As many of you already know that D.G. Kaye’s husband passed away on April 7th and our thoughts are with her during this sad time. Debby was happy for me to reshare her relationship posts from last year for the benefit of new readers and hopes to be back with a new column later in May.
If you have not already read Debby’s moving tribute and thoughts on the last week’s of ‘G’s life you can follow this link: Obituary – The Send Off and Love, Loss and Grief
Realms of Relationships – Empaths and Spiritual Communication through Energy
Welcome to the June edition of the Realms of Relationships. Today, I’m writing off course about a different kind of communication – through energy. Perhaps it’s these crazy times we’re all living in, but for people who are Highly Sensitive Persons, also known as HSPs, and for those of us who are empaths with similar traits, I’ve found these last few months, and in particular these last few weeks of world-wide protests for justice, weighing me down with a heavier than usual load to carry, emotionally.
For us sensitives, we are uber sensitive to the energies emitted when the hurt in the world becomes insurmountable. For empaths and HSPs, we don’t necessarily have to be directly in front of one person to pick up energies. We can also take in the collective. And I can tell you, absorbing too much of the negativity going on in the world can be very affecting.
Empaths are ultra-compassionate people, and it’s no surprise that we are feeling way too much in this time of the world.
You may be thinking I’ve gone off the beaten path here, talking about empaths today, but I tagged this column Realms of Relationships because in order for any relationship to flourish and thrive, there must be good communication. And when it comes to communication, an empath – receiver of messages through alternate methods of communication, has good experience understanding communication.
The question has often been asked – what is an empath, and what makes empathy different from sympathy? So today I’m going to break it down.
Empaths can literally feel the emotions of another. An inner-knowing through a feeling of invisibly transmitted energy, is how I’d explain it. I suspect every empath has their own unique abilities how they receive messages, just as many sensitive people, including psychics and mediums, feel spirit with one particular sense.
For example, I can sense when spirits are around me by a sudden drop in my body temperature to downright shivering, no matter the degrees it is in the room. I also sense spirit by scent. I don’t see or hear ghosts, but I sense their presence when the room I’m in suddenly begins to feel very chilly to the point that my teeth chatter as the rest of me shivers. I can smell a distinct odor of Export A cigarette smoke just as I always did when my father entered a room and when he now visits me from ‘the other side’. I get the same feeling when a mysterious waft of a certain sweet scent of perfume fills the air when my Aunty Sherry pays me a visit. Not surprisingly, I’m the only one who can smell these visitors if I’m not alone.
But I digress, I was talking about receiving empathic messages before I got lost on the ghostly messages, lol. My superpower? I like to say, I read souls. I can read and feel emotions – yes, goodness, anger, sadness, evil and every emotion in between. It’s not always a good thing, that’s for sure, but it does come in handy for sizing up situations. How to explain?
How does an empath absorb the emotions of others? I can only speak from my own experience, and the best way I can explain it is – In person, it only takes a few minutes for me to sense emotions from looking through the eyes – beyond the eyes, into the soul, so to speak. Body language and words also transmit energy. Certainly, we’ve all heard some of the old clichés like – ‘the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife’. That example of thickened air is a good indicator of what an empath picks up on whenever encountering negative energy. Empaths can feel the emotions given off by others. Like I previously mentioned, I would describe it as an energy transmission – communication through absorbed energy.
I am like a sponge or a Bounty paper towel, and have therefore, learned through the years, where to keep myself away from to avoid absorbing certain energies from attracting to me. Again, hard to explain, but I’m sure almost everyone has had a superstitious moment in life where we’re convinced there is a black cloud hanging over us, or have once felt that someone has cast an evil spell on us or maybe we just plain feel like bad luck is surrounding us. These examples are what an empath feels when we pick up negative energies about a person. And that person doesn’t have to be physically in our presence for energies to bounce off us. And not to mislead anyone, empaths pick up both good and bad energies – no discrimination. It’s just that attracting the negative energies are harder to repel. And it’s no surprise when an empath is accused of being ‘moody’ that an energy can certainly have us changing our minds like the wind – just ask my husband!
A good example of picking up collective energies is when we’re watching the news. There really is no good news on the news and by watching too much sadness, our energies become ‘empathetic’ to the pain and sadness of others. My heart gets heavy and my concentration is shot as my heart prefers to lead my mood. Just as when we’re around a celebration and our hearts are full, we’re going to feel joyful because that is what surrounds us. And those good energies are like refueling from being drained from other bad energies. It’s a cycle for an empath, but there are ways to help deter attracting those energies by learning how to shield.
Empathy is different from sympathy in that having sympathy is more of an offering of condolence as we may feel sorry for someone because of their loss, but we do not feel that person’s actual grief as an empath can by taking in the griever’s actual feelings and emotions. Our own bodies can feel the pain of others – walking precisely in their shoes.
Some may think it must be so cool to have this ability, but honestly, I’d rather not have it. Being an empath isn’t something we typically train to become, but rather, it’s an inherent or unconscious developed trait. Psychics, spiritualists, witches, and earth angels are more notoriously known for having empathic abilities, but one doesn’t have to be any one of these in order to be an empath.
Being an empath is sometimes referred to as ‘a gift’, but it’s not always a gift. Many people are empathic. And many more may be but are not aware of their ‘gift’, and some are often hindered by it.
It’s been asked many times, does one just become an empath? Is it inherited? Is it learned? Well, I’ve heard various takes on the subject, but one thought of interest stuck out to me: Some empaths don’t realize that their desire to help others sometimes stems from a lack of nurturing as a child, resulting in an unconscious need to help others. I think that’s just one possible method of how a person can be transformed into an empath subconsciously, and despite there being a ‘how to’ for almost anything available, my personal feeling is that teaching someone to be empathic would be like trying to teach someone to become a psychic. We can read all we want about the subject and watch Youtube videos, and gain lots of insight from doing so, but one cannot simply just ‘become’ an empath or a psychic. Dr. Judith Orloff, Psychiatrist at Psychology.com explains how genetics and trauma can aid in playng a part in becoming an empath, in her article where she explains this a little further
What’s it like being an empath? Well, let’s say you’re watching a depressing movie or reading a sad part of a book and your feelings are touched by what you’re reading and/or watching. You may be feeling anger, disgust, elation or any other emotion from that movie or book. The writer of the story has done a great job of painting a story and bringing the characters to life when they can evoke these emotions and the reader is drawn in and can almost feel what the character is experiencing. For an empath, we don’t require someone to narrate their feelings to us, we sense and feel the emotion. Sure, if someone shares something affecting that happened to them, I can immediately take in how they’re feeling as a result of that incident, often no words are required. It’s a vibe and energy someone gives off and that energy is transmitted into their personal space. An empath only has to look into someone’s eyes to pick up on emotion – unspoken emotions. There is definitely more than meets the eye, to quote an old cliché – ‘the eyes are the windows of the soul’, because they definitely are.
An empath is a receptor for the energy. Someone not as sensitive to these energies wouldn’t be an empath, and subsequently, wouldn’t even be able to take notice of someone around them with a hidden emotional issue unless they were informed. And sadly, it’s sometimes difficult for an empath to shield or shutdown so as not to absorb these energies. Shielding is a protective measure that is learned, it’s the virtual putting up of an invisible wall to repel the energies to keep them from penetrating into us. With that I’ll add that one doesn’t have to be an empath to learn how to shield themselves.
Empaths are usually open targets for energy vampires (suckers) because we take in other people’s energies. Our compassion can sometimes exhaust us when we encounter too much needy energy at one time. Needy doesn’t necessarily always mean the vampire is intentionally reaching out to us, but, because we are susceptible to other people’s energies and feelings – means we can sense the needy energies. We receive the feelings through energy. This is the reason I refer to these types of people as vampires – because they suck out and overwhelm our own energies as we begin feeling their pain or sadness.
Don’t forget, an empath can experience happy emotions too, not just the bad and the sad, but experiencing happy and good emotions do not drain us. In fact, they can be quite uplifting. That’s why happy people are so good for the soul. And negative people drain our souls.
There are good parts of being an empath – despite an empath’s ability to attract others’ negative energy, sometimes having that uncanny ability of reading a person’s soul through looking into their eyes, can also come in handy for staying safe and sensing oncoming trouble ahead.
Just as a fine- tuned intuition will save us from making many wrong moves, an ability to be able to learn people’s intentions through looking in their eyes can help us avoid – or at least, prepare us to avoid danger. My internal alert system flashes before me if I’m in close proximity to something scary. If I’m out in public and find myself in a situation among undesirable people, or feeling a little too close for comfort, I have an early chance of escape.
I’ll observe people when they aren’t watching and look into their eyes at an opportune moment. If there’s an exchange of words, I’ll check if a smile is genuine (an empath knows). Eyes speak, so does an ominous silence – like a smile without matching smiling eyes. But I would have to say my finest tuned skill as an empath is attracting people’s sadness. My empathy is my Achille’s Heel. It may not be that someone is intentionally in my energy space, but my radar picks up on those energies. As I mentioned earlier, we don’t have to actually be in a room with someone to pick up the energy, just as we could be watching something on TV that transmits those same energies. For a seasoned empath, we can also read energies from the written word – some things like a commonly used phrase – reading between the lines, reading ‘behind’ the words that emit the true emotion behind the words.
I’d like to share an example of an experience I had that never leaves me, to demonstrate how the energy thing works with me.
The Medium and the broken-hearted woman and my book.
About 10 years ago now, I was invited to a private gathering at my naturopath’s office by my friend Charlene, the then office manager at the clinic. Charlene invited a well-known Medium to come to the clinic to perform readings by picking up energies in the room and afterwards, the group could ask the Medium questions.
The room was dimly lit as a candle burned at the center of a big round table. The Medium would announce a spirit who came to her and ask out loud who the spirit was calling on and what was their message from the beyond. I was curious to watch more than anything, and typically prefer not to call up spirits, yet, nonetheless, I was fascinated to be invited.
Charlene told me the room would be set up in a circle, but that she too didn’t want any readings and would sit at a desk across the room from the group of about a dozen. I told her I was happily going to sit with her during the ‘session’ as I preferred not be part of the circle.
When I got to the clinic, Charlene and I went downstairs together in the room where the event took place. The Medium still hadn’t arrived yet, and people were mingling as most of them were patients who knew each other from having IV treatments together in the lounge.
Charlene and I stood by the entrance and were chatting as a sudden drift of profound sadness shot through me from nowhere and my body temperature went cold as ice. My eyes quickly cast upon one of the women at the table. I didn’t know her, she wasn’t familiar. She was merely sitting in a chair around the circle waiting for the event to begin. She displayed no outstanding emotion through body language or otherwise, but when I looked across the room, into her eyes, I felt her heart breaking. After that enormous wave of emotion transpired, I turned to Charlene with tears rolling down my cheeks and asked her who that woman was because she didn’t look familiar as I continued to tell her what I was experiencing. I told Charlene when I looked at that woman, I felt a profound sadness within. Charlene informed me the woman’s husband died a week prior and came hoping for a final goodbye message from her deceased husband, transmitted through the Medium.
I will always remember that story, just as I will always remember what happened after the session when the Medium came up to us to thank Charlene for hosting the event. But before she walked away, the tall, dark, and Bohemian- dressed Medium gazed into my eyes, leaned in and told me – “You need to write that book.” True story! It was her commandment that inspired me to write my first book – which I planned to be my only book. LOL.
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I hope you enjoyed this edition of Realms of Relationships. I would have to guess there are quite a few of us empaths in our writing community here. If any of you would like to own up and share something of your own experience as an empath, please do. Conversation is music to my ears. 😊
I’ll leave you with this fun fact post which lists some of the most well-known personalities you may not have known were empaths. I’m also including some links you may want to checkout to see if you are an HSP or empath and what to look for.
Fun Facts: Five Highest Ranking Famous Empaths a wonderful post on what made these famed 5 (One is George Orwell) at the top of the compassionate list.
The difference between HSP, empaths and introverts : Empaths, Highly Sensitive People, Introverts
Checklist. Are you an empath or HSP? – Highly Sensitive Person Signs
You can find the other posts in the series: D.G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships 2020
Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.
D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.
When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”
“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”
When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.
Books by D.G. Kaye
One of the recent reviews for Conflicted Hearts
“Conflicted Hearts” is a wonderful insight of a girl growing up with an unavailable mother and father lost in that world. I could easily relate to the role of caretaker being thrust on a young girl and the guilt she carried. The blame her paternal grandparents had toward her because her father had to marry her mother was heavy, as was her parents’ on and off living arrangements and mother’s self-absorption toward her children. The guilt followed Ms. Kaye into adulthood, as she always tried to do the right thing. I appreciated how mistakes made had given her the lessons needed. One situation that made me cringe was during a trip to Greece and a broken foot. But people came into her life just when they were needed. I found that very heartening. It was hard to read about the abusive relationship she ended up in, and I was relieved when they parted ways. I loved watching the author make her way to her happily ever after. I found this an inspiring journey of how Ms. Kaye navigated her home life and then left it behind to find herself and love. I highly recommend this memoir
My thanks to Debby for taking on the challenge of exploring the complexity of relationships, and sharing strategies to improve the way we manage those important to us. As always your feedback is very welcome and Debby will respond to you comments when she can. Thanks Sally