play. Try new vegetables and proteins. The better quality the ingredients, the better tasting the result. Invite members of your tribe over to prepare food with you. Put together recipes and see how you can create healthy, good tasting foods.
Eat slowly. Rest to digest. Listen to your body after you eat to see how you feel. Does this food work for you? Make it an adventure to learn how to cook in the kitchen.
We are lucky today that we only have to go to our kitchens with purchased foods to find our meals. So let's be smart about it. Let's choose foods that provide nutrition to our bodies as well as satisfy our taste buds. It's really fairly easy for us to do that compared to our ancestors.
If our Hunter-Gatherer ancestors looked in on us now, what would they think? They'd certainly want to be a part of our luxury living and play if they were still on the planet.
Let’s talk about something. Symptoms.
What are symptoms?
Merriam-Webster defines them as:
a : subjective evidence of disease or physical disturbance; broadly : something that indicates the presence of bodily disorder
b : an evident reaction by a plant to a pathogen
2 a : something that indicates the existence of something else symptoms of an inner turmoil
b : a slight indication
I think so many of us think that symptoms must be serious - like a major disturbance that says "Hello, this is really a problem. Look here..."
Yet, let's considering something. The quieter a symptom, the kind you can notice early on, way before something becomes a disorder, is where your true power lies. It's your body's feedback. Listening to early feedback gives us a greater opportunity to turn things around and heal before a major event occurs.
The daily aches, pains and discomforts may feel normal and you shrug them off, but you shouldn't. These constant, low level symptoms are not normal as most of us consider them to be. And that goes for people of any age. Even as we age, symptoms are providing feedback and it's important, the older we become, to respond to this feedback quicker and with vigor. We don't heal as quickly as we age.
Sure, from time to time we may wake up with an ache or pain that we don't know where it came from, but that shouldn’t be happening day after day. And when it does happen, what information are we not receiving?
Symptoms are aches and pains that come in a variety of ways which may creep up on us over time and sneak into our lifestyles. We:
When we are completely in line with what our bodies needs through our supportive lifestyles, then we:
We've got to start realizing that if we’re putting up with discomfort, THEY ARE SYMPTOMS. If we're not centered in our joy each day, something is off that we need to pay attention to. We need to be curious about the symptom, and ask ourselves what it means. Maybe it's simple, like we shouldn't have that morning coffee (that may not feel so simple to some - it doesn't to me!) so that we can keep that tummy-ache away. Perhaps we need to get out and move more so we don't feel stiff. Or we may need to address a living situation, a relationship, a work situation or something else. Maybe we're not eating healthy enough, or often enough, or drinking the wrong kinds of beverages. You may not be okay with yourself, who you are at your very core.
If we listen to our bodies and minds carefully, we will get the answers we need. We have to spend time listening to ourselves, and asking what we need, just like we would our partner, spouse, or child. Love is paying attention to someone. Loving yourself is paying attention to yourself.
We’ve also got to get over the idea that there is a “quick fix“ for everything. It often takes a commitment to really look at how we’re doing things, and to change the way were doing them. This is a muscle that we need to find, develop and strengthen, and over time, it will become second nature.
It’s often really hard to strengthen this muscle on our own if we have gotten out of shape by not listening to our bodies and thoughts. As a friend of mine says, we are all in our own fish bowl of water, and we can’t see our environment because we are in it. We need objectivity.
It’s really helpful to work with someone who could help you on a day-to-day basis, Like a wellness coach or therapist who can help you understand the cloudiness of your water.
If you answered YES! to this, then you are among millions of people that are experiencing unwell bodies. Aches and pains are not "getting old," as I hear so often. Sure, there may be some extra care needed - like an older automobile - as we age, but we shouldn't struggle to get around. We should not be waking up every day with soreness.
Take my Great, Great Grandfather Padarev in Predgrad, Slovenia. By some accounts, he lived to 105 and his wife to 103. I don't know specifically if they had aches and pains; surely they needed to attend to self-care as they aged. I do know that they stayed active throughout their lives, climbing trees to gather firewood for heat, filling the attics in their home with hay to feed their cattle, taking care of their property and farm, and picking fruit from their front yard trees. These are the kinds of activities that we are born to -- and meant to -- do. So if they did have aches, it wasn't enough to prevent them from doing what they needed to do.
So why are so many of us feeling limited in our abilities due to our aches and pains?
I have one word for you - PUFAs.
WHAT THE HECK ARE PUFA?
PUFAs are Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acid Oils. These oils are refined, which oxidizes the oil, making it particularly destructive to our endocrine systems, promoting symptoms like poor fat metabolism, diminished energy, sluggish thyroid, insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, immune problems, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. That is quite a list!
After training to be a Primal Health Coach, I finally honed in on these oils as the source of my aches and pains.
I'm an active person. I walk, sprint, hike, bike, do yoga, do push-ups and pull-ups, practice slack lining, jog, do weights and I am on my feet a lot. When I work, I average 20,000 steps a day - about 10 Miles.
I think of these activities as today's version of what my Great Great Grandparents did - although I wish I could get our fruit trees to be as plentiful. I eat close to the land, visiting my Farmer's Market every week. I've made friends with the farmer's and know how they grow and process their wares. I read labels. I shop organically. If you ask my young adult children, they will tell you that all they heard about was - nutrition - until they went crazy. It even prompted one of them to go to the restaurants and ask for a gluten menu!
So you'd think that I'd feel great, right? And I do feel very good for my age. I'm clued into my body. I originally thought, in my late 40's, that my aches and pains were from exercising. Until I went on a nutrition-oriented eating 12-step plan - Food Addicts Anonymous - and after 3 months, I no longer felt sore. This amazed me. I had been having chronic back pain, soaking in the jacuzzi, sauna, and stretching all the time. And cleaning up my food did the most. It totally surprised me that my aches and pains WERE A SYMPTOM when all along, I thought they were a by-product of working out.
We active people have more reason than ever to clean up our food plan. Our overall health is primarily dependent on the genes we turn on or off (the latest epigenetic research shows we can indeed turn them off). When we sprint or lift weights, the biochemical process from that activity turns on certain genes to repair and strengthen our exercised muscles. Good right? Of course.
However, if we do too much exercise, other genes go into excess production and we have prolonged inflammation and slowed recovery. An autoimmune disease is often a genetic over-reaction, much like after too much of a workout, that causes the same kind of inflammation. Our bodies cannot distinguish between too much of a workout and eating something that makes us sore.
We athletes can turn on too much inflammation simply by our healthy lifestyles. Since we are trying to live a healthy, active and balanced life, including eating healthy foods, why is this happening?
GET A GRIP - CHANGE YOUR THINKING
Besides getting a grip on that pull-up bar at the gym, we also need to have a grip on our own personalized body and what the offenses are. We are all an experiment of one. We eat different foods, have different genes, do different workouts, think different thoughts, experience different stresses and traumas. How could there possibly be one diet, or one lifestyle, that fits each of us. There isn't, so now you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Except, now what do we do?
First of all, we have to change our mindset.
CHANGE THE FISH WATER
I have found that I have autoimmune challenges in my genes. My Mom died of ulcerative colitis at the age of 88. My Dad died of heart disease and arthritis at the age of 61. They both did a lot right. Yet they had a lifestyle which ultimately did not nurture their bodies. Both of them experienced aches and pains for years before they died.
My dad regularly went to doctors, got tests, and religiously took his prescriptions. My Mom did the same. It turns out in my opinion that doctors are fabulous and brilliant at diagnosing disease, prescribing medicine to reduce symptoms, and providing surgery when needed. They save lives every day.
Eating has gotten complicated. That blueberry bagel my mom started eating in the 1940s for breakfast deteriorated in quality over the years. The grain became less whole, the wheat it was made from got homogenized (no weeds adding nutritional value), and the wheat got sprayed with chemicals to increase the drying process. All these events contribute to our body's stress through inflammation.
So what needs to be done? We need to find people to support us in our daily care. Since we are in our own fish water (as one of my dear teacher's calls it!) and can't be objective about ourselves, we need to have others help us to take a look at ourselves and let us know how to clean our fish water. They need to help us determine what is muddying the waters of our health.
DOWN WITH PUFA OILS
As much as I thought I was healthy and practicing good ways of life, I realized that I had these annoying little aches and pains. It's like they were saying to me - listen, look at what you're doing, something is not right here, hello! Are you listening?
Now I"m listening. I realized that the PUFA oils are significantly contributing to my aches and pains. I'm on an Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) - a food elimination diet to help me see what's causing my inflammation. And even though it feels very difficult, I am committed to the effort. I am committed to turning off my genes expression of an autoimmune disease.
I have found a huge success by eliminating the PUFA oils. That means canola oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, coconut oil and anything else that's refined.
It's not easy. I find them at the hot bar at work. They are in the olive bar. They are in canned foods. They are often tossed on packaged items. They are in salad dressings. And let's not get started on restaurants! Most restaurants use them to cook meat, fish, and sauté vegetables.
I have one challenge -- eliminate the PUFA oils. It could be life-saving.
If you need help, let me know.
When you open your eyes in the morning, do you want to get your day going with vigor and excitement? Are you joyful about what you’re going to do? Or are you cursing the fact that you have to get up? Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep last night, or you’re going to a job where you can’t stand that boss.
It’s important for us to feel excitement about our day. When we feel excitement and joy, we are aligned with our spirit and our purpose in life. When we don't, we are out of alignment with our higher good.
So what do you need to do, today, to bring excitement and joy into your life? The kind of joy that, when you wake up in the morning, you’re looking forward to what you’re about to do.
Today I am taking time out to be at the beach - Stinson Beach, California. I love the beach! I love the warmth of the sun, the sound of the ocean waves, and the feel of the warm sand on my feet. I even love the beach in the winter for it's magnificent nature.
Lately I've begun to realize the health benefits of being outside in nature. The sun provides us with vitamin D - something most of us are deficient because we don’t get outside enough! Just 10 minutes of sun on your skin a day, without sunscreen, can provide you with 10,000 international units of vitamin D. This is such an easy way to supplement our diets. I’m convinced that the sun has other nutritional benefits for our bodies that are absorbed through the skin, that we just aren’t aware of yet. There is talk in the alternative medical community that lack of Vitamin D can contribute to cancer. As always, it's about balance.
Another health benefit of being at the beach is that it is loaded with minerals! Our primal ancestors used to get their minerals from the soil. They ate off the land, didn’t have soap or antibacterial agents to wash their hands and kill the organisms in the soil. These organisms were pre- and probiotics, so their guts stayed healthy with beneficial bacteria that most of us do not have. They also didn't use antibiotics which kills bad AND GOOD bacteria.
So being at the ocean, walking in the sea salt water, and playing in the sand, gives us minerals from the environment that we're in so desperate need of.
When we are around an energy, we entrain to that energy. There’s plenty of research talking about how that happens. You can find YouTube videos about entrainment. In this one, several metronomes are started at varying speeds, and they eventually entrain to the same frequency.
Nature works for us in this way. We as humans are a part of nature. When we’re in nature, like at the ocean, our systems will slow down and and entrain to the energy around us. This energy more closely matches our circadian rhythms than the technology and machinery that most of us are around every day.
If you’re feeling drained, more than likely you are feeling stressed from the mismatching technology energy around you.
As a sensitive person, going to the beach by myself has been highly therapeutic! I get away from having to deal with the energy of other people, and can do what I want, when I want, without worrying about someone else. It feels like I'm feeding my soul.
When was the last time you went out in nature to rejuvenate yourself?
As Empaths, people who feel more, intuit more and see more naturally, we can take on energy around us without realizing it. Very few of us have had role models to help us with this, so when we're walking through the energy of everyday events, we often absorb it. On top of absorbing it, many of us may have genes that cause our bodies to process slowly, so it can build until we feel well.
Let's take a peak at biology. Methylation is a chemical process that occurs in our cells that is vital to keep our bodies working properly. It is one of our body’s most important chemical processes. When we have genetics that struggle with methylation and process more slowly, I believe we can be prone to hold onto energy longer, and we may experience it as anxiety, depression, or overwhelm. We don't know how to, or we're not taking the time to, detox and release the stresses of each day. When the next day rolls around, guess what? We are still dealing with what happened yesterday. We can see how this will add up to ill health over time.
So one very important thing we can do to stay balanced is to be mindful of the energy around us, and to release it everyday.
We can start by being mindful of our habits.
ENERGY INCREASERS OR RELEASERS
What we do can either be energy increasers or releasers. We already know as Empaths, increasing energy in our systems can inadvertently be a no-brainer. So how are we releasing energy - which isn't as automatic? Releasing energy means anything that slows life down, which in turn slows our nervous system, and allows our bodies to return to balance.
I had a beautiful experience the other evening that is a Releaser.
As I sat outside on a warm summer evening chatting with our kids and grandchild, the sun set. It took about 45 minutes between the sun disappearing over the horizon until total darkness with the sky lit up with twinkling stars.
It was amazing going barefoot in the backyard and playing with our grandchild. We did a little slack lining and checked on the garden. We told stories and laughed. It was fabulous having that sense of our tribe with us.
As the light waned, the final flights of the birds took place. Our neighborhood owl began his cooing. And the local mocking bird started his night time calling. Stars and planets, one-by-one, decorated the evening sky.
I notice that I felt increasingly relaxed and tired. Which felt remarkable to me because I am typically a night owl. Yet I know from my Primal health coaching that this event released and increased my melatonin, which naturally happens as the sun sets and prepares us for sleep. I wasn't bombarding my senses with screens from TVs, tablets, or phones - which, by the way, have f.lux installed on them to match the time of day. And it felt so peaceful and calming.
So here's an easy challenge for you to stay balanced. Sit outside and enjoy the sunset with your tribe. In the US, we are in summer, so this can be easy to do. If you're in Australia and enjoying winter, sit in front of a fire with friends and enjoy the warm, red relaxing hues as you prepare for sleep.
It's a good beginning to releasing that day's stress.
Empaths often describe feeling fragile and weak as they can get zinged around by the every day energies of people and places. They can react easily to foods and beverages even though they believe they eat healthily. They are often sought out by others as they are good listeners and know how to create a good experience for others. They can pick up on other's emotions and struggles, often thinking that the sensations they are feeling are theirs instead of realizing they are picking up information from the person across from them, in the next town or across the country.
Since Empaths feel more, see more and intuit more, they can feel exhausted by the end of each day.
Empaths need a superstructure to stay grounded, peaceful, and balanced. That's why a Primal Health lifestyle is so important for Empaths. It's a way of life based on our ancestors - that's why it's call Primal. It is grounded in selecting foods, activities, and movement that is perfect for our bodies, and is designed to keep our systems working optimally.
I believe our ancestors used intuition throughout each day without judgement or shame. In fact, their survival depended on it. They had to know where the danger lay. If they didn't sense that saber tooth tiger in the next field or valley and chose another path, they were in a sprint for their lives. If they chose the wrong plant to eat or consumed a sick animal, they could wind up dead. They didn't have doctors to run to or hospitals to save their lives. They had to rely on their gut instincts, their intuition, to keep them alive and strong.
Here are a few tips to get you started on the Primal journey, which will leave you feeling strong and nourished:
Have you amped up your self care until you're feeling strong? How?
It’s really important for Empaths to have a strong superstructure of self-care. It should be a system of many daily habits designed BY you just FOR you. The basic superstructure should be there, incorporated into your routine at an early age as possible, and updated as you go through life.
And when we take the time and commitment to feel strong and balanced, it pays off. We can walk through our lives, our families, our grocery stores and farmer's markets knowing we are strong. We stay balanced. We know how to be there for others, but, more importantly, we are there for ourselves first.
(say this 1,000 time while looking in the mirror):
"I completely embrace myself as an Empath.
I know what I need and I give it to myself first.
I take time by myself daily, without guilt, so I can replenish my energy.
I easily and effortlessly set firm boundaries.
I learn how to be with people, in many places, and stay rested, strong, and balanced.
I love me."
6/7/2018 0 Comments
I often hear it said that Empaths “absorb” other people moods, energy, and feelings. That statement, in itself, may be true - for SOME Empaths. But you don’t have too. You have a choice.
Empaths sense extra information from the people and places around them. That’s how we are wired. We don't’ have to try to do it - it just happens.
As children, this may have caused quite a problem for us. With our inability to discern information with our cognitive brains, which doesn’t fully develop until the ages of about 24 to 25, we may have felt sick, overwhelmed, and scared throughout our childhood. To top it off, most of us didn’t have parents or caretakers that helped us manage this energy when we felt it. So we ended up ‘absorbing’ the information by thinking it was ours, and not realizing that we were only noticing things around us.
So now that we’re adults, it’s time for us to make sure we are no longer absorbing the energy of people and places. We need to learn to discern what is, in fact, our energy, and what belongs to others.
I have had a great opportunity as a part-time cashier in a natural grocery store. In my check-out lane, I have a constant flow of energy from the general public, as you can imagine.
I have learned that I am a physical Empath, so I feel the energy that I notice in my body, often as a symptom of some kind. So a person may enter my lane to pay for groceries, and I suddenly feel nauseous. I used to get immediate anxiety because I thought that it was my symptom. I would then create a story around it - it must be something I ate, am I going to have to go home sick, what is wrong with me?
I often notice that I feel the energy of others when they are unaware of how they are feeling. When my daughter was in high school, a generally stressful time for most teens, she would plop in the car after school, and I would immediately feel a fuzzy head and loads of stress in the form of anxiety and overwhelm. I began to realize that my body was just interpreting her energy that way.
As I’ve learned to discern energy, I now say to myself “oh, I am noticing that I feel nauseous suddenly. I must be picking up on the energy of this customer.” Typically the sensation dissipates when I say that, confirming to me that I am picking up on another person’s symptom. For me, this can come in the form a physical symptom, or an emotional symptom; I can feel a sudden sadness or anxiety I didn’t have before and I don’t have a situation that provoked it.
Does that happen to you? In what ways?
No matter how you intuit energy as an Empath, there are some basic strategies that you can learn for yourself to feel grounded and healthy as you go through your day.
(say this 1,000 time while looking in the mirror):
"I completely embrace myself as an Empath.
I easily know what energy is mine, and what I am sensing.
I easily and effortlessly set firm boundaries.
I have compassion for another's energy as I know it is that person's journey.
I learn how to be with people, in many places, and stay rested, strong, and balanced.
I love me."
B U S T E D ! When we absorb energy from people and places, it is not a healthy response to energy. We need to learn to discern what is ours and what is not, and that takes a superstructure along with practice, practice, practice.
So let's BUST Mammoth Myth #3. WE ATTRACT NARCISSISTS.
What the heck is a narcissist? And why are we so good at attracting them?
Here are some definitions of narcissists and narcissism.
Dictionary.com: ”a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish.”
UrbanDictionary.com: “A person with no soul. The only thing bigger than their inflated ego is the void that they demand others to fill.”
Merriam-Webster.com: "an individual showing symptoms of or suffering from narcissism:
a : an extremely self-centered person who has an exaggerated sense of self-importance
b : a person who is overly concerned with his or her physical appearance"
Wikipedia: "Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one's own attributes. The term originated from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water."
Just from reading these definitions, I get the impression of a really out-of-balance person. Like their cup must feel so empty that they have to fill it with self-centeredness and the pursuit of gratification. Like they are so concerned about how they look they can't function without doing something about it. I like the Green Narcissus - I can just see him falling in love with his own reflection.
I like to think of narcissists like they have a severe toothache - everyday, all day.
When I most recently had a failing molar, it hurt like hell. Since I like to work with my body to give it what it needs, I worked on seeing if I could heal it without prescription drugs and a root canal. This took some time. I went through a week of severe pain, my jawline swollen and sore. I would’ve addressed it sooner, but I was traveling out of town for business.
When I had that toothache, it was really hard for me to think of anything else. Even while I sat in my business meetings, which were informative, useful, and with fantastic colleagues, I felt that thing deeply! It kept me up at night, and my whole focus landed on healing that pain.
Take a narcissist. They are in pain. They are so much in pain that they can only think of themselves. And it’s not healthy or normal for a human to be so focused on themselves and the pursuit of themselves that they can’t empathize with others. Their pain is emotional, and it’s a huge toothache.
And get this, it’s not so easy to fix as my failing molar. That tooth took a morning appointment for a root canal, and some antibiotics, a clearing for adverse effects (that’s another blog!) and shots of kefir to keep my body balanced with taking antibiotics. And many supporting "I" messages.
We Empaths are wonderful, aren’t we? We listen carefully, feel the pain of others - often so deeply we can feel their symptoms in our bodies, and put our needs last. In fact, we have to work at our self care because it’s automatic for us to put ourselves last.
Then we’re walking down the street somewhere and we run into a narcissist. They’re hurting. They need to feel important, to have others listen and tell them how important they are. They thrive on being put first. And here we come along! It’s the perfect match.
So as they go through life doing the best that they can, they may attract Empaths.
As an Empath, I have great compassion for narcissists. Don’t we all? We Empaths naturally have empathy, a characteristic lacking in narcissists.
And to heal, and I believe anyone can heal, narcissists need to come to terms with that deep pain, that hole in their soul. And many of them chose not to do it.
So how do we avoid that person as they walk down the street?
Here are some tips:
By the way, Empaths are so selfless that we fear we may become too self-centered if we put ourselves first. In my experience, healthy, balanced Empaths know how to put themselves first, and care about themselves in loving ways! They don't become narcissistic. Instead, they have a personalized superstructure to make them enjoyable, loving people on the planet.
Mammoth Myth B U S T E D ! Empaths attract narcissists only when they have emotional work to do! So let’s get to it!
(say this 1,000 time while looking in the mirror):
"I completely embrace myself as an Empath.
I put my self-care first.
I easily and effortlessly set firm boundaries.
I know what my sensations and symptoms are, and I easily know when I’m picking up on some else’s.
I learn how to be with people, in many places, and stay rested, strong, and balanced.
I love me."
Stay tuned next week for the blog on Mammoth Myth #4: Empaths ABSORB OTHERS’ MOODS, ENERGY, FEELINGS ...
Energy Vampires Drain our Energy as Empaths. That’s the common belief in the Empath community. I’m noticing this phrase, Energy Vampire, increase in use in the news, in books, and on social media.
Let’s take a look at what the definition of an Energy Vampire is.
Dictionary.com refers to an Energy Vampire as a noun meaning. “the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off or in a standby mode; also called standby power, [ phantom load ] A very common energy vampire is a power adapter which has no power-off switch.”
I didn’t expect to find that definition when I looked up an Energy Empath. That doesn’t even refer to a person, but an appliance. So I looked further.
The definition by Urban Dictionary states: “A person who boosts his/her own energy by taking energy from others by means of an argument, belittlement, criticism or other one-sided conversation.”
This definition is what I believe most people using the term Energy Empath refer to.
I can understand where the term Energy Vampire comes from. It’s catchy, strong, and sums up the process of one sensitive person feeling drained by someone else in only 2 succinct words.
I do agree that people with certain attributes can feel draining to others, especially we Empaths who feel more deeply, see more details, and intuit more as we go through each day. This ability to do so much more can be draining in and of itself, even when we’re not with an Energy Vampire.
I don’t like the term Energy Vampire for a few reasons. It’s very negative. It’s blaming of others - that somehow they suck or steal energy from us without our permission - like an attack. And most of the advice is to run in the other direction from them, especially if you’re an Empath. That often doesn’t work because we wouldn’t even be around them if we truly had a choice. Often it’s a family member, relative, co-worker or another person in a position of authority or importance in our lives.
I’d like to refer to another that feels draining to us as an Energy Sponge. I believe they are Sponges because they challenge us to set better boundaries, communicate more clearly, and stand up for our sensitive selves. Without the strong effects of an Energy Sponge, many of us would not develop systems that keep us strong and balanced.
There are several types of Energy Sponges that I have encountered. I’ll share what I’ve noticed, and then we’ll look at learning opportunities for dealing with them.
But here’s the thing. No one can change someone else. We may have to work with this person. We may chose to see her or him over the holidays because she or he is with others we want to spend time with. They may be a neighbor, colleague, or friend of our partner or spouse. We may want so badly to say this or show them that so that they will see what they’ll doing and want to change so that we’ll feel better. Yet most people won’t do that. People may change, but it’s because they want to when they see a need and a benefit.
Here’s the rub. We as Empaths are responsible for changing ourselves. If we are feeling drained by other people, no matter what label we attach to their personality, than we are out of balance. That is what we need to focus on energies on so that we don’t leave work, a party, or any outing feeling totally depleted and depressed. We need to get to a place where we can walk through the world and stay in tact and balanced no matter who we encounter.
I’ve always lived by the rule that if I want someone else to change, I need to change myself. Because when I change, the person I am relating too must somehow change - even if it’s just to leave because being around the new me doesn't feel comfortable anymore.
So how can you become more balanced as an Empath so that you don’t feel drained when you are around unbalanced people?
There are a couple of must-reads that I use for reference.
So let's BUST Mammoth Myth #2. ENERGY VAMPIRES ARE NOT OUT TO GET US. They need our compassion, and we can practice staying balanced and centered while we are with them.
B U S T E D !
(say this 1,000 time while looking in the mirror):
"I completely embrace myself as an Empath.
I easily and effortless set limits so I stay balanced.
I learn how to be with people and places and stay rested, strong and balanced.
I love me."
Stay tuned next week for the blog on Mammoth Myth #3: Empaths Attract Narcissists ...
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